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Article regarding company requested rates reduction.
Thread poster: DOUBLE A EN<>ES

DOUBLE A EN<>ES

English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 14, 2002

From Translators Tips:

----------------------------





Has TheBigWord become 2Big4itsBoots?

***********************************



Attempt to Reduce Rates

-----------------------



TheBigWord (a.k.a. Link-Up Mitaka) has sent out two emails recently. One to translators that they already use and another to

translators who have applied for work but not yet received any.



The emails are essentially the same in that they state that thebigword clients are negotiating hard, resulting in rate

reductions of around 15%. They say that this is an industry-wide issue...



\"However, the market for translation is tightening and we are experiencing real pressure on our prices, experiencing reductions in the region of 15%. Customers

are negotiating very hard before placing work with us and we believe this situation is not just for thebigword but

is industry-wide. In order to ensure our continued competitiveness we are expecting you to reduce your prices also.



We hold our translators in the highest regard and recognise their immense contribution to the success of

thebigword.\"

---

So why this insulting and

patronising email then?

---

\"We would like to carry on the good working

relationship already existing between thebigword and its

suppliers. We will only be able to do so if our suppliers

(this means you) accept to reduce their rates.\"

---

Thank you for clarifying

that this means US. I was

confused about what you

meant by supplier, coz I\'m

only an idiot translator!!!

---



\"As from July 1st 2002, with immediate effect, we expect

our translation suppliers to reduce their rates

significantly. As you know thebigword is regarded as

highly professional and pay their suppliers on time. I

hope that you will continue to be part of thebigword and

I look forward to our future relationship.\"



So, cut your rates or we won\'t use you any more. They even give

us a hint about how much to cut them by at the top of the email.

How nice of them.



For translators who have applied and not yet received work, the

strategy is...



\"Our records show that we have not have used your

services so far and a reduction in your rates might be an

opportunity to develop further a working relationship

with thebigword. \"





So they\'re playing off the existing translators against the

others that they have in their records. It\'s like a blind

auction.



Cost Reduction Ensures Survival

-------------------------------

Don\'t misunderstand me. I have nothing against the idea of a

company reducing its costs.



What I do not like here is the thinly disguised contempt in the

tone of the email.



\"thebigword, one of Europe\'s largest Language Management

companies, has been chosen by over half of the FTSE 100

for translations between 115 languages. This is due to

exceptional responsiveness and quality. We continue to

grow our business and secure major new contracts with

some of the largest companies in the world.\"





A Few Questions to Consider

---------------------------



Will their \'responsiveness and quality\' be assured or improved by

these new measures?

I think not.



Will the relationships with translators be strengthened and

improved by this?

I think not. If they hold translators \'in the highest regard\'

they\'ll not accept contracts for which they cannot pay proper

rates.



If they are continuing to grow and secure new contracts, why

can\'t they afford to dump the clients which are not so

profitable?

Turnover without profit is a drain on resources.



\"Turnover is vanity

Profit is sanity\"



I saw that on the back of a truck last week. And it\'s really

true.



Why not just dump the unprofitable clients? Since they\'re

obviously planning to dump the less profitable suppliers.



Or are they so driven by greed, that the possibility of turning

down work is unattractive?

I can\'t answer that as it calls for speculation





What Can You Do?

---------------



Easy one. If thebigword is \'yourbestclient\', you\'ll probably have

to go along with this scheme until you can get yourself some

other clients.



If thebigword is \'oneofmanyclients\', I suggest that you resist

any price reductions and see what they do. If you don\'t get any

more work from them, don\'t fret. Just find another client who\'s

willing to pay you what you\'re worth.



If thebigword is \'notyetaclient\', just forget them until they

contact you with a project. When they do, ask for your normal

rates. If they don\'t want to pay them - goodbye!





Resist Rates Erosion

--------------------



Resist rates erosion. If everybody does, this attempt to squeeze

suppliers will fail, and they\'ll have to pay you what you\'re

worth.



Never forget that you are your own boss and you can accept or

refuse any project at any price, at any time. From discussion

with agency owners I have been amazed that many translators out

there ask agencies...



\"How much do you pay?\"



You should set your own rates, not allow yourself to be dictated

to by the client (but by all means negotiate).





What Shouldn\'t You Do?

---------------------



If you received the email from thebigword and you are offended by

it, just don\'t even bother to reply to them. Anything you might

say would just not be worth your time. If you must reply, a

polite comment that you are not interested in lowering your rates

might help them get the message.







Other Information about thebigword.com

--------------------------------------



On review of the activities of this company on the web, their

reputation as friendly, professional and paying on time is not in

question. I have not seen negative comments about them except in

regard to the email requesting rate reductions.



thebigword have posted many large jobs on Proz in the last year

or so (including two in June). So they are obviously getting in

plenty of work and also looking for new translators.





What The Translator Community Thinks

------------------------------------



Here are some sentiments about this situation that I have found

by translators in various discussion forums and personal

correspondence...



\"It\'s the only agency I\'ve received this kind of message

from\"



\"I\'m happy with my rates the way they are and I\'m not

considering lowering them at the moment\"



\"There are other language businesses out there that do

pay on time, every time and honour the translators Terms

of Business, who do hold their translators in very high

regard as they are well aware that without you, they do

not have a business. They are fully aware that you do

have a Choice\"



\"Once you show me audited accounts showing that you and

your colleagues have cut your salaries by 15% I will

reduce my fees accordingly\"



That last one is my favourite potential response. It makes the

point rather well, I think, although it may be too \'in yer face\'

to actually use on a client.



