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Job posting paying low rate
Thread poster: Marisapad

Marisapad  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
English to Italian
+ ...
Dec 12, 2002

Look at this posting:



http://www.proz.com/job/29664



I actually do not understand if the poster is joking or if there are still people available to make our profession a beggar\'s opera.



I mean: beggar is the poster and beggar the answerer, prone to undergo a test over the weekend for a crust of bread.



What a shame!

Marisa



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Cristina Marullo Reetdz  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
English to Italian
+ ...
I agree Dec 12, 2002

It is a real shame, but unfortunately there are people working for 0,03 Euro/word...





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Francesco Volpe  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:03
English to Italian
+ ...
I agree too Dec 12, 2002

Marisa,



there are so called \"professional translators\" that accept rates as low as 0.01!!! Just check some profiles.



It\'s a real shame. As I have said on another forum, Proz should introduce some sort of minimum threshold in order to avoid a further impoverishing of our profession.



Otherwise people will get the idea the translation is a very simple and no skills job (expecially in our language pair).

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-12 17:06 ]


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Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:03
German to Italian
+ ...
Sigh... Dec 12, 2002

Quote:




Otherwise people will get the idea the translation is a very simple and no skills job (expecially in our language pair).

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-12 17:06 ]





I fear people already got that idea or at least behave as if they had ... .(



Antonella

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Radek Podolski

Local time: 03:03
English to Polish
+ ...
much ado..? Dec 12, 2002

Well,



if somebody works for $0.01, for me it\'s an SEP. It\'s a free world (supposedly) and I will oppose any limitations in posted rates. If a buyer meets a seller and they can make the deal - good for them. There surely be clients seeking real professionals and keeping in mind that \"you get what you pay for\".



Live long and prosper

raad


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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 13:03
Member (2010)
English to Russian
+ ...
I'm one of those beggars Dec 13, 2002

Yes, and my minimum rate at the moment is $0.03 per word. But:



1) It is really my MINIMUM rate and I reject any offers with lower rates.



2) At this rate I translate the most primitive texts (e.g. a VERY simple private letter). For more sophisticated texts my price is higher.



And even working at so low rates I can\'t say that I have too many orders. None via ProZ so far. Maybe I\'m a poor professional? Well, it\'s hard to evaluate yourself but I believe I\'m not so bad. At least here on this site during seven months I entered into Top Twenty list of KudoZ leaders in English > Russian pair. It\'s out of almost 3,000 registered translators.



I would be happy to rise my rates but where are orders? And who would feed me when I have high rates and nothing to do? You? It\'s nice to be proud but it\'s not nice to be hungry.



I\'ve read lots of postings about the problem of low rates here. And I understand that to some extend I and people like me undermine our own business. And yours. But what can I do? Where is the way out?



Any PRACTICAL suggestions would be highly appreciated. No pure theorization please.



Sincerely,

Nikita Kobrin

MA in Begging

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-13 00:53 ]


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Tanja Abramovic  Identity Verified
English to Serbian
+ ...
Rates depend on the country Dec 13, 2002

The rates really depend on where you are located. I guess that Nikita\' s rates are excellent for the place he lives in.

However, for some other country, they would be extremely low.

Lowering one\' s rates can be a double-edged sword. I used to charge 10cpw to attract the clients in the U.S., and several agencies asked me why my rates were so low (they doubted the translation quality).

After that, I raised all the rates.



Best,

olyx


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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 12:03
German to Romanian
+ ...
Thank you, Nikita, for standing up Dec 13, 2002

I have read tons of forum postings complaining about jobs that pay 3-4 cents per word.

I also wanted to share my opinion, but I thought it\'s no use, when those people complaining would not take the time to think that not everybody bathes in honey and milk.

I wonder if you would consider working for 3-4 cents in the following conditions:



1. your language pair is rather rare (compared for example to En-De, En-Fr, En-Es, En-It, etc.)

2. the rates in your country are as low as let\'s say 1 - 1,5 per page (yes, one dollar or euro, the same that you would probably get for 10-20 words, good for you) and the rates of an agency are as high as 4 dollars per page (I assume the translator doesn\'t get too much of that, they probably hire an in-house translator with a monthly salary of about the equivalent of 100 USD). Maybe now you will say that we have a low salary, but the living costs are low. No, that\'s not true. The monthly fee you pay for living in a 2-roomed flat in a panel building is 35$, then you have your phone bill (e.g. 10$), your electricity bill (10$), which leaves you about 45$ for food. (When I was in Germany about 1 year ago, the prices for food were lower than in my country). Furthermore, for buying the 2-roomed flat in a panel building you need about 20.000 Euros.

Now, after making some simple mathematical calculations, what would you say if someone offers you 3-4 cents per word, which would mean about 9-10 dollars per page (10 times more than you would get on your local market).

And if you think that you should charge the international rates, you can be sure that, under these conditions, there will always be good professionals in your language pair who would accept lower rates, just because they don\'t have enough work (how would you split up the let\'s say 20 English-Romanian jobs in a year between about 200 professionals).



