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Are you translating for a .04 cents/ wd. translator?
Thread poster: Telesforo Fernandez
Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 15:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 20, 2001

Are we translating for a 0.4 cents/ word translator?



A nice friend of mine told me that with the birth of PROZ.COM it would be easy for any translator to bid for even highly difficult jobs at 0.04 cents or even lower.



He says, why worry? Even if you can’t translate PROZ.COM Kudoz point earners will easily solve your difficulty and push you through your translation.



Does it mean the .04 cents/word ( or less) translator is snatching the job from you and getting his job done free of cost – using your talent and expertise? ( I have seen .04 cnts/wd quoted by bidders from European countries- and not from low income countries alone)



Does it ring some alarm bells?



I think that this is just a conjecture. Personally, I would check the profile of the person who posted the question and study his profile and if I am satisfied I would gladly help my colleague.



In case of non- members who post questions I think that it would be advisable to be cautious when it comes to difficult and tricky questions posted.



I would volunteer to answer only relatively simple questions – because who know the question may be coming from the person who got the job by undercutting you and now he is cutting you and earning his dollars , free of cost, at your cost.



It may sound a bit cynical but who knows?

But there are hell lot of honest people out there who need our assistance in translation and they may not be translators.

PROZ.COM is a great help to the translators for which Henry needs to be amply complimented, but we should take care to see that this facility does not undercut us.



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Dave Greatrix  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:27
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
No need to worry! Nov 20, 2001

Everything will eventually be back to normal.



Remember the old saying \" If offer peanuts, all you get is monkeys\"



Agencies will eventually realise that getting a translation done on the cheap,is not good for their reputation, because invariably it is of low quality.



Good Luck!


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 06:27
German to English
+ ...
David is right Nov 20, 2001

Clients will come to understand that cheap equals zero quality (ALWAYS). \"If you lie down with dogs, you\'ll wake up with fleas\".





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Dito
Local time: 11:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree with David Nov 20, 2001

I am relatively new here, as I only started freelancing about 5 months ago. My short experience is that I am building up a number of clients that come back with more work after I\'ve done an assigment at an introductory fee. These are mostly short assigments. My second assigment is price at - what I feel - is the true value of the work.

I also agree that sometimes my bid is unsuccesfull and 30 minutes later you see a list of basic terms being posted.



So far, I think your reputation with clients is more important in the long term. A few agencies and you will have plenty of work



Dito


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Beth Kantus  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:27
German to English
Agree with reservations Nov 20, 2001

Over the long term, David and Werner are probably right, but I believe Telesforo makes a good point that deserves some thought.

To me, one comforting consideration is that cases in which unqualified people get jobs through lowballing should become transparent fairly quickly from the nature and volume of their subsequent inquiries, and I just don\'t believe Proz members will support that indefinitely.

Sometimes I am dismayed at the rude responses given by some proz members to what appear to be perfectly innocent questions, but perhaps in this instance that is a good thing.









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mónica alfonso  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:27
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sorry, David, but I don't agree with you. Nov 20, 2001

Unluckily, in the country I live (Argentina) things are going worse and worse for us translators. Not only have prices offered become to low for international standards: sometimes you are offered jobs for which the maximum price offered is US$ 0.015/word. Unbelievably humilliating, isn\'t it? And, believe it or not, as it was my personal experience, you say \'No\', and there is always somebody ready to take it. Clients (most of them here are factories and the like) do not mind the quality but the price. This is Argentina today, and this is my own reality as a translator here, I\'m afraid.

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Tao Weber
German to English
+ ...
What about your own benefit Nov 20, 2001

Language is ever evolving, the only true perpetuum mobile if you will. I am relatively new here, but instantaneously I have noticed a positive side effect of helping out others. The recherche I do helps me to broaden my horizon, expand my glossary, and stay up to date. To easily are we pushed in a corner of \"specialisation\" where our glossaries get more and more \"one-topic-oriented\" as I call it for myself.

Helping yourself by helping others, what could be more fulfilling?


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 06:27
German to English
+ ...
You only have yourselves to blame Nov 20, 2001

Mónica,



Argentina has only itself to blame - the same is true of all other \"cheap\" countries (and my comments here do not refer specifically to Argentina, but to all \"cheap\" countries).



It is your own translators that have been throwing themselves on the international market (courtesy of globalization and the Internet) for a pittance. Naturally, even international clients that approach you will expect ever-decreasing rates (not to mention your domestic clients).



In another thread I said that living outside the West is no excuse for price-dumping: on the contrary, you should lift your rates to Western standards; that way, you would be living like kings and queens in your respective countries.



