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my first job, my client thinks it's too expensive...what can I do?
Thread poster: JuliaR

JuliaR
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 20, 2003

Hi everyone!
I think I'm gonna die!!!I thought I had a good client, but suddenly it seems that I've waken up from a sweet dream...
This man, my client, asked me about the rates for translating some medical articles, so I sent them to him, and even asked him for a piece of a similar text to have an idea of the lenght and so on. He sent me the text and told me he had calculated the cost, and that it would be ok.
Now I've sent him the estimate of the text he sent me as a sample, to give him a closer price for future articles, and he has answered that it is too expensive for him.
He says that he had calculated wrongly and thought that it would be some 60€ for around 3000 words!!!!!
He says that regarding he would have to translate 3 or 4 articles per month, it would be too much money for him.

The question is, this is my first official job, and I want and I need to do it. Shall I lower my rates up to a 50% as an special situation bearing in mind that it would be a "regular" client?

I know how hard it is to do this job, and even more if you're a beginner, but he doesn't seem to know. Maybe I can explain to him what this job actually implies and make him a good offer regarding the situation of both of us...


What do you think?, I need some advice, please

PS: I've checked my rates for an especialised text and I don't think they are too high

thank you all,

Julia


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Pat Jenner
Local time: 00:09
German to English
+ ...
just walk away Jul 20, 2003

He's not the kind of client you want. You certainly don't want to set a precedent by charging €20 per thousand words. I hope you hadn't started the job or turned down anything else in the meantime. You clearly acted correctly by trying to give an accurate quote. Seems to me like he's trying it on. I know it can be hard at the beginning, but stand your ground and good luck.

JuliaR wrote:

Hi everyone!
I think I'm gonna die!!!I thought I had a good client, but suddenly it seems that I've waken up from a sweet dream...
This man, my client, asked me about the rates for translating some medical articles, so I sent them to him, and even asked him for a piece of a similar text to have an idea of the lenght and so on. He sent me the text and told me he had calculated the cost, and that it would be ok.
Now I've sent him the estimate of the text he sent me as a sample, to give him a closer price for future articles, and he has answered that it is too expensive for him.
He says that he had calculated wrongly and thought that it would be some 60€ for around 3000 words!!!!!
He says that regarding he would have to translate 3 or 4 articles per month, it would be too much money for him.

The question is, this is my first official job, and I want and I need to do it. Shall I lower my rates up to a 50% as an special situation bearing in mind that it would be a "regular" client?

I know how hard it is to do this job, and even more if you're a beginner, but he doesn't seem to know. Maybe I can explain to him what this job actually implies and make him a good offer regarding the situation of both of us...


What do you think?, I need some advice, please

PS: I've checked my rates for an especialised text and I don't think they are too high

thank you all,

Julia


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Ruben Berrozpe  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
be careful Jul 20, 2003

Hi Julia,

This guy definitely doesn't know about standard professional rates and what he demands from you looks suspiciously close to dumping prices.
I don't really say that you should put away this job, after all we all know how urgent the first job/client/reference is (and has been for all of us), but... I'd just say, be careful. Specially if you're thinking about building a regular professional relationship with the client, bear in mind that it will be almost impossible for you to turn to sensible rates after you compete a few jobs for him, and when you realize you're working for little more than the minimum wage... - well, let's say things won't look very well for you.

Bottom line: I think this guy looks for a "quick and dirty" work taken by a desperate enough professional. You can play if you like - but state clearly that this is some kind of "first job discount offer" and that you won't accept these as regular prices. That's my five cents for u (slashed down to 2.5c

Regards,

Rb


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 01:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
don't lower your rates Jul 20, 2003

You can try educating the client, as you said (although I wouldn't be too optimistic about that), but don't lower your rates. Even though you're starting out, your rates should be where you want them to be--otherwise you'll be digging yourself a hole that will be hard to get out of later on. You may lose this client, but if you lower your rates now, you won't be doing yourself any favors in the long run. Stand firm--and good luck!

