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How much can you go down?
Thread poster: Monika Coulson

Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:01
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Dec 6, 2001

Recently I was contacted by a client to do a 5000-word translation. This is the second time that she has contacted me for translation. First time (last year) I charged her US $0.10 per words. This year I told her that I would give her a discount and she appreciated this saying that her budget is very tight this time, since none of her family works for the moment. The first 500 words of her documents were for family certificates and school diplomas, which I have the model ready in my computer and it does not take me long to do their translation. After I finished the translation, I told her that I was not going to charge her for the certificates (approximately 500 words) and for the rest of 4500 words I would only ask US $350. She was disappointed with this discount and asked me if I could give her a better deal. After telling me about her situation, I decided to go to $250 and she still asked me if I could go lower. I tried to explain that this was a very good price, but she still remained uncertain. I am puzzled by this and have a question: How much can you go down? How low is too low??
[addsig]


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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 11:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
what are the causes? Dec 7, 2001

rates will obviously tend to tumble if you try to sell your wares through an open window, whwre eveyone flocks - the good, the bad and the ugly.

And what about quality? Quality lies in the eye of the beholder, so quality is client driven.

So translators who deliver quality at reasonable prices should not flock to open windows.


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SWEDISH-TRANSLATION.com - your Swedish translation partner
Local time: 07:01
Swedish to English
+ ...
What! Dec 7, 2001

You gave her a 50% discount and she hesitated. Tell her to go to another translator.



I sometimes give a client a 10% discount if it\'s a large job and a good client.



Never give a client a 50% discount!

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-12-07 02:21 ]


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:01
Member (2002)
English to German
No discounts Dec 7, 2001

My experience is that the higher the discount gets the less people are appreciating your work.



They think that you are still working for a good profit and perhaps you ripped them off the first time and they also think that your work is only worth the net amount (or even less).



Therefore I gave up on giving discounts. Either someone wants me to work on a job or he does not, then I let him walk away.


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Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
English to Polish
+ ...
Fully agree with the 3 guys Dec 7, 2001

Re: \"This year I told her that I would give her a discount and she appreciated this\"



Monika,



Was there any particular reason why you volunteered that up front?



Jacek


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:01
English to German
+ ...
Discount Dec 7, 2001


I think it\'s never gonna change that clients would always suppose you to rip them when charging a certain rate. That\'s human nature. But, as a \"vendor\" (as translators are) you would have to find a rate that approx. meets the average market price. Otherwise you would not be able to sell what you offer, right. If the client does have any glue of economics he would be aware of this. He would equally check the market before approaching you in particular, understand and not suppose you to just to make extra money. Consequently, the rates of most of our colleagues are at a reasonable level, otherwise they could not survive in the market. Therefore, I fully agree with Andy: in general - no discounts and, if at all, not more than 10 % which is already a big favour for the client.



Salem

Steffen



















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Cecilia Castro de Anderson  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Let's all of us stop ridiculous discounts! Dec 7, 2001

I couldn\'t agree more with what everybody has commented on so far.

In the 8 years I\'ve been doing translation and interpretation work I\'ve learnt that the more you go down, the more advantage clients take of you.

I used to think that giving discounts was a way of attracting clients and showing them the quality of my work but I learnt (unfortunately, the hard way) that once you set a low price to begin with, it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to bring it back up and so you are stuck with a client that not only does not appreciate the quality of your work but is also willing to go somewhere else if he/she can find a better deal. And to the heck with the quality of your work! Unfortunately, many people look at the $$ only and don\'t see what they are getting for it.

If all that is not enough,we should stop discounts simply because we are setting the industry rates lower and lower and there will come a time when we will have to work for free if we want to compete!

So, this is a call for everyone: let\'s stop ridiculous discounts!
[addsig]


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:01
French to English
Stick to your guns! Dec 7, 2001

Any contract requires at least two parties. A seeks the services of B to do something he cannot or does not want to do. A agrees to pay B for the service provided.



It\'s a sad fact of life that A and B have conflicting interests. A wants to get the best job he can at the lowest price. B wants (we hope) to do a good job for the highest price he can get.



When a client is genuinely a bit short of money but still needs the job doing anyway, he might try to push the price down. There comes a time when you have to dig your heels in and say, no, that\'s not acceptable. Having the courage to refuse a job is not easy. Particularly if you need the money and/or you like the client. Sometimes it is the best thing to do. Otherwise, the client is not the only needy one!



Whether in need or not, your client still ought to pay you a fair price for the job. You are obviously not at ease with this situation. We all make mistakes and sometimes regret having \"given in\". It is difficult to back-peddle when a client has seen a way through. In all honesty, I think your client has seen an Achilles heel on this one and is trying to get you to work for half the rate you would normally bill out, or less. This is unacceptable. (I know that if I were to work for half my basic rate, I would be working at a real loss, as more than half of what I bill goes to the state - France - anyway, and so 50% sale rates are impossible, even in the run up to Christmas!).



You have a real problem here as the rate was not clearly defined / finalised before your started the work, nor before it was finished and handed over. I\'m not party to any of the discussions you have had with your client of course, but I think you should at least stick to the price mentionend before you handed the work over.



5 000 words done for someone who will not / cannot pay up take just as long to do as someone who will pay.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-12-07 07:28 ]


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:01
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree, no more discounts Dec 7, 2001

Thank you for all your replies. I totally agree with you, no more discounts. She called me today and told me that she will be able to make the payment ($250). I know that she is in a difficult financial situation, she is a student who does not work for the moment and her parents who just came from Albania are trying to start an Asylum case to stay in the USA. Nevertheless I worked for this job and I deserve to get paid fairly. But I am still learning I guess (even though I have been a freelancer for over 8 years)
[addsig]


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:01
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reply to Jacek Dec 7, 2001

Hi Jacek,

Yes, she is an Albanian student who has been living in the USA and is supporting her education by herself. Her family came recently through a tourist visa and now they are trying to start an Asylum Case with the emmigration. For the moment none of them is working, they are living with the money that her parents made in Albania (That is very, very little since an average family makes about US $100-$150 per month). Knowing this fact, and also the fact that she came back to me for the second time (she said that her attorney liked the quality of my first translation), I told her ahead that I was going to give a good discount. And I was thinking that $350 for a $500 job was an excelent discount. But she did not appreciate this at all the other day. When we spoke today though, she said Thank you and she said that her family appreciates my discounts. OF COURSE

Have a nice weekend everbody,

Monika
[addsig]


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Anila Mayhew  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:01
English to Albanian
+ ...
You have to leave behind the Albanian mentality Dec 7, 2001

Monika,



Recently I was contacted by a family with a similar situation. They were referred to me by an acquitance of mine. And guess what, just because we knew the same person they asked me to translate a bunch of documents for free and drive about two hours away to drop them off at their attorney\'s office and sign the translated documents in his presence. And I was supposed to do all of that for free for someone I had never met in my life. This is all because of the old Albanian mentality that because we are Albanian, poor and etc. we should be doing favors to one another.



I don\'t think so. Time has come to leave all of that mentality behind and have some dignity, respect and honor for all the work we do as translators.



The only time I would be willing to do translation for free or a big discount would be for my family and very close friends or for a cause that is very dear to my heart.



You are worth to be paid for your work.



Wishing you all the best,



Anila Mayhew


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