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The Lada of the Industry
Thread poster: xxxwilliamson
xxxwilliamson
Local time: 20:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
Mar 20, 2002

I am busy reading \"Principles of Marketing\" (the bible of marketing) by Ph.Kotler.

Somewhere in the book is mentioned that price is not the dominant factor for some customers. An example is given of a perfume manufacturer who lowered his price and ... lost customers, because the perfume was not perceived any longer as exclusive.

It is also mentioned that if brands like Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari or Jaguar make a limited series and put a \"hefty\" price-tag on these models, rich customers are lining up to buy them.

Now, if you compare \"interpreting\" as the equivalent of these brands in the language industry, the usual price-range is €350/day -€600-700/day (Members of A.I.I.C.) and nobody will complain about it.



However for translation the price-range seems to vary from €0.02/word-€0.19/word (highly specialised technical and medical translations). It seems to be the only segment of the language-industry,where a lot of haggling going on about prices is going on or and where making a mistake (nobody is perfect) is an excuse (for some PMs of some agencies) to haggle even more. Is Translation the Lada of the language- industry?


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2004)
English to Italian
maybe not as bad as a Lada... Mar 20, 2002

more like a Volkswagen-rebadged Skoda... if you know what I mean...



Giovanni

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-20 14:07 ]

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-21 16:47 ]


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David Rockell
Chinese to English
Teaching is the Lada of the language industry Mar 20, 2002

Teaching is the Lada. Having been an English teacher for a number of years before raising my status (sic?) to full-time freelance translator, I learned that the fundamental thing in being a language teacher is not pedagogical wizardry but just being there. You can make practically any other mistake and although things may be unpleasant, you can generally stay in the game. Basically a bit like a Lada; it may not start, it may be unattractive and smelly, but it is at least there, and that is what a language teacher is paid for too! In the Internet world, the even sadder thing for translators is that we work for hours on end to meet unreasonable demands but are we really there at all? Perhaps teaching really is better...

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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 20:55
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Interpreting is not the same thing as translating Mar 20, 2002

Hi Williamson!

I don\'t think you can compare interpreting with translating. They may have similarities - the transfer of subject matter from one language into another - but the skills needed are very different. That\'s why I\'m a translator, not an interpreter



I fully agree with Kotler about premium pricing strategies (I love his books - I read them over and over when I was studying for my marketing diploma) - and you can certainly apply that to translation. Let\'s take the perfume example - what are people paying for? The scent? No. They are paying for the prestige of owning and being able use that brand. Starting from going into the store and buying the perfume to the great feeling they get when they are asked what they are wearing. The price is a key element in this process, as Kotler points out. It reflects the service the perfume manufacturer is providing to the customer.



This also applies to translations. If you are the only translator able to fulfill your customer\'s requirements at that particular time, then you can demand a premium price. If you can read German, I would also recommend Domizlaff\'s \"Markentechnik\", in which he states that marketing\'s aim is to occupy a monopoly position in the mind of the consumer.



So, if I sell my translations at €0.19 per word or more, and can offer the quality to back up this price (and that\'s what sorts out the wheat from the chaff here), AND if I occupy a monopoly position in the mind of my customer as the only translator they would ever come to with that type of work (or even the only translator who\'s capable of solving their particular translation problem, then no, I\'m not a Lada.



If, however, I\'m working in the €0.02 segment (it\'s even worse in the mid-priced segment) I\'m faced with some tough competition from other translators offering the same prices but better quality or the same quality and better (lower) prices. (Imagine an hour-glass, with the bulge at the top being top-priced translations, and the bulge at the bottom being low-priced translations. The middle is being squeezed.) If you\'re working in this middle segment it becomes increasingly difficult to occupy a \"monopoly position\" in your customer\'s mind, which makes a premium pricing strategy for your \"brand\" of translations pretty hard to implement.



So, given this picture of the market, the high-end translators are the Mercedes and BMWs (of course there are a couple of Ferraris and Lotus Elans out there too), the guys in the middle are the Fords and Opels (pretty much interchangeable, but quality is still acceptable) and the low-priced translators are the Ladas and Yugos.



The problem is, that the quality offered by Lada is constantly getting better but their prices remain the same ......



And watch out for those Japanese car-makers (or in our case the machine translation programs that will eat away at the need for the translation of general business letters, etc.) .....

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-20 21:24 ]


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 14:55
German to English
+ ...
Don't worry, Alison Mar 20, 2002

Machine translation, even today - as well as tomorrow -, is still too \"stupid\" to translate even simple business letters.



You may be able to handle some of the standardized components such as date, salutation, but that\'s it. The main text of the letter still requires a human translator - no matter what!



Quality prevails!


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Jane Lamb-Ruiz  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Translation Lada Mar 20, 2002

The reason that payment ranges vary so much for translation is that most of the associations representing translators don\'\'t do what an AIIC does for interpreters. If it did, it would be a nobler profession and translators would be given the respect, pay etc, they deserver. It takes longer to become a good translator than just about any other profession. Dreadful....

And there\'s more need for ongoing education too. It must be, along with prostitution, the oldest and least understood profession.


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 14:55
German to English
+ ...
Yes Mar 21, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-03-20 22:33, nonogogo wrote:

The reason that payment ranges vary so much for translation is that most of the associations representing translators don\'\'t do what an AIIC does for interpreters. If it did, it would be a nobler profession and translators would be given the respect, pay etc, they deserver. It takes longer to become a good translator than just about any other profession. Dreadful....

And there\'s more need for ongoing education too. It must be, along with prostitution, the oldest and least understood profession.





Funny that you should say that. One very well-established conference interpreter/published author/scientist wrote that about 10 years ago: ours is the \"second oldest profession in the world\"

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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 20:55
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Stoopid Mar 21, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-03-20 21:34, AbacusTrans wrote:

Machine translation, even today - as well as tomorrow -, is still too \"stupid\" to translate even simple business letters.



You may be able to handle some of the standardized components such as date, salutation, but that\'s it. The main text of the letter still requires a human translator - no matter what!



Quality prevails!





Okay, I\'ll give you that MT is pretty stoopid, but you still need to watch out for the Ladas improving their quality .



I still feel that comparing translating to interpreting is like comparing a Mercedes SLK to a top-of-the-range SUV..... They\'re both cars, but have totally different purposes.

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xxxwilliamson
Local time: 20:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Everything that can be invented, has been invented? Mar 22, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-03-20 21:34, AbacusTrans wrote:

Machine translation, even today - as well as tomorrow -, is still too \"stupid\" to translate even simple business letters.



You may be able to handle some of the standardized components such as date, salutation, but that\'s it. The main text of the letter still requires a human translator - no matter what!



From Kotler



Everything that can be invented, has been invented (US Patent Office 1899)

\"I think that in the world market, there is room for about five computers\" Thomas J.Watson CEO of IBM (1943)

\"640 k ought to do it\" (Bill Gates, 1980)





Quality prevails!



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