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Lower rates for larger volumes
Thread poster: Marion Rooijmans

Marion Rooijmans
Netherlands
Local time: 20:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
May 25, 2007

Dear colleagues,

Today I received an email from an outsourcer that I had not heard of before. I don't know where she found my name, probably via this website.

She approached me for 'a big EN-NL project' and said that 'Since this client is going to send us big and regular volumes, with increased volume expectation come decreased cost expectations'. If I accepted a rate of 0,05 Euro/word, that 'will allow us to send to you as much of the volume that you can reasonably handle'.

I replied to her that 'At 0,05 Euro per word, I just can’t take the risk of not having any availability left for other projects I have in the coming weeks'. To be honest, I think 0,05 Euro/word is absolutely ridiculous, regardless of the size of the project.

But in general, do you think it is reasonable to offer lower rates in case of large volumes? If so, to what extent? Should one make agreements on a minimum word count for lower-rate projects?

Thanks,
Marion


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Annette Scheulen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:26
English to German
+ ...
Volume Discount May 25, 2007

Dear Marion,

This topic has been discussed before. You will find plenty of opinions when you use the "Forum search" function.

But to answer your question: No, I do not give volume discounts. Outsourcers keep coming up with excuses for demanding discounts, lower rates, etc. If it is not volume discounts, you can count on them to find something else. The sooner your rate approaches zero, the better.

Marion Rooijmans wrote:

To be honest, I think 0,05 Euro/word is absolutely ridiculous, regardless of the size of the project.


So do I.

I would look for better clients.

Regards,

Annette


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Monika Rozwarzewska  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:26
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Translation isn't wholesale of goods May 25, 2007

Annette Scheulen wrote:

I do not give volume discounts.


I don't offer volume discounts either.


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avantix  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:26
German to Dutch
+ ...
Don't fall for it May 25, 2007

Annette Scheulen wrote:

Outsourcers keep coming up with excuses for demanding discounts, lower rates, etc. If it is not volume discounts, you can count on them to find something else. The sooner your rate approaches zero, the better.

Marion Rooijmans wrote:

To be honest, I think 0,05 Euro/word is absolutely ridiculous, regardless of the size of the project.


So do I.

I would look for better clients.

Regards,

Annette



Absolutely right!


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lingomania
Local time: 05:26
Italian to English
There is a limit May 25, 2007

Yes, lower rates for higher volumes makes sense, but my advice is just don't go too low.

Rob


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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 02:26
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
Well have you..... May 26, 2007

Marion Rooijmans wrote:

--snip--

'Since this client is going to send us big and regular volumes, with increased volume expectation come decreased cost expectations'.


and then;

'The following are the rates required for projects coming from this client going forward:

€0.07/word (translation)
€22/hour (proofreading)'

in reply to my offer of € 0.10/word


If I accepted a rate of 0,05 Euro/word, that 'will allow us to send to you as much of the volume that you can reasonably handle'.


There they show some talent in producing alternate speech focussing on their assessment of the particular characteristics of the service provider targeted

I got:

'This pricing matrix would be applied only for this particular client and will allow us to send to you as much of the volume that you can reasonably handle.'

Let's assume, one offers a rate of x eurocent per word.
The outsourcer will then typically reply with x-3 eurocent.

Some of the younger translators here are even willing to work for 3 eurocent per word (PRC rate). That's fantastic.. That way you can reduce your costs to about zero. You might even find translators wanting to pay you for building up a port folio of localization and globalization expert outsourcers. Ain't that great!!!

Hey you outsourcers of that sort...why don't you write an e-mail script. Economize on "human resourcement management". The next step.


[Edited at 2007-05-26 01:40]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 20:26
English to German
+ ...
doesn´t make much sense... May 26, 2007

Hi! actually larger projects need deeper and higher concentration, you should be adding percentile to the base value for all the round-up work needed to complete the project. Unless one has a regular and recurring yearly large projects not less than xxxxxx word count, it is not adv. to consider any discounts. Brandis

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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:26
English to Polish
+ ...
The best response to such offers May 26, 2007

'As your approach seems to be that up to x pages the job is translation and everything in excess of those x pages is a mere reproduction, I am going to strictly follow your way of thinking and simply run the Autotranslate function after the x-th page.'
You only get what you pay for ...


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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 02:26
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
Bad advice May 26, 2007

Iza Szczypka wrote:

'As your approach seems to be that up to x pages the job is translation and everything in excess of those x pages is a mere reproduction, I am going to strictly follow your way of thinking and simply run the Autotranslate function after the x-th page.'
You only get what you pay for ...


thus giving them an excuse not to pay you at all or to demand a hefty discount :-|

oh yes, I overlooked this is your initial response. Well.. you won't get any answer to such a response, but for a complete silence.

The best response to such offers is no response at all.

[Edited at 2007-05-26 09:06]


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:26
German to English
+ ...
it's simply a question of economics May 26, 2007

The only possible reason I could see for accepting a volume discount would be that you knew that for the duration of the working relationship, you would earn more by working full time at a lower rate than working part time at a higher rate.

It's thus a question of calculating how much you would expect to earn at the proposed rate over the period in question versus how much you would expect to earn by working for other clients instead (based on your past exerience, current situation and best estimate of future work).

If the 'volume work' pays less overall than what you could earn with the second alternative, you would be robbing yourself if you accepted it.

Of course, the agency offering the volume work claims (or at least implies) that you can rely on receiving a certain volume of work and thus reduce your risk relative to obtaining work from other clients, but unless they put that in writing in a contract with financial guarantees, it's a meaningless promise.

My instinctive reaction to proposals of this sort is that they are cons.

