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Tele-working for Indian and East European agencies that pay low rates - why?
Thread poster: Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:16
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Aug 14, 2005

Dear Colleagues,

I was having a look at the Blue Board recently and, to my horror (ok, I’m rather naïve), I noticed how many translators living in one of the G8 countries do actually work for Indian and East European agencies, specifying, in their comments, low rates. Is this a sign of our (depressing) times? If I live in Sweden, how can I afford to accept Indian rates? I found comments from many colleagues living in the States, Denmark, Norway, Italy, France and Germany and with plenty of experience. Maths is not an opinion, as we say in Italy, and it only takes five minutes to work out that these people are making a loss. Why? I have a few answers myself, but I would like to know your opinion on this rather curious business approach.

BTW, the title of the post has been changed by the site staff: it was 'Sign of the times?' I didn't want to mention any particular country on the main page, because that's not my style.

Giovanni

[Edited at 2005-08-15 08:49]


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Perceptional effect? Aug 14, 2005

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:
..specifying, in their comments, low rates..

The translators won't mention any compensating high rates because this could cause negotiation problems for the respective agencies..


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:16
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Maybe there are more markets Aug 14, 2005

Maybe the translations are extremely easy and maybe you can translate 5000 words/day. Maybe there are low-pay agencies in the G-8 countries as well. Maybe lots of things you already thought of. Maybe you have to start somewhere...

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xxxSoftlingua
Local time: 20:46
Norwegian to English
+ ...
the reason is European and US companies Aug 14, 2005

Infact the reason behind this is...
In India we have more work than europe, even european and US companies outsourcing their work to India and China, because peoples here do maximum labour in mimimum rates...and infact the living cost is too low here...even I have seen many europeans, who are working here at Indian rates, and saving more than, what they can save in their country, still I have many pending application from europe, who want to join Indian companies here...


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:16
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
I see your point... Aug 15, 2005

Softlingua wrote:

Infact the reason behind this is...
In India we have more work than europe, even european and US companies outsourcing their work to India and China, because peoples here do maximum labour in mimimum rates...and infact the living cost is too low here...even I have seen many europeans, who are working here at Indian rates, and saving more than, what they can save in their country, still I have many pending application from europe, who want to join Indian companies here...



But Giovanni meant "tele-working". I could e.g. translate at Polish or Romanian rates in Poland (see my pairs...), but how could I translate at Polish or Romanian rates in Italy where prices are 3 or 5 times higher? I mean, I would have a Polish salary and an Italian rent? Great! Just the opposite of what a sensible person would do.
Maybe a native Italian translator could work and live in India, it makes perfectly sense to me, but not live in Italy and work for India, unless he/she is granted European rates. I guess that could be quite possible, as the end-client might be an European/US company, but hey! where would be their advantage?


Cheers
Paola


[Edited at 2005-08-15 06:59]


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papez  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:16
Dutch to Macedonian
+ ...
low rates Aug 15, 2005

I agree with other proffesionals living in the west-european countries that it is heardly impossible to work for low rates.
there were life is expensive you cannot survive whit to low payments.
Sad is the fact that bureaus, settled in the Netherlands, contacted me and offering me this same low rates even there exists a circulaire wich dicrebes the rates for proffesional translations.
Wenn you live in a cheap country it is easy to say that offered rates are acceptabel.
In the sircumstances such a country :yes.
Having a bureau in one of the western european countries like mentuined, Italy Germany the Netherlands Swedenect: Now, impossible and very uncorrect from there site. I am sure the bureaus themselves earn the reagular rates.
I don't spreak and write the english language so excuse me that
this message is not perfect.
CP


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Lugubert
Local time: 16:16
English to Swedish
+ ...
Net amount Aug 18, 2005

There are two possibilites if you want to minimize your workload:payment quotient.

One is to find customers who don't report to your tax administration. A bit risky, of course, now that bank databases are increasingly made available to govt. agencies.

