Translators’ earnings/Einkommen von selbständigen mit Hochschulausbildung

Of all freelances with higher education, translators earn the least:

Vertalers halen gemiddeld een omzet van 36.000, dat is het laagste van alle hoogopgeleide zelfstandigen.

So says research done at the University of Utrecht. But how do they identify a translator – just people who call themselves translators?

Also blogged by Percy Balemans, with a link to the research student’s sit.

(Thanks to Trevor)

5 thoughts on “Translators’ earnings/Einkommen von selbständigen mit Hochschulausbildung

  1. The numbers definitely look fishy to me. The ATA’s 2007 annual translator survey puts median income for US-based full-time freelancers at $60,423 per year ($56,672 for non US-based translators).

  2. Maybe the language combinations and subject(s) should or could have been surveyed. Literary translators may traditionally have been underpaid in many countries.

    But, up to 20 years ago, there was a Finnish-English-Finnish translator living in England who had a monopoly of those language-directions in a number of subject ‘specialisations’. He used to be described by some trans. agencies as exerting a ‘stranglehold’. The rewards for his cornering of the market at that time – there are many more Finnish translators now – meant he could retire after 5 years to drive his Maserati around the West Country.

    It may well be, though, that Dutch/ Belgian-Flemish (literary?) translators have to console themselves with driving DAF trucks across the bridges of Brugge and Amsterdam.

  3. Yes, I don’t think it’s a reliable survey. And I agree with Adrian MM that it probably includes literary translators. I believe literary translators sometimes do quite well on subsidies in the Netherlands, but those presumably wouldn’t count as income.

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