A potential client I recently approached was impressed by some of the names on my portfolio, but worried that they “[might] not be able to pay the same rates as” some of my existing clients.
Well, fear not!
While I may be willing to show a little flexibility where necessary, my rates remain fairly even across the board and do not vary proportionally to the client’s reputation, nor do big names cause an overall inflation of my rates.
Equally, an “impressive” name is no substitute for an honest rate. Last September, one of the biggest art book publishers in the UK contacted me for a project. I had targeted this publisher for close to 10 years, but the excitement of finally hearing back from them did not last long: they were offering a rate that was about 55% of my current rate. Do they think that their name will dazzle translators into accepting a rate that even an inexperienced starter should never agree to? Needless to say, I turned it down and will probably not offer my services to this publisher anymore. Names don’t pay my bills.
My philosophy is simple: my rates correspond to what is sustainable for my business and are the same for all clients. It’s fair for me and it’s fair for my clients.