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How would you respond???
Thread poster: Lagom
Lagom  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:55
Swedish to English
Aug 11, 2005

I received an invitation to quote for a 6000 word technical text (localisation of the software for a packaging machine) from Swedish to English from an agency in India. They declined my first offer and returned with an offer of USD 0.03 per word with a promise of 'regular work' (see mail and my reply posted below).

After I had done my arithmetic I realised that working at around 2000 words a day it would work out after tax as virtually working for free!

Are there really people that can afford to accept work at such low prices and provide a good service or is it a 'pay peanuts and get monkeys' situation that results in even more of the awful translations that ProZ members post in the humour forum??

What would you do? What do you think of my reply??


> Dear Ben,
> Our offer is 0.03 USD per word. We will send you regular jobs. If our
> rate
> is acceptable to you, then continue with the job.
> Next week we are expecting about 10,000 words. So, we will send you jobs
> continuosly. Please let me know about you.
> Awaiting for your reply.
>
> Kind regards,
>
>



Dear xxx,

I am afraid that the lowest rate that I can accept would be USD 0.10 per
word as if I worked for USD 0.3 then by the time I had paid tax I would
have virtually no money left and would be earning far less than even a teenage washer upper which does not reflect my professional training.

I think that you will struggle to find a good translator for the rates you
are offering in Europe or North America especially for a job that will
involve working over the weekend at late notice.

If you want to accept my quotation of USD 600 for 6000 words from Swedish
to English at USD 0.10 per source word then I would need an official order
from your company before starting work.

Best wishes,
Ben Love




[Edited at 2005-08-16 14:20]

[Edited at 2005-08-16 14:21]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:55
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
How would you respond??? Aug 12, 2005

See this thread:

http://www.proz.com/topic/34165


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Jussi Rosti  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 11:55
Member (2005)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Just don't take it. Aug 12, 2005

Ridiculous pay.

I constantly receive such ridiculous offers, and even from Europe. I don't reply to them.

However, as they make me feel bad almost on daily basis, I have considered of starting replying with a nasty template, like:

Thank you for your offer. Unfortunately, for such a price I cannot guarantee a full-blown translation, but I offer to translate first two letters of each word for $0.03.

I've also played with the idea to deliver such a bad translation, that they would never ever ask anybody to do underpaid translations. (Of course, I won't do that, because I'm proud of my quality, but imagination is a nice way to handle frustration).

-jr


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:55
Member (2005)
French to German
+ ...
Don't forget the "huge business" aspect they always seem to promise Aug 12, 2005

Jussi Rosti wrote:
Thank you for your offer. Unfortunately, for such a price I cannot guarantee a full-blown translation, but I offer to translate first two letters of each word for $0.03.


I like that. But you should also add something to the effect that you would be willing to do a huge amount of those two-character-a-word translations, on a regular basis.

P.


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Kimmy
Local time: 18:55
Italian to English
+ ...
I too have received requests for quotes on jobs with this rate Aug 12, 2005

and lower.

I have responded in the same vein as you, although, as has been mentioned often on this subject, in India USD 0.03 per word is probably totally acceptable (in situ)!

The last contact I had with an Indian agency also offered me "regular work" if I accepted their rate but I just explained (without comparing their "normal" rate to that of a "washer Upper") that it was too low, regardless of the volume.

Just decline nicely and wish them a good day without telling them they can't have a Champagne translation on a beer budget"

Do you think they are not already aware of that?
I think they are. They just want, like many outsourcers, a great job for the lowest rate.

There will always be someone out there at the ready to undercut us! If that person does a bad job we will never know! The fact is, the outsourcer didn't accept our rate so we move ahead to the next outsourcer!

Kim


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Daniele Martoglio  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:55
Polish to Italian
+ ...
I've a question for you.. Aug 12, 2005

Benjamin Love wrote:

I received an invitation to quote for a 6000 word technical text (localisation of the software for a packaging machine) from Swedish to English from an agency in India. They declined my first offer...



Dear Ben,

i've an IMPORTANT question for you. HOW MANY TIME you spent to manage the offer?

I mean:

- read the email
- examinate the material
- decide which is your offer
- write the answer

How many? 15 min? 30 min? 60 min?

Why i'm asking?
Because i understood that if i begin to have too many this "asking for offer" which finish to nothing, a big part of my time (and nerves) is spent to manage the offers.

So if i need 30 min every offer, and i have 10 offers, and 9 offers say "NO, THANKS" and just 1 offer goes on, and i.e. the time to translate it's 10 hours...

..the effect it's that my rates fall down to 66%!!!

How? It's matematic (units are not important, just the relationship are important):

TEORETICALLY:
My rate per unit: 100 bananas
My hourly production: 1,0 unit/hour
Job size: 10 unit
Job price: 1000 bananas
Job time: 10 hours + 0,5 hour to manage the offer
----------------------------------
My FINAL hourly rate: 95 bananas/hour (it's ok)

IT'S OK.

BUT, if i spend so much time wich "answering to nonsense-offers":

My rate per unit: 100 bananas
My hourly production: 1,0 unit/hour
Job size: 10 unit
Job price: 1000 bananas
Job time: 10 hours + 0,5 hour to manage the offer
Time wasted with the other 9 stupid offers: 5 hours (30min x 9 offers)
TOTAL JOB TIME: 15 hours
----------------------------------
My FINAL hourly rate: 66 bananas/hour (HORRIBLE!)

