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Have lumpsum offers stopped!
Thread poster: Pamela Brizzola

Pamela Brizzola  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:06
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Feb 29, 2008

I'm writing after the nth lumpsum offer for translations.

This kind of offerings offend translators as much as saying "This is what I can give/want to pay (independently of any consideration) so "take it or leave it".

This type of offers are addressed to people considered inferior and put them in front of an out-out.

On the contrary, a translation is a product that has its intrinsic value, based on words, pages, and the like.

Please outsourcers stop offering lumpsum jobs.

Please translators refuse to work on a lumpsum-basis and explain your reansons in your refusal.
You have the right to quote properly, your product is worth consideration!


Pamela



[Modificato alle 2008-02-29 16:34]

[Modificato alle 2008-02-29 16:35]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:06
English to French
+ ...
I agree Feb 29, 2008

My personal reason for wanting to see such offers disappear from this site is not exactly the same as Pamela's - after all, take it or leave it. But I do find that these offers are hurting the market, both new and seasoned translators alike. Those who are new to this business will think that that is what their work is worth AND they will end up thinking that it is up to the outsourcer to dictate the rate, whereas those of us who have more experience know that this is far from being the case - and are doing our best to keep it that way, which is becoming increasingly difficult. Many of us try to educate newcomers about such issues, but having such job offers displayed on this site ruins all our efforts.

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:06
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Personally... Feb 29, 2008

Easytrad di Pamela Brizzola wrote:

I'm writing after the nth lumpsum offer for translations.

This kind of offerings offend translators as much as saying "This is what I can give/want to pay (independently of any consideration) so "take it or leave it".

This type of offers are addressed to people considered inferior and put them in front of an out-out.

On the contrary, a translation is a product that has its intrinsic value, based on words, pages, and the like.

Please outsourcers stop offering lumpsum jobs.

Please translators refuse to work on a lumpsum-basis and explain your reansons in your refusal.
You have the right to quote properly, your product is worth consideration!


Pamela



[Modificato alle 2008-02-29 16:34]

[Modificato alle 2008-02-29 16:35]


I just quoted £1,400 for that job...

Seriously....

G


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:06
Dutch to English
+ ...
Mountains out of molehills Feb 29, 2008

I fail to understand why a lumpsum offer in itself should cause offence.

The reality is all outsourcers/clients have a budget, whether they state it or not.

I'd much rather know what the budget is upfront, then waste precious time quoting (not that I bother much on this or any other site anyhow).

Personally, I think many translators are too quick to get on their little high horses over the most trivial of issues sometimes.

Either an offer is attractive or it's not, regardless of how it's couched - per word, per line, per character, per hour, or as a lumpsum. At the end of the day we are selling our time.

In the harsh world of business it IS take it or leave it at the end of the day. All that differs is the time spent (or wasted) in negotiating. Everyone (both supplier and client) has a line they aren't prepared to cross. We set our rate, some will pay it, others won't. In this case, the client is saying I can/will only pay X. Fair enough, ignore it or go for it.

Why should it be termed a "suggested rate" if the reality is the client can't or won't budge a cent further anyhow? No need for more window-dressing please.

Every market has its levels. It's a question of supply and demand.

Nine times out of ten, once a job is out there on the world wide web, it's not worth taking. It's already been turned down by the true pros in the business anyhow. Anyone expecting to see the best/better jobs advertised is setting themselves up for a rude awakening.


















[Edited at 2008-02-29 18:37]


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:06
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
We provide a quote, not the outsourcers. Feb 29, 2008

Hi Pamela,

I don't see anything wrong in having a job offer based on a fixed sum, instead of the more usual rate per word/line/page.

In truth, whatever unit is used, I always convert it in my head, in TIME. The ultimate unit to measure my services is the time required to deliver a translation or other service.