The other way is to live in a low cost country and work for high pay companies.

I've seriously thought of moving to India, working for Swedish and German agencies (I'm a financial moron, so I don't work directly with end customers).

But currently I'm concentrating on a Chinese project. I suppose we'd be very well off, if we move to her country of origin.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
German to English
+ ...
Net amount Aug 19, 2005

Lugubert wrote:

There are two possibilites if you want to minimize your workload:payment quotient.

One is to find customers who don't report to your tax administration. A bit risky, of course, now that bank databases are increasingly made available to govt. agencies.

The other way is to live in a low cost country and work for high pay companies.


There is a third possibility for those would rather not spend their lives in Outer Mongolia or hiding from the law (or both), namely that of charging professional rates. Too radical?

Marc


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ELC GROUP
Czech Republic
English to Czech
+ ...
low rates? Sep 9, 2005

Hi,

i am curious what is low and what is high rate for you? We for example NEVER send projects to India and all applications coming from it are being deleted. More then that, we also do not work with people based in Latin America (if it is not into Spanish) or in countries like Surinam, etc. In fact I am sure those people applying are good translators, but it is risky and we have a policy that translator must live in their native country. So for example as I can see you are Italian living in UK so in my opinion most of the agencies should not even send projects to you even if your rate is lowest ever. But again, what is a low rate?

Example: our best ES to ENG talents from UK charges ... i can not say how much but it is very low. When we saw her rate we did NOT want to send any projects to her! Nowadays she is our best translator for this language combination.

One day i got a CV in hand - one of those when translator thinks he/she is good because he/she has 25 years experience. Well, i prefer to avoid such people as their knowledge of techlogy as well as topic is very often far from what we need. Anyway, his rate was way above average. I honestly emailed him saying that rate is too high.

He probably did not like it and send me an email saying that since we are in Eastern Europe (I wonder when did Prague become Esatern Europe and where this geographic nonsense is coming from) we can not afford his rates.

I sent him our next project. But i also sent it to our prefered talent. As soon as i got results from him i sent him work done by another person...this person did not reply any more as he could see the difference between his "high rate" work and "low-rate" (again, according to HIM).

To make a long story short - vendors take an average rate based on market rates and what they get from talents. What you think is low can be high for the another qualified talent living in UK. If you think your quality is worth it you will get what you want for it.

But most often you get high rates from those whos work needs triple editing after you receive it back.

Edward


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:16
Member (2004)
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
High rates... Sep 9, 2005

elc group wrote:

Hi,

i am curious what is low and what is high rate for you?


Average rate in Northen Europe. American rates used to be fairly ok, but with the strong euro, not anymore.


we have a policy that translator must live in their native country. So for example as I can see you are Italian living in UK so in my opinion most of the agencies should not even send projects to you even if your rate is lowest ever.



Mmmmm.... this is an old story. There are good translators living in both their native country and abroad. My opinion is that it's easier to keep up with the developments in your mother tongue than with your passive language. Many translators living abroad make a point of keeping themselves up-to-date, but how many translators living in their own country go abroad two or three time a year to refresh their knowledge of the passive language? Not many, in my experience. It's easier to polish up the style of a translation than to retranslate a whole text because of the numerous misunderstandings of the source language. But this is only my opnion.


To make a long story short - vendors take an average rate based on market rates and what they get from talents. What you think is low can be high for the another qualified talent living in UK.


I doubt it very much. The cost of living is not a matter of opinion and in the UK is very high and therefore you have to apply high rates. You just cannot survive on low rates. If your rates are low, you are other improvising or have another job. Then of course, if you are good you can charge even more.


If you think your quality is worth it you will get what you want for it.


Yes, and my clients seem to think I'm worthy it....


But most often you get high rates from those whos work needs triple editing after you receive it back.


Oh dear, then you must have been very unlucky...

