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Different rates from different agencies/clients
Thread poster: Tam Tran Thi Le

Tam Tran Thi Le
Local time: 16:39
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Jul 4, 2008

Hi everyone,

Sometimes I got nice workflow from various translation agencies who sending over documents constantly. The problem is that they often offer much lower rates than that in the market if I am to get direct contact from clients, usually at 50% or 60% only. During the time when I was trying to get my self established, it's ok for me to get low payment or even at all. Recently, my colleague told me that if she were me, she would not accept this low-rate assignments anymore since it takes time and it is not exiting to get involved because of the rates and it's not worth for such pro like me (I doubt it actually)to get it, she is only accepting the ones that match her base rate and more, she said that it would harm my reputation if my nice-payment clients know that while I charge them at such a high rate, I am still avalable with the lower ones etc. So what do all you guys think about this? Is it the case with you? I am curious to hear....

[Edited at 2008-07-04 03:23]

[Edited at 2008-07-04 03:25]

[Edited at 2008-07-04 03:25]

[Edited at 2008-07-04 03:26]

[Edited at 2008-07-04 03:26]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:39
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Right on track Jul 4, 2008

Think what would you say if your grocer would sell goods to your neighbor for half the price he sells to you?
In the end all clients will have moved to the cheap buying - cheap selling guys and the agencies that pay us decent rates will be gone.
Stick to your rates.
regards
Heinrich


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:39
English to Dutch
+ ...
Agencies and direct clients Jul 4, 2008

Agencies usually pay less than direct clients, because they take some business risks for you that you would otherwise have to take yourself, not to mention time spent on acquisition and project management. So it is not unusual to be paid less from agencies. As long as they're paying a reasonable rate, that's fine.

But you must not compare direct clients and agencies this way. You will never be able to get them on the same price level.

Question is, are you satisfied with your earnings? If not, try to find more direct clients or work for agencies that make the workflow easy for you, so you can make the most of your time.

You must establish a minimum rate for yourself though. It is never 'ok to get low payment or even at all'. (your quote)

(Edited for typo)

[Edited at 2008-07-04 18:00]


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Some arrogant agencies Jul 4, 2008

Yes, I agree that you should give a value to your time and ask for that value, as you demonstrably can provide better quality than other less-experienced translators. You should shoot for the customers who value a conscious work. There will always be customers who require your quality and are willing to pay for it, and many others who don't care a damn about quality and will go somewhere else for a cheaper (in all senses) solution.

It's just sad that, when I declare my rates to an agency that offered half of my usual rate (and this happens every week), only about 10% of them reply to my message. They don't even reply with a thank you or a "see you 'lator' alligator". That is the blunt end of the conversation. A bit arrogant and at least unprofessional in my opinion. But it happens all the time.

I am happy to negotiate rates and be flexible with professional, respectful agencies, but on the other hand I am pleased not to work for agencies that are able to mistreat us this way.


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Charge always at least your standard rate Jul 4, 2008

Tomas: I also reply to agencies offering low rates with my standard rates (some times even 3 times higher) and in most cases, they never get back to me either.

Tieulongnu: Agencies should pay you your standard rate for translation, never less. When you work for a direct client your rate should be higher than your standard. You will need to subcontract an independent proofreader to proofread your work and thus you need to cover for that. You have to take care of the format and other stuff that should be charged also. You have to do some commercial work (that takes your time from translating and earning - opportunity cost).

My recommendation...Keep on searching for agencies/direct clients that will pay at least your standard/base rate. They are out there... and before you know it, if you quality is good, you'll have a continuous flow of work at a decent rate. That will allow you to have your hardware and software updated, to attend courses/conferences/etc., to travel to your source language country and many other things. (Aside from maintaining yourself and your family if you have it... of course). That way your capabilities and knowledge will keep on improving and you will be able to keep on delivering high-quality work.


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Deschant
Local time: 10:39
Reply Jul 4, 2008

If I were you, I would concentrate on looking for more high-paying customers. Then, once I have obtained several of these, I would tell the low-paying customers that I am raising my rates, take or leave it. If they leave it... well, you have better paying customers who will be able to compensate for this. If they take it... then you will work more, but earn much more!

Regards,
Eva


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:39
English to French
+ ...
Really? Jul 4, 2008

s not worth for such pro like me[...][/quote]

Is this really worth the market price?

Sorry if I sound harsh, but only quality translations can command a good rate...


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 11:39
French to English
+ ...
Bucking the trend Jul 4, 2008

Personally, I don't see the problem with having a range of clients with different fees. We've all known times when the work seems to dry up for no obvious reason. In those times, it's the lower paying clients that have seemed to keep me going.

I'm sure the agencies have different rates for different translators and, everything else being equal, they are going to try their cheaper translators first. When there's plenty of work about I'll be too busy and they will have to move on to their more expensive translators. Meanwhile, my higher paying customers have moved on to me.

I love the "feasts" as much as anybody but at least I'll have something during the famines.

T.


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Mafalda d'Orey de Faria  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:39
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Really. Jul 4, 2008

Viktoria is absolutely right.

Mafalda


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Jack Qin  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 17:39
English to Chinese
+ ...
That depends Jul 4, 2008

First of all, we have to get job offer to make a living. That is to say, in the first place we shall establish a customer base, and then pick up those who offer us decent rates.

Jack


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Tam Tran Thi Le
Local time: 16:39
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Strong competitiveness in my pair Jul 18, 2008

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Think what would you say if your grocer would sell goods to your neighbor for half the price he sells to you?
In the end all clients will have moved to the cheap buying - cheap selling guys and the agencies that pay us decent rates will be gone.
Stick to your rates.
regards
Heinrich


Thanks Heinrich, at the moment I have the same kind of that feeling that why I am here to ask. The problem is there is a strong competitiveness in my pair and I have a feeling sometimes, that we have more translators than jobs. It's not easy to say "no" because that guy will not come to me again to offer more assignments.


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Tam Tran Thi Le
Local time: 16:39
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I am not satisfied to, but... Jul 18, 2008

Margreet Logmans wrote:

Agencies usually pay less than direct clients, because they take some business risks for you that you would otherwise have to take yourself, not to mention time spent on acquisition and project management. So it is not unusual to be paid less from agencies. As long as they're paying a reasonable rate, that's fine
But you must not compare direct clients and agencies this way. You will never be able to get them on the same price level.

Question is, are you satisfied with your earnings? If not, try to find more direct clients or work for agencies that make the workflow easy for you, so you can make the most of your time..


Thanks Margreet, I am not satisfied with the earnings, but I see the problem in the light that I could pick up some terms, I could sharpen my skills just by working in quite different subjects. i.e I got two assignments, at the same time, with domestic violence of all sorts and how to deal with climate change which I may not received if I wait for the direct clients who alsways find someone familiar with their topics. I enjoy digging into various topics.

I am trying to get more direct clients. But it takes time until they can trust me, in the meantime, is it fair if I continue accepting such low-paying assignments?


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