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How to charge as a bilingual copywriter-translator

How much do you charge for your freelance translating and writing services?


If you’re like most freelancers, you probably struggle with this question. You don’t want to charge too little and feel like you’re working for peanuts. But you also don’t want to charge too much and scare away your clients.


So how do you find the sweet spot?


Here's how I do it. I use a pricing strategy that is based on one thing: The value and benefits that I bring to my clients. That’s right. I don’t charge by the hour, by the word, or by the project. I charge by the value.


A caucasian male writer works on a Mac computer screen in a busy office

In this article, I’ll show you what value-based pricing is, why it rocks, and how you can use it for your freelance writing and translating projects.


But first, let me tell you why this topic matters to you and me.

Importance of value-based pricing for freelance writer-translators


As freelance writer-translators, we have a unique and valuable skill set that can help our clients communicate effectively with their target audience, whether it’s to inform, persuade, educate or entertain them.


We also help them reach new markets, increase their sales and grow their brand awareness. But not all clients appreciate or understand the value of our work. Some may try to negotiate our rates down, compare us with other freelancers who charge less, or ask for more work than we agreed on.


That’s why we need to learn how to set our rates based on the value and benefits that we deliver to our clients, not on the time or effort that we spend on their project. This way, we can show our clients that we are not just selling words, but solutions.


We can also avoid competing on price with other freelancers who may have different skills, experience, or quality standards than us. Instead, we can differentiate ourselves by the quality and effectiveness of our work and we can create more satisfaction and loyalty from our clients, who will see us as partners in their success, not as expenses in their budget.


Sounds good, right? So let’s dive into what value-based pricing is and how it works.


A latino executive writer in a spotted shirt sits in an orange office chair writing on a laptop

What is value-based pricing and how does it work?


Value-based pricing is simple. It means that you charge your clients based on the value and benefits that you deliver to them, not on the time or effort that you spend on their project.


For example, let’s say you’re hired to write and translate a sales page for a new product. You could charge by the hour, by the word, or by the project. But these methods don’t take into account the impact that your work will have on your client’s business.


How much revenue will your sales page generate? How many new customers will it attract?

How much will it increase your client’s brand awareness and reputation?


These are the things that matter to your client. And these are the things that value-based pricing takes into account. Instead of charging a fixed or random amount, you charge a percentage of the value and benefits that you deliver to your client.


This way, you align your interests with those of your client, and you create a win-win situation.


A black woman writer types on a laptop while leaning on a glass wall division

Here’s an example of how value-based pricing works in practice:

  • Let’s say your client is launching a new online course that costs $500 per student. They expect to sell 1000 courses in the first year. That means they expect to make $500,000 in revenue from your sales page.

  • Now, let’s say you charge 10% of the value that you deliver to your client. That means you would charge $50,000 for writing and translating the sales page.

  • That may seem like a lot of money, but think about it from your client’s perspective. They are still making $450,000 in profit from your work.

  • Plus, they are getting a high-quality sales page that will attract more customers and increase their brand awareness long-term.

That’s a great deal for them. And it’s a fair deal for you too. You are getting paid what you deserve for your skills and expertise and creating a long-term relationship with your client based on trust and value.


How to use value-based pricing for freelance writing and translation projects


Using value-based pricing for your freelance writing and translating projects may seem challenging at first, but it’s not impossible.


Here are some steps that you can follow:

  • Research your target market and niche. Find out what problems or needs your potential clients have, what solutions they’re looking for, and what value they place on those solutions. You can do this by browsing online forums, blogs, social media groups, or review sites related to your niche. You can also conduct surveys or interviews with existing or past clients, or ask for referrals from your network.

  • Identify your unique angle. What makes you different from other freelance writer-translators? What skills, experience, or knowledge do you have that can benefit your clients? How can you solve their problems or fulfill their needs better than anyone else? For example, as a bilingual writer-translator in French and English, I can offer language skills and cultural knowledge that can make a difference in the quality and effectiveness of communication.

  • Estimate the value and benefits that you deliver to the client. This is the most difficult part of value-based pricing, as it requires some assumptions and calculations. You need to estimate how much revenue, profit, or savings your work will generate for the client over a certain period of time. You also need to consider other intangible benefits, such as brand awareness, customer satisfaction, or reputation. To do this, you can use formulas, tools, or case studies from similar projects or industries. You can also ask the client for some data or feedback on their goals and expectations.

  • Determine your rate based on a percentage of the value and benefits that you deliver to the client. Once you have estimated the value and benefits that you deliver to the client, you need to decide how much of that value you want to capture as your fee. This depends on several factors, such as your skills, experience, demand, competition, and negotiation skills. A common range is between 10% and 30% of the value that you deliver, but you can adjust it according to your situation and preferences.

  • Communicate your rate and value proposition to the client. The final step is to communicate your rate and value proposition to the client in a clear and persuasive way. You need to explain how you calculated your rate, what outcomes they can expect from working with you, and what benefits they will get from your work. You also need to address any objections or questions that they may have, and show them why you’re the best choice for their project.


A woman writer's hands types on a laptop from a close-up shot

Setting rates as a freelancer is not simple or straightforward.

It requires careful consideration of various factors, as well as constant evaluation and adjustment. But by following the value-based pricing strategy, you can find a pricing method that works for you and your clients, and that reflects your worth and value as a freelance writer-translator.


So what are you waiting for? This is the process for charging fairly. It's time to start writing and set your rates based on the value you deliver, you deserve it!


To hear more from Joseph Adio about the bilingual copywriter experience, follow him on LinkedIn.

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