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Again the same problem with low rates
Thread poster: Pere Ferrés Gurt

Pere Ferrés Gurt  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 17, 2002

This is one of the job postings I received in the English-Spanish pair today:



____________________

English to Spanish - 200,000 words total- 2 cents perword



English>Spanish



Details



I am negotiating with a major client to to a 200,000 word translation English to Spanish. I need accredited professional team willing to do the project for $4,000 US (or approx. 2 cents per word)... (translated, proofed and edited). Taget population would be the North American Spanish speaking market.



Bidder requirements



none

____________________



You see. In this job, the \"incredible\" rate of 2 cents per word includes not only translation, but also proofing and editing.



I know this topic has been posted a lot of times before, and that most of us have already given our opinion about it. But since postings like these are appearing more and more often, I think something should be done about it.



Maybe it is difficult to implement a solution, but I think there should be a minimum rate for job postings - say 0.05 or 0.06 cents/word.



But maybe the main problem is not the job posting itself, but the fact that it has already received some 30 bids!!!



I would like to hear the moderators\' opinions about the possibility to implement a solution for this problem, which I think affects all of us.



Pere


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Dora O'Malley  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:42
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
translation sweat shops? Feb 12, 2002

Translation Sweat Shops not welcome!

Today translators need to be good writers, know technology, have a thorough knowledge of their languages pairs, keep updated, have state-of-the-art technology, buy reference materials, attend conferences, and much more.



This is a very serious profession and should be paid as such.





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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 11:42
German to English
+ ...
Bravo, pfg and Dora Feb 12, 2002

I agree with everything you have said.



Indeed, that trend towards rock-bottom rates (=2 cents) can be felt in all major language pairs now (but only on ProZ - why is that???).



Out there, in the \"real\" world, I have never been approached with such insulting rates. It almost seems that this site is attracting these types of clients by design.



I said this a long time ago: ProZ needs to improve its PR and marketing strategies; they need to target more direct clients, rather than fly-by-night \"agencies\" (here today, gone tomorrow).



IMHO, this problem has a lot to do with the way ProZ portrays itself: home of (almost) 30,000 language professionals. According to Henry, only about 900 of these are translators with verified credentials. The danger is this: a client shops around the site (the site of \"professionals\"), but in many cases, the client will find \"professionals\" offering their services for 3 or 4 cents (there are even some that advertise 1 cent a word - no kidding!). Honestly, if I were a client, I, too, would get the impression that I could away with this kind of insult (=2 cents).



This is what ProZ must do:



- introduce some kind of minimum rate

- weed out empty and anonymous profiles

- enforce some kind of \"quality control\" with respect to the contents of member profiles (e.g., if the minimum rate is set at 6 cents, members that offer less should be removed - if you introduce such a rate, the system must work both ways!)

- target direct clients (corporations, government agencies, etc.)

- effectively keep out known delinquent agencies (I can name at least 5 outsourcers whose bad reputation and payment record are no longer in doubt (Blue Board, TCR, etc.); yet, they are still allowed to post jobs on this site, luring more unsuspecting translators into their web of deception)

- establish more rigorous controls on the KudoZ section: too many times now, people post entire documents and expect a free translation (that does not help ProZ\'s image either)

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-12 23:01 ]


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Dora O'Malley  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:42
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Translation Sweat Shop Award Feb 12, 2002

When I find some ridiculous rates, I do not apply but send this message:



Congratulations!

You have won the Translation Sweat Shop Award of the day.



All translators who have spent more than seven years of language studies at the university level, and who have spent thousands of dollars to keep up with technology,attend seminars and use state-of-the-art equipment, develop glossary databases and spend hours researching, translating, editing and proofing text, will celebrate your nomination.



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Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:42
German to Italian
+ ...
Interesting Proposals Feb 13, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-02-12 22:59, AbacusTrans wrote:

I agree with everything you have said.



Indeed, that trend towards rock-bottom rates (=2 cents) can be felt in all major language pairs now (but only on ProZ - why is that???).



Out there, in the \"real\" world, I have never been approached with such insulting rates. It almost seems that this site is attracting these types of clients by design.



