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What\'s up with all the .04 bids (even on rush jobs)?
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:42
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 28, 2001

I recently started bidding on Proz.com again (have been busy the past few months) and I was very disappointed to discover the following:



On one bid I wrote an explaination of why I was qualified for the job, etc. only to discover later than someone had copied my text word-for-word and bid .05 lower.



A job was recently posted here for 20 pages of Spanish legal text due in 24 hours. My bid of .12 (low in my opinion considering the rush time) was quickly outbid by people bidding .04 and .05 cents all of whom had no or limited information available in their Proz profile. What is this all of a sudden with all the .04 bids?



Shortly thereafter the same job poster posted another 20-page legal rush text, this time in Portuguese. What happens if a poster makes a mistake with regard to language combination, etc. Will bidders be reimbursed their $1?



Others are bidding low and adding the comment: \"I\'m not a native speaker, but you can just have the document edited\".



I have also noticed that sometimes there are duplicate job postings for the same job and language combination, but with different sample texts to translate (free translation?).





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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:42
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
European translators only. Nov 28, 2001

Forgot to mention that the P-E job specified translators living in Europe only meaning that my bid on the first project was in vain as this was not specified.





[Edited at 2005-03-29 03:10]


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 11:42
German to English
+ ...
Perfect example Nov 28, 2001

Jeff, great example.



Yes, there are (many) \"colleagues\" out there who will steal your bid text and even your sample translation when given the chance.



Note to Henry: please stop the nonsense of public bids. Public tenders always require sealed bids, and ProZ must start operating within the confines of these legal requirements. Closed bids are fine, but, please, discontinue the practice of public bids IMMEDIATELY. Thank you.



Back to you, Jeff: what is more, those \"colleagues\" and \"fine professionals\" who undercut you like that probably don\'t even know the first thing about translating a contract like that. I am sure we\'ll see a lot of really \"easy\" KudoZ questions coming our way (note to all: don\'t answer any contract-related KudoZ questions in that language pair for the next 24 hours or so). I mean, gimme a break: someone who works for 4 cents is no translator by any standards, no matter where they are from. This is my personal opinion (and that of many others), and I stand by it!


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lcmolinari  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:42
Member
French to English
+ ...
It would be interesting to see who gets the job Nov 28, 2001

It seems no matter how much we discuss it, the issue of rates and bidding just won\'t go away.



Jeff, if someone is willing to translate 20 pages in 24 hours, (and of legal text no less!) for 0.04/word, all we can do is call them crazy and forget about it. The problem probably wouldn\'t be solved by having the outsourcer specify how much they\'re willing to pay, because then we\'ll have translators on this site complaining that all the job posting offer rates that are too low.



What would be interesting for those who bid on jobs would be to eventually see who got selected for the job, much in the same way that anyone who offers an answer to a Kudoz question always sees which answer was selected. You may find that outsourcers don\'t choose the lowest rate - just because they are there doesn\'t mean all outsourcers are giving the jobs to the lowest bidders rather than the best qualified.



One thing I firmly believe is that ALL bids should be private. In any other bidding system that I have ever seen or been involved in, one company has no idea what other companies are bidding, nor how many or which other companies are bidding. Making all bids private might eliminate some price undercutting and would certainly prevent bidders from copying each other\'s sample translations or bid texts. Henry, this is something simple to implement. What is the purpose or usefulness of having the bids be public anyway?



In the end, as many before me have suggested, the only real way to solve the problem is to do away with bidding. Instead outsourcers could search the database of translators based on their criteria for the job, select a qualified translator and contact them for their rates. If they are unwilling to pay, they could go to the next one on their list.



Of course, the best thing to do would be not to pay attention to job postings at all and try more direct marketing of yourself to get clients and jobs. Of course, we all like it when work comes to us rather than us having to go search for it, but the trade-off in that situation appears to be offering low rates.



You cannot win in this situation. Those who don\'t agree with ultra-low rates should only deal with or contact clients in their home countries then.



Don\'t get discouraged. Just think of Proz as another tool in your translator\'s toolbox, much like an invaluable dictionary, rather than as a source of jobs.


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mónica alfonso  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:42
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Low rates Nov 28, 2001

Dear all,

I\'m afraid many of you are so lucky that have never even tried to think how it feels living in an underdeveloped country.

Personally, I have university degrees (not only as a translator but also as a BA in Spanish \'letres\' and as an English teacher. And mind you, studying here is as difficult as getting good money. I have even attended courses abroad.

However my qualifications be high, no matter my long experience, despite my excellent references that are verifiable (not only in my own country but also in the USA), it has become very difficult for me (and for many other Argentine translators some of whom are ProZ members) to get a job for even .05/word.

This our reality, independently of how much we know, how hard we work and how good we are.

I hope you can now understand our position in this forgotten hemisphere.

Of course, I cannot deny there are people who translate out of their \'courage\', so to say, but let\'s not take them into account; let\'s consider only those of us who are professionals (as I can perceive you are).

Best regards


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Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 17:42
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Us, out there Nov 28, 2001

As a Hungarian, I am one of those who might be suspiciously cheap, consequently: I am also suspicious. Still, I believe there are two different problems here:



1. to copy / steal the bid of another pro is disgusting and should be severely punished, in the interests of all of us;



2. to offer low prices is not a crime in itself and those of us who were \'born in the wrong country\' have no choice but to be cheap, both on the domestic and on the international marketplace. And this is not that WE want to be cheap: this is our valuation by the market, independently from our qualities and performance.



