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Poll: When you outsource, how much of the payment do you usually keep for yourself?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Oct 10, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When you outsource, how much of the payment do you usually keep for yourself?".

This poll was originally submitted by Nesrin

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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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:54
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
It is only possible to add a very small amount to the amount that the translator wants Oct 10, 2006

In my experience, it is only possible to add a very small amount to the amount that the translator wants. This reflects the following circumstances:

a) My end clients are extremely price-sensitive.
b) I choose translators who do a good job, for a higher price.

As I am not an agency at the moment, I am not concerned with making a profit on such translations, but rather with doing regular end clients a favour, if they want something translated in another language pair, most commonly the reverse language pair of mine.

I would gladly charge the end client the same price that the translator asks for, but for the following factors:

1) The end client usually sends me a .pdf. I always send a Word document to the translator. Therefore I need to account for my time expended in preparing the Word document.

2) I have discovered that I sometimes have to pay the translator up to a few weeks earlier than the end client pays me. I need at least a very small amount of compensation for this.

In the process of outsourcing, I have learnt that it is very difficult to change over from being a freelancer to being an agency - almost impossible in fact. The end clients are used to the direct freelancer prices, and it would never be possible to add on the 40%+ profit that an agency needs to these prices, at least not with the same clients.

Astrid


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
English to Arabic
+ ...
How about the time spent proofreading? Oct 10, 2006

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

I would gladly charge the end client the same price that the translator asks for, but for the following factors:

1) The end client usually sends me a .pdf. I always send a Word document to the translator. Therefore I need to account for my time expended in preparing the Word document.

2) I have discovered that I sometimes have to pay the translator up to a few weeks earlier than the end client pays me. I need at least a very small amount of compensation for this.



I agree with the two points you mention (above), but I would add a third - for me THE most important - factor. I consider myself 100% responsible before the client for the overall quality of the translation. So even if I trust the translator, I have to check every word, make sure it sounds right, no typos, nothing's missing etc... and that does take quite a bit of my time.


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 09:54
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
0 % option missed? Oct 10, 2006

Or it sounds incredible?

When I share (outsource) a job or a part of it to my fellow colleagues, I earn nothing and I'm not going to earn anything. They help me to finish a project in time, so I'm thankful. I'm even ready to add some money for helping me to do an urgent or difficult project, but it never occured to me to charge for it.

Am I stupid?


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
English to Arabic
+ ...
Is that still called outsourcing? Oct 10, 2006

Kirill Semenov wrote:

Am I stupid?


No, you're not stupid of course. But would you still call that outsourcing, or maybe "referring" or whatever?
For me, as I said in my message above, outsourcing means that I am the person responsible for the final translation. And you should be allowed to charge for the time spent making sure the translation is satisfactory.


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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Of course, you don't charge your colleagues for doing work for you Oct 10, 2006

Kirill Semenov wrote:
I'm even ready to add some money for helping me to do an urgent or difficult project, but it never occured to me to charge for it.


and Nesrin wrote:
And you should be allowed to charge for the time spent making sure the translation is satisfactory.


I think it's important to be careful with the terminology here. Of course, you wouldn't "charge" anyone who does a translation for you - you pay them.

The question of this poll is merely - do you pay the sub-contracted translator the full amount of what your client eventually pays you for that job? Or do you negotiate a lower rate with your sub-contracted colleague, so that in effect you'll keep some money to cover your own expenses and effort (as already listed by Astrid and Nesrin)? Maybe there isn't even a need for negotiation as your colleague might have a lower rate than the one you are getting from your client anyway - then the colleague is happy to get their usual standard rate and you are happy because you get to keep some of the money for yourself - something which sounds fair enough to me.

[Edited at 2006-10-10 16:37]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:54
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Proofreading Oct 10, 2006

Hi Nesrin,

I happen to enjoy proofreading. It does not take very long usually, anyway, because the quality of the translations has been excellent. I do not normally make changes unless something is clearly wrong or I find inadvertent typing errors.

