A few stern words on the rates we language people charge you, our esteemed customers. Read and shudder.
- IF we consistently work 40-hour weeks, never being ill or otherwise unavailable;
- IF at least half of those hours can be charged to clients;
- IF we can do an average of 400 words per hour when actually translating or editing;
- IF all our clients accept a rate of at least € 0,10 per word;
- IF no more than half of the total price we charge you (50% approximately being the norm in the Netherlands) goes to taxes, fees and company costs;
- THEN we make about € 1600,- every four weeks to live on. Those are six big Ifs. BUT:
- IF, all other factors being equal, the text is complicated and allows only 200 words per hour, our earnings drop to € 800,-;
- IF, all other factors being equal, projects are scarce and only 1/3rd of our hours are paid for, our earnings drop to € 1065,-;
- IF, all other factors being equal, our customers will only pay, say, € 0,04 per word (a rate used by many Dutch commercial publishing companies), our earnings drop to € 832,-. That is well below the legal minimum wage in the Netherlands. And all other factors are never equal.
There are ways around this. Some work insanely long hours. Others rush through a job, cutting down on hours but sacrificing quality. Some rely on a partner’s income. And some give up after a while, because they can’t make ends meet. Those include many excellent professionals who could have given you top-quality work but will do so no more. So, dear customer, remember this before you raise your eyebrows upon seeing our rates and our invoice. We just try to make ends meet.