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Globalization and the Internet: are they driving the rates down?
Thread poster: Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Nov 6, 2001

Internet is great... we all agree on that, but what about the negative aspects of the net? Fast communications, globalization, bidding culture, free market... are we loosing our contractual powers? Are we heading towards disaster? Or is it a good thing? I would like to know my peers\' opinion on this \"hot\" (well, for me) subject.



Giovanni


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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 12:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
no, not so much Nov 6, 2001

Globalization, Internet, machine translations,online translations, multilingual web pages have helped a lot to improve the quality of translations.



Today, a translator living in a remote corner of the world can deliver a translation to his client via the Net.

He can also get online help from fellow translators and online dictionaries and glossaries.



The fall in rates is due to auctioning of your services. The moment you auction your services,it becomes very cheap.



Do surgeons auction their services ? No.



But they do get online help from fellow surgeons worldwide via Internet. They can consult medical journals on line, they work online from one corner of the world to the other. But, they never, never, auction their services.They give online consultation via video conferencing etc.



Bidding ( whether open or closed) is the main reason for the fall in the rates. Translators must clearly understand this bidding syndrome.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-06 07:21 ]


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Rusinterp  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
virtual reality <smile> Nov 6, 2001

Besides which, if you need a surgeon, you will have to physically go to him. If he is cheap and lives in a poor country, you are not going to take advantage of his low price! But of course you can, with a translator - the country does not matter. So in a way one can say that the global access brings the prices down to what the hungriest will agree to.

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
Member (2004)
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
in the past, without Internet... Nov 6, 2001

nobody could ever bidding on-line on anything. So, it\'s true that the bidding culture is driving the rates down, but I think that the Net has made this bidding culture possible. I\'ve got nothing against beginners, but the Net has allowed scores of improvised translators to bid for jobs in every corner of the world. The professional, established translators are suffering from this. Some might say \"great, beginners will have more chances\", but I think that overall the standards will suffer, the rates will get impossibly low and the actual translator/client relationship will disappear. Result: an even stronger undermining of our profession. Telesforo, as you say, nobody would invite surgeons to offer their services in an open bid. I think this awful bidding culture should be eradicated at once! Proz is guilty of encouraging a practice which, on the long run, will destroy our profession.

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CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 01:50
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes, but we have to find the global means to protect ourselves too Nov 6, 2001

It may be that globalization is driving rates down. But example from other countries, brought home by the net, may also make translators more aware that they do not have to take a peanuts per word.

The side that interests me enourmously about the net is the chance that it offers translators, not just those we know (terminological help, contacting clients all over the world etc.) but also of organizing ourselves in a different and more effective way--that we have yet to discover and implement.

Translators work in isolation (we may also be loners by disposition, otherwise we would have chosen a more interactive profession!) and we may be reluctant to give up our hard earned independence but we should collectively think of out we can use the net to build a global translators\' association with local/national chapters to protect our rights and advance the profession.



ciao



paola l m



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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 01:50
German to English
+ ...
Yes, globalization is a bit of a problem Nov 6, 2001

Auctions do affect rates and the business in general, but at the same time such systems (like ProZ) will give you easy and fast access to a number of jobs from around the world that you would normally not have been aware of.



The real problem, as I see it, is posed by translators in \"cheap\" countries that can afford to offer their services for as little as 1 cent a word. Some of them are highly qualified translators that simply take advantage of the economic situation in their respective countries.



However, they should, in my opinion, raise their rates as well. If they are as qualified as they claim, they should have no problem competing with the rest of us without engaging in dumping practices - it would be to their benefit too: if they can live comfortably on 1 cent a word, they would be kings if they charged Western rates!



In fact, there are several translators from, for example, Eastern Europe that have begun to charge Western rates (good for them!). It is only those that are either less qualified or not qualified at all that still engage in these despicable practices.



Here is my suggestion: ProZ should set a minimum rate for the bidding process (e.g., US$0.08 per word). The rate would have to be selected from a pulldown menu, and bidders could thus not enter anything below that minimum threshold (Aquarius, for example, does that). So if someone wanted to enter 1 cent, they\'d be out of luck.



Also, and I know this from several sources including clients of mine, companies will at some point use the cheaper services offered by translators in developing countries (as an experiment, as it were). But every company I know or that I have heard of that has ever contracted the services of such freelancers or agencies has done so ONLY ONCE - and then they came running back to us in the West, gladly accepting our higher rates.



