On the Never Ending Debate Regarding Translation Rates in Lebanon

Let me start by stating the facts:

1- Lebanon is a highly proficient trilingual country.

2- Many translators graduate each year to find themselves struggling to make a good buck in their field of work.

3- This results in charging awful rates to make a living, or simply accepting the rates given by agencies who charge their clients very good rates but end up paying an awful penny to the freelancers or in-house translators. Yup, sub-contracting’s a bitch.

4- There is always fear of losing (or worse, not even securing) the client if the rate we deem fair is found to be too high by the latter.

After over a decade in this business, below is my take on translation rates in Lebanon:

In my humble opinion, rating etiquette is a no brainer. Express translation? Charge more. Weekend job? Charge more. Technical project? Charge more. And so on…
It’s just nonnegotiable for me. I wish all translators would stick to such work etiquette then we could all be doing extremely fine in this business, instead of making it awful for each other in the marketplace.
It is in fact up to the client to decide, so you set the rate that suits you, bearing in mind that you shouldn’t worry if the client accepts or rejects it.
This is the main issue here in Lebanon; we always fear losing the client, when in fact it’s the client that should fear losing us, YOU let them know your translation’s worth by standing your ground and defending your rate. THIS is the attitude to have. It might seem hard when you want to make money, but believe me, it might take some time, but eventually you will find yourself with better quality as opposed to quantity (better quality clients, better quality work, which translates to less work for more money).
I believe this is all because we do not have a professional syndicate regulating the translation business in Lebanon. As we say here: “kel wahad fetih 3a hsebo”.

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