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Post-job rate complaint
Thread poster: jgaligs
jgaligs
Local time: 08:23
German to English
+ ...
Mar 26, 2009

I made the mistake of accepting a proofreading job without clarifying my rate with the client (mainly because I didn't know what it was yet, as I normally don't do editing/proofing jobs). Well, of course, when the rate of 30 USD/hour is mentioned, AFTER the job was confirmed and turned in, the client complains that it's far too high and that they usually only pay 15-18 EUR/hour. I thought 30 USD was relatively standard... I know there's a ton of variation, but does that not sound reasonable for some standard editing?

I don't want to be uncooperative, as this is a regular client, so I'm considering lowering the rate to 20. I don't want to cooperate though, as this is also a very difficult client at times who has gotten me to lower my rates MANY times, and it is a very, very small job we're talking about, anyway. Very. I'm almost considering throwing it in for free just to show how petty it is.

Obviously it is my fault for not stating my rate. But isn't it his too for not asking? What would you do? Any opinions would really help!


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:23
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
IMHO Mar 26, 2009

Your rate is not high by any standards. I would say it is low for an established translator.

jgaligs wrote:
I'm almost considering throwing it in for free just to show how petty it is.


How about telling them "NO" just to show your time is worth money?

[Edited at 2009-03-26 20:15 GMT]


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Yiannis Markomanolakis
Greece
Local time: 16:23
English to Greek
No, the fault lies on both sides.... Mar 26, 2009

... because neither you nor the client confirmed a rate beforehand.
So, if you do not wish to stand up for what you think your work is worth, why not splitting the difference in half? Around 24 or 25 euros.

If you accept 15-18 this time, there might be more requests in the future, based on the low rate, and/or there is a chance of other prospect clients getting this info and demanding to be charged with the same low rate (the rate of shame ).


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Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:23
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
Why? Mar 26, 2009

jgaligs wrote:

I don't want to be uncooperative, as this is a regular client, so I'm considering lowering the rate to 20.


Why to lower lower than offered ?

According to today's exchange rate 18 Eur ~ 24.3828 USD


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Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:23
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
* Mar 26, 2009

*

[Edited at 2009-03-26 21:29 GMT]


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jgaligs
Local time: 08:23
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all for your opinions Mar 26, 2009

Alexander Onishko wrote:

Why to lower lower than offered ?

According to today's exchange rate 18 Eur ~ 24.3828 USD



That would've been a costly error... well, not financially, but costly anyway.


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J Chae  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:23
English to Korean
+ ...
How "regular" is your client? Mar 26, 2009

By definition, a regular client is someone who knows your service, your quality, your rate and who is generally satisfied with. And of course, won't argue with the price in most case.

Unless there's an issue.

Consider a regular client in a beauty salon, unsatisfied with her haircut. Or a regular client in a restaurant, just ordering a half-size hamburger and discovering later that the price wasn't the half he expected.

Of course, we made wrong assumptions and didn't bother asking. Lesson learned, but let's deal with the situation. Putting blame won't resolve the matter.

So, what to do if this was a "regular" client? Surely I would try to talk into it. While there's no excuse for bad quality, you can still hold on to your 30.00 USD/hour and make this one a special case. If your client is happy with your service, he/she will surely come back.

My two cents: Please consider a "rate per hour" as a translator's fully dedicated time to the given client's request. It is true that editing may have lower rate, but this only applies to rate/word. It doesn't apply to the hourly rate because you will already have covered more words in editing work during the same timespan. So, if the translation of a document would take 4 hours, you work 4 hours in editing and request a lower hourly rate, or you work 2 hours in editing and request the same hourly rate. Not both.

[Edited at 2009-03-26 22:16 GMT]


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
One-time deal Mar 27, 2009

I think my response would be along the lines of "Terribly sorry about not straightening out the parameters before we started. Given that I agreed to do the proofreading job and your rate is EUR 18 per hour, I'll bill you for that. However, please be aware that my rate is USD 30 per hour and if you have any future proofreading jobs, I will expect to be paid that rate. If you're going to continue to pay only 15-18 EUR, you need to find someone else to do your proofreading." Take the difference as education for you and straighten out the rate before you start next time.

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Your fault... sorry! Mar 27, 2009

Unfortunately in today's economic climate you should have discussed the rate before accepting the job. I apologize for being this blunt, but unfortunately it's your fault. Now you will have to take whatever the customer wants to pay...

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FarkasAndras
Local time: 15:23
English to Hungarian
+ ...
The only reasonable solution that I can see Mar 27, 2009

Paul Merriam wrote:

I think my response would be along the lines of "Terribly sorry about not straightening out the parameters before we started. Given that I agreed to do the proofreading job and your rate is EUR 18 per hour, I'll bill you for that. However, please be aware that my rate is USD 30 per hour and if you have any future proofreading jobs, I will expect to be paid that rate. If you're going to continue to pay only 15-18 EUR, you need to find someone else to do your proofreading." Take the difference as education for you and straighten out the rate before you start next time.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Mar 28, 2009

Paul Merriam wrote:
I think my response would be along the lines of "Terribly sorry about not straightening out the parameters before we started. Given that I agreed to do the proofreading job and your rate is EUR 18 per hour, I'll bill you for that. However, please be aware that my rate is USD 30 per hour and if you have any future proofreading jobs, I will expect to be paid that rate.


Exactly. There is no way of escaping their rate this time, but a clear statement as to what the actual rate expected is a must for the future.


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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:23
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Five Bucks Mar 28, 2009

So, you' re basically saying that the client says "$30 is far too high, but 18 EUR (approx. 25 USD) is ok".

Yes, you should have informed them in advance, but then again, after the fact, you and your client are arguing on five bucks?

That's what surprises me in the translation community. They don't have a problem lowering a rate by "1 cent per word", when this 1 cent could easily mean $5,000 per year, but they are shocked when they get into arguments for five bucks.

In your case I would accept the client's rate of "five dollars less", unless of course those five dollars would destroy me financially...

It reminds me of people who have no problem buying a house for $300,000 (even though the house price is arbitrary), but then they go to the local store and say that "$42 for a new door lock is way too high"... inherent stupidity? Who knows... why didn't they ask $42 discount on the house price in the first place, so that the lock would be essentially "free"?
Why do people pay $25,000 to buy a car (and they think it's cheap), but then they think that $38 for a high quality engine oil is "too much"?

Furthermore, how come people in here call themselves "specialized professionals of the western world", when they engage in such a cheap play that they can't even afford a small car in the first place? I'm not referring to you personally, but in general...

Anyway... my advice is, give your client his five bucks. Those five bucks are very important to them.

Then, ask yourself "what on earth are we doing in a business in which arguments can revolve around five bucks?"



[Edited at 2009-03-28 14:08 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:23
French to German
+ ...
Not a secret anymore Mar 29, 2009

It is not a secret anymore that the remuneration of some PM's is based on "results", meaning inter alia on how many times they were successful in pushing down the prices paid to outsourcees.

So I think we should have at least 3 prices in mind when quoting: a good one, an average one and a cut-throat one and that we should always quote with the "good one" in order to get the "average one".

My 2 cents of the day.

Laurent K.

[Edited at 2009-03-29 09:54 GMT]


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