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Translators' fees in Chile




Versión en Español: Las tarifas de traductores en Chile

If you are a cross-border client wishing to hire a translator living in Chile you might want to have an idea of the fees these might charge you. You might also want to know what these fees mean and how they relate to those translator's background. You should also consider the following:

1) ) I have been working in translation for over 40 years. My experience has some value, above that of a newbie.
2) I hold degrees awarded by two of the best Chilean universities having an accumulated academic education, which exceeds a total of 9 years. This education is much more demanding and of better quality than that which students enjoy in most private universities and in educational institutions called "Instituto Profesional" and "Centro de Formación Técnica". This does not imply that a particular student can't stand out in those institutions thanks to his/her personal features, but the education he/she enjoys is not of the best quality.
3) My competencies in languages and translation have been certified at the highest level.
4) My fees are around the average of the Chilean market and, forcibly, they are above those of a translation student or newbie.
5) Cross-border fees necessarily must be higher than local fees due to a series of costs involved in international trade (i.e. Banking costs, transfer costs, credit (delayed payment) costs, market barriers, marketing costs, etc.), so if you are not located in Chile the fees below are not applicable to you.


Chilean translators' fees in the government's tendering system - ChileCompra.

In 2013, at least 38 translators and translation agencies made bids in ChileCompra's tenders. In these tenders one usually finds the market's lowest fees. However, only 20% of translators/agencies quote CLP$20 per word or less (English to Spanish), and sometimes these same players bid higher. Considering the CVs of some of these translators, one can understand their low fees; in other cases there is no relationship, something one might interpret as a means to monopolise the public market or compete by price with less experienced translators. Regarding agencies, who farm out those jobs to foreign translators (natives in the target language) or say they do, it's incredible they can offer fees around CLP$20 or 25, when it is very difficult to find a European or US translator (competent or not) willing to work for less than CLP$50 or 0.07 euros or USD (considering the cost of living in those countries and the costs of working cross-border). Maybe these agencies enjoy some sort of imports subsidy or it's a pig in a poke or a very well-kept secret. Some Chilean translators' teams include foreign expats, who declare they are natives in a foreign language. In this case it is natural that, living in Chile, they adapt their fees to the Chilean market, although, in general their fees are above the average.
When a translator offers a fee between CLP$ 6 and 10, can be explained by the following: either he is a newbie that does not value his work and/or is aware his competencies are scarce, or he is a newbie willing to sacrifice his income in exchange of building a CV, or he is "dumping" the market as a means to break entry barriers. With these fees a Chilean professional translator does not cover his costs, so they can't persist in time. Even with a fee of CLP$ 15 there is a high chance of being devoured by accounts payable and high yield accompanied by low quality.
If we don't consider the "dumping" fees, the average of all these translators is: CLP$ 37 (English to Spanish) and $ 32 (Spanish to English), and the range of values goes from CLP$ 15 to CLP$ 76 and CLP$ 15.8 to CLP$ 78, respectively.
These fees cover a variety of jobs, mostly of technical nature, but some more complex than others. These fees haven't been adjusted or aggregated according to "complexity" as the main interest was finding an average and range for Chilean translators who concur in the same tenders.



This information was extracted from the website https://www.mercadopublico.cl/ doing a search with "Buscar: Licitaciones Históricas", then find the field under "Rubro a buscar/ Seleccionar rubro" (with the term: "Traducción") and select "Servicios editoriales y de apoyo", and establish the range of dates under "Fechas a buscar": January 2013 to January 2014 (Accessed Jan 10th 2014).


Chilean translators' fees in the Internet

A total of 24 websites belonging to freelance translators and agencies, who publish their fees (November 2013), were reviewed. The averages are a bit higher than those offered in the public tendering site: CLP$ 31 to CLP$ 40 (English to Spanish) and CLP$ 34 to CLP$ 44 (Spanish to English) and the range goes from CLP$ 15 to CLP$ 80 and CLP$ 19 to CLP$ 80, respectively.
In this case we were also interested in an average and range of values published to Chilean clients, so they have not been adjusted.








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