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Outsourcer offers a low rate - but is praised on Blue Board by colleagues who charge more
Thread poster: Amy Duncan
Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Mar 17, 2008

Today I received an e-mail from an American outsourcer inviting me to register on their site. They were offering $0.06 per word, which I thought was low. I checked the Blue Board and there was nothing but praise there, so I checked a few of the praisers, and the ones that had per word prices on their profiles were asking for between $0.12 and $0.15 cents a word. Naturally I wondered if they had worked for this outsourcer for $0.06 per word.

I recently moved from Brazil back to the USA and am trying to transfer my work from Brazilian to American or European countries for the most part, because the rates in Brazil are very low. I am reluctant to turn down jobs for this reason, because during this transition I am finding myself with much less work, and I need to get new jobs. However, I'm also leery about accepting rates that are too low.

Any advice?

Amy

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-03-17 16:28]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Rather than wonder Mar 17, 2008

Rather than wonder, you might contact some of the people who have worked for that outsourcer and try to find out what their experience has been. That could help.

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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I hesitate to ask people what price they were paid Mar 17, 2008

Thanks, Henry, but every single person who had worked for this company had nothing but glowing remarks to make. I thought of e-mailing some of them privately, but I am reluctant to come right out and say, "How much did they pay you per word?" Am I being silly?

Amy


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:41
English to Dutch
+ ...
I would not mind if it was me Mar 17, 2008

If you ask nicely, I don't see why not. After all, they can simply decide not to tell you.
If it was me you asked, I would not mind.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:41
French to English
It would be a private conversation Mar 17, 2008

...so that should reassure them.
You could point them here, so demonstrate your inner turmoil between the need to know and desire to observe societal constraints.

You could try couching it in less forthright terms, such as inviting them to give a rough indication of where, on the scale between what the agency is offering and their published rates, the deal has been struck. Make it plain that, unless they want to, they don't have to quote the actual rate, or even reply at all.

Other explanations abound, of course:
- published rates bearing no relation to what they earn
- agency pulling a fast one
- BB people no longer work for the agency 'cos rates are too low but the agency is otherwise fine in terms of paying you, etc.

But I do understand how you feel about the subject.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the suggestions Mar 17, 2008

I e-mailed a few of the most recent commenters on the Blue Board and politely asked them about the rate. One answered so far and said that yes, indeed, this low rate is what they pay and this is why he doesn't work for them any more!


Thanks, everyone.

Amy


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 16:41
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
I'd not take opinions "for granted" Mar 17, 2008

Opinions of other people are good, but opinions are NOT impartial. Maybe these people had a better luck for one or another reason, and in your case it is different. BB is good to take a look as a "safety measure", esp. for outsourcers with, say two or three "ones". But BB is also "good" if you find an outsourcer with a dozen of "only fives", see who posted those "fives", you can even see their rates on their profiles (if these are toggled on). And, if you are hungry for jobs, why not write the outsourcer (who is ranked as a good one) an email "I can do it well, and much cheaper than others"...???

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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I think you may have missed the point, Marius... Mar 17, 2008

This outsourcer contacted me, not the other way around, and I thought their rate seemed low. That's why I checked the Blue Board. I checked all the comments, and only 2 or three of the translators had included their rates in their profiles, both of them much higher than the price the outsourcer quoted. Naturally I was curious as to whether this was the same rate the commenters had been paid, or not.

If I were all that hungry for work, I guess I'd settle for any old thing, wouldn't I?

Amy


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 16:41
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
What are you are after? Mar 18, 2008

Hi Any!

What are your aims and targets?
Amy Duncan wrote:
Today I received an e-mail from an American outsourcer inviting me to register on their site. They were offering $0.06 per word, which I thought was low.

Why bother? There are plenty outsoucers who offer high(er) rates.
I checked the Blue Board and there was nothing but praise there

Frequently, the BB describes the only aspect - payment. It's a poor instrument in terms of checking an outsoucers' rates; basically, transaltors' comments, in a nutshell, say, "this client pays" or "this outsourcer pays late" or "they don't pay at all"
so I checked a few of the praisers, and the ones that had per word prices on their profiles were asking for between $0.12 and $0.15 cents a word. Naturally I wondered if they had worked for this outsourcer for $0.06 per word.
Yes. Often, rates claimed differ a lot from rates accepted. Some translators show their "I'd-love-to-work-at-these" rates while accepting much lower tariffs.
I recently moved from Brazil back to the USA and am trying to transfer my work from Brazilian to American or European countries for the most part, because the rates in Brazil are very low.
Quite a common mistake many translators make: their rates are based on the pricing situation in the local markets.
At a recent powwow, a former Ukrainian translator now living and working in Germany described the German translation market. One of the thing she mentioned was the taxes that amount to 70% of her gross earnings. That means that charging EUR 0.20 she'll get less net then me charging EUR 0.07 (according to Ukrainian legislation, I work under a "fixed tax" scheme - $US20 per month irrespective of my earnings). What should I charge German clients in this situation? I charge the German rates - to get the better of the current situation + not to underprice Germany-based translators
I am reluctant to turn down jobs for this reason, because during this transition I am finding myself with much less work, and I need to get new jobs. However, I'm also leery about accepting rates that are too low.

