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Quality translation work for US .05??
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:17
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 28, 2008

I just received this from a US agency with a high BlueBoard score, lots of ratings and a big flashy website. The company recently started a thread on another website mentioning how wonderful their BB rating is here and how most of the translators who do all of the complaining are low achievers. A simple no thanks or no reply would have sufficed. Do you think this e-mail is true? Somehow I doubt it:

"Hi Jeffrey,
Thanks for contacting us. We would love to use you but your basic rate is just too high for us. We are getting quality work from accomplished translators in all of the languages that you list for $0.05.

Sincerely,"

What is their definition of accomplished? If these translators are so "accomplished", why are working for so little?

What is the purpose of sending me this e-mail? Do they expect me to lower my rates? It's not going to happen!



[Edited at 2008-02-28 21:12]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:17
English to German
+ ...
Certainly. Feb 28, 2008

As long as they are talking about proofreading.



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Kristina Kolic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 19:17
Member (2007)
English to Croatian
+ ...
Need to define "quality work"... Feb 28, 2008

Well, it all depends on what they mean by "quality work". I can't help wondering if this quality refers only to what is satisfactory to them in terms of payment...

Unfortunately, it is not the first job posted with a similar rate. I have seen a number of jobs with even lower rates and I suppose that the quality of the translation they get matches their own quality standards. Their major concern, at least in my opinion, seems to be to to pay the lowest possible rate, the quality of the translation being thereby of no significance. Such agencies should be recommended the use of machine translation to keep their costs down


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:17
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not all language pairs Feb 28, 2008

I do know that rates in English-Spanish can be dreadful, but I can't imagine all your language pairs are available at such a low cost.

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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:17
Swedish to English
+ ...
Can't stop laughing/crying Feb 28, 2008

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

why are they charging 50-70% less?


Their rate is not even close to being 50-70% less than my average rate. I charge a lot more for general translation (Reuters converts $0.05 as £0,025 - my minimum for general, easy, translation is £0,12). Not very good at Maths, but it seems they're trying to pay something like 1/6 of my basic rate. Hello and goodbye!


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:17
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Spanish > English work Feb 28, 2008

Actually, I get regular Spanish > English jobs (from agencies) for between .12 and .15. This is not to brag, but people need to know how much they are being cheated. Also, I turn down a lot of work that I cannot do because of the subject matter. I cannot imagine someone doing some of the complicated technical/legal jobs I have seen (especially within the ridiculous rush deadlines) for only .05.

.05 would not even cover the cost to do the required research before you even get to the actual translation.

Margreet Logmans wrote:

I do know that rates in English-Spanish can be dreadful, but I can't imagine all your language pairs are available at such a low cost.



[Edited at 2008-02-28 22:14]


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Lenah Susianty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:17
Member (2004)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
when you use trados, they will pay even less Feb 28, 2008

Agencies in Asia often say that they could only pay under US0.05 per word. So, if they pay 0.05 for new words/no match, then they will reduce it by 40% if the words are between 74-90% matches, more matches cheaper they pay! I think it is ridiculous!

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Alyona Douglas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:17
Member (2007)
English to Russian
Argentina Feb 28, 2008

It doesn't surprise me - a lot of translators in Argentina translate EN_SPA_EN for USD 0.05-0.06/word. And they are not bad.

[Edited at 2008-02-28 22:58]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's "Total Quality"! Feb 28, 2008

They probably read in a magazine that total quality is delivering exactly what the client wants. Their client might have said: "I don't care if it's readabe, I don't care whether it's accurate, I just want this translation done CHEAP!!!"

Their translators are "accomplished" because they've accomplished to accumulate a sizeable list of jobs hastily and carelessly reousourced to unnamed wannabes. Now and then I'm asked to redo such "masteripeces", when the client's client says they won't pay unless they get the material decently translated.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:17
English to Dutch
+ ...
I believe you Feb 29, 2008

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

Actually, I get regular Spanish > English jobs (from agencies) for between .12 and .15. This is not to brag, but people need to know how much they are being cheated. Also, I turn down a lot of work that I cannot do because of the subject matter. I cannot imagine someone doing some of the complicated technical/legal jobs I have seen (especially within the ridiculous rush deadlines) for only .05.

.05 would not even cover the cost to do the required research before you even get to the actual translation.