Astrid


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 09:54
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
I mean corroboration Oct 10, 2006

Nesrin wrote:
Kirill Semenov wrote:
Am I stupid?

No, you're not stupid of course. But would you still call that outsourcing, or maybe "referring" or whatever?


I call it "corroboration", because in cases like these I usually get a job from an outsourcer, than I share the project with my fellow colleagues. I don't feel like charge anything from my colleagues - usually I share the outsourcer's details with them or send them the due payment.

Still, it's 0% for me, so the option is missed in the poll.

[Edited at 2006-10-10 17:08]


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
English to Arabic
+ ...
Well, 0% is <10% Oct 10, 2006

Kirill Semenov wrote:

Still, it's 0% for me, so the option is missed in the poll.


You can go for "less than 10%", so the option isn't really missing. Personally, I think that if you don't keep anything for yourself it's not outsourcing, so maybe the option "I don't outsource" would be more fitting.



I don't feel like charge anything from my colleagues


As Thomas correctly pointed out to both of us, outsourcers don't actually "charge" their colleagues.


[Edited at 2006-10-10 17:27]

[Edited at 2006-10-10 17:27]


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 09:54
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Right Oct 10, 2006

Nesrin wrote:
You can go for "less than 10%", so the option isn't really missing.


Yes, I've chosen the option. But "I'm not outsourcing" is not true in my case, I share my jobs with other translators sometimes. It's just that I earn nothing from of it - and I'm not going to earn anything, ever. I'm not an agency. I don't feel like earning money by exploiting my fellow colleagues.

[Edited at 2006-10-10 17:32]


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:54
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Zero % Oct 10, 2006

On a few occasions I have asked a colleague to translate a very specialized part of an assignment that I did not feel comfortable doing myself. I chose good translators who charged a higher fee than what I normally charge. I had to explain this to my client and there was no way I could add any extra for myself, even though I did proofread, took ultimate responsibility for the translation, and paid my colleague before the client paid me. That's simply a risk you have to assume when you outsource in this way.

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John Walsh  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:54
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Exploiting? Oct 10, 2006

Kirill Semenov wrote:
I don't feel like earning money by exploiting my fellow colleagues.

Do you really consider it "exploiting" your colleagues?


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 08:54
English to German
+ ...
usually the proof-reading part Oct 11, 2006

Hi there, I give full price to a fellow translator, but keep the proof-reading part. Best Brandis

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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 09:54
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Exploitation Oct 11, 2006

John Walsh wrote:

Kirill Semenov wrote:
I don't feel like earning money by exploiting my fellow colleagues.

Do you really consider it "exploiting" your colleagues?


Yes, John. At least, I feel like this in my case. As I had explained above, I'm not an agency and I sometimes share (outsource) my jobs in cases when I feel I'm not able to handle a job myself. Most often, these are large projects with strict deadlines.

So, in cases like these, I seek for help among my fellow colleagues. I treat their work as help, so I usually share not only the work itself but also my client's details, and I let my clients know that I share the work with another colleague. In situation like this, I feel that charging anything from the helpful colleague is not ethical. I share the equal part of my money with them - or, even better, they receive their part of the payment directly from the client.

And - no, I'm not afraid to reveal my clients and their details. If they are good and regular clients, I don't think they will discard me. If they do, it's either because of my quality or because my rates, but in both cases they are not my clients (sooner or later).

I prefer a very simple approach to the work: it's OK until both sides are happy. If not - any side may seek for another collaborator, be it because of quality, deadlines, rates or any other reason.

For sure, I'm very selective when seeking for a colleague to help me with this or that job assignment. But charging for outsourcing - nay.

[Edited at 2006-10-11 12:10]


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 01:54
English to Russian
+ ...
I stay away from financial part Oct 11, 2006

In one of the previous posts I have mentioned that I believe in informing the client about outsourcing at all times, and I prefer to either ask if the agency has people readily available, or re-direct my protege to the agent. Sure I do so within the "inner circle" of close friends/colleagues and I'm not worried about undercutting. 10-15 years of mutual loyalty pays off in such cases. Should the agency request my proofreading they will offer me a separate pay.

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