Jamie Melly is a freelance translator who works in seven different languages, specialising in the translation of legal and marketing texts. Jamie also offers proofreading services for English translations and publications.
I completed a translation project that was much larger than I had been led to believe. The client refused to increase the rate, despite the volume and quality of my work.
Having worked only intermittently with the client before, I was given a large project translating medical terminology into several different languages. Once I began work on the translations, the client added more terms, extending the project further.
Upon completion, the client was happy with the high standard of my work, but on receiving my invoice, they told me I was charging too much. As a public body, the client said they were unable to pay more for some languages than others, despite the fact I had gone to the effort of learning Arabic to aid the project.
As a final quote hadn’t been confirmed before I began work, the client was able to refuse to budge on price. A newcomer to the industry, I didn’t feel in a position to argue my case at the time.
In the end, I simply had to accept the rate they were offering, but it was an important learning curve for me at an early time in my freelance career.
The experience taught me never to start work until both sides are crystal clear on rates and expectations. I also learned to stand my ground on issues such as rates for different languages. Otherwise, you can invest a lot of time and effort into a project with very little return.
Nowadays, I only accept jobs in more complex languages, such as Arabic and Hebrew, when the client is willing to compensate appropriately for my time and expertise.