Margreet Logmans wrote:

I do know that rates in English-Spanish can be dreadful, but I can't imagine all your language pairs are available at such a low cost.



[Edited at 2008-02-28 22:14]


I believe you, and I don't think you're bragging. But there have been a lot of complaints about low rates, especially in English-Spanish. I'm not saying these rates are reasonable, mind you.


Alla Douglas wrote:

It doesn't surprise me - a lot of translators in Argentina translate EN_SPA_EN for USD 0.05-0.06/word. And they are not bad.


There you are...

But if you don't need this agency, just let it go.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 18:17
Dutch to English
+ ...
Their email says it all ... Feb 29, 2008

.... we'd love to "use" you.

Sure, like you are some type of disposable commodity.

Delete and move on. You obviously aren't going to reach any arrangement both sides would find acceptable.


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Marina Soldati  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 14:17
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Even worse Feb 29, 2008

Alla Douglas wrote:

It doesn't surprise me - a lot of translators in Argentina translate EN_SPA_EN for USD 0.05-0.06/word. And they are not bad.

[Edited at 2008-02-28 22:58]


I´ve seen the profile of a Latinamerican translator (not Argentinian) whose rates for EN>ES translations are USD0.015 - USD0.04, for whom I´m sure 0.05-0.06 is quite acceptable.


Regards,
Marina


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:17
Member
English to French
two issues: rate offered and comment Feb 29, 2008

The first issue is called negociating. You are asked for your rates, you make an offer, the other party replies with their own. When I state my rates, I am not in a strict take-it-or-leave-it attitude. I want response, if only to feel where the market is going.

Now the second issue: what tickles me are replies along the lines of "we get high quality at half that price", or "these are standard rates overhere".
Which would mean we are in a buyers' market.
I usually reply along those same lines, such as "My whole customer base pays me more than what you intend to".
Which means to point out that there is still a seller's market out there. Your example would have triggered such reply.

Agencies are free to set their own rates and I am free to set mine. It is my own business to find customers who are prepared to pay my rates, and it is the agencies' business to find translators who are prepared to accept theirs.

I have no idea how closely rates are related to quality, but there is surely a kind of trend. Besides, not everybody require flawless translations and I perfectly understand that agencies specialising in this type of service say "No we can't afford your price". Any further underlying comment hinting at my alledged misconception of the market annoys me.

have a good week-end,
Philippe


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:17
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I disagree Feb 29, 2008

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
What is their definition of accomplished? If these translators are so "accomplished", why are working for so little?


You're saying that an experienced translator should charge a lot more. By extension you're suggesting that it is okay for new translators or student translators to charge less. Ultimately, the argument you're touting is that a client (and the translator) should be able to decide the quality of the translation based on the price. Well, I disagree with this. I think all new translators should start out with what they perceive to be a market related rate, and if that rate gets you enough money to live on, then why should you increase your rate simply because you're getting better at what you're doing? But this may be a cultural thing... not raising your rate may be regarded as undercutting the competition, but raising the rate unnecessarily may be regarded as pure greed. So... when last did you double your rate?


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:17
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Blog entry about this company Feb 29, 2008

"10/4/2007

I requested advice on obtaining translation services.

Translation, it turns out, is a rather unique business. I have never encountered such a wide range in pricing. For a 10,000 word document (translation is usually priced by the word), I received quotes ranging from $800 to $8,700, with the majority of them between $1,000 and $3,000. I guess it has to do with the black box nature of translation. The customer has to operate on trust. Usually, we have no way of evaluating the quality of the work.

There are two types of translation companies. The first kind are in-country translation services. They deal exclusively in one language. The second type are brokers who contract with translators from all over the world in many different languages.

I ended up using a broker called XXXXXXXXX. Although not the cheapest, they were very reasonably priced.

Because of the problem of not being able to determine the quality of the work that you are receiving, I decided that it would be necessary to create a safety net. My client agreed that they would have one of their bilingual people review any translation that I gave them so that we could have a quality control check on the work. This turned out to be a very good idea, since the first translator did a very poor job.

XXXXXXXXXXXX handled this in an excellent manner are (they were quite surprised to find this out since they had used this translator before and had not had any complaints. Obviously, brokers who don’t speak the language are no better position than customers to evaluate the work. Again, it is critical to have a safety net). They retained another translator, who is a professor of language studies, and he did an excellent job according to my client’s bilingual reviewer."


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