Letters to the Editor

Charging by the Hour?

Judy Jenner’s suggestion in her September-October column that we charge by the hour appears to me to be premature at this point.

In addition to the fact that only experienced translators can estimate the time it will take to complete a job (and sometimes not even we can do that accurately), there’s another problem. An experienced translator working quickly might earn $100 or more an hour. But clients who wouldn’t flinch at paying a lawyer several hundred dollars per hour wouldn’t accept that rate for translators. I never quote hourly rates for that reason.

Until we are perceived by clients (and more importantly by ourselves) as professionals whose time is worth as much as that of other professionals, we are better off sticking to our by-the-word rates.

Eve E. Hech
Elizabeth, NJ

Response from Judy Jenner

Yes, those are precisely the potential downsides to the hourly pricing approach I detailed in my column. All pricing strategies have pros and cons, so it is up to each linguist to decide what works.

The Importance of Keeping Members Informed

I was very interested to read Ted Wozniak and Evelyn Yang Garland’s report in the July-August issue on the financial considerations behind decisions made by the Board (“Money Matters: The Story Behind Numbers and Board Decisions,” page 7). I was also glad to read Jeff Alfonso and Corinne McKay’s description of the Chronicle Task Force’s work over the past year (“Behind the Scenes with The ATA Chronicle Task Force,” page 12).

It’s essential that members be kept informed about how ATA is being run and the decisions being made on their behalf. The Chronicle is both the natural and best means of disseminating this information. I hope to read more about the behind-the-scenes work in future issues. (A “From the Boardroom” column would be a great start!)

May Fung Danis
Guadeloupe, France

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