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Poll: Is it possible for ProZ.com to control minimum rates?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:06
SITE STAFF
Jan 5, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is it possible for ProZ.com to control minimum rates?".

This poll was originally submitted by Alicia Casal

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Walter Landesman
Uruguay
Local time: 04:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Wishful thinking Jan 5, 2006

- Would you like ProZ to control minimum rates?
- Of course I would.
- Do you think it is possible? Do you think that ProZ can do it?
- No, I don`t think so. There are many ways for outsurcers and freelancers to elude this kind of rules and controls. Too bad.


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marie-christine périé  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:06
English to French
+ ...
Exactly, Walter! Jan 5, 2006

You said it all.

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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:06
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Agree, too Jan 5, 2006

http://www.proz.com/?sp=jobs&sp_mode=about#jobs_minimum_rate - 'nuff said.

Best,
Steffen


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:06
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Another contrivance Jan 5, 2006

I think all translators who want 'minimum' rates should be forced to translate (or at least read) this sentence from Adam Smith's 'The Wealth of Nations', published in 1776 :

"People of the same trade seldom meet together . . . but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or some contrivance to raise prices."


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Ma. Fernanda Blesa  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 04:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Proz? Really? Jan 5, 2006

As much as I would like to have some kind of minimum rate, I don't see why it should be Proz in charge of controlling that... Don't get me wrong, Proz is the *only* translation organization I ever joined (meaning paid), so it's not that I'm against it... quite the opposite actually, as I strongly dislike organizations of professionals (my belief is that they tend to benefit a small elite of friends and close acquaintances) and that didn't stop me from joining Proz anyway But my point, or at least one of them, is how can you establish that Proz and not other similar group would have the power to control rates? Also, what rates are we talking about? US rates? European rates? Global rates?

All this aside, I don't think it would be possible to implement such a control anyway.


[Edited at 2006-01-05 19:23]


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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 02:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The question is if it's possible. Jan 5, 2006

Well, many things are possible in the world of computers and programming! PROZ has all the freedom in the world to make it possible for freelancers of clients to choose for a minimum rate, established through a fixed quote form everybody has to fill in when applying to jobs (and with no possibility of answering via e-mail, for example). Now the other question is if clients (or translators) would like this. When a site gets involved with too many rules, like with other translation sites ("you can only quote if you pay $10.00 first", "you can only show three language combinations on your profile", "you can only apply if you have a credit card for payments", etc, etc.), then people feel uncomfortable and flee from the website. That's why PROZ is so great, and is No. 1 translator's website; it has dozens of features for paying as well as for non-paying members, and very few limitations. Everyting looks nice but problems always arise when money is involved. I wonder if this control of minimum rates will reflect on less customers...

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes and No Jan 6, 2006

I pondered this for a moment and then answered "yes", but of course the answer is also "no".

Is it possible for ProZ.com to control minimum rates? Yes, it can control minimum rates advertised on the site by installing a filter rejecting any that are lower than a certain level. That's all.

Is it REALLY possible for ProZ.com to control minimum rates? No, because other than the above, Proz.com has no control whatsoever over the market.

And of course rates can go all the way down to zero in the case of translators who are cheated and never paid for their work, and that seems to happen all too frequently.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
Maybe... Jan 6, 2006

I also pondered for a moment what I had written: "Proz.com has no control whatsoever over the market."

True, still no actual control, but I would hope that in time Proz.com can have a growing INFLUENCE on the market, one that can raise the status of our profession.

Let's work toward that.


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:06
French to English
+ ...
Anti-trust Law Problem Jan 6, 2006

An agreement to fix prices is a restraint of trade and quite probably violates anti-trust law in the United States, the European Union, and other legal systems.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:06
Flemish to English
+ ...
Bidding tool Jan 6, 2006

A couple of years ago, the sister-site of Proz.com did implement a drop-down menu in its bidding page. The lowest possible rate which could be indicated was €0.07 p.w...
Technically, this must be possible on this site too. Link the offer of any outsourcer to this tool and the cheapies will stay away. The sister-site of Proz.com is subject to Dutch law.
The brother-site of Proz.com is subject to Canadian law.
Legally it would be possible to move the seat of any organisation to a place where implementing this minimum rate would be legally possible i.e.outside the U.S. and the E.U.
Given its weight, Proz.com can definitly influence the market or refuse the cheapies from posting offers, just as it can ban translators (Platinium or not) who do not abide by its rules.



[Edited at 2006-01-06 09:07]


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:06
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
What about coutries with lower standards of living? Jan 6, 2006

Don't you remember how one of our colleagues, from Croatia as far as I remember, recently told that the highest rate she ever got paid for was 0.05 €, just because nobody would usually pay more than 0.03/0.04€ in her country?
Of course it would be fine for some translators to have minimum rate, but it would then mean that we simply exclude other colleagues from the market (or rather, that we do not give them a possibility to get jobs through ProZ).


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:06
Flemish to English
+ ...
Higher Standard of living. Jan 6, 2006

A minimum rate worldwide would simply raise the standards of living of translators in Eastern European countries, Southern European Countries and the third World Countries. It would also raise the appreciation of the profession by the general public.
Why is it that an intepreter can easily ask €400 a day without anybody protesting, whereas a translator should be willing to work at a rate of say €0.02?

We must abide by the highest ethics?
Fine, but to abide by the highest ethics and pay taxes and social-security contributions according to the laws of the land where you live, you need to earn a certain amount of money. Without that amount of money, you can only be a translator if you moonlight. After all, it's all about the money.


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:06
French to English
+ ...
Site Location Not Significant Jan 6, 2006

Williamson wrote:


Legally it would be possible to move the seat of any organisation to a place where implementing this minimum rate would be legally possible i.e.outside the U.S. and the E.U.



[Edited at 2006-01-06 09:07]


The location of the site is not what is important. It is unlawful under American law to enter into agreement to fix prices in the American market, regardless of where that agreement is made.


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