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Too small to charge and too small to bid
Thread poster: Kevin Yang

Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:30
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Apr 24, 2002

Dear fellow translators,



I post this topic was because I read Ben Li\'s message. He noticed someone is helping an auto manufacturer to find out if their new car names sound OK in Chinese and other languages. Of course, it is posted at ProZ.com as a free help. It is amasing to me that the company has money to make a new car, but it does not have the budget for the name research and translation.



Lately I have heard these two sayings, one is the job is \"too small to charge\" from our nice translators when a translation job is in one sentence or a few words. Our translators\' kindness and warm-heart seem creating a warm bed for some free-loaders who actually gets paid by someone to get our free resources here, with innocent excuse saying \"it\'s too small to bid.\" I wonder if you have any comments or input about this. I hope, by reading your comments here, we all will know better how to handle such circumstances in future.



Thank you in advance for sharing your opinions!



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-25 00:34 ]

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-25 01:14 ]


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 09:30
German to English
+ ...
Here's my 2 cents Apr 25, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-04-24 22:11, Tongli wrote:

Dear fellow translators,



Lately I have heard these two sayings, one is \"too small to charge\" from our nice translators when a translation job is in one sentence or a few words. Our translators\' kindness and warm-heart seem creating a warm bed for some free loaders getting our free resources by saying \"it\'s too small to bid.\" I wonder if you have any comments or input about this. I hope, by reading your comments here, we all will know better how to handle such circumstances in future.



Thank you in advance for sharing your opinions!







Oops, sorry, that would be too low; let me give you my 20 cents instead



I have always believed that there is no job too small or too large. But everything needs to be paid for. We are not doing this as a hobby (even though we are in this field because we love it and are passionate about it).



I have always had a minimum charge that applies to anything (and I mean anything) under 250 words. So, even if you have just 10 words, you\'ll be charged the minimum fee.



Going at it from the other side now, let me tell you that I don\'t believe in volume discounts. Volume discounts apply to commodities, not \"intellectual services\". While it is true that you may have fewer problems with the terminology of a large translation job, because after the first 20 pages, you\'ll know it in your sleep, it is also true that a) you may and will encounter another brain-zapper on page 68 that could take you several hours to figure out and b) large projects are risky (what if the client defaults?) and take up so much time that you won\'t be available to other, existing, clients for a long period of time (thus, perhaps, risking losing future business from regular clients).



For all these reasons, it is crucial that you get paid for large projects in advance (e.g., by way of payment in installments: 25% upfront, 25% halfway through the project and the remaining 50% IMMEDIATELY upon completion of the project; \"immediately\", because, by taking on a large project, you risk slowing down your cash flow from other clients, so you\'ll have to see your money in full and fast). So, given all this, it would actually make more sense to charge more for such gigantic jobs than to give discounts.

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Hans-Henning Judek  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:30
German to English
+ ...
This is brain work that has to be paid Apr 25, 2002

Translation, copy writing, language research ... I think this is what we have to look at here.



I sometimes get paid $200 for one line of 5 to 10 words English or Japanese into German.



Overpaid? No, I don\'t think so. This is copy writing for ads that cost ten thousands of dollars, so these $200 are just a small percentage of the total advertising costs.



The translation process is different as well. It is not just pulling out a dictionary and put language A into B. It is an \"art\", to get the right twist into the result. I sometimes write 20 or 30 different versions, let it cook overnight, think again - it may take up to three days to get the final line.



On the other hand it is always astonishing how people cut corners with even very important tasks. I once did a translation for a Japanese car manufacturer for the Frankfurt Motor Show. After the show I got a furious call from the customer that people had complaint about the \"sexual undertone\" in my copy. I was flabbergasted until I saw what the reason for the complaints were. They got my copy but at the last moment someone found out that the headline was missing. So they took out a dictionary and translated \"Our first priority is customer satisfaction\" into the GREAT German headline \"Unser oberstes Ziel ist die Kundenbefriedigung\". One call to my office would have given them the right answer ... no, they had to do it themselves and fortunately it was egg in their faces, not mine.



In other words: The volume is not the yardstick in every case. Even small jobs or differences can have a huge impact. So how does this translate here in our car name case?



I got once paid by a Japanese car manufacturer $500 for the same job they are asking here for free. I had the intended name on the table, had to write my opinion in about one page and give three alternatives, again with explanations, why I thought this was a good name. Again, this is a lot of brain work involved.



Asking this job for free is simply unethical and I would urge my colleagues not to answer to such blunt abuse of the KUDOZ system.


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:30
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Werner! Apr 25, 2002

Quote:


For all these reasons, it is crucial that you get paid for large projects in advance (e.g., by way of payment in installments: 25% upfront, 25% halfway through the project and the remaining 50% IMMEDIATELY upon completion of the project; \"immediately\", because, by taking on a large project, you risk slowing down your cash flow from other clients, so you\'ll have to see your money in full and fast). So, given all this, it would actually make more sense to charge more for such gigantic jobs than to give discounts.





Hey, Werner, good to hear from you! Thank you for your comments, which will certainly help me and many translators to be more prepared in better handling the life of translating while trying to make a living.



I am very impressed with the payment term you set above. However, I always wish to do that, but was never able to implement it. Remember that old saying \"Check is on the way\"? I found it is even harder to bring it up to my established client. I have done a couple of jobs and the total ran over $5,000 per invoice. I notice that before the translation delivery it is always the client checking with the translation, but after the translation is done and delivered, it is always me checking on if the payment check is sent out. Is it just me or does it sound familiar to you guys, too?



Kevin



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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 09:30
German to English
+ ...
Additional 20 cents :-) Apr 25, 2002

Of course, that payment system works best with direct clients, not so much with agencies (given their own procedures and rules).



But I would never accept a large-volume project from a) a new client (direct client or agency) or b) existing agency client without advance payment in full or in installments.



As for checks, well, you can accept payment by PayPal, credit card or through ProZ. This way, you can have instant access to your advance payment.



About 2 weeks ago, I was contacted by someone at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US (via my ProZ profile, by the way ). I had never worked for them, nor that particular individual, so I explained my rules to him: new client = payment in advance. And he did: he promptly paid me via PayPal, and I agreed to do the translation.



You have to be assertive: explain to them what is at stake for you, and they will understand (e.g., that you need to make sure that a client who contacts you by e-mail only is for real, etc.).

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-25 15:36 ]


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Egmont
Spain
Local time: 15:30
Afrikaans to Spanish
+ ...
Any work must be paid Apr 25, 2002

I agree with all of you.

And be careful about the \'picaresca\'...
[addsig]


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Egmont
Spain
Local time: 15:30
Afrikaans to Spanish
+ ...
Any work must be well paid Apr 25, 2002

I agree with all of you.

And be careful about the \'picaresca\'...
[addsig]


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:30
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your input! Apr 30, 2002

Quote:


I got once paid by a Japanese car manufacturer $500 for the same job they are asking here for free. I had the intended name on the table, had to write my opinion in about one page and give three alternatives, again with explanations, why I thought this was a good name. Again, this is a lot of brain work involved.



Asking this job for free is simply unethical and I would urge my colleagues not to answer to such blunt abuse of the KUDOZ system.





Thank you, Hans! That\'s very informative! Now I know how \"low\" I am. Please come back more often, and share your thought with us here.



Kevin

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-30 01:29 ]

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