I would really like to know if under these conditions, YOU would consider working for 3-4 cents, a rate that made it possible for me to work from home all this year and earn 3 times as much as a programmer (they have the highest possible salaries in my country, except for CEOs and politicians, probably).

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-13 09:40 ]


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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:03
English to German
+ ...
Good for you, Elvira Dec 14, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-12-13 09:34, eli wrote:

I would really like to know if under these conditions, YOU would consider working for 3-4 cents, a rate that made it possible for me to work from home all this year and earn 3 times as much as a programmer (they have the highest possible salaries in my country, except for CEOs and politicians, probably).

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-13 09:40 ]





Good for you, Elvira!

But I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and as you work in one of my language pairs and my fields of expertise (as well as in many other language pairs and fields...) I sort of have to compete with you. I don\'t want to quote house and food prices in London here, it\'s just too depressing.

How do you expect us to react when translators in cheaper countries undercut our rates by two thirds or so?



I can\'t see what harm a minimum rate could do. Maybe different rates for different language pairs according to their \"market value\". There would be a lot fewer job offers on ProZ but a lot less outrage as well and the website as a whole would look a bit more upmarket (not like a bargain basement).

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:03
English to German
+ ...
Competition is the name of the game Dec 14, 2002

Quote:


But I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and as you work in one of my language pairs and my fields of expertise (as well as in many other language pairs and fields...) I sort of have to compete with you.



Why be reluctant about it - of course you have to compete!



Quote:


I don\'t want to quote house and food prices in London here, it\'s just too depressing.

How do you expect us to react when translators in cheaper countries undercut our rates by two thirds or so?



I know the prices well - just returned from London this morning. The real question is: can you really afford to compete on price and cope with the cost of living in London?



Quote:


I can\'t see what harm a minimum rate could do. Maybe different rates for different language pairs according to their \"market value\". There would be a lot fewer job offers on ProZ but a lot less outrage as well and the website as a whole would look a bit more upmarket (not like a bargain basement).



The \"bargain basement\" vs. \"minimum price\" issue has been discussed at great lengths in the forums - check this thread, particularly Henry\'s response: www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&post=39319#39319. However, I have yet to hear a conclusive argument why ProZ would have an inherent bias toward lower prices. This is what competition is about - somebody out there may well be able to deliver the same job at half your price. Implementing a mandatory minimum price is no solution, since by definition it would have to be arbitrary (who says what price level is \"appropriate\"?), and would certainly not stop the competition. Sure, it would no longer be visible on this site, but let\'s not fool ourselves into believing that this would ease the competitive pressures.



I\'m sorry, but no client is going to accept your cost base as an excuse for a higher price. Although competing on price is an alternative, it\'s no answer (certainly not if you live in Central London) - the solution to your problem is to get direct clients, to market your services professionally, and to fight competitors head on (as opposed to \"sort of\"...).



Note that this isn\'t theoretical blurb - I regularly compete with colleagues offering their services well below my price level. And I can\'t say I\'m bored...

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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:03
English to German
+ ...
Dear Ralf, Dec 16, 2002

I know I have to compete, I was just trying to be polite and not too confrontational and I know it is impossible to compete on price alone. But it is a problem. British agencies try to enforce lower rates and are looking farther afield for cheaper translators. The people who assess the quality of a translator’s work are not necessarily the ones who make financial decisions and even if a client is very happy with your work you can still lose that client if their management decides you’re far too expensive and you refuse to reduce your rate as much as they want you to.

Although I could improve my marketing I don’t think that’s the problem. Believe me, until recently I didn’t have to worry about marketing at all, the only thing I worried about was how to get some time off. US and German economy have taken a downturn, that’s the problem. And although the British economy, due to its peculiarities (mainly the insane property market) is still doing comparably well, that doesn’t have much effect on my work load, only on the cost of living. I am not complaining about that and I am not asking for London weighting either. I don’t usually comment on threats about low Proz prices anymore (the discussion is tiresome and futile and my postings always trigger the same reactions) but I was slightly irritated by Elvira’s posting. I don’t live in a land of milk and honey, most people here work very hard to make a living, and Romanian house prices seem quite attractive to me.



Marketing yourself to direct clients is easier said than done. As a freelancer I can’t offer the same comprehensive services an agency can offer and it is much easier to let the agencies do the extra work. But it is those end clients who put pressure on the agencies to reduce their prices and this pressure is passed on to us. Fact is, there is less work around and that work is offered at lower rates, never mind the quality. I actually have direct clients but I still have to haggle of course.

Today I found an agency on the Internet that offers a price of € 0.70 per line to German clients, I assume that includes proof-reading. I don’t know about their quality but they market themselves very professionally. That agency is in Italy and even if I had a wonderful website advertised on Google (as they have) I wouldn’t be able to compete with them. A new client who has never heard of me or them would probably choose them if they are cheaper. I got my direct clients through friends, word of mouth rather than active marketing. I can’t see into the future but I firmly believe that quality will prevail. I am not implying that cheap translators are always bad translators but there is the issue of understanding the cultures of source and target language which might be less important for the translation of vacuum cleaner manuals but I don’t do those anyway.



