Rate packages for translators

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Freelancers and small agencies alike could learn a lot from large translation companies when it comes to offering rate packages. This is a method of pricing in which your prices reflect the amount of work required, difficulty and importance of each job, rather than charging one standard fee for every translation.

Benefits of rate packages

Devising a series of rate packages can offer you and your clients a number of benefits:

  • Allows you to be more efficient in your working practices.
  • Recognises that not all texts require the same level of attention.
  • Allows you to offer differentiated price schemes that reflect the amount of work required for each job.
  • Recognises that some subject areas are more challenging and time consuming than others (legal or technical vs. general business, for example).
  • Recognises that clients don't always need the same thing from translation – sometimes a text needs to be perfect for publication, while other times they might just need the gist.
  • Allows you to factor in extra services, such as a separate proofreader or editor, DTP, SEO etc.


You might think about starting off with three packages to keep things simple: a basic, mid-range and full package.

Basic package

The basic package would be suitable for your easiest jobs. You could decide this applies to particular subject areas: marketing as opposed to legal, for example. You might like to consider the purpose and importance of the text. Simple, straightforward texts to be used within a company, such as emails, would fall into this category. At this level your prices would reflect the fact that translating the text takes little time and there is no need for external proofreaders. You might also use this pricing scheme for bulk jobs, reflecting that sometimes these jobs are much quicker.

Mid-range package

The mid-range package would be for jobs of medium difficulty and importance to the client. Regular newsletters for customers, social media, blogs and so on might fall into this category. They are important enough to warrant careful checking, but the fate of the company or the product does not hang on these texts. You might consider working with a proofreader on these texts.

Full package

The full package would be suitable for very difficult, technical and complex jobs that require a great deal of research or specialist subject knowledge. It would also be useful for important texts destined for publication, such as the front page of a website, a product brochure, marketing campaigns, a book or PhD, and so on. At this price you would be looking to offer the very best service you can, so working with a separate proofreader or editor would be a good idea. You might also charge this rate for rush or weekend work.

Managing your rates packages

As you work with rates packages more, you will get a better insight into how much to charge for each text. It's important to track how long each translation takes you, and uses information to work out your hourly rate. The idea behind rates packages is that you can make a more consistent hourly rate, because your lower paying jobs take much less time, while slow, fiddly jobs are worth more. Also consider banking fees and exchange rates when being paid in foreign currencies.

You will need to work out the best way to market your rates packages to your clients, highlighting the benefits that differentiated pricing can offer. This will depend to a degree on the nature of your work, as well as your clients’ needs. You might also want to do some research into how your prices compare to your peers. ProZ offers a page listing general rates for different languages as well as a calculator to help you work out your yearly earnings based on your rates and you can also visit translators’ websites to get a clearer idea of how much to charge.

This article is based on the method used by Translators Family. More details at Translation Rates Packages Table

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