Price Quote

I have been wanting to write this blog for a few weeks after reading an article by Judy Jenner. However, for the past few weeks, I have been rather busy with the Olympics and my interpreting work. Finally, after a few weeks’ procrastination, here it comes.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by someone who claimed to be from a publishing company in Czech about translating a tourist information booklet. Having just finished reading Judy’s article on creating professional price quotes to help avoid payment issues, I decided to create my formal price quote template and use it on this potential client. I emailed it to this client and asked for confirmation. She emailed back without confirmation, but said the job was an urgent one and they needed by what what time. Out of cautious, and to some extent, wanting to use the new price quote, I emailed again saying I wouldn’t start working on it until the price quote was signed and sent back to me. The client started sending weird emails commenting on how my name sounded beautiful, or what the food was like in China! Till then, it became obvious to me that the client was just fishing for free translators.

Considering how my first price quote actually saved me from a scam, I would like to share with fellow translators elements that they can consider putting into their own price quotes.

1. Client’s name, address, phone number, etc. This is very important, legally speaking. Make sure you get the right address and verify it–seaching online or making enquiry phone calls.

2. Your own information. This can be put in the header, just like you do your invoice.

3. What the project is. Clearly define what the document is that needs to be translated, the language pair and any other essential information. Being specific helps avoid future disputes.

4. Delivery date, payment terms and price. Again, be very specific. It might even worth including time zone, document format and a very detailed breakdown of your price (rate per thousand words, any rush rate, any special formatting charge, etc).

5. Client’s confirmation and signature. Ask them to sign, scan and email the quote back to you. Don’t start on a project until you receive client’s confirmation.

I do think this extra step is a little bit time consuming, especially when you are designing and creating your template. However, once it is done, a strong quote protects your business interest, shows your professionalism to the client and makes sure all terms are clear from the very beginning of a project.

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)


  1. avatar

    Interesting article, many people may neglect to consider the paperwork side of working freelance – which can be a real risk in business.

    I would go even further and say the above are all very necessary, with the timezone and deadline i.e. 1pm GTM rather than just Tuesday afternoon.

    Any client that seems unwilling to work within such a formal environment warrants caution – as for a big firm and finances with an audit trail this level of clarity is actually helpful for them. So though you may feel this is costly of your time and hassle for the client this level of professionalism will reflect well on you as reliable and professional.

    Expectation are another good reason for this – to have everything laid out beforehand which will leave less surprises and difficulties with invoicing and payment.

    Keep up the good blogging! ???

  2. avatar

    I’m quite pleased with the information in this one. TY!


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