Think of it this way: you may have a short period without any jobs at all; or a long period of underpriced jos; or get irregular jobs t a high rate (= decent living) - what are you after?


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What I'm after... Mar 18, 2008

Hi Oleg...

You wrote:
Often, rates claimed differ a lot from rates accepted. Some translators show their "I'd-love-to-work-at-these" rates while accepting much lower tariffs.


I have always wondered about this. I never really believed that all these people who claim they are earning consistently very high rates are actually doing so. I'm sure some are, of course.

As far as charging companies here in the USA or Europe what I used to charge when I was living in Brazil, well, this is exactly what I don't want to and won't do. I am still working for a couple of companies in Brazil, but mostly because I have a longstanding relationship with them and I have very little work at the moment. I will phase them out when I start getting work that pays a decent rate for the USA. I can't charge those Brazilian companies USA rates because they can't pay them - plain and simple.

Think of it this way: you may have a short period without any jobs at all; or a long period of underpriced jos; or get irregular jobs t a high rate (= decent living) - what are you after?


I don't see it as an either/or thing at the moment. I can continue with the Brazilian companies until I start getting some higher rate jobs, then I will phase them out. Really, I started this thread because I wanted to get a clear and fair idea of what to charge now that I'm back in the USA - neither too much or too little.

Amy


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Rates - Place Mar 18, 2008

If it is an international market, then why should rates be determined by one's residence? If that were so, then of course we should all be living in a ccountry with a low cost of living but representing that we live in an expensive country such as in Western Europe.

Maybe that would do it!

But I expect you'll do OK, Amy.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:41
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
German income tax Mar 18, 2008

Oleg Rudavin wrote:
At a recent powwow, a former Ukrainian translator now living and working in Germany described the German translation market. One of the thing she mentioned was the taxes that amount to 70% of her gross earnings.


Hi Oleg,

While I do realise that I'm going a bit off-topic here, please allow me to set the record straight. It appears your Ukrainian colleague does not know what she is talking about since the maximum income tax rate/burden in Germany is less than 50%, even for earners at the top of the range. Perhaps she had factored in other items (unrelated to taxes), such as health insurance and other business-related expenses.

Steffen


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Thorson
Local time: 15:41
Danish to English
70% tax? that's Denmark, not Germany Mar 18, 2008

Steffen Walter wrote:

Oleg Rudavin wrote:
At a recent powwow, a former Ukrainian translator now living and working in Germany described the German translation market. One of the thing she mentioned was the taxes that amount to 70% of her gross earnings.


Hi Oleg,

While I do realise that I'm going a bit off-topic here, please allow me to set the record straight. It appears your Ukrainian colleague does not know what she is talking about since the maximum income tax rate/burden in Germany is less than 50%, even for earners at the top of the range. Perhaps she had factored in other items (unrelated to taxes), such as health insurance and other business-related expenses.

Steffen


I wondered about that too--must have been thinking of the top rate in Denmark.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thans, Henry! Mar 18, 2008

Henry Hinds wrote:

If it is an international market, then why should rates be determined by one's residence? If that were so, then of course we should all be living in a ccountry with a low cost of living but representing that we live in an expensive country such as in Western Europe.

Maybe that would do it!

But I expect you'll do OK, Amy.


Guess the market isn't all that international yet!

Amy


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 16:41
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Where on earth is the "right" range? Mar 18, 2008

Amy Duncan wrote:

Surely it's not, Amy - lower-paying jobs are a good way to fill in idle periods between better-paying ones
Amy Duncan wrote: I started this thread because I wanted to get a clear and fair idea of what to charge now that I'm back in the USA - neither too much or too little.

By "what you are after" I meant something more trategical and probably long-term. I work for and regularly get inquiries from US-based clients. The lowest offer came from an all-fives (BB) outsourcer who said he's ready to pay $US 0.03. The best one was almost 10 times higher. Obviously, 0.03 is "too little" and the other one is perhaps "too much", and the "fair idea" is somewhere in between


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