I said this a long time ago: ProZ needs to improve its PR and marketing strategies; they need to target more direct clients, rather than fly-by-night \"agencies\" (here today, gone tomorrow).



IMHO, this problem has a lot to do with the way ProZ portrays itself: home of (almost) 30,000 language professionals. According to Henry, only about 900 of these are translators with verified credentials. The danger is this: a client shops around the site (the site of \"professionals\"), but in many cases, the client will find \"professionals\" offering their services for 3 or 4 cents (there are even some that advertise 1 cent a word - no kidding!). Honestly, if I were a client, I, too, would get the impression that I could away with this kind of insult (=2 cents).



This is what ProZ must do:



- introduce some kind of minimum rate

- weed out empty and anonymous profiles

- enforce some kind of \"quality control\" with respect to the contents of member profiles (e.g., if the minimum rate is set at 6 cents, members that offer less should be removed - if you introduce such a rate, the system must work both ways!)

- target direct clients (corporations, government agencies, etc.)

- effectively keep out known delinquent agencies (I can name at least 5 outsourcers whose bad reputation and payment record are no longer in doubt (Blue Board, TCR, etc.); yet, they are still allowed to post jobs on this site, luring more unsuspecting translators into their web of deception)

- establish more rigorous controls on the KudoZ section: too many times now, people post entire documents and expect a free translation (that does not help ProZ\'s image either)

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-12 23:01 ]

Your proposals are quite interesting and I hope they will soon put into practice.

Bye

Antonella Andreella
[addsig]

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Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:42
German to Italian
+ ...
Bravissimo!! Feb 14, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-02-12 22:59, AbacusTrans wrote:

I agree with everything you have said.



Indeed, that trend towards rock-bottom rates (=2 cents) can be felt in all major language pairs now (but only on ProZ - why is that???).



Out there, in the \"real\" world, I have never been approached with such insulting rates. It almost seems that this site is attracting these types of clients by design.



I said this a long time ago: ProZ needs to improve its PR and marketing strategies; they need to target more direct clients, rather than fly-by-night \"agencies\" (here today, gone tomorrow).



IMHO, this problem has a lot to do with the way ProZ portrays itself: home of (almost) 30,000 language professionals. According to Henry, only about 900 of these are translators with verified credentials. The danger is this: a client shops around the site (the site of \"professionals\"), but in many cases, the client will find \"professionals\" offering their services for 3 or 4 cents (there are even some that advertise 1 cent a word - no kidding!). Honestly, if I were a client, I, too, would get the impression that I could away with this kind of insult (=2 cents).



This is what ProZ must do:



- introduce some kind of minimum rate

- weed out empty and anonymous profiles

- enforce some kind of \"quality control\" with respect to the contents of member profiles (e.g., if the minimum rate is set at 6 cents, members that offer less should be removed - if you introduce such a rate, the system must work both ways!)

- target direct clients (corporations, government agencies, etc.)

- effectively keep out known delinquent agencies (I can name at least 5 outsourcers whose bad reputation and payment record are no longer in doubt (Blue Board, TCR, etc.); yet, they are still allowed to post jobs on this site, luring more unsuspecting translators into their web of deception)

- establish more rigorous controls on the KudoZ section: too many times now, people post entire documents and expect a free translation (that does not help ProZ\'s image either)

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-12 23:01 ]





I perfectly agree with you and find your proposals quite interesting and USEFUL! Hope they are immediately put into practice.

Bye

Antonella
[addsig]

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Bertha S. Deffenbaugh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another one... Feb 14, 2002

I\'ve just seen this one:



http://www.proz.com/job?id=18496



It is an URGENT job and they are offering 4 euros per word, i.e. USD 0.03/ word.



I still wonder why nothing has been done so far. Would really like to know what Henry has to say about this.



BSD





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isthmian
Local time: 10:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Globalization reaches the translation world Feb 18, 2002

I looked up the locations of some of the users concerned about the low rates and I found all of them are from OECD countries. What I am getting to is that costs of labor in Latin America and Asia are lower than in US and Europe and that will also result in lower translation fees - just like Indian programmers write lines of programming code that used to be written in California.



