Differential rates - we could all benefit
Thread poster: Alex Potts
I\'m prompted to comment on rates charged by translators in different parts of the world by the recent addition to ProZ profile pages of a Rates section, in addition to difficulties I and many of my colleages have been experiencing in the recent past.
With increasing use of the Internet, an ever greater number of companies (translation and end-user) are turning to translators based in areas where the cost of living is much lower than certain Western European countries, and who are therefore able to charge MUCH lower rates.
Wouldn\'t it be fairer if, when the client is based in a high-cost country, translators applied a sliding scale and tailored their rates accordingly? That way they would receive a higher income from those clients and other translators wouldn\'t find themselves unfairly priced out of the market. As a Spanish translator living in London, for instance, I cannot possibly afford to charge the same rates as someone in, say, Argentina, or even Spain.
| Differentiate your service and charge a premium || May 28, 2002 |
Rates are only part of the package, Alex.
If you are selling on price alone, then you are offering a commodity, not a service.
Rather than worry about the rest of the world, look at what local advantages you have. In London, you have unrivalled research opportunities, for example. You can keep bang up to date with developments in your sector of specialisation in a way that someone in Bariloche or Bilbao might find difficult.
So identify your strengths, improve them and charge for them.
If you\'re the only, or the best, translator available for a specific kind of text, work will come to you. Globalisation means more potential customers, as well as more competitors, and if you are sufficiently specialised in the right sector, you won\'t be able to handle all the work that is offered to you.
That way the translators in Spain and Argentina, who have their own, different, strengths - one of which could be price - will become potential collaborators rather than a threat.
| | Michael Tovbin
Local time: 00:57
Russian to English
| differential rates || May 28, 2002 |
Sounds reasonable to me.
But in reality this is not feasible because making 3-4 cents (or pence) a word to some people is still better than making nothing at all.
Even if we agree there will still be the odd strike breaker.
| market forces: don't you just love 'em? || May 29, 2002 |
I appreciate your comments and agree with your point of view, Giles, it\'s just that clients don\'t seem to! They are increasingly opting for cheaper rates, without necessarily taking things like expertise into account. I used to be in the situation you mention, having to turn down jobs and being fully booked at least 2 months in advance, but this has changed and, analyzing why, I concluded that one of the main factors is the Internet, which makes place of residence a total irrelevance for a freelance translator (a double-edged sword, of course). It also, incidentally, means that you can keep up to date with developments from anywhere in the world.
It\'s not just a financial issue: generally we have to struggle to make this a respected profession, and undercharging/undercutting doesn\'t help. I was gob-smacked recently so see a job posting on ProZ offering 7 Brazilian reais per page, which at 250 words/page is little more than ONE CENT of a US dollar per word! and the saddest thing of all was that at least 14 translators bid for it...
Personally, if I lived in a lower-cost country, I\'d jump at the chance to net clients who could pay a better rate than one could expect locally; I\'d be doing myself a favour and would feel happier about not undercutting (at least, not by much! ). It is the other side of the \"sliding scale\" policy, where you give discounts to charity organizations and so on, and seems, like mtovbin commented, perfectly reasonable.
Whether anything like this happens in practice is, of course (particularly since it is illegal to \"fix\" rates), up to individuals, but it would be nice if we all helped each other.
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| temporary situation... hopefully! || May 30, 2002 |
in my opinion, the hemorrage of clients opting for countries where the rates are lower will only be a temporary situation. Yes, the Internet is great culprit, but it won\'t last. This is because the translators in countries where the rates are lower will soon start charging on-going international rates. American rates for American clients, British rates for British clients and so on. I\'ve lost a few clients because of that, but I\'m sure they\'ll come back when the \"gain-gain\" situation will be over.
| Fingers crossed || May 30, 2002 |
This is because the translators in countries where the rates are lower will soon start charging on-going international rates.
I certainly hope so - but it wouldn\'t be much good if by then the international rates have all come down! Anyway, this was what I was hoping to encourage, to perhaps get a few translators to starting thinking about doing just that.
Thanks for your encouragement, Giovanni, I hope you\'re right!
| | Rayindra
Local time: 11:57
English to Indonesian
| Latest price war: US$0.016 || Jun 13, 2002 |
Check this bid offer: US$5 for 300 words, in a web localization job.
Literally \"Work for a cent\". I just don\'t get it... the bank transfer fee is ten times the cost??
| | Maya Jurt
Local time: 06:57
French to German
| Quality makes the difference || Jun 13, 2002 |
I do not really agree with Giovanni, sorry. People who look for quality work do not necessarily advertise on proZ. Except some shrewd agencies with qualified project managers who fish for talents at low rates, being lucky once in a while. Considering that they always come back means that their catch must not be very impressive.
But they attract, unfortunately, heavyweights from time to time. Or how come that a very qualified engineer and translator is working for 6 cents in the States, saying that if he would charge more, he would not have any work at all? I know a lot of exemples similar to this one.
We need a new, if possible collective, marketing approach. New ideas. And quality. I have some ideas, and it might work. But I cannot do everything myself.
| we need a marketing approach || Jul 26, 2002 |
Maya Jurt wrote on June 13th:
\"We need a new, if possible collective, marketing approach. New ideas. And quality. I have some ideas, and it might work. But I cannot do everything myself.\"
You are right, we need a new marketing approach, and yes it must be collective in the sense that we are a branch of industry. No one will ever get anywhere alone, that\'s for sure.
Part of our problem is that translators have never considered themselves as business people. For example, for many women it was like old-fashioned egg money, something they earned on the side, and whatever it was that was fine.
There is definitely a demand, and a growing demand for quality translation work. And we are a large trade group.
What are the ideas that you have for us?