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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 12:03
German to Romanian
+ ...
Olaf, I am sure there is plenty of work for all of us Dec 19, 2002

And I am aware that I will never deliver the same translation as a native German, so I am selective about the jobs I bid for let\'s say in En-De. You wouldn\'t work for 3,4 cents. Well, if I have to feed my child I will accept a low-paying En-De job, rather than starve my kid. But I will never compete with you, be sure of that. As I said, I am aware of my skills and I bid on jobs accordingly. I never brag about myself, just telling the facts as they are. It\'s up to the company whom they will choose. It\'s a price/quality ration and every employer decides for himself how much importance they give to each aspect. So I am not a direct competitor. I\'m just taking En-De jobs when nothing else comes my way.

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xxxampuria
English to Spanish
+ ...
I do not like people who work for misery and after say in my country we are poor .. Dec 19, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-12-13 09:34, eli wrote:

I have read tons of forum postings complaining about jobs that pay 3-4 cents per word.

I also wanted to share my opinion, but I thought it\'s no use, when those people complaining would not take the time to think that not everybody bathes in honey and milk.

I wonder if you would consider working for 3-4 cents in the following conditions:



1. your language pair is rather rare (compared for example to En-De, En-Fr, En-Es, En-It, etc.)

2. the rates in your country are as low as let\'s say 1 - 1,5 per page (yes, one dollar or euro, the same that you would probably get for 10-20 words, good for you) and the rates of an agency are as high as 4 dollars per page (I assume the translator doesn\'t get too much of that, they probably hire an in-house translator with a monthly salary of about the equivalent of 100 USD). Maybe now you will say that we have a low salary, but the living costs are low. No, that\'s not true. The monthly fee you pay for living in a 2-roomed flat in a panel building is 35$, then you have your phone bill (e.g. 10$), your electricity bill (10$), which leaves you about 45$ for food. (When I was in Germany about 1 year ago, the prices for food were lower than in my country). Furthermore, for buying the 2-roomed flat in a panel building you need about 20.000 Euros.

Now, after making some simple mathematical calculations, what would you say if someone offers you 3-4 cents per word, which would mean about 9-10 dollars per page (10 times more than you would get on your local market).

And if you think that you should charge the international rates, you can be sure that, under these conditions, there will always be good professionals in your language pair who would accept lower rates, just because they don\'t have enough work (how would you split up the let\'s say 20 English-Romanian jobs in a year between about 200 professionals).



I would really like to know if under these conditions, YOU would consider working for 3-4 cents, a rate that made it possible for me to work from home all this year and earn 3 times as much as a programmer (they have the highest possible salaries in my country, except for CEOs and politicians, probably).

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-13 09:40 ]





Only a few things, here in Spain, not in Germany, I pay each month this ADSL 48 euros, telephone 70 euros,electricity 35 euros, water 16 euros, taxes to be a fre lance the minimun is 240 euros, a flat 2 bedrooms 400 euros,if I want to buy one 130.000 euros so YOU AND PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE THE RESPONSABLE IF I NEED TO WORK MORE AND MORE BECAUSE RATE ARE EVERY DAY LOWER,YOU KILL THE TRANSLATION WORD.

I AM VERY ANGRY AND ONE DAY I CAN BE HUNGRY TOO BECAUSE HERE IN MY COUNTRY ALL IS MORE EXPENSIVE.

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:03
English to German
+ ...
Ampuria, please control yourself Dec 20, 2002

Screaming at others, and accusing them won\'t help you at all. Distinguishing yourself on the basis of the work you do will. Marketing your services in a professional way will (including details in your profile could be a starting point).



I have no problem with head-on competition, or with tough criticism, but please stop flaming other members. This community is built on a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.



The ProZ.com Forums Rules of Etiquette expressly prohibit personal attacks on others - for good reasons. I have notified Henry of your post and have asked him to edit it accordingly.


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xxxwilliamson
Local time: 12:03
Dutch to English
+ ...
Stick to your guns Dec 20, 2002

Just had a call from an agency which wants to subcontract work. As I am trying to add an extra activity (how much does (freelance) programming pays in a city like London ?) to the services offered, I am not \"begging\" for assignements.

Rather have some time to reflect on how to get organised and have a ready-made answer to the many problems which translators are talking about on various bulletin-boards. Take a break and start at full-speed after New-Year when corporations get out of their \"holiday-sleep\".

So, I quoted a price and a payment terms which is not the usual price or term of the agency. Told them that I could always get offers from elsewhere,where $/€0.10 is a minimum and payment terms are 30 days after invoice. After all it is a globalised market. Instead of crying out loud about low prices: have a second income from another activity, which covers your costs so you can afford to say \"njet\" and stick to your guns/rates. Do not jump on and drown in a market, which is a bit of a jungle and where it takes time to find your way.

If everybody says \"no\" to $/€0.04 and less, prices are bound to go up.

---

Christmas reading : Principles of Marketing by Ph.Kotler and draw your conclusion from it.


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