My opinion is that if you want to put an end to unacceptable practices, a more efficient way would be to go for the thieves, instead of attacking all of the miserables.



Sincerely,

Eva Blanar







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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 21:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
here is another bid Nov 29, 2001

Today this job was posted on proz.com. Look at the rates they are offering. See what bidding has done to translations :



Translators for xxxx project german>English,part one is:4000 words.



Payment: 0.04 USD per.Word!



If you are interested sent your

information to:

xxxxxxx





[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-29 02:00 ]


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:42
Member (2004)
English to Italian
When bidders offer half of what the poster is prepared to pay... Nov 29, 2001

Now this must the ultimate. I can only think of one explanation... these people must be bonkers.



Giovanni


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PaLa
Germany
Local time: 17:42
German to English
Sharks will gather where prey is available Nov 29, 2001

I, too, was appalled to see the German-English job offer mentioned by Telesforo Fernandez. Four cents a word for a medical text is not just not nice - it\'s bordering on dangerous... And eleven people have already (13:30 CET) entered bids!



To Mónica Alfonso: I understand your problem, and said this about it in the Forum topic, \"Plain Truth: Opinion on Rates\")a couple of days ago (Forgive me for quoting myself, but it saves time):



Maybe we underestimate the potential of the Internet. Globalisation can work both ways. A translator who is struggling to make a living in Bangladesh (for example) is much better helped by a translators\' website which imposes a universal minimum rate of, for example, 7 cents - and the same naturally holds true for those who are trying to survive and flourish in the expensive West.



I can\'t see that anyone is helped by the current dog-eat-dog situation, and I simply don\'t believe that a pharmaceuticals company is incapable of paying more than four cents a word. I do know that many people are desperate enough to accept this rate, and as long as that\'s the case there will be no shortage of friendly employers happy to offer them more of the same. But should ProZ be offering them the opportunity to do so???



This kind of self-exploitation amounts to self-sabotage in the long run.


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PaLa
Germany
Local time: 17:42
German to English
P.S. Of Sharks and Surfers Nov 29, 2001

A Google search for \"World Lingua Ltd.\" (of four-cent-medical-job fame) produced no results whatsoever...

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edlih_be
Local time: 17:42
Flemish to English
+ ...
Bid what you like..... Nov 29, 2001

Werner, I must contend with your price/quality relationship.



If I bid $0.04/word and you bid $0.15/word, does it follow that you are a better translator than I am?



Not from where I see it. It only means that I am prepared to work harder for my money.



I am not saying that I agree with bidding $0.04/word. However, I think people should consider the situation of other translators, rather than theirs alone.



If one is an established translator, one can afford to ask high rates. But those translators who are just scraping by, must compete in whichever way they see fit.



As you have the right to bid high, others have the right to bid low.





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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 11:42
German to English
+ ...
Reply to edlih_be Nov 29, 2001

You are right. But as I said, this is my personal opinion and I stand by it.



You may disagree, of course, and I respect your personal opinion. After all, the purpose of a forum such as this one is to collect as many different opinions as possible, isn\'t it?


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edlih_be
Local time: 17:42
Flemish to English
+ ...
Spot on Werner Nov 29, 2001

Yes. You are completely right. 100%.

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Silvia Carvalho  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Does price really matter that much? Nov 29, 2001

Being a translator (20 years) and at the same time a Localization Manager for the last 6 years, I can say that price sometimes does not matter. As an experienced translation coordinator, let me say that I look for qualifications, verifiable references, and experience, before I contract a translator. Price is the last thing on my mind. Quality is first.



I would be very reluctant to work with any translation agency or localization company who always hires the translator with the lowest rate, without paying outmost attention to quality.



Unfortunately, I have worked for a company whose main concern was price. I can\'t even begin to mention the problems this practice created for project managers and mainly for customers. The company, of course, went bankrupt and ended up not paying most of those translators.



It makes a world of difference when the main focus of Localization companies is to find the most qualified, educated, experienced, and talented translators in the world, no matter where they are or how much they charge.



You have to prove yourself and keep your name in front of us, localization managers. You are bound to find a good company who needs your services.


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xxxmax
Local time: 08:42
English to Dutch
+ ...
Stopped bidding Nov 29, 2001

Hello everybody !!

I must say this is a very interesting topic, and I am really glad it came up sooner or later in the forums. I believe I stopped bidding a couple of months ago because of the low low low rates and the amount of professionals bidding on the jobs. There is no way someone is going to get a job with 250 bids, which is the case for a couple of jobs in the Spanish section. To top it all, some agencies are now asking for translators in specific countries, and I am certain it is because of the low rates.

I totally agree with a couple of collegues like Werner which proposed Henry to stop public bids. By the way are we not paying for the service? Why should others benefit from the \"Workplace for Translators by Translators\" without any contribution at all? Not to mention the KUDOZ questions where anyone can profit for free from our knowledge and time. As a matter of fact we can also become cyberspace tutors or teachers of our different native languages.

We really need to unite and support each other as all other professionals do. I propose we all agree on a rate that will also cover translators registered with PROZ but not living in the Unites States or Europe and let the agencies go back to our regular prices when they do not receive these such offers, or as Jeff says, let them propose the price. Thanks, Cristina \"Max\"


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