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charlesink
Local time: 20:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
Es seguro que, además, es mal pagador. Jul 20, 2003

JuliaR wrote:

Hi everyone!
I think I'm gonna die!!!I thought I had a good client, but suddenly it seems that I've waken up from a sweet dream...
This man, my client, asked me about the rates for translating some medical articles, so I sent them to him, and even asked him for a piece of a similar text to have an idea of the lenght and so on. He sent me the text and told me he had calculated the cost, and that it would be ok.
Now I've sent him the estimate of the text he sent me as a sample, to give him a closer price for future articles, and he has answered that it is too expensive for him.
He says that he had calculated wrongly and thought that it would be some 60€ for around 3000 words!!!!!
He says that regarding he would have to translate 3 or 4 articles per month, it would be too much money for him.

The question is, this is my first official job, and I want and I need to do it. Shall I lower my rates up to a 50% as an special situation bearing in mind that it would be a "regular" client?

I know how hard it is to do this job, and even more if you're a beginner, but he doesn't seem to know. Maybe I can explain to him what this job actually implies and make him a good offer regarding the situation of both of us...


What do you think?, I need some advice, please

PS: I've checked my rates for an especialised text and I don't think they are too high

thank you all,

Julia


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Francesco Barbuto  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
English to Italian
+ ...
Wisely stated!!! Jul 20, 2003

Cindy Chadd wrote:

You can try educating the client, as you said (although I wouldn't be too optimistic about that), but don't lower your rates. Even though you're starting out, your rates should be where you want them to be--otherwise you'll be digging yourself a hole that will be hard to get out of later on. You may lose this client, but if you lower your rates now, you won't be doing yourself any favors in the long run. Stand firm--and good luck!


...and: do always remember: If you get yourself stuck in a hole, STOP digging.

Meaning, it is your chance to begin building a good professional practice.

NEVER WORK FOR PAULTRY RATES. YOUR PROFESSION IS A DECENT ONE, AND YOU ARE NOT ON THE DOLE!!!


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:09
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Walk away! Jul 20, 2003

Hola Julia,

I know that it is hard, but turn around and take large steps away from this. You may not have something now but don't worry. It will come, perhaps not today but certainly tomorrow or the next day.

If you go so low for a highly specialized text (and believe me, the medical ones are - I am doing them too), you will spend all your time on this one. Trust me, if you want to do them right, they take time. I do not know about you, but I am not a medical doctor (although I have about 17+ years of doing medical translations), so I usually spend time on pre-translation; that is, carefully reading the source text and doing research on things that I need clarification on. And that is also time you spend on the job, so you should make enough to incorporate that as well.

My suggestion is to stand firm and explain to the client that you charge a certain fee for medical translations and that you cannot go below that because of the specialized work involved.

What you could do after a while when you see that he is a regular client who pays on time is to do one of the articles for him for free as a bonus.

I also do that for my good, regular clients (some of them have been with me since I started in 1986). This builds goodwill; you can do it once or twice a year or around a major holiday. For example, for one of them I always do one of their Christmas advertizing camplaigns for free. They are the kind of client you can count on like clockwork, they have something almost every week and pay on the dot every Friday.

This is up to you and you do not need to follow up on it - it was just a suggestion.

Good luck and welcome to our crazy, I love- it-so-much profession!


Lucinda


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Maximera  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 01:09
English to Swedish
+ ...
Spend your time marketing yourself instead! Jul 20, 2003

Hi Julia,

My advice is the same as the others, but I also want to add that your time is better spent on marketing yourself and finding better paying jobs than to sell yourself short by working overtime on a poorly paying job.
Good luck!


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
French to English
Stick to your guns Jul 20, 2003

It's tempting to make major compromises early on. It's generally a mistake to do so. I would not do so here.

Imagine the client paying half the price, would he expect to get half the quality? I think not!


