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Show me your rates, and I\'ll tell you what kind of translator you are
Thread poster: Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 20:14
German to English
+ ...
Nov 21, 2001

This particular issue has been broached in other threads, but it warrants further discussion, I believe.



The rate you offer tells the client exactly what kind of translator you are: i.e., whether you believe in your own expertise and skills or not.



Today, for example, I received an offer for co-operation from an agency in France: they offered to work for me for a rate of C$0.13 per word (that is about US$0.08!). Can you imagine what kind of rate they are paying their subcontractors? The quality you would get? Yuck! Needless to say that I have not even replied to such an outrageous (and unsolicited) offer.



It is safe to assume, though, that their translators will get something like 3 or 4 cents (if that). I think that anyone who agrees to work for a pittance like that has no confidence about his/her own abilities at all.



If you are confident about your qualifications, you will invariably charge more.



Let me give you an example: in Canada, there are many French/English translators who will charge as much as C$0.35 per word (about US$0.22). Why? Because they really are absolutely bilingual, they have the proper training and qualifications in translation, etc.



Now, you may argue that these people are not getting a lot of jobs. WRONG! I have called up several of those \"high-raters\", and you know what? Most of them tell me (when I ask them whether they are available to take on a job that I would like to pass on to them) that they are booked solid for the next year and a half (no kidding!) and that they do not take on any new clients until then (some actually state so in their voice-mail greetings).



It gets even better: those high-raters do not use any CAT software! So, even the (blissful) lack of CAT does not stand in their way (they usually only use TERMIUM, but that\'s it).



True, Canada has the most regulated translation industry in the world (technically speaking, you are not even allowed to call yourself a translator - let alone work as a translator - if you are not certified), but that still does not explain clients\' acceptance of these rates. The only explanation is that they are interested in quality and reliability (we do have some of the \"best-trained\" clients in the world) .



Some clients do not pay much attention to quality - and such clients will always be around - and those are the ones that will gladly accept an offer of 6 cents, for example (but, at the same time, those clients are also the ones that are most likely to default on payment!!!!). \"Quality clients\", however, will probably not even return your call or reply to your e-mail if you offer them 6 cents a word.



True story (happened about 2 years ago): a law firm contacted me for some German-English translations. The rate I offered them was already considerably high (especially for US or EU standards), but they themselves said that I should raise it by another 5 cents, because, as they told me, that was the usual rate they paid to certified translators. They were quite adamant about pointing out to me that they simply would not trust any translator who worked for less than that. Of course, I accepted their offer!


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Anila Mayhew  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:14
English to Albanian
+ ...
I couldn't agree with you more Nov 21, 2001

I am quite new at proZ but I have been a translator/interpreter for a long time. What amazes me the most is the fact that my bids at proZ have been at lower rates compared to what I give to my non-proZ clients and I still don\'t get any of the jobs posted there.



My rates are usually a little bit higher than the rest of the pros at proZ because I believe in what you mentioned. Sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time and almost feel used especially when I am asked to do a sample translation and still don\'t get the job.





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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 20:14
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
We need more direct clients and fewer agencies Nov 21, 2001

What we need here at ProZ is for more direct clients to post their jobs, rather than agencies.



Working for agencies is always less profitable (because they take their cut).



So, what ProZ needs to do is attract more corporations, perhaps even government agencies, etc. to post jobs here in order to improve this site.



Perhaps Henry could comment on whether ProZ is actively doing something in this regard.


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:14
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Totally agree Nov 21, 2001

Hi Anila and Werner,

I totally agree with you. The rate shows how much one believes in the quality of their translation. At ProZ there are so many translators who give really low rates (US$0.07,; $0.05 and some times $0.04!!!), but I do not think they will survive for a long time (or maybe they will, who knows!!). But I strongly believe that down the road the client will know who stands behind a low rate and who stands behind a higher rate. I believe that quality will prevail. I feel the same Anila, there are times that I do not even bid at all when I see that others bid for such a low price. And as far as sample translation, many times I really doubt the intention of the person who asks for it. Some times I feel that a sample translation is a (dishonest) way for someone to get a free translation. I wouldn\'t mind if the sample translation is just a paragraph, but when it\'s a full document with 200-300 words (a minimum job in other words), I really doubt that they will ever come back. I wouldn\'t mind either to give a test for a company, but most of the sample translation I have done so far have been full documents (Memos, letters, webpage etc). I should probably do my own sample translation and if anyone asks for a sample I should say: \"Here it is my sample, like it or not\"

I actually like this idea

Monika


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 20:14
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I like your idea, too, Monika Nov 21, 2001

Great idea!

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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 02:14
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
You're so right Werner! Nov 21, 2001

We should not cave in to what is believed to be the market price.



There is always the other side of the coin.



