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What do They Mean by "Best Rate"?
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:24
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 6, 2006

I just got contacted by an agency through my profile regarding a small (and specialized) translation project (around 3000 words).
They requested my resume, references, and my "best rate".
Now, I have one and only rate which I rarely lower. However, even if I did have a "best rate" (whatever that is), why should I offer it to this company with whom I do not have a working relationship? In other words, on what grounds does this company justify asking me for my "best rate"?
I have responded to them saying that my normal rate is .12/word, but my "best rate" (best rate I ever received) is .25/word and I would be happy to work for them at that rate.

Of course, I was being sarcastic. I know that what they mean is - how cheap am I willing to sell myself and how desperate am I for work. Otherwise, why insert this little phrase? If I wanted to work for a company would I not offer them my "best rate" as a matter of course?


[Edited at 2006-11-06 14:55]


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 21:24
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
I always wonder, too.. Nov 6, 2006

TampaTranslator wrote:
Now, I have one and only rate which I rarely lower. However, even if I did have a "best rate" (whatever that is), why should I offer it to this company with whom I do not have a working relationship? In other words, on what grounds does this company justify asking me for my "best rate"?


This is the phrase which always makes me wonder, and I believe your reply to them was perfect. Why on earth you, me or anyone have to propose our "best rates" to a totally unknown client?

I believe the formula is a polite way to say: "We want a cheap translator", nothing more. It's about a year ago when I stopped to response to job proposals containing the `your best rates' expression.


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:24
German to English
+ ...
mindless twaddle Nov 6, 2006

IMHO this 'please quote your best rate' is a mindless and mildly insulting way of asking you to give the potential client a special price. Aside from your interpretation (a good test of whether the client has a sense of humour...), asking for your 'best rate' up front logically precludes any possilbility of negotiating the rate, since you've already made your best offer. All in all, it hardly seems like a desirable approach.

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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:24
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
How devishly witty Nov 6, 2006

I love it!. Please let us know what they say.

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Ebru Kopf  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 21:24
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Your question exists for most of us Nov 6, 2006

I ask the same question to my friends and collegues who I am in touch and we have no answer to this also, but, by the way, I liked your best rate answer to the client, why didn't I think of that? I also think like Kirill says, shortly they want " a cheap translator, quality is not a matter"...
Seriously, it happens to me all the time. My classic answers are; if the client is new, subject specialized, urgent, less than 5.000 words than I directly give my real rate w/o negotiation. But if the client is one of regular, and word count is above 10.000 than I do give a so called "best rate". This is a topic which we can continue to discuss days and days actually. Thanks for bringing up, its a good topic.


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:24
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Best Rates euphemistic for bottom price Nov 6, 2006

Kirill Semenov wrote:
I believe the formula is a polite way to say: "We want a cheap translator", nothing more.
Yep!
Are there any other euphemistic expressions for "we will definitely choose the cheapest translator".
In German you will find also "Kollegenpreis" which does NOT mean "we will pay you like a good colleague". But see above So we have to take that with a pinch of salt...
Steffi


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ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:24
German to English
+ ...
Whew! Nov 6, 2006

What a relief to see that I'm not the only one who is baffled by the "best rate" business.

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
German to English
+ ...
It's a good signal Nov 6, 2006

for job offers to avoid!

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
formulaic Nov 6, 2006

TampaTranslator wrote:

I just got contacted by an agency through my profile regarding a small (and specialized) translation project (around 3000 words).
They requested my resume, references, and my "best rate".
Now, I have one and only rate which I rarely lower. However, even if I did have a "best rate" (whatever that is), why should I offer it to this company with whom I do not have a working relationship? In other words, on what grounds does this company justify asking me for my "best rate"?
I have responded to them saying that my normal rate is .12/word, but my "best rate" (best rate I ever received) is .25/word and I would be happy to work for them at that rate.

Of course, I was being sarcastic. I know that what they mean is - how cheap am I willing to sell myself and how desperate am I for work. Otherwise, why insert this little phrase? If I wanted to work for a company would I not offer them my "best rate" as a matter of course?


[Edited at 2006-11-06 14:55]


This is quite a formulaic expression. I think that other elements in their request would have to be read together with this expression in order to decide whether they were simply looking for a 'cheap' translation and would ignore other matters such as qualifications or references.


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Clara Duarte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Translators have a sense of humour! :D Nov 6, 2006

I make fun of this expression on my tagline. It reads "Ever better quality at the best rates". If a client wants quality, the client must accept the rules of the game. Wants a cheaper rate? Go look somewhere else because there might be someone out there willing to work (almost) for free.

I used to give such good rates, I ended up working literally for free!

When I ask for collaborators on a potential job I never ask them for their best rates. I ask them for their price ranges, which is something totally different. I wouldn't like to be asked my best rate either.


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xxxmeriatra
German to English
+ ...
again and again and again Nov 6, 2006

And yet another job poster asking for 'the best rate':

"Please let me know your best rate with delivery time for these 2 documents."

And so far four people obviously do have a 'best rate' to offer...


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:24
English to French
+ ...
They mean they don't want to pay standard industry rates Nov 6, 2006

In other words, they are looking for freelancers on sale.

Buy two - get one FREE!

For a limited time, get a bonus TM!



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Rita Bilancio  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:24
English to Italian
+ ...
it reminds me of my old job. Nov 6, 2006

I used to see these two words every day!
It seems they don't trust us, so why should we trust them?


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Rahi Moosavi  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:24
Member (2004)
Farsi (Persian) to English
+ ...
another side to the story Nov 7, 2006

I don't want to undermine any of things you guys have said but as a translator with previous international commercial experience, I do not find that "best rate" scheme that much offending. Say you want to buy a car or simply get a broadband connection for your home. Wouldn't you seek the "best deal" you could get? and wouldn't you choose the company that offers the "best rate" from companies that all may offer the same level of "quality"? don't tell me you've never done that! why do you think our line of work is that much different? we are providers of a certain service and the client has every right to choose the right providers based on his own set of conditions, whatever they may be. By "right" I mean hypothetical "right". These conditions may be brutal for some of us and offending for others but thats the way it is, you can accept that or not but you can't judge the client only based on the fact that he's looking for the "best deal" possible to maximize his revenue. You would have done the same thing if you were behind the counter so to speak. I totally despise any attempt to ruin the value of our work as translators and dehumanize our business but it wouldn't hurt to think out of the box too!

[Edited at 2006-11-07 04:27]


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Giulia TAPPI  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:24
French to Italian
+ ...
I agree with Rahi Nov 7, 2006

It seems to me that "best rate" is just a common business expression, that a lot of firms use. When asked for my best rate, I just examine the work to do and offer a price I judge as being fair. I think we have to defend our profession, but not to feel offended for such things.
It happened to me to go to a shop, see something really nice, I did want to buy and not despise at all, but nevertheless ask fot the best price I could get. I just waited for a small arrangement on the fixed price, nothing more.


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