Giovanni



[Edited at 2005-09-09 16:09]


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ELC GROUP
Czech Republic
English to Czech
+ ...
low vs. high Sep 9, 2005

[quote]Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:


we have a policy that translator must live in their native country. So for example as I can see you are Italian living in UK so in my opinion most of the agencies should not even send projects to you even if your rate is lowest ever.



Mmmmm.... this is an old story. There are good translators living in both their native country and abroad. My opinion is that it's easier to keep up with the developments in your mother tongue than with your passive language. Many translators living abroad make a point of keeping themselves up-to-date, but how many translators living in their own country go abroad two or three time a year to refresh their knowledge of the passive language? Not many, in my experience. It's easier to polish up the style of a translation than to retranslate a whole text because of the numerous misunderstandings of the source language. But this is only my opnion.


well, in this case you should not be suprised that someone from India sends lower rates. If Italian living in India charges me 0.05 euro instead of 0.12 i think it is because he got the right place for this business:) However, i still do not understand low versus high: good translator can charge low rate, have lots of orders and be fast enough to make 3500 words a day. lets take 0.05 as a low rate. it makes 165 euro a day or about 5000 euro a month (well if working every day). I am not sure what your living standards are, but i doubt that you can make 3500 GBP net doping anything else...for low rates (unless you take full time job somewhere). Anyway, we are too far from where we are. My post was mostly about low vrs. high. I read it often here, but i do not understand what people mean by law, and what do they mean by high rate.

BTW, you will be suprised to know that lots of clients vendors are working for complain about high rates as well. And by the way, UK based clients usually pay lowest rate...very often compare even to eastern European countries! They say that UK based companies charge them this much and when i see prices i think that UK is definetely far from rates you personally consider as high:)

You know why? Because most of the people buying translation work have no idea what is it about. If she/he gets a quote for 1000GBP for a document they think a student can do it for 50GBP or they can do it themselves (they speak the language for example and think it is as easy as to make a breakfast tea).



I doubt it very much. The cost of living is not a matter of opinion and in the UK is very high and therefore you have to apply high rates. You just cannot survive on low rates. If your rates are low, you are other improvising or have another job. Then of course, if you are good you can charge even more.


UK prices are low compare to many other countries. Some people prefer to have stable workflow at lower rates and increase them later. And yes, our best talent living in UK charges "indian rates":)))


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:16
Member (2004)
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
high vs low Sep 10, 2005

elc group wrote:

However, i still do not understand low versus high: good translator can charge low rate, have lots of orders and be fast enough to make 3500 words a day. lets take 0.05 as a low rate. it makes 165 euro a day or about 5000 euro a month (well if working every day). I am not sure what your living standards are, but i doubt that you can make 3500 GBP net doping anything else...for low rates (unless you take full time job somewhere). Anyway, we are too far from where we are. My post was mostly about low vrs. high. I read it often here, but i do not understand what people mean by law, and what do they mean by high rate.



High rate: al least twice as much what you have quoted. Anyway, it's not possible to sustain 3500 words/day all year, so at the end of the day your average monthly income won't be GBP 3500, more likely 2000. If you deduct 20% tax and all the costs (PC, software, dictionaries, trips abroad to keep yourself up-to-date, bills, food and let's not mention the fact that you might have a family and children), you'll find that you'll be left with very little in your pocket or nothing at all. Believe me, if you are charging euro 0.05/word, you won't be able to survive in this country. Although you might be a good translator, you are not conducting your business professionally. Anyway, why kill yourself by working twice as much to earn the same amount of money? Mistery.

Giovanni

[Edited at 2005-09-10 08:44]


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Natacha Gillardeau
Local time: 16:16
English to French
+ ...
how low can we go ?! Sep 16, 2005

elc group wrote:

Hi,

i am curious what is low and what is high rate for you?


What about USD 0.03/word ?!
This is what an Indian translation company was willing to pay me.

I usually don't mind charging low rates (my lowest being actually EUR 0.05) for a good client or a large amount of work, but this is highway robbery !!!!


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