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Do translators need sleep?
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:52
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 21, 2008

I am asking this question because I have noticed the large number of jobs that have been posted here and elsewhere lately that are asking for large volumes of work to be completed in a very brief period of time (often by multiple translators) and of course, instead of offering more for a rush fee, they want to pay less because of volume. When the client receives the resulting mess, do they just think that this is what a "translation" is supposed to look like, do they blame the agency or do they blame themselves for paying so little?

I just got this e-mail which I think serves as an example of all these recent "offers":

"Dear Colleague,

“We are offering translators the rare opportunity to work with our agency. It is Friday afternoon and we have 2,567,000 words that must to be translated in two days. Please do not bother to respond if you cannot meet this deadline (we need to have everything back by 3:00 pm this Sunday) of if you are not able to translate more than 20,000 words by this time. We know that this is a lot, but we could not say no to this great money-making opportunity for us and this great opportunity for some new translators to get some great experience. We need to roundup at least 115 more translators, so if you can type your name, you have the job. However, we do prefer translators who can offer good quality, are prompt and who offer discounts for large projects and for TRADOS repetitions. Because of the great volume of this job, we have very low budget and can pay no more than .03 a word, so please give us your very, very best, best-friends forever rate because we are a great company and we deserve it and please place the rate in the subject line (because of the rush schedule we do not have time to qualify anyone and only translators with the best rates will get the work). However, please note that even though you will be working for two days and nights without sleep on this highly-technical text, if our client finds that you have made even one small error, you will not be paid. The subject matter is very interesting and several of our translators have actually offered to do this job for us for free, but we understand if you need a little money to help defray the cost of electricity to operate your computer and coffee to stay awake. Translators are responsible for editing their own work – unfortunately, there is no money in the budget for us to do anything but pass your work on to the client. If only we could find a way to eliminate the need for silly translators from this process, our clients would be happy and we could make more money. However, once we piece together the work of over 100 high-quality translators like you working without sleep for less than 1/5 of the going rate, we are confident that our client will order more work from us in the future. Despite the rush nature of this project, translators will not be paid for 90 days.”


I pity new translators who think that this is normal.


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Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Bangladesh
Local time: 14:52
Member (2004)
English to Bengali
+ ...
Did they get any translator to work in this project? Feb 21, 2008

?!

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Zdenka Ivkovcic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 09:52
Member (2004)
English to Croatian
+ ...
Joke Feb 21, 2008

You sound serious about your posting, but I just can't imagine that e-mail to be anything other than a good joke by someone who knows how silly clients can be in their demands.

Z.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:52
English to German
+ ...
Simple strategy Feb 21, 2008

All it takes is to say "no".

Best regards,
Ralf


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David Girón Béjar
Spain
Local time: 08:52
English to Spanish
+ ...
That must be a joke, obviously! Feb 21, 2008

Dear Jeff,

I hope this is a joke, otherwise, the translation market is worse than I thought. I am relative new translator, but I will never accept such a job. I never accept rates under the minimum established by the Translators' Associations I belong to and I never do translation tests for free longer than 200 words.
I am a "new translator" but fully conscient that we must hardly work to get our profession recognised.

Best regards,

David


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Josée Desbiens
Canada
Local time: 03:52
English to French
It's surely is a joke... Feb 21, 2008

...and a pretty funny one that unfortunately rings a bell to many of us...

Thanks for the laugh Jeff!


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Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Bangladesh
Local time: 14:52
Member (2004)
English to Bengali
+ ...
Thank you David! Feb 21, 2008

David Girón Béjar: I am relative new translator, but I will never accept such a job. I never accept rates under the minimum established by the Translators' Associations I belong to and I never do translation tests for free longer than 200 words.
I am a "new translator" but fully conscient that we must hardly work to get our profession recognised.


Hi David,
I hope all new translators follow you. There is a country in this world who offers translators 0.02-0.03 USD per word and I sometime see the results in the Blue board.

Translator says, "I didn't get paid" and the agency replies, "your translation was rejected by the client".

I don't understand how they expect a good quality translation at 0.02-0.03 USD! Do they expect that every bilingual pedestrian would come up with a good quality translation?


[Edited at 2008-02-21 21:37]


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texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
:-) Feb 21, 2008

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

We need to roundup at least 115 more translators, so if you can type your name, you have the job.


Thanks for posting!


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Zdenka Ivkovcic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 09:52
Member (2004)
English to Croatian
+ ...
A joke, I agree! Feb 21, 2008

Josée Desbiens wrote:

...and a pretty funny one that unfortunately rings a bell to many of us...

Thanks for the laugh Jeff!


I agree, it's definitely a joke! I've just read it again and couldn't believe how near perfect it was. I mean, it has just about every imaginable element that a fair translation offer shouldn't have. Only a seasoned translator with loads of experience with ridiculous offers could have put it together so nicely

Zdenka


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 03:52
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
You got it right Jeff Feb 21, 2008

I wish some clients were as open as they are cheap

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bububu  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:52
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Obviously, translators do not need money, just some great experience.. Feb 21, 2008

We know that this is a lot, but we could not say no to this great money-making opportunity for us and this great opportunity for some new translators to get some great experience.


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patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
I love it!!!!! Feb 21, 2008

Sounds like the kind of thing the Little Translator might get I'd love to hear HIS reply...

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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:52
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Just say "no" and forget about it Feb 21, 2008

Thinking too much about it is not worth your time. I received a somewhat similar request last week, from a company in Europe. It was Tuesday morning when I opened the message (Tuesday afternoon in Europe) and they were asking me if I could return to them a hard copy translation of a little bit over 20,000 words by Thursday of the same week. I was disappointed, however, because the offer came from a well-established company, which I had worked for previously. However, I kindly told them that I was not able to finish it by their deadline and never heard back from them. No sweat!

Monika




[Edited at 2008-02-22 00:53]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:52
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Why didn't they hire the FREE ones? Feb 21, 2008

It always makes me wonder why a prospect takes the trouble to tell me that they have someone else who can do it cheaper, or for free. Why didn't they hire that person already?

Imagine this...
Assume I gave my price as 10 whatevers. The prospect (who will never become a client) says "I have someone who can do it for 5, but if you do it for 7, I'd prefer to hire you instead."

Why would that person waste 2 extra whatevers with me, if the other guy can do it for 5?

Beats me...


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:52
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Uh Feb 22, 2008

Zdenka Ivkovcic wrote:

Z.


I thought this was the answer. My compliments on a nice initial, Zdenka


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