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Gayle Wallimann  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
Member (2001)
French to English
+ ...
Don't lower your rates Jul 20, 2003

Hi Julia,
Don't lower your rates unless you have overpriced yourself, which from what you said, you haven't. You will find another job, and it will be with someone who respects you as a translator. Don't be discouraged, a real job will come along.
Gayle


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Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 20:09
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Will he need 3 or 4 monthly translations ? Jul 20, 2003


He says that regarding he would have to translate 3 or 4 articles per month, it would be too much money for him.


Is it true? I know that some people tend to say that, and many of them usually send you only one piece of work. That\'s all! (Well, but this is not the case with all the clients)

Regards,

Clarisa


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medea74
Local time: 01:09
English to Spanish
3 or 4 jobs per month? Jul 21, 2003

Would that be around 240?? Do you think he thinks this is a salary for a professional translator? Minimum monthly taxes for freelancers in Spain are 209...tell him about it and just run away! And don't suffer too much, you'll find better clients.
Good luck


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 19:09
German to English
If your quote was fair, then the counter-offer was unfair Jul 21, 2003

It sounds like you did the right things. You provided a general rate, and asked for a sample. You received a sample and provided a more firm rate for the translation. I understand that English>Spanish rates are in the toilet right now, but I think the potential client either had an unreal idea of what the translation would cost or expected that you'd provide a very inexpensive translation in exchange for more work. To be honest, I don't think the client sounds like a crook.

At any rate, you've learned how important it is to establish the price before doing the job. Imagine how angry you'd be (not to mention cheated!!) if the client decided to low-ball your rate *after* you did the job.


"This man, my client, asked me about the rates for translating some medical articles, so I sent them to him, and even asked him for a piece of a similar text to have an idea of the lenght and so on. He sent me the text and told me he had calculated the cost, and that it would be ok.


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Ilde Grimaldi  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
first job - end client? Jul 21, 2003

Dear Giulia, my impression is that in this case you're talking of an 'end client' who needs these articles translated and this would be your FIRST professional translation assignment. My personal opinion is that, when starting in this professsion, it is very advisable to start cooperating with agencies. There are many of them that may answer exactly with the same kind of nonsense of this end client, but, on the other hand, there are thousands worldwide that know the profession, know the difficulties, know pro and contras, are professional and you don't need 'to educate them','explain' and so on, you just need to translate and act in a professional way with them. That's it.
As I have the impression you already know very well so some things of our profession (subject specific rates, requirements etc.) I think you could be a good addition for many good and serious agencies. If I were in your shoes, I would try to get some good continuative cooperation with some agencies for one or two years, than decide if I want to have direct client, too, or not (OK, I'm biased, in my case, after 11 years I still don't want absolutely no direct client; good and very well-paying agencies abroad are best, for me). Anyway, I still think that relying on agencies let's say for the first 1000 pages of one's carrier is advisable (editing provided, feedbacks provided, terminology support, software use support and so on)

ciao and good luck!
Ilde


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:39
English to Tamil
+ ...
Do not reduce the rates Jul 21, 2003

I feel that the client has some other translator in mind and he is trying to get rid of you. Do not bother about him. In my more than 24 years of translation activity, I have negociated with hundreds of clients of which only a handful gave me and are giving me jobs. One standard ploy of potential clients is that they will say that they have hudreds of pages when in actual fact the job in hand was a one time requirement for them.I have developed a counter strategy for such people. I offer to come to their place thrice a week and render 8 hours worth of work at a fixed day rate. I guarantee that I will translate 2000 words in 8 hours. The only catch is they have to give a service contract for one year, which works out to 156 days. Believe me, the client gets flustered and tells me, perhaps the work load is not that heavy. I then offer 2 days a week then once a week and then once a fortnight and the client becomes more and more embarrassed. Then I deliver the final blow and tell him that he has no big job waiting after all. And I invite him to talk reasonably.
In our profession self esteem is very important. If you give in now, you will never have it. Good luck.


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