Understanding Translation Rates: Before reading this section, visitors are encouraged to first read the Quality Control section, which describes the translation process, and the Translation Providers page, which describes the two-tier structure underlying the supply side of the translation services market. The Translation Industry Rates page then provides a comparative analysis of fees prevailing in the translation market, including my own. With this information in mind, organizations using translation services will be in a better position to understand the pros and cons of using different translation service providers to meet their unique translation needs. A major point of this website is that organizations using translation services need not rely on a single translation services provider. Rather, depending on the organization's internal resources and unique translation needs, the wisest strategy may be to assign different types of translation projects to different translation service providers according to the characteristic strengths and shortcomings of that provider.
Tier I and Tier II Rates: As noted on the Translation Service Providers page, the translation market is divided into two Tiers, with individual translators in Tier I and full-service translation agencies in Tier II. Generally speaking, translation rates are higher in Tier II, for several reasons. First, as noted on the Translation Service Providers page, users who outsource translation to agencies are outsourcing not only the translation but the task of organizing the translation team. This is largely why large translation services companies are called agencies. Users of the services of translation agencies need not undergo the expense of finding and hiring good translators and maintaining their own translation team of employees because the agency has already done so. In other words, the organization of the translation team is a service which the agency provides in addition to the translation work itself. As a result, the agency must be compensated for this service. That said, despite the extra expense, this service can be very beneficial for certain types of users, namely those whose translation needs are large, urgent and arise on an irregular basis. Such users will inevitably pay more for translation simply because the cost of serving such users is higher. It is higher because it is more difficult to organize the translation team and more expensive to maintain it. By contrast, users whose translation needs are more modest, less urgent and arise on a regular basis can usually organize their own translation team very cost-effectively. Indeed, such users need only appoint one staff member, such as a secretary, to coordinate with a competent independent translator in Tier I. Another reason that rates are lower in Tier I is that independent translators who meet certain conditions need not add consumption tax. This enables even the most experienced individual translators to offer rates which are highly competitive. A third reason is that Tier I translators have low overhead costs.