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What's a translation agency's mark-up?


YBD Chinese Translation Services


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As a professional Chinese translation services company, YBD Translations is always keen to participate in the social media discussion focusing on our own industry. We recently came across a Quora thread regarding the mark-up a translation agency charges for a translator’s work, the original questions is as follows:

 

“As a translator, do you care what mark-up translation agencies sell your work at? If so, what is the highest mark-up you would consider reasonable?”

 

For this some seems unconcerned, “An agency's mark-up really makes no difference to me. As long as they pay me the rate that I agree to, they're free to charge whatever they want. ” answered an ATA-certified Chinese translator, “After all, they are attempting to maximize their profits, which is why they are in business. If the market accepts their mark-up, then it means that language services in general are being highly valued. Everyone benefits from that.”

 

While others provided their observation, “In my experience, most of my agencies charge their clients between 180%-220% of what they pay me”, wow that would be too good a share for us to imagine, at YBD Translations, we only charge around 50% of translator’s pay, and that’s before we deduct the payment for proofreaders/QAers.

 

The number suggested by William White, a certified Chinese interpreter, seems consistent with our situation. “in my case agencies seem not to get that much of a mark-up, say 30% maximum”, indeed, William, you know we’re not easy! And we make our best efforts to pass most of our profits to our Chinese translators and interpreters whom we deem our most valued assets.


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