Unusual responses when marketing translation services
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:01
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 17, 2003

During a recent slow period, I sent out a batch of resumes and completed some on-line forms for translation work. I received the following bizarre responses:

1) One agency reprimanded me for not listing my rate FIRST. They claimed that they did not want to waste time actually reading my resume only to then find out my rate was too high for them. (If this happens so often - maybe they should get a clue!)

2) Another agency informed me that they simply DO NOT pay minimum fees to translators.

3) A third agency claimed that for a modest fee they would set me up with my own translation company, stating that “All you have to know is English”.

4) More than one company responded that because they are able to find “professional translators” whose work is “quite good” and who only charge .05/.06 per word, my rates were unjustifiably high.


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xxxPaul Roige
Spain
Local time: 05:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
highs and lows Sep 17, 2003

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

...
4) More than one company responded that because they are able to find “professional translators” whose work is “quite good” and who only charge .05/.06 per word, my rates were unjustifiably high.


Unjustifiably high rates? I'm wondering whether they also moan about "unjustifiably low rates" or that's OK...
P


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Comes with the territory Sep 17, 2003

Just today I received a job offer where the agency stated: "We know you charge US$x a word for this type of work, but we would like you to consider our offer of US$x-less-50% as, given the present market conditions, you are probably not getting many jobs that pay your full rate".

Yeah, right.

I wonder where these people get their info? Translators Job Boards?

Fortunately, the clients that are keeping me busy for the next 6 weeks think otherwise, and consider my rates as perfectly ok.

My suggestion would be to either ignore or politely send away those who are clueless enough to send you that type of message.


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
what kind of clients do you want to deal with? Sep 17, 2003

Dyran Altenburg wrote:
My suggestion would be to either ignore or politely send away those who are clueless enough to send you that type of message.


I fully agree with Dyran. Your clients must have enough professionalism to know your rates are in line with your years of experience...an asset that can't be bought

It's bad enough the market has been keeping the rates at the same level for years. At some point we all have to make a decision as to what kind of clients we want to deal with. If they are the kind to send you messages of that nature, I don't see the point in pursuing an association with them.

Best luck to you,

Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator, EUTI
sgalilea@ispwest.com
www.accentonspanish.com


[Edited at 2003-10-31 22:12]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:01
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
One advantage of having reasonable rates Sep 17, 2003

(reasonable for you) is being able to afford low periods and take it easy...

No joke, 6 steady clients at a good rate is enough to keep you (reasonably) busy.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:31
English to Tamil
+ ...
How I deal with such clients Sep 18, 2003

In the seventies, when I started my freelance activities, the first client gave me to understand that he would be giving me hundreds of pages in the near future and therefore asked me to quote low. I took his word at face value and did the first job. Afterwards he didn't turn up. I too was busy with my other clients, who were paying me good rates. The first client turned up with another job after a gap of one year. I asked him mildly about his promise. He told me that his job giving is need-based and he would contact me whenever he needed. I agreed with him wholeheartedly and quoted for the second job as per my then prevailing rate which was double the rate I did his first work. He pointed out that the hike was 100% and asked me whether it was fair. I just reminded him that my acceptance of his jobs is also need-based, that is to say that I will accept his work, if I need the same and at the old rate I didn't need it. To give him credit, he gave me the job and paid at my new rate.
Another client asked me: When I am getting another translator doing the translation at a much lower rate, why should I pay you a higher rate?" Prompt came my counter question:"When I am having other clients paying me higher rates, why should I accept your lower rate?"
Do not worry about losing the client. If your quality is good, they will definitely come to you.


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 05:01
French to English
Stick to your guns, Jeff! Sep 18, 2003

I officially went freelance in January 2003. I had decided what to accept as a minimum rate and to stick to that rate, no matter what. During the first few months, I contacted over 200 agencies, and many of the replies I received were much like what you described. Don't bother with them. After about three months of turning down offers to work for low rates, things started to pick up. My business is now 9 months old and I am now overbooked with work from the handful of customers who agree with my rate schedule and feel that the quality of my work justifies these rates.

I agree with the other postings...it depends what kind of customers you want. Time spent working for 7 cents is time taken away from prospecting the kind of customers you really want in your files.

Good luck, Jeff!
Regards,
Sara


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