Research report: Freelance translator rates

Exploring the value of ITI membership across per-word rates, minimum charges, and per-hour rates.


It has been more than 10 years since ITI  last conducted a freelance rates survey. Given the enormous changes in global economics, a pandemic, and the recent cost-of-living challenges it made sense to commission a new piece of research that provided a more up-to-date and comprehensive overview in 2023.

For the past 18 months, a dedicated team has been working on this project. On behalf of the ITI  Board and Chief Executive, I would like to thank the following people who supported the drafting of the survey and analysis of the data, as  well as  making specific additional contributions to the project:

•   Alina Cincan MITI of Inbox Translations, who built and administered the survey and published the initial findings

•   Dr Callum Walker MITI of the University of Leeds, who undertook the data analysis, prepared the charts and data tables, and authored much of this report

•   Claire Ivins, who supported the data analysis and presentation and critically reviewed this report

•   Dr Joseph Lambert of Cardiff University, who wrote the discussion section of the report, framing the key findings against the backdrop of ethics and good practice.

We are  grateful to all of them for the immense amount of hard work and dedication they have contributed to this project. The quality of their input has allowed us to capture a wealth of useful data which will help inform ITI  policy and priorities for the short and medium term.

I would also like to thank all those of you who generously took the time to respond to the survey and share your data with us for the benefit of our members and the wider profession. Your contribution is much appreciated.

In conducting the survey, our objectives were to:

•   Provide ITI  with a greater understanding of members’ current earnings and working practices

•   Create a survey model that serves as  a basis for more frequent analysis in the future and can be adapted to reflect future working conditions and practices

•   Allow our members to benchmark their current rates against the historic rates shown in the various tables

•   Identify what financial or other benefits membership of a professional association, and of ITI  in particular, offers translators and interpreters.

However, we  must be clear that this report is an objective overview of historic data. Under current regulations enforced by the Competition and Markets Authority, professional bodies are  not allowed to offer any guidance – or even encourage any discussion – about setting rates.

I hope that members will find this initial report, which compares ITI  member rates with non-ITI member rates, useful and interesting. Future reports will look at the same rates data presented in this report but cut along different demographics and membership categories with a view to teasing out some of the relationships between different member characteristics and the rates that they charge for their services.

Nicki Bone MITI

Chair of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting