After my
confession a few weeks ago – and receiving some quite encouraging responses
from you, thanks again so much!
, I have received one larger and a few small jobs,
but still nothing steady, the way it used to be before “the slump”. 
I also had
the opportunity to speak with one of my agency clients about the slow start of
my business year. It was quite enlightening – apparently, I am one of their
more expensive translators, which is why they don’t offer me that many jobs.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that they have to make money,
too, and they are certainly doing their job as an agency, so I’m not
complaining about that. 
However, it seems there are translators on their list
who charge almost half of my word price?! They do take a lot longer to finish a
job, but still… I always wonder how they can survive. You can only work that
many hours a day and produce good quality, after all. The answer is probably
that they don’t have to, since they most likely have a bread-earning spouse or
partner at home who pays (at least most of) the bills. 
It did make
me wonder, too, though, whether it would be worth it to maybe lower my rates
just a little to be more competitive, at least until things pick up again. But
of course, my sensible business-self immediately jumped up and shouted: “Don’t
do it!” And she is right, of course. How do I decide that things are picking up
again? And how am I going to raise my rates back up once they do? How can I
justify it to existing clients (who would probably be absolutely thrilled about
a discount)? I would probably only hurt my future business more, even if it did
mean more work now. 
What do you
think? Do you agree with me? Or do you have another idea on how to be more
competitive during an economic downturn?

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