I tried to formulate it to a client in Germany yesterday:



\"I am of course not to pass judgement on the relation between the competitive bid (33% lower than mine) and quality, but I\'d venture to suggest that in most cases there is one.\"



I got the job at my price



One should try to explain this in a few more words to corporations all over the world:

The money saved by a lower price on translation will be lost many times over

on negative repercussions along the road to a satisfied end customer.

Someone who really understands this, will be willing to pay $0.20/word and some really do.

Let\'s all cultivate this understanding.



Mats


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 20:14
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Kudos, Mats! Nov 21, 2001

Perfect point and great example!



There is a wonderful saying: \"The old miser always pays twice.\" A client who goes with a low-rate translator will, in all likelihood, have to hire a proofreader, or even another translator, to have the rubbish re-done - thus, paying twice.



As professionals, it is our duty to advise our existing and potential clients on this issue: if they really don\'t care about quality, then they are not the right kind of client for you anyway; so, let them go elsewhere.


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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 05:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
You have no way to know it Nov 21, 2001

Your quotation may be lower than that of others, but you may not be selected.



But it may be that your quotation may have never reched the poster.



You never have the means to know it.You have quoted for the job is OK. but can you be sure that your offer has reached the job poster?



At present at PROZ.Com , perhaps, there is no such a provision for you to know where your offer is lying.



At the most you may get a reply saying sorry .But this sorry may not come from the job poster, I believe.



It probably it comes from Proz infoservices - but that may not be enough.



You should be able to see the address of the job poster.



From January, you will probably pay 1 $ or 100 Brown points.



Under the January dispensation it is not known whether you will see the address of the job poster or receive a direct reply from the job poster , even after shelling out a dollar.



I hope PROZ will clarify on this important matter.







It is surprising that even tough your quotation was lowe, you did not get job.



Quote:


On 2001-11-21 17:12, Mayhew wrote:

I am quite new at proZ but I have been a translator/interpreter for a long time. What amazes me the most is the fact that my bids at proZ have been at lower rates compared to what I give to my non-proZ clients and I still don\'t get any of the jobs posted there.



My rates are usually a little bit higher than the rest of the pros at proZ because I believe in what you mentioned. Sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time and almost feel used especially when I am asked to do a sample translation and still don\'t get the job.







[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-22 05:16 ]

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DR. RICHARD BAVRY
Spanish to English
+ ...
And fools rush in where Angels fear to tread! ;>) Nov 21, 2001

Quote:


On 2001-11-21 23:00, G2E wrote:

Perfect point and great example!



There is a wonderful saying: \"The old miser always pays twice.\" A client who goes with a low-rate translator will, in all likelihood, have to hire a proofreader, or even another translator, to have the rubbish re-done - thus, paying twice.



As professionals, it is our duty to advise our existing and potential clients on this issue: if they really don\'t care about quality, then they are not the right kind of client for you anyway; so, let them go elsewhere.





And let the devil take the hindmost!



Cave canis!!!!

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-22 00:07 ]

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Alison Schwitzgebel
Germany
Local time: 02:14
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Market weed-out Nov 21, 2001

I fully agree with the rates/quality issue. I have set myself a minimum rate and refuse to go below it. My customers love my quality and come back time and time over.



What I believe we will increasingly see in future, however, is a \"market weed-out\". There are already translation programs on the market that are capable of translating general material at a quality sufficient for \"information\" purposes (i.e. internal use only). I don\'t think that this software will ever be capable of translating high-end, complex material - but over time we will see that translators who make their money from translating this type of general material are being pushed out of the market by the software.



The translators who will really survive will be the top-end specialists, who master both the relevant languages AND subject matter.



Of course, there is also the problem of globalization putting pressure on rates... My clients are very happy having a translator based in the same country - it makes communication far easier.



Let\'s not underestimate the value of quality translations - in the right place at the right time.


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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 05:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dr. Richard, they are not such old misers Nov 22, 2001

Dr. Richard,

You say that agencies will have to appoint proof readers for setting right a cheap translation.

Here is how it is done:

Get a translation done cheaply at 3 cents/ word or even 2 cents/ word.

Next, get it proof read by paying 1 cent/word.

So, they get tranlatins done at 4 cents/ word or near so.

So, who is the old miser? I hope agencies are not reading this.



[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-22 00:21 ]


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Tatjana Aleksic, MA  Identity Verified
English to Serbo-Croat
+ ...
It is easy to be so tight-lipped Nov 22, 2001

but try working in the East-European market for that money? You\'ll starve to death! I am hyperqualified and an excellent and reliable translator, but can never get paid for my work as much as I deserve! I agree that all sorts of dilettantes are members of translation forums and will always offer to work for less than a qualified translator, even here at ProZ, but it seems the site staff is not capable of weeding its own garden. However, there is another side to the story.

