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How's this for nerve: major LSP will require a 5% discount from their "translation partners"
Thread poster: Andrew Catford

Andrew Catford  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:01
Member (2008)
German to English
Oct 29, 2010

Just checked email after a day at the ATA conference.

The vice president of a major American LSP had written, lamenting the state of the global economy, the decline of the dollar in relation to the euro, and proceeded to inform me that his company will require a 5% discount from their "translation partners" from Nov. 1, 2010 until January 1, 2011.

Meanwhile, the company home page announces it just had the "Highest Quarterly Profit in its History."

Apparently, this is their vision of "partnership."

I'm delighted – and relieved – never to have done any work for this company. I called the vice-president's office and invited him to make sure that I receive no further communication from his ever-so-successful, publicly-traded company.

And, yes, these ethical souls advertise on ProZ.




[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-11-01 18:58 GMT]


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:01
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
That's to be expected Oct 29, 2010

Someone said, 'To be successful, you have to project an image of success.' Every company has to brag on their website to impress potential clients, even if their business is in dire straits. Don't you trust every word of it.

Could it be that their 'highest profit in history' is still a loss - the smallest loss in their history?

That said, I would dump them the same minute I received that email. You did the right thing.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 11:01
English to Czech
+ ...
Exchange rates Oct 29, 2010

That's just the risk of business. Do my clients care if the Euro drops below 22 Czech Crowns and I am paid less than with € 1 = CZK 25?

Instead of lamenting over exchange rates, time for re-negotiating translation rates. With the clients, not with the translators. We are still billed the same or even more for electricity, gas, telecommunication services...

Perhaps a thread of the utmost interest: http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/159536-translation_workspace_lionbridge_cat_tool-page9.html

[Upraveno: 2010-10-29 23:19 GMT]


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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:01
Member
French to English
+ ...
Glad I turned them down too Oct 29, 2010

I think I know which company you're talking about, as I received a similar email today. I've never worked for them, but they tried very hard to persuade me to join them about a year ago. I refused because of things I had read about them and the wording of their Service Level Agreement. When I objected to several points in it, they offered to make changes, but I turned them down as I had a bad feeling about them. I still receive emails from them every so often as they obviously haven't deleted my details from their records. Today's email was prefaced with a lot of scary headlines supposedly justifying the cut, which - as you point out - is "required", i.e. non-negotiable. It was also marked "do not reply"! Interesting that it's only a short-term move, I suppose they're just testing the water for a couple of months to see how many of their freelancers accept it. For me, there's something rather psychopathic in the way they operate... I also remember reading an article about a rate cut (from an already low level) they imposed on their Ireland-based court interpreters when the total budget of the Irish Courts Service was cut last year by 8%. What did the company do? Cut its interpreters' pay by 28% and *increased* its own share of the money from each booking by 14%! One thing you can't accuse them of is a lack of opportunism...

[Edited at 2010-10-29 23:35 GMT]


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Willeke Barens  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:01
Member (2004)
English to Dutch
+ ...
they're not the only ones Oct 30, 2010

I received a message like that from another big company, who wanted to cut my rates in half. And that's for medical work, mainly. I've replied that I don't accept that, but that they can keep my info in their database for those clients that do want quality. Have got a few small jobs after that.
But fortunately a lot of smaller agencies seem to do a lot better, for I get much more work from them lately, at my proper rates. Or maybe they don't go for the "squeeze-them-like-lemons" strategy?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:01
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I didn't know I was even registered with them! Oct 30, 2010

I certainly would never consider working with them, not before I received this "URGENT AND IMPORTANT" email, and certainly not in the future.

I like to work for clients (agencies and/or direct) who value our relationship and the services I provide. They respect me and I respect them and a good job gets done. I really don't feel I could do a good job in the sort of 'partnership' this company proposes.


