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Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
Poll: Do you ever accept a project if the rate offered is substantially lower than yours?
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:42
SITE STAFF
Apr 11, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you ever accept a project if the rate offered is substantially lower than yours?".

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:42
Member (2011)
Hebrew to English
I believe it was Britney Spears who said "I'm a slave for you ♫♪♫" Apr 11, 2012

Although with her intonation it was more like "I'm a, slaaaaaave, for you". ♫♪♫ I digress.

Firstly, I'll forgo mentioning the similarity/proximity of today's poll to a recent poll....oops I did it again (see what I did there) cough cough **rehashed** cough cough ...well maybe I should cut some slack...6 months isn't that heinous.

Aaaaanyway, I'm focusing on the word substantially. To me, that sounds like "are you willing to work for peanuts (under some circumstances)?". So no, I'll sometimes slightly lower my rate if I'm enthralled by the topic or if it's somehow desirable/prestigious/potentially lucrative long term etc, but substanitally, hell no, what kind of message does that send?
(I'm willing to sell myself cheap on a whim,...etc)

[Edited at 2012-04-11 08:31 GMT]


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Maria Danilova
Spain
Local time: 08:42
Spanish to Russian
+ ...
Sometimes, yes Apr 11, 2012

Well, dear all,

Those who clicked "No", might as well live in a prosperous and no-worry country and have heaps of translations and lines of clients knocking on the door. But I try to be flexible, you know we are in crisis here, in Spain((( Maybe I won`t accept an ill-paid translation job, but recently I accepted two interpreting assignments, the two gave me a lower income of one normally paid day. And I had to spend a great deal of time getting into the matter. But I consider it was better to get a small piece of cake than no cake at all. More over, I made some contacts for the future. Not bad though, is it?

Adaptability and flexibility!


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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 08:42
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes Apr 11, 2012

Define "substantially".

I define "my" rates as "what I would like to get paid for X job" rather than some inflexible stick to beat prospective clients with. Anyway, it depends on the services you offer. For example, I am a translator offering a basic, stripped down service, which is what I'm good at. I translate texts from one language to another, and do the occasional revision into the bargain. I'm not a graphic designer, undefined acronym finder, telepath, detective, format rej¡gger or an IT whizz (or TM program troubleshooter) etc etc., so I consider these as "added value" services which I don't usually offer.

Last year I translated a book for 50% of my basic rate, for several reasons: I initially had NO deadline (eventually had to set one myself as it turns out I'm so used to being under pressure that I can't work without one!), I liked the subject matter and the author lectures at a university I do a lot of work for, so was treated as "one of the gang".

I can be as hard nosed as the other guy, but sometimes it's nice to be nice.




[Edited at 2012-04-11 09:33 GMT]

Anecdotally, a friend of mine who translates German to English tells me he nowadays often has to settle for rates 20% below what he was charging before the "crisis" began, i. e. the same as my current rates for SPA>ENG. One translator's rock bottom is another's average.

[Edited at 2012-04-11 14:18 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Belgium
Local time: 08:42
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Substantially lower? No. Apr 11, 2012

Slightly lower? Yes.

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 08:42
English to French
+ ...
Other Apr 11, 2012

I set rates and clients accept or refuse them.
I do not give rebates of any kind, but I do allow a budget each year for FREE translations... not really for clients, but for friends, family and sometimes NGOs.
If/When translations are needed to a foreign language, I have a colleague do them and pay the regular price.
I try not to exceed the set limit though, as some "friends" tend to go a bit too far.


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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 08:42
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Flexible = professional Apr 11, 2012


Maria Danilova wrote:

Well, dear all,

Those who clicked "No", might as well live in a prosperous and no-worry country ... But I try to be flexible, you know we are in crisis here, in Spain ... I consider it was better to get a small piece of cake than no cake at all.

Adaptability and flexibility!


I couldn't agree more. I think adaptability and flexibility are better indicators of a solid professional than rigidly sticking to a set rate or modus operandi.


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:42
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Negotiate before taking crumbs Apr 11, 2012


Maria Danilova wrote:

Those who clicked "No", might as well live in a prosperous and no-worry country and have heaps of translations and lines of clients knocking on the door. But I try to be flexible, you know we are in crisis here, in Spain((( Maybe I won`t accept an ill-paid translation job, but recently I accepted two interpreting assignments, the two gave me a lower income of one normally paid day. And I had to spend a great deal of time getting into the matter. But I consider it was better to get a small piece of cake than no cake at all. More over, I made some contacts for the future. Not bad though, is it?

Adaptability and flexibility!


Maybe, but you will be surprised how often a small piece of cake can be turned into a big one with some polite but firm, and confident, negotiating. It might simply be a case of the client having better bartering skills than you. After all, negotiation is the bread-and-butter of project managers and the like, while our focus is on translating (or interpreting). I work mostly with Spanish clients and even now there is normally some room for bartering, especially if you can convince them that a slightly higher rate is still a bargain for the quality service you provide.

