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Rates for jobs offered on ProZ
Thread poster: Antje Ruppert
Antje Ruppert
United States
Local time: 04:47
German to English
+ ...
Jun 5, 2003

Dear colleagues,

I have been a member of ProZ for many years and just wanted to post this message to see what the community thinks. The past couple of days I have been following the links to job offers in my language combination, which I receive automatically via e-mail, and I am appalled with the rates offered for rather technical and specified translation projects. Some posters will not even accept bids over $0.03 per word. It seems a common pattern and I wonder who will accept jobs like that for that price. Some companies/agencies even demand the use of and proficiency in Trados as well as test translations free of charge of course.

Does anybody have an opinion on that and can these agencies be somehow convinced that they pay for what they get offering these rates. Maybe it does not phase some of you but I feel insulted by these kinds of offers and am tempted to cancel my ProZ membership.

Best regards,

Antje Ruppert-Bousquet


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
German to English
+ ...
Other side of the equation Jun 5, 2003

The other side of the equation is, of course, that there are more than enough translators willing to work for low rates. The demand is there, the supply is there. ProZ, with its very liberal access policy, is a natural marketplace for the two to meet.

Regardless of whether regulation of rates would be a good thing or not, it is almost completely impractical. It is simply not going to happen.

Equally, it is virtually impossible to prevent people from looking for a bargain.

It is theoretically possible to place some restrictions on the supply side, for example by requiring various forms of qualification for the translators. However, this is also very unlikely to happen - again, regardless of whether it would be a good idea or not.

So, I think cheap translations, cheap customers and cheap translators are here to stay on ProZ. The question really is the extent to which they determine the image of ProZ. In many quarters, ProZ is already associated with low prices, even though work at realistic industry rates obviously passes through the site as well. I suspect that the higher prices are less frequently visible, but that is just a hunch - I don't follow the jobs section.

I don't think there is a universal solution, but there are many ways in which the situation can be influenced.
One way is to remove references to prices from public view as far as possible. The rates offered, on both the supply and demand sides, need not be secret, but do they need to be splashed everywhere? My price list is available on request, but I wouldn't think of publishing it - here or anywhere else.

The recent move to make the identity of potential customers more transparent is also a step in the right direction. Not all companies want to broadcast the fact that they are cheap.

More generally, anything that attracts more experienced, better qualified, more professional and more expensive translators, and the customers looking for such translators, to ProZ, will help to improve the image of the site.

Marc


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:47
English to German
+ ...
Work in progress Jun 5, 2003

Hi Antje,
Although you have been participating for quite some time, I don't recall seeing any forum posts - have a look through past threads (particularly in this forum): the issue of prices (and the extent to which the site can, or should, influence them) has been amongst the most actively debated.

A number of moderators has joined the ProZ.com team to restructure the Jobs Area. The Blue Board was our first focus; work there is about 90% done, and we're now focusing on the way jobs are passed through ProZ.com. We believe we can, and should change quite a number of aspects - please bear with us.

Thanks for your patience - best regards, Ralf


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ETC LTD  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
Minimum Standards Jun 6, 2003

Is it not possible to set minimum standards for rates AND the quality of translations ? Even as an agency we have to agree that some rates offered are ridiculous. However, also some of the translations received are of a very low quality, despite reasonable rates paid. A minimum standard would be a great help for both, translators and agencies. How to implement them, we really DO NOT KNOW.

Joachim
European Translation Centre Ltd


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
German to English
+ ...
Minimum standards Jun 6, 2003

Minimum (standards for) rates:
No. If someone wants to buy something cheap and someone else wants to sell something cheap, it is practically impossible to stop them. In some countries, it is also illegal to try to stop them.

Minimum standards for the quality of translations:
This is only slightly less difficult. Translation is not an exact science, and there are no generally accepted standards for translation quality. However, translators' associations are generally interested in maintaining a high level of quality and have some influence over their members. If you give preference to members of a professional association, it is reasonable to expect the translator to work to the standards maintained by the association, and you do at least have the option of complaining to the association should they fail to do so.

Marc


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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
Harm to the jobs site itself Jun 9, 2003

One point that Proz may wish to take into account is that demands of unviably & unrealistically low prices discourage many job advertizers, thereby defeating the main purpose of the jobs page.
To take a classic example, when invitations were posted on Proz and other sites for a "revision" (really a Russ>Eng translation) of a machine "translation" of 1.7 - 3 million words, at 0.01 USD per word, it seemed to me that there was a noticeable drop and/or delay in other jobs being posted, on most or all sites I saw.

The posting was made on different sites at different times, and it seemed to me that each time this same drop in job postings happened.

Of course there are reasonable arguments for low prices in some cases, eg: that some clients in countries with low costs of living and salaries need lower fees, & genuine pro bono work.

But that doesn't alter the urgent fact that the jobs page in it's present form gives a misleadingly low picture of international "market rates".


[Edited at 2003-06-09 15:01]


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