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EngFrench  Identity Verified

Local time: 11:01
English to French
Same here... Oct 30, 2010

Peter Shortall wrote:

I think I know which company you're talking about, as I received a similar email today. I've never worked for them, but they tried very hard to persuade me to join them about a year ago. I refused because of things I had read about them and the wording of their Service Level Agreement.


The only thing I can say is I'm very happy I refused to sign their NDA (or whatever they call it). I didn't want to embark on a relationship with a company that viewed working relationships in this way.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:01
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Highest Quarterly Profit in its History Oct 30, 2010

Now you know how... ;D

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Roberta Lorenzetto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:01
Member
French to Italian
+ ...
I received the same e-mail ... Oct 30, 2010

... and I immediately answered that I would have closed my work relationship with them.

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xxxPT Translati
United States
Local time: 02:01
Japanese to English
over-aggressive purchasing method Oct 30, 2010

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:
Instead of lamenting over exchange rates, time for re-negotiating translation rates. With the clients, not with the translators. We are still billed the same or even more for electricity, gas, telecommunication services...


Agree.

This whole "Take it or leave it" over-aggressive purchasing method of "beating up suppliers" is the norm in manufacturing (I'm in manufacturing sales), but it doesn't work very well long-term. The US auto industry is learning this the hard way. The method is even more senseless in specialized services like translating. Like the US auto industry, I suppose they will learn the hard way as well.

BTW, this is another of many reasons why I'm planning my transition to full-time translator, lol.



[Edited at 2010-10-30 22:02 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-10-30 22:04 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-10-30 22:04 GMT]


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Viivi
Finland
Local time: 12:01
Some blog articles Oct 31, 2010

Some translators have given their replies in their blogs:

open letter to a vice president
http://koti.kapsi.fi/~watchman/journal/?p=810

Discounts required
http://workingathometranslatormum.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/discounts-required/


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Was pretty funny Oct 31, 2010

Considering all the other "bad press" they've gotten on these forums (see Stanislav's link), I laughed out loud when I got that eMail. I think I looked into working with them several years back, but like Peter and Sandrine, I had several concerns about their SLA and never signed it. When I realized how they normally operate (their proprietary online tool), I was definitely glad I never signed up.

OTOH, for some reason one of their offices in Germany contacted me personally a few months back about an urgent translation and agreed to pay a very decent rate, and that all went fine. So as long as

1) I don't have to work with their tool/system,
2) they pay me what I charge, and
3) they don't 'demand' I sign their SLA to do it (they sent me another request, I ignored it - again) - they're welcome to contact me any time.

Under any other terms - fuggedaboutit


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:01
French to German
+ ...
In desperate need :) Oct 31, 2010

Janet Rubin wrote:

OTOH, for some reason one of their offices in Germany contacted me personally a few months back about an urgent translation and agreed to pay a very decent rate, and that all went fine. So as long as


Other agencies who want to rule the world with their whip will start sweating (and smiling and, and, and...) when faced with the Real Queens & Kings of the Jungle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_lBqWM7LXA

Happy Halloween!

[Edited at 2010-10-31 18:01 GMT]


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 11:01
English to Czech
+ ...
Back to the topic Oct 31, 2010

Much has been written about this outsourcer, and still the worst fact for me is that even after all the negative opinions (if not protests) mentioned here and elsewhere, there will always be masochists to work under any conditions.

As it said in one of the blogs, money is not the origin of all evil. It's human greed...

[Upraveno: 2010-10-31 20:41 GMT]

[Upraveno: 2010-11-01 15:05 GMT]


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Alex Eames
Local time: 10:01
English to Polish
+ ...
Love of money = greed Oct 31, 2010

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

As it said in one of the blogs, money is not the origin of all evil. It's human greed...

[Upraveno: 2010-10-31 20:41 GMT]


The Bible is often misquoted as "money is a root of all evil", but it is "the love of money" which is said to be a root of all kinds of evil. Love of money is greed. (So yes, I'm agreeing with you.)

I've just blogged about this situation as well.


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