Finally, we have some feedback from a project manager at

thebigword regarding their policy...





What a PM from thebigword sent to a translator...

----------------------------------------------



\"PS Just a few comments as regards rates: there is a

general company drive towards lowering costs, which is

why our translators were contacted and asked to reduce

their rates. There will be no blacklisting of anyone

whose rates are high and/or remain unchanged, and

individual project managers may still not have a problem

in using such people where they feel they are right for

the job. However, we will be encouraged more and more to

approach the cheaper translators where we have that

option.\"



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José Luis Villanueva-Senchuk  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 10:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thank you, Rick Aug 15, 2002

Rick,



Eye opener to say the least...



Ciao,



JL


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Merjah
Local time: 15:41
thelowrate Feb 13, 2011

Would you believe that 9 years later, they are still using the same phrases, the same patronizing wording. And reducing rates every two months..only this time, I think I've had it. I can earn the same money working at the local supermarket. Though it's not easy to make that decision...

Bye,
Merjah


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:41
English to Portuguese
+ ...
One way to rationalize such generalization Feb 14, 2011

However, the market for translation is tightening and we are experiencing real pressure on our prices, experiencing reductions in the region of 15%. Customers are negotiating very hard before placing work with us and we believe this situation is not just for thebigword but is industry-wide. In order to ensure our continued competitiveness we are expecting you to reduce your prices also.


This generalization would indeed be justified if - and only if - this agency (I never worked for them) specialized in overly cheap, low quality translation services.

Let's define my terms here... I consider it cheap if both the rates charged from clients and those paid to translators are half or less of the average market rates for the language pair at hand, regardless of the complexity of the job. I draw the line for low quality if they deliver something generally 'just as bad' or worse than state-of-the-art free online automatic translation.

Therefore, if this agency caters exclusively to a bargain-hunting, quality-careless clientele, they are under the alleged pressure for either lowering prices or getting replaced by machine translation. On the other hand, in the market for high quality and specialized translations, rates have been keeping up.

This agency most likely will succeed in performing a cleanup, getting rid of all the high-quality professionals that ever worked for them, so they won't waste their time and talent with the bottom-feeding end-clients they have now. All they have to do is to stay one step ahead of automatic translation.

I don't know whether they want it or not, but - the whole case being seen from a distance - this seems to be the direction they are headed to.


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Jacqueline Sieben  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:41
Dutch to English
+ ...
Only rush jobs are adequately paid... Feb 14, 2011

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

However, the market for translation is tightening and we are experiencing real pressure on our prices, experiencing reductions in the region of 15%. Customers are negotiating very hard before placing work with us and we believe this situation is not just for thebigword but is industry-wide. In order to ensure our continued competitiveness we are expecting you to reduce your prices also.


This generalization would indeed be justified if - and only if - this agency (I never worked for them) specialized in overly cheap, low quality translation services.

Let's define my terms here... I consider it cheap if both the rates charged from clients and those paid to translators are half or less of the average market rates for the language pair at hand, regardless of the complexity of the job. I draw the line for low quality if they deliver something generally 'just as bad' or worse than state-of-the-art free online automatic translation.

Therefore, if this agency caters exclusively to a bargain-hunting, quality-careless clientele, they are under the alleged pressure for either lowering prices or getting replaced by machine translation. On the other hand, in the market for high quality and specialized translations, rates have been keeping up.

This agency most likely will succeed in performing a cleanup, getting rid of all the high-quality professionals that ever worked for them, so they won't waste their time and talent with the bottom-feeding end-clients they have now. All they have to do is to stay one step ahead of automatic translation.

I don't know whether they want it or not, but - the whole case being seen from a distance - this seems to be the direction they are headed to.


I fully agree José. I have only accepted one rush job last November, which came in Friday evening (CET) and involved extensive editing over the weekend. My hourly rate of €45.00 was accepted in this case. Other job offers are not worth my time in view of the low rates.


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Adam Jarczyk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:41
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
I declined their offer for cooperation as well... Feb 14, 2011

...after they were very interested in adding my experience to their pool of suppliers, yet wanted to pay approx. half of my rate for specialized assignments.

But it seems that the community at large is so desperate that they can actually find people to work for their rates, who are even ready to accept another cut now, as it looks, and still are happily available to work out their sometimes quite specialized linguistic demands.

As long as there will be willing suppliers, the downward spiral won't stop...

Adam


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:41
French to German
+ ...
Would you believe...? (#2) Feb 14, 2011

Merjah wrote:

Would you believe that 9 years later, they are still using the same phrases, the same patronizing wording. And reducing rates every two months..only this time, I think I've had it. I can earn the same money working at the local supermarket. Though it's not easy to make that decision...

Bye,
Merjah


Would you believe that some other bigger LSP's have jumped in the bandwagon and "demand" reduced rates with nearly the same arguments?

It seems that the crisis in question has now lasted for more than 30 years, back to the mid-70's.

I cannot recall one year in my adult life in which the word crisis was not used in Europe (Germany and France AFAIAC) to describe this ism and that ism, to justify precariousness, low wages and so on. To me, it has become some kind of religious belief.


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