PS Another factor, which is very significant for freelancers, is one you already mentioned: if you devote too much time to a single client, you risk losing your other clients, and what's worse, you risk becoming dependent on the single client.

[Edited at 2007-05-26 10:30]

[Edited at 2007-05-26 10:33]


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casey
United States
Local time: 14:26
Member
Japanese to English
Exactly May 26, 2007

Ken Cox wrote:

The only possible reason I could see for accepting a volume discount would be that you knew that for the duration of the working relationship, you would earn more by working full time at a lower rate than working part time at a higher rate.

It's thus a question of calculating how much you would expect to earn at the proposed rate over the period in question versus how much you would expect to earn by working for other clients instead (based on your past exerience, current situation and best estimate of future work).

If the 'volume work' pays less overall than what you could earn with the second alternative, you would be robbing yourself if you accepted it.



It never fails that when I turn these types of offers down I get a better offer in its place. Then I think to myself, "What if I had taken the lower-paying project instead?" My income for the month would have been 2/3, 1/2 or whatever the discount was. If you're just starting out, maybe it's a good way to get your foot in the door, but with time, volume discounts are merely the best way to REDUCE your income.


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Sherey Gould  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:26
German to English
coinciding with another recent post May 26, 2007


It never fails that when I turn these types of offers down I get a better offer in its place. Then I think to myself, "What if I had taken the lower-paying project instead?" My income for the month would have been 2/3, 1/2 or whatever the discount was. If you're just starting out, maybe it's a good way to get your foot in the door, but with time, volume discounts are merely the best way to REDUCE your income.


Guess I should've read this post before just now responding to the Creative Answers to an Indecent Proposal thread, but it's all quite related in my opinion:



Higher rate but still not "economically sound"


Just this past week, had to send a negative response to a prospective US client (agency) who was offering $0.08/word for a large ongoing project:

>>>>>>
My feeling is that it would not be fair to my long-standing clients if I were to accept the project's lower rate and then possibly not be available to them at their long-established higher rates. (I am assuming your 0.08 rate refers to USD and not Euro, correct?) That would actually also have the end effect of not being all that economically sound of a business decision for me.
I wish I could be more positive for you, but as I am normally loaded with work at my normal rates - if not overloaded (!) - I just don't see how I could viably make that work.
Hopefully, though, we will still be able to collaborate on some other project at some point in the future.
>>>>>>

Which, I guess is just a lengthy version of the fantastic
kindly confirm that your message should have read EUR 0.03 per keystroke in lieu of EUR 0.03 per word
wording.

But honestly, no client pays less than that (not even were it a EUR price and not a USD price) and most do pay in Euro (quite excellent at the moment to begin with) and wouldn't it just kill me to commit to this large project at that rate - even as reputable as this agency certainly is - and have to turn down (and possibly alienate for that reason) longstanding clients paying far more?
And this was after prior negotation and dropping my rate somewhat "based on agency involvement"...
I just fear that if I go low once with a client, I am destined to be stuck there forever.




Honestly... I do give "volume discounts" to my long-standing clients.... I do a lot of patents and it does just seem fair to me to do so every now and then, especially when one word in German becomes three words in English repeated over and over again (as is normal in patents)... but these are long-standing clients - ones I already have years of experience with and can trust their continuing volume without any doubt - and I do so based on how I view each particular case. And of course they appreciate it - but I would hate to be "bound" to it....


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:26
Flemish to English
+ ...
English-Nederlands May 26, 2007

Nederlands (Dutch) is a niche-language, where the lowest possible rate is the rate I used to work for 20 years ago: 0.07 eurocents p.w.
On sites for translators like these, there are about 80-90 translators offering translations EnglishDutch.
Nobody of these translators their rate is lower than the above mentioned rate. The average lowest rate, I have met browsing through profiles was 0.08 cent p.w., 0.10 cent p.w. is the medium range and 0.14 the upper.
In economic terms:
In comparison with our colleagues in the more frequent language combinations, service providers in the English into Dutch and vice-versa and all other combinations into Dutch are in a oligopolistic market situation, whereas the more frequent language combinations are in a monopolistic competition situation.
A characteristic of an ologipolistic market is that suppliers will not change/lower their prices.
Seen from a marketing point of view: You are in a market-niche with a limited number of players/service-providers.
Dutch is not a language everybody knows.
Don't give reductions for any reasons. If we all stick to our guns, we (translators) determine our rate and at the same time the rate of our colleague in the same combination. If an agency has nowhere else to go, it is obliged to a pick somebody in the above-mentioned ranges. Exporting Dutch translations to India is a bit difficult.

[Edited at 2007-05-26 17:08]


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 21:26
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
No May 26, 2007

Marion Rooijmans wrote:
But in general, do you think it is reasonable to offer lower rates in case of large volumes?


Does your dentist give you discount on more (or alike) bad teeth?

Uldis

Ah, yes, as an Agency we can (and do) offer our clients 10-15% discounts on very large projects, but this doesn't in any way affect what we pay our translators- as a Company we just save on less administrative and like work we otherwise would have to do on 20 or 50 smaller projects in the same time.

U.

[Rediģēts plkst. 2007-05-26 21:14]


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Danae Ferri  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 20:26
Norwegian to Greek
+ ...
ridiculous offers May 26, 2007

I applied to a company that was looking for Spanish into Greek translators, they asked me to send them my CV and they immediately wanted me to translate for them. They also kindly informed me that the price was of 0,02 Euros gross!! Of course I refused to do it, explaining to them that this was far less than what I charge. They argued that they count on the volume of the translation.. But you know what's even worse? I'm sure that they found someone who accepted, as always..

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