Many clients (even in recession-stricken Spain) want to have confidence in their translator; "adapting" to lower rates does nothing to instil confidence. Being "flexible" was my approach in my early years of translating and it did nothing but hold me back. I now see negotiations as a friendly battle and the response is normally more positive than you might think. People respect self-belief, not pliability.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:42
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes - for a cause Apr 11, 2012

A couple of times I have done jobs for a cause that I believed in for a lot less than I normally charge. I only do it because I want to gift my services, not because I caved in.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
... Apr 11, 2012


Teresa Borges wrote:

Slightly lower? Yes.


Just to add that I'd also have to find the subject matter of the translation to my liking to accept any type of lower rate.


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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 10:42
Italian to Russian
+ ...
Lower than my rates? Apr 11, 2012

Is it possible!!?
Right now, I am doing a review of about 1000 pages with 8 (eight) hours paid at a bottom-bottom rate. It's obvious that I could check only part of this job. Cheap is ALWAYS bad (either way). And it's obvious too that my flexibility in this case would mostly serve when talking with a pissed-off customer.


+ Outsourcer, your product should be cheap. It's out of question. However, your vendors should be glad. Otherwise, reconsider, may be weaving straw sandals would be your genuine calling?

[Edited at 2012-04-11 11:09 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:42
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Sometimes Apr 11, 2012


Maria Danilova wrote:

Well, dear all,

Those who clicked "No", might as well live in a prosperous and no-worry country and have heaps of translations and lines of clients knocking on the door. But I try to be flexible, you know we are in crisis here, in Spain((( Maybe I won`t accept an ill-paid translation job, but recently I accepted two interpreting assignments, the two gave me a lower income of one normally paid day. And I had to spend a great deal of time getting into the matter. But I consider it was better to get a small piece of cake than no cake at all. More over, I made some contacts for the future. Not bad though, is it?

Adaptability and flexibility!


The same applies to Germany.

It also depends on the kind of assignment. If it's for a cause I believe in, then I rather see the payment as a token of appreciation than actual payment - provided, of course, that I do have the time to take on this type of project.

One needs to be flexible because one never knows what might result from such a project. Could be a well paid, long-term business relationship with one of their sponsors.


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:42
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
no Apr 11, 2012

Slightly lower, yes. I have a new client whose rates are just below mine but I get steady work, so I don't mind. However, if it's HALF my rate, forget it. I don't work for nothing. Flat rates for a lower budget are something else. I've done that from time to time.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 15:42
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Flexibility -- Bend like bamboo in the wind Apr 11, 2012


neilmac wrote:
I couldn't agree more. I think adaptability and flexibility are better indicators of a solid professional than rigidly sticking to a set rate or modus operandi.


Very nicely put.

Though money is important, admittedly, good rates aren't always everything. Excellent rapport with the customer, an impressive addition to your portfolio and a chance to learn about new technology and gain an advantage over the competition can be excellent (hangover from yesterday's poll ) motivators to accept what you would feel is a slightly lower rate.

If you want a slight diversion from the daily humdrum of translation, take a look at how I feel about flexibility:

http://www.asterix.co.jp/Pages/07Flexibility/Flexibility.html

Hmmm. Was I on my 5th beer when I wrote this?

Happy translating!

Edit: small change

[Edited at 2012-04-11 11:26 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:42
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Different rates for different markets Apr 11, 2012

I hope none of the clients I have accepted jobs from today read this!!

One is an agency that pays well, but expects and gets their moneysworth to the best of my ability. 1000 words wanted by Friday at the latest. I might call the rate I charge them my 'standard'.

One is a colleague with a rushed job and his end client can't afford to pay a lot. (A private individual, and to add insult to injury probably liable to 25% VAT, not being registered as a business.) We will probably do that one at a modest rate, maybe 20% lower than client 1. We are still negotiating.

The third client comes with large texts and generous deadlines, but very demanding subject areas. Slightly off my core specialisations, but the client gets my work proofread by an expert and comes back for more.
No reduction for there - I can't afford to do jobs that large at reduced rates, and I am not the only translator available.

That is my home market... Costs are high in Scandinavia, and everyone has to live with them.
But I don't get enough from Scandinavian agencies to keep me busy all the time, and then I do have to go down to the rates clients will pay. They are certainly better than nothing at all!

Checking in the newly published rates survey (CIoL/ITI) is interesting. I may be able to push my rates up a little for clients outside Scandinavia. Currency exchange rates have dropped, so I may be able to get up to pre-crisis levels in my home currency.

I voted no in the poll, but it depends a lot on what you mean by 'my' rates.

I prefer to do a translation for free when the client really can't afford my rates, but it depends who it is.


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Poll: Do you ever accept a project if the rate offered is substantially lower than yours?






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