I'm seriously thinking to answer with a "STANDARD MEDIUM RATE" without reading the offer. Teoretically it's non professional, but my impression is that otherwise our work it's more "defending ourself of nonsense-noncustomer" than relationship with customer..

Daniele


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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:55
Swedish to English
+ ...
..don't respond Aug 12, 2005

Ben, I also received that. I imagine that lots of people out there working Swe-Eng did too - it went straight in the trash file in my case. Offers like that are not worth replying to - it's not directed at me specifically (no name in the body of the e-mail); it's obviously going to be so badly paid (compared to European agencies) it's not worth spending the time even starting to negotiate with them.

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:55
German to English
+ ...
How would you respond??? Aug 12, 2005

With raucous laughter.

Marc


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Standard answer Aug 12, 2005

Benjamin Love wrote:
> Our offer is 0.03 USD per word...


This would either go straight to the bin, or in case I sympathise with this poor entrepreneur I offer a machine translation without warranty and after advance payment..


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:55
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Might work in some countries... Aug 12, 2005

Benjamin Love wrote:
After I had done my arithmetic I realised that working at around 2000 words a day it would work out after tax as virtually working for free!


Tax must be really high in your country. Hereabouts it is quite possible to survive on EUR 0.03 per word. But I hear you... for Western European countries, EUR 0.03 is very, very low and not market-related at all.


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LindaMcM  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:55
Swedish to German
+ ...
I responded... Aug 12, 2005

I got the same "offer" and I responded - but just to tell the guy that I do not translate into English at all.

Sometimes agencies from e.g. India (just an example) write to me and ask for my rates - no problem, they are not a secret - but 99,9% come back and ask if I am willing to work for USD 0,03-0,05 because of the "steady workflow". Well, that's the point they go to the bin, latest, unanswered. If I have plenty of time, the sun is shining and I'm in kind of a good mood, I answer and try to explain why this is neither possible nor interesting to me...

But, to get back to your question: if the sun isn't shining, do not respond at all. They know pretty well that a professional translator in Sweden does not work for this rate - they just keep on trying.

Linda


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Kimmy
Local time: 18:55
Italian to English
+ ...
Even better..... Aug 12, 2005

This happened to me VERY recently!

I made an offer for a job to an agency after being contacted by them directly.

I obliged!
They refused!
I told them to have a nice day - maybe we can collaborate in the future (never burn bridges - you just NEVER know)....

Oops! Looky here! The person they DID end up outsourcing disappeared off the face of the earth in deadline day!! They were desperate!

I offer again but this time my rate has just been upped 20% for the urgency factor! Fair call!

They offer what I originally quoted!

I told them to have a nice day!

MORAL:

"Want monkeys? - pay peanuts!"

Kim


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Elizabeth Sumner
Local time: 09:55
Russian to English
+ ...
Did anyone accept??? Aug 12, 2005

Hi, I got the Swedish - English offer too and wrote back saying the were highly unlikely to find anyone who would work for such a pittance. What bothers me is that they must get someone to do it for them in the end (same way the Nigerian email scam gets one fool in a thousand). Does anyone actually know a translator who works at these rates?

Elizabeth


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:55
English to Polish
+ ...
The woes of globalization... Aug 12, 2005

Going more or less along Samuel Murray's line of thought and Daniele's arithmetic:

USD 0.03 is ca. PLN 0.09 (Polish zloty) per word. (going at ca. PLN 3 to 1 US dollar)

3000 words per day (reasonable) => PLN 270/ day

Say, 22 working days each month => PLN 5490/ month

The official average monthly remuneration in Poland is ca. PLN 2500.

(all this before tax)

So in Poland, working at these rates you are making about twice the national average. It's not a fortune, but you can survive reasonably comfortably.

So you can see this from a proper perspective, I got a call from an agency a few weeks ago asking if I wanted to work for them as they won a bid for translation for one of the Polish ministries.

They offered me PLN 10 per standard page of 1800 characters.
The man on the phone asked what happened to me because I was busy picking up the sad remains of my lower jaw from the floor.

I'll let you do the math so it will sink in better.

Cheers,
Pawel Skalinski


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Daniele Martoglio  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:55
Polish to Italian
+ ...
EVEN in Poland 0,03$ is VERY LOW RATE! Aug 12, 2005

PAS wrote:

USD 0.03 is ca. PLN 0.09 (Polish zloty) per word.
(...)
So in Poland, working at these rates you are making about twice the national average. It's not a fortune, but you can survive reasonably comfortably.
Pawel Skalinski


Anyway, 0,03 USD it's nearly 25 PLN for page 1800 char.
It' VERY low for the polish market. For someone it can be the "lower border" (not for me, i never worked for such a rate) but anyway we can say that from 20 to 25 PLN are "young student's rate".

PAS wrote:
They offered me PLN 10 per standard page of 1800 characters.
Pawel Skalinski


For non-polish readers, it's 0,012 USD/word..
But it's absurd also in Poland. Simply no-sense...

Daniele


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