I agree with Viktoria, and the major objections that I have with regard to the job offers is that the rate offered by the outsourcer (rate per words, lump sum or else) is called rate. It should be called suggested rate, and it should be very clear to both parties that it is a mere suggestion, not the final price.
This suggestion can be rather useful, so that we have an idea of what they are willing to pay, and perhaps avoid wasting time in the cases where their indication is wildly out of the range that we are willing to accept. A time saving tool, nothing more.

Note that in general, in any business, in the whole world, the price is always formed by the person selling the services (or the goods), and not by the buyers.
That is why, in all shops, the price tags are placed by the shopkeepers, and not by the shoppers. Right?


The translators, looking at the job details (which hopefully have been provided) and calculating their costs, the time and expertise required, the payment terms, the file format, and all other details, should answer providing a quote.
This quote, and only this, is what can be called the rate offered, and it can be expressed in any useful unit, as a rate per word, per hour, or even a lumpsum.


bye
Gianfranco



[Edited at 2008-02-29 20:49]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:06
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I disagree Feb 29, 2008

Easytrad di Pamela Brizzola wrote:
This kind of offerings offend translators as much as saying "This is what I can give/want to pay (independently of any consideration) so "take it or leave it". On the contrary, a translation is a product that has its intrinsic value, based on words, pages, and the like.


I disagree. You're saying that a text of 20 000 words is worth twice as much as a text of 10 000 words. Surely the value of the text does not lie in the size of it.

So if a client has already determined, calculated or decided what the value of a translation is, why should he not be able to say "this is what I offer, because this is what the translation is worth to me"?


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Rita Bilancio  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:06
English to Italian
+ ...
I don't think this is what Pamela was trying to say... Feb 29, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

I disagree. You're saying that a text of 20 000 words is worth twice as much as a text of 10 000 words. Surely the value of the text does not lie in the size of it.

So if a client has already determined, calculated or decided what the value of a translation is, why should he not be able to say "this is what I offer, because this is what the translation is worth to me"?


I think she is referring to the price issue. If a project is paid such a low amount why would the outsourcer decide to pay a higher amount next time if he always finds someone accepting the lowest possible rate?


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Pamela Brizzola  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:06
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not a matter of size Feb 29, 2008

Hi Samuel
it is not a matter of size. Who spoke about size?

This way the translator is not given the chance to quote his/her price, according to experience and specialty.


Gianfranco, it would be nice if the price stated were a proposed rate, but it is actually "what the client wants to pay", that's all.

I'm sure (because there is no other way to do it) that the outsourcer does a previous wordcount and assigns a value to the project based on words or pages.
Then, he/she offers what he/she likes (tending to downgrade the total value, not upgrading it).

The last offer in question resulted in 0.05 eurocent coming from a UK-based company.
That's not normal, I assure you.
Samuel, a translation has "its own value" not that just anobody can calculate.

What Giovanni says is nice. Let's all reply with our quote as if the lumpsum were inexistent. Ignore it. That would be funny!



Pamela



[Modificato alle 2008-02-29 18:16]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:06
Dutch to English
+ ...
Which would be an absolute waste of time ... Feb 29, 2008

Easytrad di Pamela Brizzola wrote:

This way the translator is not given the chance to quote his/her price, according to experience and specialty.



... if the budget is fixed anyhow. At least this way you know not to bother.


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:06
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Unrealistic expectations Feb 29, 2008

Easytrad di Pamela Brizzola wrote:
Gianfranco, it would be nice if the price stated were a proposed rate, but it is actually "what the client wants to pay", that's all.


The client may have unrealistic expectations. That is possible, even frequent...

For example, I'm not expert in the field of tailor made suits, so I could go to a tailor shop and expect to have a suit made for me by an expert tailor, using the best fabric, the best workmanship, and ... also have it delivered at home by the next morning.
All this for ... let's say, my personal budget of 600 EUR.

