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Poll: What do you give most importance to when you receive a job offer?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:56
SITE STAFF
Nov 25, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What do you give most importance to when you receive a job offer?".

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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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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:56
English to German
+ ...
Definitely the pay rate Nov 25, 2007

Because I will decline other, less paying projects that were offered at the same time.

Interestingly enough, it's usually the well paid jobs that come with decent deadlines and a decent quality of the source text.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:56
English to Arabic
+ ...
Word count and deadline are one and the same factor Nov 25, 2007

I mean they can't be seen in isolation.
A word count of 9,000 doesn't mean anything until I've heard if the client wants it back in 3 days or 6.


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:56
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
Other Nov 25, 2007

1. Will the client pay me? (i.e. I try to check their payment practices first. I have often refused jobs from total unkowns.)

2. Do I like their conditions? (i.e. are they asking me to sign an agreement I don't like the look of)

3. Subject matter (there are lots of things I just won't do and others I might do sometimes, but only if I'm in the mood!)

4. Rate

5. My availability

As most of my offers come from people I've been working with for years, no. 3 is usually followed directly by no. 5.


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Agnieszka Zmuda  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:56
Member (2005)
English to Polish
Other Nov 25, 2007

First of all, subject matter. I don't feel competent in technical/medical fields and I wouldn't submit a bid on/ accept a job full of technical/medical terminology. Of course, I don't want to say pay rate or deadline are unimportant, but I wouldn't agree to translate a text related e.g. to the construction of a car, tractor, or electrocardiograph, even if I was offered EUR 10 per word.

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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:56
English to Polish
Other Nov 25, 2007

Subject. I must see a text before accepting it to check, if I am able to translate it in the first place. That's why I don't accept jobs by a phone, unless it's a regular client and I know exactly what they would send me.


Anni


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 19:56
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
All three factors and more Nov 25, 2007

Of course, as Nesrin rightly puts it, word count and deadline go hand in hand.
And a reasonable pay rate too. In any case.
Nevertheless, a "reasonable" pay rate depends on practical factors: the urgency with which the translation is needed, the level of difficulty of the given text (which clearly differs from the mere word repetitions), if the delivery format makes things easier or more difficult, etc.

And last but not least: the readiness to cooperate from the outsourcer. Something you never know in advance if you haven't worked for that outsourcer / if you haven't any concrete references.
There are clients/PMs who just say "do it - period". Not for beginners!
But there are as well clients/PMs who are always glad to contribute with queries, glossary lists, similar previous translations, suggestions, even technical help.
I very well remember the engagement of an agency I worked for in 2005, when I had been using a CAT tool for a year (without attending courses). One night I spent working till 3 am and, tired of not advancing due to a software problem, I wrote an email to the agency and went to sleep. Two hours after that the phone rang: a software developer from the agency, ready to give me a helping hand. With a piece of advice that was not only good for duly finishing the translation: I still keep in mind that "quick software lesson by phone at 5 am".
The rate paid by that agency was reasonable in itself... but the professionalism and readyness to help were decisive. If someone asks me about that very agency... I will gladly recommend: work for them!


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:56
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
All of the above Nov 25, 2007

All the points in this poll are important, but above all my own availability, the reliability of the client and the subject matter, as other answerers have said.
Regards,
Jenny.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:56
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A general match - a total lack of absolute deterrents Nov 25, 2007

I check for a match between what the job poster wants, and what I can and am willing to offer.

Let's take first the poll options.

Pay rate - definitely important. If they want a translator just one notch above machine translation, and this reflects the rate they offer, let some beginner get practice with them.

If they are all concerned with 100% matches, fuzzy matches (which for me has something to do with poodle breeding), and no matches, because (they say) there is A LOT of repetitions, I've developed my strategy: I offer to charge my regular rate for all new segments throughout that translation, but every 100% matching repeated segment will be absolutely free.

Deadline - This is an easy yes/no decision. Can I fit it into my schedule? If I can't, there is no use in arguing about it.

Word count - Someone said it goes hand in hand with the deadline. It does, beyond a certain minimum. If word count is below, say, 200, it's a matter of assessing the trouble of bidding, the chances of being selected, the payment terms, and the expenses (fees) to get paid. In most cases, it's not worth the effort.

Of course, I don't refuse 10-word jobs from my regular clients now and then. However there are some job posters with, for instance, a 60-word job, that require faxing all sorts of certifications, and a number of references as well.

Other - Many items here...

