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Reducing rates
Thread poster: Gianluigi Desogus, PhD

Gianluigi Desogus, PhD  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:05
English to Italian
+ ...
Nov 8, 2005

Hello everyone,

I just received a reply from an agency I contacted some time ago in which they asked me to revise my rates downwards so that they could envisage the possibility of future collaboration.

Fortunately, even though I started out only recently, I am busy enough not to give in to this kind of "psycho-financial" pressure. I was just wondering if people with more years of freelancing under their belt are also experiencing these requests or if it was a trick they tried to pull off on somebody like me who's relatively new to the freelance world.

Cheers everybody,

Gigi


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:05
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
My rates are increasing Nov 8, 2005

Hello Gianluigi,

I am at the moment in the process of successfully increasing my rates. However, you do have to have work, and lots of it, in order to be able to do that. Theoretically, anyone could demand more, but in practice you will not be able to do it unless you have too much work, and then charging more will slightly reduce the demand. However, if you are starting out, or do not have enough work, you will automatically accept work at lower rates - you can't help it. Nevertheless, you should start out with a well-researched minimum price (that appears to be average) and stick to it. If, once you do that, people contact you and ask you to revise your rates downwards, write back and suggest that you are not the right translator for them. Certainly, if your rates are average, you should be able to find people who will pay you them, and not have to work for nothing in order to get work.

Astrid


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:05
Member (2002)
English to German
Discounts Nov 8, 2005

Hi Gianluigi,

This is very common in the industry. Some months ago I stopped working for a Top 10 agency (based on their revenue) because they asked me to lower my rates. They did this after we had been working together successfully for quite a few years and tried to get a discount of 40% claiming "the other translators" were doing it for that rate.
I told them to extend their collaboration with "the other translators"...

Take care

Andy
www.interlations.com


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Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
What greed Nov 8, 2005

Andy Lemminger wrote:

Hi Gianluigi,

This is very common in the industry. Some months ago I stopped working for a Top 10 agency (based on their revenue) because they asked me to lower my rates. They did this after we had been working together successfully for quite a few years and tried to get a discount of 40% claiming "the other translators" were doing it for that rate.
I told them to extend their collaboration with "the other translators"...

Take care

Andy
www.interlations.com




They aren't happy with their success and want to squeeze the people who are enabling it. What they deserve is an answer that "encourages further collaboration" by "increasing the rates", that claims that "the other agencies" are paying that rate.


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Gianluigi Desogus, PhD  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:05
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
current recession Nov 8, 2005

That's exactly the strategy they tried with me, reasons being the current economic recession, fierce and increasing competition and a general trend towards reducing rates that is apparently affecting the translation market.
They claim to be working with translators who have SIGNIFICANTLY reduced their rates, in return providing them with a reasoble constant flow of work...

Anyway, I didn't buckle and hope nobody else will!


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Arturo Delgado  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:05
English to Spanish
Lower for more Nov 8, 2005

If, as you say, you are busy enough and practically don't need them (or losing them won't hurt you), and if you know they are happy with your work, maybe you can tell them that you can certainly offer a lower rate for bigger projects. Let's say they usually give you projects of 4,000 words; tell them you can give a lower rate for projects of over 10,000 words (just an example). Also, you can tell them that you can lower your rates (x word, I am assuming) if they can guarantee a minimum number of words/projects per week/month.
Buena suerte.


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:05
Member (2005)
French to German
+ ...
Note the wording Nov 8, 2005

Gianluigi Desogus, PhD wrote:

they asked me to revise my rates downwards so that they could envisage the possibility of future collaboration.


Note that they didn't say they'd actually offer collaboration, i.e., a specific job. They only envisage the possibility of future collaboration.

"We might have a job at some future time, and we might even offer it to you if it fits your profile then. Provided you lower your prices right now."

Well, it seems to work, sometimes. Or the agencies wouldn't do it.

P.


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:05
German to English
+ ...
Reminds me... Nov 8, 2005

of a tongue-in-cheek remark I heard once: "I lose a little on every project, but the volume makes up for it."

I see no reason for lowering prices, especially not on the promise of getting more work!! Stick to your guns and you will eventually earn the clients' respect. If they liked your quality, they'll be back, though it may take a while. Happened to me.

P.S. I just realized that you hadn't worked for the co. in question before. Well, don't start. It's not easy to raise your rates after they've become comfortable with your low rates.

[Edited at 2005-11-08 22:42]


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Carolina Mendez  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Market research Nov 8, 2005

Hi
I do not lower my rates. If the client wants to pay less, then it should research the market and contract a translator they can afford.
Carolina
www.carolinamendez.com


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 17:05
French to Dutch
+ ...
My opinion Nov 9, 2005

Peter Bouillon wrote:

Gianluigi Desogus, PhD wrote:

they asked me to revise my rates downwards so that they could envisage the possibility of future collaboration.


Note that they didn't say they'd actually offer collaboration, i.e., a specific job. They only envisage the possibility of future collaboration.

"We might have a job at some future time, and we might even offer it to you if it fits your profile then. Provided you lower your prices right now."

Well, it seems to work, sometimes. Or the agencies wouldn't do it.

P.

It looks like they haven't any work. Be careful and look out immediately for other clients.


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Timothy Barton
Local time: 18:05
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Inflation, not deflation Nov 9, 2005

Rates should only ever go up. We must not give in to this kind of blackmail.

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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:05
English to German
+ ...
Agree absolutely! Nov 9, 2005

Trudy Peters wrote:

Stick to your guns and you will eventually earn the clients' respect. If they liked your quality, they'll be back, though it may take a while. Happened to me.


I've made the same experience. Just let them try out the "other translators who are willing to work for less".

Most likely, they will then find that for crappy rates they will get only crappy translations which, maybe, will lead to the loss of clients and, thus, "cheap" will turn out expensive for them over the time.,

You don't have to do anything - just wait. It may take some time, as Trudy says. Quality pays in the end, and most people rercognize it sooner or later.


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:05
No way Jose... Nov 9, 2005

Arturo Delgado wrote:

... maybe you can tell them that you can certainly offer a lower rate for bigger projects. Let's say they usually give you projects of 4,000 words; tell them you can give a lower rate for projects of over 10,000 words (just an example). Also, you can tell them that you can lower your rates (x word, I am assuming) if they can guarantee a minimum number of words/projects per week/month.
Buena suerte.


IMHO, I would not do things this way. I recently posted the illogical logic of discounts for volume in another thread. In short, by the time they offer you 90,000 words to translate, you will have to end up paying them to work!!!

If you have a steady client who once or twice requests a discount based on very specific project conditions, I would definitively look into it.

However, if an agency initiates contact or talks about possibilities of collaboration by requesting you lower your rates, I would just say "thanks, but no thanks". I have lost a few clients who have found cheaper translators than me; they are happy, and I am happy too, since I have replaced them with clients that pay the rate I request.


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