(Last Updated On: 31st August 2017)

Imagine you tell your local butcher that £10 for one kg of beef mince is a rip-off, because you would only pay £7.50 for a kg of pork mince at a big supermarket chain. What do you think your local butcher will reply?

Now imagine you are planning to go out for lunch with friends and these are the two options available:

Name A B
Type

Local pub

Brasserie

Main course average price

£9.50

£16

Specials

Scampi and chips

Macaroni cheese

Fish stew

Boeuf Bourguignon

Service

Order at the bar.

Table service.

Service charge

Not included

Included in the price

Location

Narrow lane

Main street

Features

Sports on tv.

Noisy.

Sticky table.

Nice and quiet.

Big windows overlooking either the main street or a back garden.

 

If you go to B and tell the staff their prices are too high because A offers mains for £9.50, what do you think they will reply?

These two examples show that comparing products or services considering only the price is a mistake. The products and services mentioned above are different. In the first example, neither the products (beef mince and pork mince) nor the types of place (local butcher’s and big supermarket chain) are comparable. The second example shows that A and B do not share a single feature.

In order to compare products or services and make a decision based on price, you need to make sure the products or services you are comparing are the same. If they are not, there is no place for comparison, and it would be absurd to ask the more expensive provider to bring down their prices because you found a cheaper (albeit inferior) provider.

People do not go to shops and bars asking for discounts, but we Spanish sworn translators quite often receive emails and comments from prospective clients complaining about our quotations. ‘I found someone who would do it for half your rate’ or ‘Will you do it for X (a third of the quotation)?’ are some of the classics, and I find them insulting, to say the least.

The client is, of course, free to ask for quotations, compare them and choose the translation service provider they think best. In the same way, you can go from restaurant to restaurant reading menus before choosing the one you will eventually go to. What I find unacceptable is to receive indecent proposals to take part in ridiculous haggling.

As I mentioned above, products or services that are not exactly the same cannot be compared, and the same goes for sworn translation. You will never find two identical translations or translators, which makes receiving two identical quotations for the same document highly unlikely.

The table below shows two examples of sworn translators who in theory offer the same service (sworn translation). In practice, they offer quite a different service and customer experience, which translates into different prices.

 

Name

Mary

Anna

Officially appointed Spanish sworn translator?

Yes

Yes

Years of experience as a Spanish sworn translator

6

She translates full-time as a freelancer.

1

She has a full-time office job, and only translates every now and then.

Self-employed?

Yes

Not registered

Place of residence

London

Small Spanish town

Member of any association?

Yes

No

Presentation of documents

High-quality paper, robust envelopes.

Low-quality paper.

Delivery

Special delivery – Next Day Guaranteed with a tracking code.

Second class (3 days delivery aim, but not guaranteed).

Payment methods

Invoice issued.

Bank transfers, Paypal, Transferwise

Unable to issue invoices.

Paypal only.

Advice

Yes.

She advises on legalisation requirements and shares useful experiences from previous clients in the same situation.

No.

She sticks to translating whatever comes without making sure the original document is duly legalised.

Price for translating a birth certificate

£50

£35

 

If you have never used Mary’s or Anna’s services, you will not be able to choose a provider based on quality, as you do not know what level of quality you will get. When two quotations are remarkably different, other elements are key to help you choose the best service for you. When you receive several quotations, think about the experience you have received so far from each provider and ask yourself:

  • Did they reply promptly to your quotation request?
  • Did they answer all your questions?
  • Did they send a formal quotation with all the necessary details about the process or just a comment in the body of an email?
  • Did they inform you about their terms and conditions regarding delivery, payment and cancellation?
  • Do you need to waste your time dropping and collecting your documents or is the postal delivery included in the price?
  • Do they offer several types of services (such as standard and urgent)?
  • Do they offer several payment methods?
  • Do you have any reference about the translators? Do they have a website or online profile and a professional email address (not Gmail or Hotmail)?
  • Do you have a good feeling about the translators? Do they generate trust and professionalism?

 

Translators set their rates considering their personal situation and all the elements involved in the service they offer. The fair thing to do here is for you, as a client, to take that into account when analysing and comparing quotations.

The final decision is yours, but remember bargaining the rate set by a professional (be it a translator or a butcher) is not only inappropriate but offensive.

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IRENE CORCHADO RESMELLA is a Spanish translator and content writer based in Oxford. She is an English<>Spanish Sworn Translator who specialises in Legal, Marketing and Travel translation. Irene combines her linguistic skills with her knowledge of content marketing and a creative mind to help you get the right message across to your Spanish clients. EN+ES travel blogger at Piggy Traveller.
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