Charging for Rush Translations
It’s interesting to note the variety of ways in which different translators handle rush jobs.
It’s interesting to note the variety of ways in which different translators handle rush jobs: some people don’t charge anything extra, while some translators double their price. Some translators waive rush charges for their loyal clients, while others apply rush charges to everyone. Some people charge rush rates for translations due in less than 24 hours, while others consider a rush job to be a project requiring the translation of more than 2500 words per day.
What Constitutes a Rush Translation?
So, what constitutes a rush translation? Is it one where the translator is required to rearrange their schedule in order to meet the client’s deadline; or is it an assignment whereby the translator is required to translate more than a certain number of words per day - and how many words are we talking about? Perhaps a rush assignment is a project that must be turned around in less than 24 hours?
The Difference between Rush and Overtime
So then the question arises: What’s the difference between rush and overtime? Are we really translating faster when we’re asked to complete a rush assignment, or are we simply working longer hours? And what sort of levy should translators charge for a rush project? Should it be a 10% levy due to the inconvenience, or 100%? And what about workers who are paid by the hour: if they receive time-and-a-half for overtime, then why don’t translators? What portion of the project should the rush charge be applied to – the whole project, or just the portion which requires extra work on behalf the translator?
Obviously, there are no hard and fast answers to these questions, but it is interesting how translators have determined their own pricing methods. Most translators will admit that subjective factors, such as the desperate tone in their client’s voice, can enter into the rush charge equation.
Suggestions for Beginner Translators
If you’re a beginner translator and you’re still trying to work this issue out for yourself, our suggestion is that, if it’s a short translation you’re being asked to do for a regular client or a client you’d love to have as a regular client, then try to fit it in without charging extra. However, if a new or infrequent client asks you to complete a big translation project on a rush basis, then perhaps one-and-a-half-times your regular rate would be appropriate – or, to put it in perspective, you could refer to it as time and a half!
Many translators dislike rush work because you’re required to answer the call to action immediately with a yes or no answer and a firm quote, and there’s a definite pressure to omit quality assurance steps in order to get the translation back on time. That being said, there will always be rush jobs, so maintain your quality control as much as possible and ensure that you’re adequately compensated for the extra hours you work by rewarding yourself the following day with time off.
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