Language variant - I have a specific issue, as I work with Portuguese. For all professional translation purposes, Brazilian Portuguese and European (aka Continental or Iberian) Portuguese should be treated as two completely separate target languages, though they are one and the same as a source language (according to both Brazilian and Portuguese Constitutions). Those curious about how can this be may read http://www.necco.ca/faq_what_clients_need_to_know.htm . The bottom line is that as a Brazilian living in Brazil I am unable to translate to European Portuguese, but I can normally translate from it into US English.

Subject - I have a few "no, no" subjects/areas that I don't, and won't translate, because I cannot understand them in neither of my working languages. Medicine and accounting are two of these.

Trados, sine qua non - I use WordFast. As I don't understand why some outsourcers will never accept a translator who doesn't own Trados, even if it's to translate a 500-word handwritten document, I resent such high-handed marketing strategies, so Trados as a must is enough to make me walk out of the game.

File type - There are many translators who run scared from PDF files. I don't. I can OCR, translate and rebuild them into PDF with PageMaker and Acrobat. But if the client demands that this be done with Quark, or FrameMaker, I'm out... even knowing that they won't notice the difference from the PDF alone.

Payment terms - This is my personal opinion, and I have no hard evidence to support it, but I consider that payment terms longer than 30 days usually imply any of these: a) secondhand outsourcing; b) client having cash flow problems; and/or c) client trying to buy more time to erase their tracks after vanishing, but before payment becomes due.

Blue board - If the job poster has good BB ratings, I might be slightly more tolerant with some of the previous items, whenever possible. I don't care if one or two translators give them a WWA rating of one, especially when they reply with "Who are you? and What have you ever done for us?".


In spite of all this long description, this analysis on a Proz job ad takes just a few seconds. Apart from all the yes/no criteria, the others are a matter of snap judgment.


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Michael Engley
United States
Local time: 18:56
German to English
payment practices! Nov 25, 2007

Coincidentally, I have been discussing this elsewhere in another context today. But I am surprised that no one has mentioned this yet. I take it for granted that the deadline will reasonably reflect the word count and level of difficulty of the text. If the text cannot be translated in the given time frame, this must be made clear and the deadline must be extended. That's not really an option. One cannot work around the impossible or suddenly translate 6000 words in one day, just because the rate was increased. The main point of negotion is then always the rate of payment. And the other non-negotiable fact to consider is the client's payment practice history. This must be diligently researched for every new client. Until you are paid, you have done the work and then "lent" the total invoice sum to someone you most likely only know online. A payment term of net 30 (or whatever is negotiated) does indeed mean "no later than", and not "shortly thereafter" or "when the end client finally pays the agency". A high negotiated rate + a generous rush or weekend surcharge is worthless if the client does not actually pay it (without having to be chased down)! Unfortunately, I had to be stiffed once before getting serious about researching every client's payment practices. To anyone who has not already done so, I highly recommend joining one or more of the various payment practice lists, for instance www.paymentpractices.net (worth every penny of the low annual membership fee), Zahlungspraxis, etc.

Michael Engley


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:56
English to French
+ ...
Pay rate Nov 25, 2007

It's not that much about the money, but as Nicole pointed out earlier, the better a job pays, the better other terms and conditions are, most of the time. Clients who pay well usually pay on time, make sure you have all the reference material you need, have more realistic deadlines, give you documents of higher quality that will cause you less headaches and will be much more responsive to questions and comments.

In short, the better a client pays, the more professional he will be. The better rate is just a bonus.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 17:56
English to Russian
+ ...
Other Nov 26, 2007

Subject:-D

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David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:56
Spanish to English
Most Important Nov 26, 2007

I have to say "subject" as I specialise in medicine and associated medical sciences. Next comes size of project, format of the document (word, pdf, xls, power point, etc), and deadline. Then rate offered and payment terms.
In my opinion all of these are important to feeling comfortable in accepting and doing a job.


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DR Maryam Taghavi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:56
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
pay rate Nov 26, 2007

Hello My Dear Colleagues,

I chose 'pay rate' because I am really disappointed with the colleagues who bid for and accept the jobs with awfully low rates of 0.05USD/word. As long as translators are selling their skills cheap, then we can't expect appreciation. Such rates are ok if the word count is very high and the work is regular but otherwise it is very disappointing.

I know that in the modern world everybody needs money but I still think the ethical points like fair rates are important.
I have 15 years of experience and a PhD in translation studies, so just noting such rates upsets me (although I don't work at such low rates). I guess what I really want to say is that our profession deserves more respect.

Please do advise me on this issue. I would appreciate your comments.

I look forward to hear about your views.

Kind Regards

Maryam Taghavi


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DR Maryam Taghavi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:56
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
pay rate Nov 26, 2007

Hi again,

sorry for the grammatical mistakes...
I look forward to hearing about your comments.


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