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Poll: Do you lower your standard rates in order to get some jobs?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 09:22
SITE STAFF
Sep 26, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you lower your standard rates in order to get some jobs?".

This poll was originally submitted by Valérie Oliveira

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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Jussi Rosti  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 19:22
Member (2005)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Always? Sep 26, 2006

If somebody always lowers their standard rates, can they be considered standard?

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Agnieszka Zmuda  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:22
Member (2005)
English to Polish
@ Jussi Sep 26, 2006

Maybe then, this 'standard' rate becomes a 'target' one the person hopes to reach in an undefined future

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David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Always "if asked" Sep 26, 2006

Jussi Rosti wrote:

If somebody always lowers their standard rates, can they be considered standard?


I think you have to read it with the understanding that you would lower your rate "if asked".


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Ivana de Sousa Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:22
French to Portuguese
+ ...
Exceptionnaly Sep 26, 2006

NEVER with new clients who ask me to lower my rates, or clients to whom I did a couple of small jobs.

EXCEPTIONALLY if it's a good regular client (good = nice people + regular volume of work + payments on time) who for some rason asks me to lower it, but I never go much lower than what I actually charge. It also depends on the type of job asked for.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 11:22
English to Russian
+ ...
I voted wrong Sep 26, 2006

I overlooked Exceptionally and voted Sometimes instead.

I do exactly the opposite and never lower my rates for old clients. So far they didn't dare to ask:-). I'd rather do them a favor and throw in a letter or a 2-page proofreading for free. Gift or pay, but no dumping.

On the other hand, I have an "introductory" rate. The offer must be irresistable, promising things like possible future interpretation for the same project in some terrific locations, superinteresting or supereasy (for me as an expert in that field) subject. Then I weigh all the factors and take a reasonable risk by agreeing to step 1-3 cents down for up to 3 thousand words.

A couple of times the risk was well worth it indeed. Should a client fail to remember our initial agreement regarding the introductory rate, I shall send him a farewell card. All these are "side jobs" and they do not form my core budget. More fun than work.

I never reduce my interpretation rates.


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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 14:22
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
Exceptionally Sep 26, 2006

No need to do it that often. There are so many Spanish-English jobs out there that if I turn one down, another will pop up very soon.

Reed


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oops II Sep 27, 2006

I voted never and should have said exceptionally. I do consider assignments that interest me more than they money...

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Claudia Vale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
I agree with Ivana Sep 27, 2006

Ivana de Sousa Santos wrote:
NEVER with new clients who ask me to lower my rates, or clients to whom I did a couple of small jobs.

I only became a translator last year so thought it fair to go in with slightly lower rates than those recommended by the I.O.L. However, even so, I have been asked to drop my rates. Unsure what to do, I turned to other Proz members who pretty much unanimously urged me NOT to drop my rates and since receiving this advice, I haven't. I am slowly increasing my rates as I gain experience. Most of my jobs are inevitably with new clients at this stage in my translation career but I take Ivana's point about dropping rates when it comes to work with regular clients. You still have to ask yourself why they should expect you to accept less, though.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:22
Flemish to English
+ ...
Low rates once, low rates always. Sep 27, 2006

When I graduated, I went around with my resume, knocking on agencies' doors. Back then I had no clue about rates. I wanted work. So, I accepted the rates offered by the agencies. However, these were low rates.
Ten years later some of them kept coming back at the same rate as in 1989.
One in particular kept knocking at my door. Until I proposed higher rate and payment after 30 days, take it or leave it.
In 1999, the USA was a European translators paradise, high rates, an exchange-rate of the $- the then local currency of 1 1/2. Even if you offerred a US-agency low rates, these were still pretty high in Europe.
Now, I got an offer with a rate lower than in 1989 and payment after three months. No, thank you very much. I'd rather look elsewhere.


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Paulo Celestino Guimaraes  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:22
Member (2001)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
standard rate (?) Sep 27, 2006

I second Johannes Tan .Please read his article:
In Pursuit of the Cheapest Translation Cost Is translation still a service or has it become a commodity? By Johannes Tan

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/290/1/In-Pursuit-of-the-Cheapest-Translation-Cost--Is-translation-still-a-service-or-has-it-become-a-commodity?

"Any respectable TC understands that a professional translator's "standard" rate—if any—is hardly a blanket rate which covers all situations. To summarily judge translators according to their rates is as simplistic as to judge a book by its cover. Translation rates depend on independent variables such as difficulty of subject matter, length of document, turnaround time, translator's current workload and other technical factors (formatting requirements, excessive metric conversions, source document legibility, etc.). Translating a 6,000-word brochure about an automatic external defibrilator with biphasic waveform technology over the weekend is a completely different game than translating a newspaper clipping on a regular business day".


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 11:22
English to Russian
+ ...
I beg to differ Sep 28, 2006

Paulo Celestino Guimaraes wrote:

"Any respectable TC understands that a professional translator's "standard" rate—if any—is hardly a blanket rate which covers all situations. ... a completely different game than translating a newspaper clipping on a regular business day".



Sounds very logical when one values the word. I put a value on my time and knowledge. You can't buy Ferrari cheaper on the grounds that you'll be driving only 3 miles a day at a speed of 50 miles per hour. Ferrari has its value and one is entitled to do as one pleases with it, but only after paying the price. Should I sell my time to translate diapers manual:-), I shall not be able to sell the same time to translate a spacecraft power profile.

Ergo, if one wants to crack nuts with the Great Seal of England:-), one is welcome on the condition that the time spent shall be properly compensated.

Formatting, conversions etc. are assessed and charged on top of standard rate

[Edited at 2006-09-28 10:57]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:22
English to French
+ ...
What a shame! Nov 2, 2006

Over 80% occasionally, sometimes or often lower their standard rates in order to get jobs!

People, wake up! Translators are an extremely insecure species - and they have no reason to be. Ever wondered why you get fair rates only in your dreams? I just got the answer to that question through this poll...

How very sad!


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Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
A not fair poll... Nov 7, 2006

...as there are mor things to consider.
First of all it depends on the language pairs.
Lucky you, who get so much work that you are able to refuse lower prices and even live from translations (only).
It is so easy to tell people "don't take jobs with low prices" when their language is not needed and they still have to work.
Also it is a matter of:
1. Wether you are beginner and try to attract your first clients
2. The volume and the duration of the offered job. Sometimes one prefers to offer a lower rate if the subject/document is very interesting, or ould imply a higher volume and for a longer period of time.
3. Wether you translate out of your passion and are not very "money orientated".
4. Wether you have an aditional income (husband, aditional job aso).
And :
1.Market makes the prices
2.Often much at low prices is better than few at high prices. It depends on the number of jobs.


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