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Low rates bad for your business, our industry.
Thread poster: PJ Costello
PJ Costello
Local time: 08:27
Dutch to English
Feb 24, 2006

I've noticed several ads on this site where where prospective clients insist on (offer) payments as low as .03 per word. I would suggest to all of you that accepting such low rates is a bad idea. It starts a trend toward lowering prices in general, and, as if that were not bad enough, since when do customers set prices for those who offer products and/or services? Can you walk into a grocery store and insist on paying only half the marked price? Let the laws of supply and demand work, but don't let them be manipulated. I wouldn't accept anything less than .07 per word unless it was a huge project (a novel, for example) with some hope of residual income after the initial project is complete.
If we drop our drawers for people...you know what will happen.

Just my .03 cents worth.

PJC


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:57
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
It is terrible, but there is little we can do about it, except... Feb 24, 2006

It is terrible, but there is little we can do about it, except maintain a very high quality and professionalism in our work. That is what will make a 10 cent translator stand out from a 3 cent translator.

Outsources will soon discover this difference, and after having burnt their fingers with the 3 cent translators will gravitate towards the 10 cent ones.

And the wiser of the 3 cent translators will soon learn that they are worth much more (if they are really good) and move up the value chain to the 10 cent or more levels. Those that are not good enough, will find new jobs drying up and soon go out of business.

The same thing happened in softwares too. When India started software development ten or twenty years ago, programmers were available very cheap. They flooded the software companies of USA and were derided as mere cyber coolies. Soon many of these programmers realized that they are worth much more. Many of them set up their own software companies. Today Indian software professionals are the highest paid in the world. They have made many path-breaking inventions in computer technology, including the development of the Pentium Chip. Few would know that its designer is an Indian.

It may not be possible to replicate the software programmer's experience in translation, for while software programmers require to be highly qualified and experienced to set up shop, any Ram, Rahim or Reynolds can pick up a pen and start translating.

But this is the only option available.

[Edited at 2006-02-24 07:15]


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:27
French to German
+ ...
This has come up before... Feb 24, 2006

PJ Costello wrote:
I've noticed several ads on this site where where prospective clients insist on (offer) payments as low as .03 per word.


Well this has come up in the fora before... one might even say that this subject comes up with disheartening frequency.

P.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:27
German to English
+ ...
Low rates bad for your business, our industry. Feb 24, 2006

PJ Costello wrote:

Let the laws of supply and demand work, but don't let them be manipulated.


Why not? You can manipulate them in your favour, too. This is called "marketing".

Marc


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oscar mojon saa  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:27
French to Spanish
+ ...
Two different markets, two different clients Feb 24, 2006

I think the most interesting projects go to translators who charge over 0.1 euro/word. Simply because the customer doesn't trust a professional who claims to deliver a good product by 0.03 euro/word.

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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 07:27
As they say "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" Feb 24, 2006

You get what you pay for, in other words. I'm not going to burst my guts slaving away on a 3c job (not that I could live on that anyway) than i would for a 10c (+) one ... why should I?

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:27
Flemish to English
+ ...
Niche language Feb 24, 2006

Unlike the saturated English to Spanish (and vice-versa) market, Dutch is a niche language.
For non-natives, it is not so easy to learn and master.
So why lower your rates for that combination (Dutch>English)?
If no one accepts low rates, rates are bound to remain stable or go up.
By the way, 0.07 eurocents p.w. is a rate I got in 1988, only to find out to my surprise and too late that in the US end of the 90-ies the going rate was 0.15-0.18$ p.w. Shortly after the rate went down a bit and the dollar plummeted.


[Edited at 2006-02-24 10:28]


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PJ Costello
Local time: 08:27
Dutch to English
TOPIC STARTER
Perhaps... Feb 24, 2006

Balasubramaniam wrote:

It is terrible, but there is little we can do about it, except maintain a very high quality and professionalism in our work. That is what will make a 10 cent translator stand out from a 3 cent translator.

Outsources will soon discover this difference, and after having burnt their fingers with the 3 cent translators will gravitate towards the 10 cent ones.

And the wiser of the 3 cent translators will soon learn that they are worth much more (if they are really good) and move up the value chain to the 10 cent or more levels. Those that are not good enough, will find new jobs drying up and soon go out of business.

The same thing happened in softwares too. When India started software development ten or twenty years ago, programmers were available very cheap. They flooded the software companies of USA and were derided as mere cyber coolies. Soon many of these programmers realized that they are worth much more. Many of them set up their own software companies. Today Indian software professionals are the highest paid in the world. They have made many path-breaking inventions in computer technology, including the development of the Pentium Chip. Few would know that its designer is an Indian.