Can the customer lose? There is no system to verify if the US$0.08/word rate translation from the US is as good as the US$0.02 done in Argentina. We can remember the \"You got milk?\" translations done in the US (which translate in Latin America as \"you got sperm?\"). If an Argentine translator can steer the customer from snafus like that a lower rate, who is winning?



Since we get our business through proz.com those that are concerned about low rates undermining quality may propose a customer complaint page, to ensure that those providing low fee translations keep the same quality....



By the way, I write from Panama where minimum wage is US$220 a month.





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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
That's interesting... Feb 20, 2002

When and where did this happen?



Please include verifiable sources.



BTW, the phrase is \"Got Milk?\"





Quote:


On 2002-02-18 14:57, isthmian wrote:

We can remember the \"You got milk?\" translations done in the US (which translate in Latin America as \"you got sperm?\").



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-02-20 23:58 ]

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Andrea Bullrich  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:42
Member
English to Spanish
To isthmian... Feb 21, 2002

\"There is no system to verify if the US$0.08/word rate translation from the US is as good as the US$0.02 done in Argentina. We can remember the \"You got milk?\" translations done in the US (which translate in Latin America as \"you got sperm?\"). If an Argentine translator can steer the customer from snafus like that a lower rate, who is winning?\"



I have to say, nobody wins if you throw this kind of general statement around. Let\'s leave the Got milk? issue aside. Where on earth did you get that Argentinian translators charge $ 0.02 per word? I know my rates are standard-to-high for my country, and I\'m aware of the fact that some of my colleagues charge a lot less than I do (if only by looking at profiles), but I still have to meet someone accepting work for $ 0.02. I know I have met people willing to translate for $ 0.04, and most (though not all) of these people I wouldn\'t trust to translate \"The cat is under the table\", so I don\'t think agencies have much to win there either.



Andrea


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jccantrell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:42
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Just say, "No!" Feb 21, 2002

I fail to see why everyone is so upset about this issue.



Say it takes me $98 to make a widget and I sell them for $100. Now, if you want to BUY my widget and offer me $50 for it, is it not my choice to either sell it to you or not? If the buyer can find a widget for $50 elsewhere, is it wrong for him to buy it? Wouldn\'t you?



That is all that these low-bid agencies are doing, trying to bargain with you and every other translator they can find. What is so wrong with that?



There is an easy solution to all this: If you find the rate too low, DO NOT BID!



Why do you all feel that you MUST educate the agency that it is not likely to get quality at that price? This reminds me of religious zealots who feel the need to point out the error of someone else\'s ways.



I have had phone calls from agencies trying to get me to work on translations that they had won by competitive bidding, so it is just not ProZ. When I specified my rate, the agency rep said, with some surprise, \"Why, we would not have any profit at that rate!\" You can guess that I did not get the job, but I am certain someone else did.



Does it bother me that someone underbids me? Not in the least, you will ALWAYS have someone to underbid you. Does it bother me that the agency, and the ultimate client, will not be getting *MY* high quality? Sure, but that is really the client\'s fault for buying a pig in a poke and I cannot educate a client who will NOT be educated.



So, what do I do? I go on to the next job, which is most likely building a long-term relationship with a client who knows and values your experience.



I have had clients leave because they could get a cheaper product elsewhere. Those who checked the new product often found that it was not as cheap as they originally thought. Some have come back to me, willing to pay my \'high\' rate because it was accompanied by commensurate quality. Others have not come back, and I do not miss them. Everytime I read the English instructions for some foreign product where the manufacturer saved money on the translation, I think of them and laugh.



So, finally, what to do? Ignore the cheap agencies. Time will take care of them.

Concentrate on building your own clients, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Seek out those clients who know the value of a good translation and take the opportunity to educate everyone you can at that client\'s location (Remember, it may only be ONE purchasing agent who knows you there!) about the value added by a good translation and the goodwill that can be lost by a bad one.



This strategy has worked for me.


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