It is not only the problem of Serbia, where I live, not having a well-established translation market, but also the problem of all of us \'East-Europeans\' being considered low-wage labour. I have seen cases of agencies from western countries subcontracting East European agencies to do the job for their well-paying clients. What happens here is that the underdog of the translator gets paid $ 0.04 at the most, while the western agency reaps the profit! Simple mathematics! And we are bound to see it happen more often in the future.

Why does the East-European qualified translator accept to work for that pay, you may ask? Because they have to live on something, because the usual price of translation per word in their home-country is even lower, and because there is always somebody who\'ll shoulder the job for less. I am considered an extremely expensive translator here, and my clients always claim to be ripped off when the pay-time comes, but the highest price I can achieve by working for Serbian clients is $ 0.015!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, your eyesight is OK, they complain when they have to pay $ 0.015 per word!!!That\'s why I have all but given up working for domestic clients and have turned towards the \'international market\', only to find that, coming from a \'cheap\' country, my work is also cheap and that I can never compete with my \'expensive\' colleagues.I have lost the track of the jobs I didn\'t get because I offered the \'amazingly low, according to you, $ 0.08 per word, when the clients found translators who would do it for $ 0.06 or maybe the \'shameful\' $ 0.04!


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DR. RICHARD BAVRY
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tongue in cheek..right! Nov 22, 2001

Quote:


On 2001-11-22 00:18, telef wrote:

Dr. Richard,

You say that agencies will have to appoint proof readers for setting right a cheap translation.

Here is how it is done:

Get a translation done cheaply at 3 cents/ word or even 2 cents/ word.

Next, get it proof read by paying 1 cent/word.

So, they get tranlatins done at 4 cents/ word or near so.

So, who is the old miser? I hope agencies are not reading this.



[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-22 00:21 ]





Unless I miss my guess, you were being ironic, right?





Rich (not so old as to measure my days by any cheap balancing act..Miserere nobis, Domine!)

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xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:14
English to Dutch
+ ...
Never generalize Nov 22, 2001

My rate for English>Dutch IT translations is about 0.07 USD per word. I guess that means that I cannot classify myself as a professional translator. The funny thing is that my clients include a few of the biggest IT companies in the world (I\'m sure that some of their software is installed on your computer as you\'re reading this). I\'ve been doing this work for 7 years, and have about 260 clients now. During these 7 years, I got 1 complaint (6 mistakes in a 9.000 word translation - I admit, way too much).



It all depends on the subject matter, the language combination and your translation speed. My record is 16.000 words on one day (16 hours), but my average speed lies around 4.000 words per day. If I do my best, I can do 8.000 words in 8 hours. My collegues wonder how I\'m able to do this, and to be honest, I don\'t know myself. I do know I can hit around 320 keys per minute, and I do know that once I see the source sentence, the translation pops up in my mind right away. Maybe I\'m talented, maybe I\'m a crook. But the fact is that my clients love what I do and keep coming back for more. Collegues say I\'m crazy for charging such a low rate, but as long as I can make USD 600 a day if I want, why should I raise them? My rates are competitive, I\'m fast and I know that the end result is far above average.



On the other hand I do understand what you\'re getting at. My partner, who does English>Japanese, has the opposite problem. Here in Holland you can hardly charge more than 0.20 USD per word for this language combination, and the fact is that if you want to get a profitable translation, this is way too little. Our agency has selected about 100 English>Japanese translators - only 1% got through the selection procedure. The other 90 translators were plainly making words up (long-haul trailer - why not translate it as \"long-distance\" + \"trailer\" huh?), never checked their terminology on the Internet or made unforgivable interpretation mistakes (nice if you translate contracts). If you get a hard English text that needs translation to Japanese, you may praise yourself if you can make 1.000 words per day.



Unfortunately, translation is not an exact science. Your rates and translation speed greatly depend on the difficulty of the text, the subject matter of the text, the style in which the text is written and the language combination you do. Never generalize - 0.07 USD may be not such a bad rate at all if you have to translate sentences like \"Click on OK\".

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-22 04:58 ]


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 02:14
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
Richard, shouldn't that be 'cave canem' ? :) Nov 22, 2001

\"And let the devil take the hindmost!



Cave canis!!!!\"



____________________________________

Telesforo wrote:



\"Dr. Richard,

You say that agencies will have to appoint proof readers for setting right a cheap translation.

Here is how it is done:

Get a translation done cheaply at 3 cents/ word or even 2 cents/ word.

Next, get it proof read by paying 1 cent/word.

So, they get tranlatins done at 4 cents/ word or near so.

So, who is the old miser? I hope agencies are not reading this.\"





One question: Who in his right mind accepts proofreading assignments at 0.01/word?



Other than that I hardly ever proofread at xx/word - I set rates per hour, whenever possible.



--------------------------------------------



Werner,



Can you send me the coordinates of your high-raters? Better still you may tell them that I will do their English/Russian/French-Dutch translations at 0.22 $ and will pay you a 20 % commission fee



Bye for now,



Evert







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