Once I am told, by the experts, that the price is 2500 EUR, and it takes 2 weeks to have it hand made, I will be educated.
On the other hand, the shop next door has good quality standard suits, not quite the same stuff I was dreaming off, but they may cost 599 EUR, which is my budget.
I can choose to take one of them, or not, but I cannot impose my budget of 600 EUR on what costs 2500 EUR. Nor have it delivered next morning.


In many cases, we have here buyers with unrealistic expectation allowed to post their budget, and we have it labelled as "the price", which is completely wrong.
This is causing untold damage to this profession and it should be changed.


Gianfranco



[Edited at 2008-02-29 21:02]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:06
Dutch to English
+ ...
Of course you can Feb 29, 2008

gianfranco wrote:

I cannot impose my budget of 600 EUR on what costs 2500 EUR. Nor have it delivered next morning.



If some idiot is prepared to work for that and meet the deadline.

Whether the end product is going to meet expectations is another question.



[Edited at 2008-02-29 18:35]


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Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:06
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Because Feb 29, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:



So if a client has already determined, calculated or decided what the value of a translation is, why should he not be able to say "this is what I offer, because this is what the translation is worth to me".


... that would be the same as a shopper going into a shop and saying "I'll pay you £10 for this pair of jeans (rather than the £50 they usually retail at) because this is what the jeans are worth to me".


I completely agree with Pamela and find this insulting - especially when the rate in question is offered by an agency based in the UK where we all know that 0.0357 GBP per source word is no acceptable rate to be offering a professional translator.

Granted, translation is a service rather than a product as such but the principle is the same.

It's more like a consumer going to his energy supplier and saying "I'll pay you £50 for the months of December, January and February when it was very cold and I constantly had my heating on 12 hours a day". I'm sure the energy supplier would be none too impressed!

[Edited at 2008-02-29 18:43]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:06
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The only problem is when the lump sum is too small Feb 29, 2008

Here, in Proz, between translators and outsourcers, the measurement unit is an amount of money per word.

Direct clients don't care how much they are paying per word. They just want to know how much it's gonna cost them to get something translated.

Quite often a client gives me a publication, and asks me how much I'd charge to have it ready for printing in another language. Incidentally, I do DTP, so I bundle it all together. They don't care if I use any CAT tool, nor what DTP software I'll be using. All they want is a PDF their printer can look and say "I'll take it from here".

Maybe I'm expensive as a translator, but cheap in DTP. Maybe another candidate for the same job translates at a cheaper rate, however s/he has to hire an expensive DTP artist. So we might end up offering the same total price to the client, who will have to flip a coin or whatever to make a choice.

Another (or the same) client sends me a DVD they want translated into two languages, subtitled, and with a menu to select between them. They don't care if I translate into both these languages or just one (and will have to outsource the other with a colleague), nor if I'm able to do all the technical part myself or will have to outsource it. They just want to know how much the whole job will cost.

The bottom line is that it's up to us - translators and agencies - to deal with per-word and per-anything rates. The end client wants to know how much.

If they say "I only have X in my budget for this", it means "take it or leave it!"

I'm totally against granting a discount after I've made my bid, unless conditions change (e.g. longer deadline, reduced requirements). It's dishonest! If I could have done it cheaper, why didn't I do it at the outset?

So if the lump sum offered is not enough, just say no! If it's good, take it!


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Pamela Brizzola  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:06
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Trivial? Feb 29, 2008

"Personally, I think many translators are too quick to get on their little high horses over the most trivial of issues sometimes"

That quite strikes me. Is this issue trivial? What should we then talk about?
I actually prefer to ride bycicles, not horses.

On the contrary, I think there are translators who are too individualistic and don't want to see what is happening around in the market.

It is going down, guys.


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Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:06
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Good luck with your bid Giovanni Feb 29, 2008

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

I just quoted £1,400 for that job...

Seriously....

G [/quote]

Hey, you never know maybe the total was a mistake and they'll give you the job!


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