It may not be possible to replicate the software programmer's experience in translation, for while software programmers require to be highly qualified and experienced to set up shop, any Ram, Rahim or Reynolds can pick up a pen and start translating.

But this is the only option available.

[Edited at 2006-02-24 07:15]




Must we post inside the quote box?

Anyway, I'd like to see people refusing to respond to the low rates. The more of us that do, the more likely the situation will change for the better, sooner. imo


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PJ Costello
Local time: 08:27
Dutch to English
TOPIC STARTER
I don't like dead horses either Feb 24, 2006

Peter Bouillon wrote:

PJ Costello wrote:
I've noticed several ads on this site where where prospective clients insist on (offer) payments as low as .03 per word.


Well this has come up in the fora before... one might even say that this subject comes up with disheartening frequency.

P.




Sorry. I did post before reading through the forum. Nevertheless, the conversations thus far haven't suggested a solution. Maybe we (or some of us) can come to an agreement here. I, for one, won't touch these lower rates unless they meet the reasonable criteria I suggested earlier.


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PJ Costello
Local time: 08:27
Dutch to English
TOPIC STARTER
Not quite Feb 24, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:

PJ Costello wrote:

Let the laws of supply and demand work, but don't let them be manipulated.


Why not? You can manipulate them in your favour, too. This is called "marketing".

Marc



I think marketing is a necessary reaction to a pre-existing set of conditions (getting your share of demand), and fits perfectly into a (competitive) free-market economy. It's a bit different, in principle, than trying to force rates down during times of reasonable demand.


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PJ Costello
Local time: 08:27
Dutch to English
TOPIC STARTER
You shoudn't... Feb 24, 2006

Orla Ryan wrote:

You get what you pay for, in other words. I'm not going to burst my guts slaving away on a 3c job (not that I could live on that anyway) than i would for a 10c (+) one ... why should I?



Glad to see others feel this way.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:27
English to German
+ ...
On quoting, and previous discussions Feb 24, 2006

Hi PJ,

Must we post inside the quote box?

No, but it's a useful function (see the Forum FAQ for details) that allows you to refer to specific parts of a posting (rather than repeating it in full), and to several postings at the same time.

Anyway, I'd like to see people refusing to respond to the low rates. The more of us that do, the more likely the situation will change for the better, sooner. imo

No objection. However, you may want to review previous discussions on the very same issue. We have discussed this topic ad nauseam, TBH...

Best regards,
Ralf


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PJ Costello
Local time: 08:27
Dutch to English
TOPIC STARTER
.07 not for everybody Feb 24, 2006

Williamson wrote:

Unlike the saturated English to Spanish (and vice-versa) market, Dutch is a niche language.
For non-natives, it is not so easy to learn and master.
So why lower your rates for that combination (Dutch>English)?
If no one accepts low rates, rates are bound to remain stable or go up.
By the way, 0.07 eurocents p.w. is a rate I got in 1988, only to find out to my surprise and too late that in the US end of the 90-ies the going rate was 0.15-0.18$ p.w. Shortly after the rate went down a bit and the dollar plummeted.


[Edited at 2006-02-24 10:28]



.07/.08 minimum are rates I charge to agencies or others who provide significant amounts of business. .10-.15 is suitable for private individuals and/or companies whose translating needs are very limited. These are the general guidelines I follow.
For work where one must actually create, from scratch, the rates are .25 p/w and up. (feature articles for magazines, etc)


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PJ Costello
Local time: 08:27
Dutch to English
TOPIC STARTER
Sorry for making you sick... Feb 24, 2006

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Hi PJ,

Must we post inside the quote box?

No, but it's a useful function (see the Forum FAQ for details) that allows you to refer to specific parts of a posting (rather than repeating it in full), and to several postings at the same time.

Anyway, I'd like to see people refusing to respond to the low rates. The more of us that do, the more likely the situation will change for the better, sooner. imo

No objection. However, you may want to review previous discussions on the very same issue. We have discussed this topic ad nauseam, TBH...

Best regards,
Ralf




...I usually save that particular talent for my wife! (and she hasn't dumped me yet)


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PJ Costello
Local time: 08:27
Dutch to English
TOPIC STARTER
A quick after-thought Feb 24, 2006

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Hi PJ,

Must we post inside the quote box?

No, but it's a useful function (see the Forum FAQ for details) that allows you to refer to specific parts of a posting (rather than repeating it in full), and to several postings at the same time.

Anyway, I'd like to see people refusing to respond to the low rates. The more of us that do, the more likely the situation will change for the better, sooner. imo

No objection. However, you may want to review previous discussions on the very same issue. We have discussed this topic ad nauseam, TBH...

Best regards,
Ralf


Should someone named Ralf be using terms like " ad nauseam?

(big smile)


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