Point on the graph: direct-client rates for J2E translation

A job offer was recently posted to the Honyaku mailing list, looking for a translator for a book by a Japanese researcher into English. The offered rate was ¥7,600 per 200 English words. That works out to ¥38 per word, or according to the XE.com Universal Currency Converter, US $0.42/word at today's exchange rate (31 […]

Learning the B language as an adult

I'm a professional Japanese-to-English translator, but I didn't start learning Japanese until I was 22. There's a somewhat controversial hypothesis in linguistics called the critical period, which when extended to second-language acquisition, states that after a certain age people find it difficult to impossible to learn a second language with native-like fluency. The cutoff age […]

Virus scam targeting translators

A number of translators have been receiving scam emails containing a virus attachment, disguised as a file to be translated. Here's the text of the email I received: Subject: High Quality Translation I haven't seen you for weeks I need this document translated, and the translation is to be of high quality. The attorney asked […]

Becoming a better translator

My goal as a translator is to be continually improving. If you're satisfied with your current skills, then you're not improving. And if you're not improving, you're stagnating. As I see it, there are seven main areas where we can improve or expand as translators. Target-language ability Source-language ability Subject expertise Translation ability New field […]

How do you know how much to charge as a freelance translator?

When you're first starting out as a freelancer, it can be tough to figure out what rates to charge. This is especially true because once you settle on rates with a client, it's generally very hard to move them upward. The conventional wisdom is that if you want higher rates, you need to find different […]