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Freelance Translator Survey 2020

ATC Member Inbox Translation’s comprehensive new study on the translation landscape focuses on freelance translators. The survey and subsequent report cover a multitude of areas: professional membership, continuous professional development (CPD), working hours, working with agencies and direct clients, challenges and perks of being a freelance translator, areas of specialisation, rates, and much more.

The 18,000-word report is split into five sections:

Key findings

  • Members of professional bodies charge on average 30% more than non-members.
  • Only 2% prefer communication with their clients by phone.
  • Women in the profession charge slightly more than men.
  • 92% of translators conduct checks on agencies before accepting projects (a result in line with a study carried out by the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) together with the Association of Translation Companies (ATC)
  • Agencies are 2.5 more likely to ask translators to lower their rates than direct clients.
  • The most commonly perceived benefit of working with translation agencies is that this allows the translator to focus on translating rather than client acquisition (67%).
  • The main challenge when working with translation agencies is, according to 62% of respondents, ‘low rates of pay’.
  • The rates translators charge vary widely, from £0.01/word to more than £0.50/word; the low end of this range represents 2.4% of the total responses, while the high end 1.1%.
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