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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How to Make More $$ without Really Trying

Have you noticed how different businesses are constantly inventing new ways to nickel and dime their customers? Airlines have first stopped offering free in-flight meals; then introduced a fee for checked-in luggage; they reduced the leg space of their seats and are now charging for "special" (exit row and bulkhead) seats that leave you less cramped at the end of a two-hour flight. At the same time, they tacked a host of fees to their ticket prices, so that now the amount of these fees (and government taxes) exceeds the nominal price of the ticket itself.

Other businesses are not bashful either in inventing sneaky ways to separate you from your money. A carton of orange juice, which used to contain half a gallon (64 oz) of juice now contains only 59 oz. A can of coffee, which at one time contained a pound (16 oz) now contains 12, 11, or 10.5 oz. And don't expect the price to go down for these shrinking quantities of products.

Gas stations are now adding a separate fee, in addition to their already sky-high prices, for credit card payments.

Some physicians are charging thousands of dollars in yearly fees just to keep you as a patient (no specific service included). The list may go on and on. Many of these and other businesses count on their customers being stupid or at least not paying attention to what they are being charged for and how much they are getting. Of course, they're also trying to compensate for their own rising costs (in part due to similar tactics by other businesses) and shrinking revenues due to the recession.

So, why don't we, translators, get imaginative and enhance our incomes by adding a few items to our rates? I envision my future bill to my clients to look something like this:



Availability fee


Keyboarding fee


Administrative fee


Billing fee


Software usage fee


Hardware usage fee


e-mailing fee


Alertness fee*


Innovation fee **


Bundling fee***


Total payable


* That's for the espresso to keep me awake while I'm translating.

** That's for inventing all these possible and impossible fees.

*** Let them figure out what this means (you can use any random word from the dictionary here).

Feel free to add your own bright ideas to this list.


Blogger Translator in London said...

I have to admit that everything you have said about the irrational rise of prices in most services is correct. Still, I feel intimidated to charge my clients your innovative new fees. I Think they will affect my seriousness as a translator ( as if I am accounting them for the air I breathe while working). On the other hand, it inspired me to use the same technique of Air lines, reducing fees for one service and raising those of ten instead.

7:47 AM  
Blogger georgiaef said...

Lovely post! I think that most translators will agree with you and give it some more thought the next time they bid for a job. If professionals don't take steps to protect their business, why would customers do so? Clients tend to believe that "you get what you pay for" and it actually works on so many other areas. Perhaps we should all reconsider our fees!

12:47 AM  
Blogger danthecomposer said...

Hello there,

Just got into blogging myself so first-time-but-not last-time visitor.

Very amusing post. On a more serious note, do you charge for weekend/late night jobs? If I have a new client, I'll round up to the nearest ten or hundred because, on top of actually translating, a little familiarisation research is sometimes required or I squeeze it, time permitting, between less time-restricted jobs.

So, whilst your post is in jest, I do find myself rounding up at least.

Which reminds me of a joke: Someone said to me "I have 67 sheep in this field... would you please help me round them up?" I said "Sure, 70".

7:49 AM  
Blogger Vijaya D. G. said...

Yes, The list may go on and on. spanish translation vancouver invested in gathering a team of professional and experienced translators fluent in both Spanish and English languages those offer not only an incredible knowledge of language but also provide deep industry knowledge.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Eric said...


I do not think that adding fees to the translation cost is the way forward. Making the clients understand that quality has it's price is more like it.

Google do a lot of things right and even the Google Translate is great as long as you do not have to present the result to anybody..

So lets all stick to quality!

All the best

12:45 PM  
Blogger Native translator said...

I will like to add research fee and cerebral fees with it. Both self explanatory. Natural to feel so when someone questions your prices and then pays obediently somewhere else.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Native translator said...

I will like to add research fee and cerebral fees with it. Both self explanatory. Natural to feel so when someone questions your prices and then pays obediently somewhere else.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Brand Design India said...

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3:02 AM  
Blogger Luis Francisco Valle Velasco said...

Great post! Another good way for transltors to make money is by joinging the Verbalizeit community of translators. This company is looking for transltors for interpretation over the phone or Skype. They offer an iPhone and Android app that lets their users get in touch with an interpreter around the world (like you) so you can help them communicate. They are looking for translators in all language pairs. Fill their application here

6:39 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That is completely hilarious! I love it! However, it bears saying that it pays to stay competitive. I'm always a little tentative about raising my rates, but I need to be paid what I'm worth. I do charge extra for rush jobs, however, as it is usually an inconvenience. Does anyone else do that?

Feel free to check out my rates and tell me if you think they need adjusting!

11:06 AM  
Blogger Negi said...

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Blogger Unknown said...

Historically, prices for products and services have always gone up, and so should translation fees. However, with advancements in technology the demand for human translators and intrepeters will come down.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey your post brought a smile to my face today as I was grinning from ear to ear on all the extra fees that you added up. The one that amused me most was the "Alertness fee"...all those late night coffee trips to Starbucks can sure use a dollar or two from those fees. I agree that most people don't realize how exhausting Website Translation Service can be, so yay for the fees!

8:17 PM  
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5:55 AM  
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