Recently, we needed to arrange the English language training for an employee (monolingual proofreader) in order to help her with career development. Because we had very specific requirements, we decided to go with a personal tutor who would come to our office and have training sessions with the employee a few times a week.
As we began considering available offerings, we found that an average price of one-on-one tutoring in our city, Ivanovo, is about $20 per hour. It’s interesting how this rate compares to prices in the translation industry.
A professional freelancer can translate one page, or approximately 250 words, in one hour with high quality. The Yandex. Direct (ad service on the Russian search engine) ads offer prices about $10 per page and even lower. That is, a translator is paid $10 per hour.
This brief comparison shows that the margin in the translation industry is significantly lower than in the tutoring profession. Clearly, this calculation is approximate, but still representative. What is the reason for this? Why are folks prepared to invest in their own or their kids’ education two times more than they are prepared to pay for translation, which is often a driver of their business?
One reason is that they don’t understand how high-quality English to Russian translation is important to their business and how subpar translation can damage their brand. You can easily tell a good tutor from a bad one, i.e. you understand why a better tutor costs more. With translation, evaluating quality is often too big a challenge for a typical buyer. A general recommendation for buyers is to simply use your common sense. Can you really expect high quality for just $10 per hour? A translation price that seems high is usually high for a reason.