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Interesting letter...
Thread poster: Vanessa Rivera Rivier

Vanessa Rivera Rivier  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 14:17
Italian to English
+ ...
May 25, 2006

Hello everybody! There's something I would like to discuss with you, and I would really appreciate your advice. I've been working on and off with a UK based agency. I've been charging them .05 USD per source word which I think is an extremely good rate.

Today I received this letter from the agency:


"Something else I want to ask you and I am going to be Frank with you.
I love your work , the quality etc....Now flattery aside we are getting more
and more queries for your language pair , but unfortunately for us if we
want to make the most in this competitive world we have to lower our prices
to client.

At the moment our contract with you is for USD 0.05 which is indeed a good
rate but then again we recently also found other suppliers in your country
and the average rate for your language has been USD 0.03-It makes quite a
difference.

Now do not get me wrong, I do not won't to undermine your ability, far from
it , but I am just telling you the reality of this business.

If I have to continue working with you on a regular basis, I have to ask you
to consider lowering your current rate. If you do this , we both have to
gain, although it might seem little in the end you shall see that you have
far more to gain because there will be an increase in actual work and sales
for both parties.

I currently have a job from Italian to English and as usual you are my first
choice and same as for Chrys but then I have now to consider the economics ,
which I know sucks , but this is business as you know.

I really want you to think carefully about what I am saying to you and
consider and let me know your thoughts."


Now I really hate to say no to an agency, because God knows sometimes work is hard to come by and I don't want to close any doors, but it this normal? I'm from Puerto Rico and I've never heard of people who charge 0.03 per source word here.

What should I do? Should I keep working for them and make some other demands (i.e. instead of being paid within 30 days, maybe 15?). Or should I just stop working for them completely?

I would really appreciate your advice.

Thank you,


Vanessa


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gad
United States
Local time: 14:17
Member
French to English
It's up to you May 25, 2006

But I think most fellow translators would say not to lower your rates. Your rates are already low enough. If anything, you should eventually RAISE your rates.

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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:17
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
False claims May 25, 2006

"If you do this, we both have to gain, although it might seem little in the end you shall see that you have far more to gain because there will be an increase in actual work and sales for both parties."

You will have to work 67% harder just to earn the same money as before! I think it is evident that your customer is misrepresenting the situation. That's just one more reason to decline his/her proposition.

The main reason, of course, is that if you provide translation quality worth 5cents or more (and it certainly appears that you do), then why ever settle for less?

Cheers


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Of course it's up to you May 25, 2006

If you have enjoyed being exploited at $0.05 per word then will you enjoy being a slave at $0.03 per word?

It's up to you...

That "agency" is not worth another thought, they are totally tacky. Do what you must to make a living, but I hope you (and everyone else here) can have the courage to put such people where they belong, in the street.

Then when they have no one to exploit, they cannot exist.


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 11:17
English to French
+ ...
Begs the question... May 25, 2006

They say they found vendors in your country that are willing to work for half your rates -give or take- so why are they still contacting you?

Why the emphasis on your country anyway?

Also, someone will have to explain to me why we are the only industry expected to lower its rates? I see prices going up, usually, so why should ours go down? If anything, we should all raise our rates on a regular basis based on the cost of living or similar indexes.

My two cents


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:17
Telling you the reality of the business? May 25, 2006

They've got some nerve!
I would actually tell them I am raising my rate. If they go away, it would probably not be a great loss but, as the other colleagues said, it is up to you!

[Edited at 2006-05-25 13:28]


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 14:17
German to English
Find a new customer May 25, 2006

Whether people from Puerto Rico like it or not, they're Americans. You deserve to be paid US wages. Shame on them for suggesting that you lower from .05 per word! They're already getting away with murder.
Kevin


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Larissa Dinsley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:17
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
UK rates May 25, 2006

Why don't you quote minimum UK rates for their information which is USD 0.11 in your language pair?

I have also checked statistics for Spanish-English in Puerto Rico which appears to be USD 0.06 - minimum.

It is the tone of the letter which really amazes me.


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:17
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Drop them! May 25, 2006

That's one of the cheekiest, most unprofessional letters I've seen in a while. And they have the gall to call themselves an agency?
A pat on the back, gee you're great... but I'd like you even better if you were cheaper. What??
To be honest, I think a nickel a word is NOT a very good rate by any standards - particularly for a UK agency! I would send them a one-word answer: "NO!"
Catherine

PS: Changing the terms of payment won't make any difference. Next month they'll be back at you saying "we love your work... but we want to extend payment to 90 days". These folks have already demonstrated that they have not problems changing the terms of an agreement!

[Edited at 2006-05-25 05:55]


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Dees  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:17
English to French
+ ...
Agree May 25, 2006

Exactly!

cbolton wrote:

Drop them!


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:17
English to German
+ ...
Stick to your prices... May 25, 2006

...and if anything, raise them - 5 cents is bad enough.


Now I really hate to say no to an agency, because God knows sometimes work is hard to come by and I don't want to close any doors,

The reality is that sometimes you have to say no - and to me, this sounds like an excellent opportunity to practise that skill.

(Note that I outsource myself, on a pretty serious scale.)

Best regards,
Ralf


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Ana Cuesta  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:17
Member
English to Spanish
They are taking you for a ride (or trying to) May 25, 2006

First, I agree with others that UK prices start at about double that rate, even for your pairs (and I am talking from personal experience). Secondly, sure they can get cheaper translators but the real point is can they get the same quality you provide them with only cheaper? If their only concern is price, hey, babelfish is free! Finally, the tone of the letter is, I find, quite frankly unacceptable - they pretend to be friendly but in fact are utterly condescendent and un-professional (or un-businesslike, if they would understand that term better

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Nicole Maina  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:17
Member (2005)
German to Italian
+ ...
it's amazing... May 25, 2006

...how this kind of people always try to convince you that working longer hours for less money is far better than working less for more money!!

as everyone else is suggesting, I'd raise my rate.

good luck!


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Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:17
Member (2004)
Italian to English
What nerve- May 25, 2006

I can only reiterate everyone else's comments. And to think they are talking about dollars! 5 Euro cents is low, but 5 pennies is frankly peanuts. And they're a UK based agency! Not to mention the totally unprofessional and inappropriate language in the letter.

Jennifer


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Vauwe
Local time: 20:17
English to German
+ ...
Make you offer May 25, 2006

Hallo Vanessa,

before I became a freelancer I sat on the other side of the desk in an agency. I know, from time to time agencies tend to try lowering the prices. In order to avoid to say no and spoil possible opportunities - which is your greatest fear, I think - you could politely tell the agency that you know exactly the market situation and the prices in your country etc etc, but that you will reconsider your rate for great volumes. If they send you more than say 400000 words a year (must be a great number that they can't reach) then you would reconsider your rates. This forces them to show if they really stick to their word and increase the volume, you gain another year, you have to time find other customers, you are not in the situation to say simply yes or no, and they are now in the role to react to your offer.

Best luck


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