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Agency-specific CAT tool - Should I charge more?
Thread poster: mariana24

mariana24  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 18:39
Spanish
+ ...
Apr 1, 2008

Hi,

One of the local translation agencies I often work with has implemented a new software - CAT tool- specific of the agency (i.e. not one of the commercial brands, but a corporate tool, only to be used when us, freelancers, translate for them).

This agency does not pay outrageously well, to say it in a diplomatic way. In fact, I have many times asked them whether they plan, somewhere in the midst of the future, to raise their rates, with no result at all. They are aware they are not the best payers, but one thing does not seem to have to do with the other in their minds. My specific question is: do you think that the fact of being asked to learn a whole new CAT tool for my use exclusively when translating for this agency is a good argument to stand firmer on the rate raise issue? The tool is not that easy to learn, it has no similarity with Trados or Wordfast, I mean, it is a whole new concept that we are being asked to learn (via tutorials, consequent tests, etc.), which is taking quite a lot of my time, and I will not be using for anybody else. Do you think this is THE opportunity (as you might notice, I do believe so) to stand up for better pay?

Thank you in advance.

Mariana

PS: I do not wish to loose this client. They are -setting rates aside- prompt payers and very helpful, a pleasure to work with. That's the reason for my doubts on how to go around this.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:39
French to English
Put yourself in their shoes Apr 1, 2008

Sometimes, it helps to try to look at the issue from the agency's viewpoint.
Or, more specifically, WHY should they pay you any more? You are doing exactly what they want, and they are paying you what they want. If you don't play the game their way, there are (perhaps) plenty who will..?

It seems, on the face of it, that your options are few.

You could tell them you'll only learn their CAT tool IF they agree in writing to a new rate. They may tell you to close the door behind you on the way out. Whatever pressure you apply, you have to do so bearing in mind that, unless you are of value to them , they MIGHT decide to stop doing business with you.
That is the key.
Are you a valued specialist? Does the agency have clients who specifically request you?
As I said, the key question is - what is the benefit to the agency in paying you more, given that you are already doing what they want? What do you have that they can't (easily) get elsewhere (no-one, after all, is indispensable!)
Answer that question, and you're laughing.


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:39
Swedish to English
+ ...
Just a small aside Apr 1, 2008

mariana24 wrote:
In fact, I have many times asked them whether they plan, somewhere in the midst of the future, to raise their rates, with no result at all.

Agencies/clients do NOT set rates - they can, of course, suggest levels of payment, but you, the seller, set your rates.

PS: I do not wish to loose this client. They are -setting rates aside- prompt payers and very helpful, a pleasure to work with. That's the reason for my doubts on how to go around this.

If this is the case, see Charlie's questions above.


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Workaround? Apr 1, 2008

It is your business decision after all and you will have to do whatever you feel comfortable with.

Of course in general you are right: Working with a customer-individual CAT tools, being cut off from your own CAT resources in some way would be a legitimate reason for a higher rate. But as you indicate yourself, the space for that is very limited. If you want to keep that client, it basically burns down to accepting what he proposes.

On the other hand: you might try if there is a workaround, so you can process the material you get from this client in your own CAT tool anyway. Do you have to work online and the material is on the client's server? In that case, forget it. But if he sends you files to translate and they can be extracted somehow (maybe XML files you might be able to create a filter for), then this might be a solution. It worked for me once, and the client knew about it. But as long as I delivered what was demanded, he was satisfied.


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