Besides, it does not make any sense at all to hand an English-French translation to Russia or Lithuania, for example. Such translations should be handled by native speakers who live in a country where one of the languages involved is the official language - to my knowledge, Russia, Lithuania and others over there have not adopted English or French, etc. as official languages - by the same token, I would also be quite wary of an English native speaker who has lived in Thailand for several years, for instance, because he/she would have lost touch with the language and culture (there are exceptions of course, but the general rule still applies).



So, don\'t worry too much. A company hiring a translator or agency from Eastern Europe or some other \"cheap\" market once is the best advertising we in the West can ever hope for !





[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-06 10:10 ]


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Franck Abate  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:50
English to French
+ ...
Can't agree with you more Nov 6, 2001

You made some very good points. I agree with you that there are two sides to the Internet and TM tools, etc. One being that it makes our jobs easier as translators by Internet searches and translation process management with programs such as Trados, but the flipside is the clients who only see the bottom line and go for the lowest bid and/or build translation memories to only give new segments to translators to work with as \"updates\" (you often end up working with segments with no context). There is also the fact that we in the West, and particularly US-based translators, are generally very technology-oriented (not necessarily by choice) and update our equipment/machines/software/CD-rom dictionaries, etc. very often compared to translators in less affluent countries. This drives our cost up but also provides us with an edge in showing that we\'re pros and that we\'re investing in our business as well as increase our marketability with clients who want the peace of mind of dealing with tech-competent people, linguistic ability notwithstanding.



_________________



[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-06 15:39 ]


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Rusinterp  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
mandatory benchmark rates Nov 7, 2001

Dear friends,

you have suggested some wonderful ideas, and now, perhaps, it is time to act. Maybe we should propose that the moderators establish a minimum rate for the bids, with a pulldown menu or some other means, that will not allow the price be below a certain market average (someone will have to calculate that for each language pair then, or make it a universal figure for all pairs). Maybe there is also a need to think about establishing some limits in terms of what pairs one can bid on -- say, no bidding outside your listed pairs? What do you think?


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 01:50
German to English
+ ...
I second Rusinterp's motion! Nov 7, 2001

Yes, by all means. I also proposed the pulldown menu for rates. I also like the idea of not being able to bid on jobs outside of your expertise. Very good!

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CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 01:50
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Very good points! Nov 7, 2001

Agree on both counts! Points well taken.



paola l m



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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Something to consider Nov 7, 2001

About setting a minimum rate.



Wouldn\'t that be price fixing?



If so, that would be ilegal in the US.


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 01:50
German to English
+ ...
Price fixing? Nov 7, 2001

No, I don\'t think so. It would be price-fixing if ProZ, ATA, etc. as a group were to \"agree\" on an average rate.



But this concept would merely involve a minimum rate (if this were price-fixing, then \"minimum wage\" would be illegal as well!)



You would simply have a pulldown menu that would still allow you to select from a large number of possible rates, but the menu would start, say, at US$0.08.



So, to answer your question: no, it would not be price-fixing.


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks for the clarification Nov 7, 2001

It\'s good to know setting a minimum rate would not be considered price fixing.



Now, the only other thing would be to ask Henry what he thinks about this proposal.



Mainly because it could potentially lower the amount of job offers Proz gets.


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 01:50
German to English
+ ...
That would not be a problem, I think Nov 7, 2001

As this thread and others clearly show, many ProZ\'ers are not interested in those job offers priced at 0.04 per word, etc. And I am sure that ProZ could do without these \"bargain-basement\" offers.



Taking US$0.08 (or even $0.07, if necessary) as a minimum setting, I believe, would still keep the \"floodgates\" wide open.


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kairosz (Mary Guerrero)  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:50
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I agree with Rusinterp Nov 7, 2001

Quote:


On 2001-11-07 05:38, Rusinterp wrote:

Dear friends,

you have suggested some wonderful ideas, and now, perhaps, it is time to act. Maybe we should propose that the moderators establish a minimum rate for the bids, with a pulldown menu or some other means, that will not allow the price be below a certain market average (someone will have to calculate that for each language pair then, or make it a universal figure for all pairs). Maybe there is also a need to think about establishing some limits in terms of what pairs one can bid on -- say, no bidding outside your listed pairs? What do you think?



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