Now, your practices are (finally) catching up with you (I also predicted that in the other thread): even though you may be trying to raise your rates now, clients will not stand for it because they are used to your basement rates. Mark my words: once a cheap translator, always a cheap translator - it is the same curse that also affects beginners who think that they have to offer cheap rates to break into the market (you may break into the market alright, but at the same time you are signing your own death certificate).



When you are a professional, you should sell your services and expertise at going rates and not sell yourself short; such rates, if you decide to do business internationally, must be based on an international average. Granted, US rates are probably among the highest in the world, so take an average rate calculated from US, EU, etc. rates. My feeling is that you will probably arrive at something like US$0.08 to US$0.10 per word.



By constantly undercutting such an international average, translators outside the West have, in fact, initiated the self-destruct sequence of their own translation industry.



As you point out, Mónica, clients don\'t even ask anymore, no, they outright demand rates such as US$0.015 per word from you guys, because that is what they have come to expect, and this is not the clients\' fault, but the translators\'! It does not take a genius to know that your translation industry is doomed because no one will be able to make a living as a translator anymore.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-20 21:35 ]


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marta mascarenhas-simosas
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I coulnd´t agree more with you, Mónica! Nov 20, 2001

Unfortunately, the same happens in Portugal (or at least for Portuguese Language clients)where there are people who are not professional translators or, at least are not full-time translators, that accept such low prices that the rest of us don´t stand a chance! This ruins the market completely, as the clients don´t care about quality (or they can´t see the difference between a good and a bad translation, I don´t know... The thing is, it´s just so frustrating!!!!

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Patricia Myers
United States
Local time: 03:27
English to Catalan
+ ...
You are right Nov 20, 2001

My experience as a translator has shown me that people who hire translators usually don\'t know what to look for. They think just because someone charges less they are a better pick and that\'s not true. Personally, I wouldn\'t translate anything for that amount. The problem translators face is that there are too many untrained people trying to do their job. People think speaking two languages is enough to be a translator and it\'s not. There\'s more than that. I just can\'t believe how many horrible translations are out there. It makes me mad. I have even seen some things on this page that I couldn\'t believe. First of all, how can a translator expect to produce quality translations without understanding the grammar of his or her own language? Translators are professional linguists and must know better than anyone else. Everybody makes mistakes but there are some mistakes that are just unacceptable.

I would like to see more selectivity in the way translators are chosen.



Patricia


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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 15:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
But look ,David Nov 20, 2001

David,

All said and done,David, translators are paid peanuts. So it is better to have monkeys rather than translators.



This is the situation now. And add to it the auctioning of translations. My goodness, we have reached such a state.



Further, imagine paying 1$ from January onwards to get peanuts - and most probably you may not get anything. Come to think of it!



Any solutions? Apparently none at the moment.



So be happy and go on answering Kudoz questions. Q.E.D.









Quote:


On 2001-11-20 07:52, dashgbr wrote:

Everything will eventually be back to normal.



Remember the old saying \" If offer peanuts, all you get is monkeys\"



Agencies will eventually realise that getting a translation done on the cheap,is not good for their reputation, because invariably it is of low quality.



Good Luck!



[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-20 23:15 ]

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-21 03:05 ]

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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 12:27
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
distinguish yourself Nov 21, 2001

I just noticed this topic and I would like to add my opinion even though Telesforo called it a day by stating \"Q.E.D.\"

What did you want demonstrate in the first place? Prices are falling, right. This is one of the most fundamental truism in economics, where it is called \"diminishing returns\". Or call the rule of supply and demand. If you want to avoid the trap of falling rates, you have to position yourself in a way that potential clients see that you do stand out from the crowd.

I live and work in Hungary, a so-called \"cheap country\". Anyway, cheaper than Western Europe, although quickly picking up. 95% of my business as a freelance translator comes from agencies outside Hungary. I manage to get USD 0.08-0.09 per word for my work, although I regularly take less, say 0.06. This is still way above the going rate in Hungary itself, where prices hover around 0.03 (we count in characters, but it comes to around 0.03 per word).

I do understand the arguments of both sides in this thread. I can also see numerous bad quality translations as an end user: manuals to household appliances, legal documents, Discovery channel subtitles, etc. Many people think that if they speak a foreign language at some good level, they are able to translate. Plus: Established and qualified translators earn a *lot* more than an average Hungarian. (I regularly make 3-4 times as much a month than my wife who is considered to earn a good salary). This discrepancy lures lots of people into the translation business.

And for most of the clients the most important factor is the price and nothing else. This is the main reason I prefer working with international agencies: OK, they offer far better rates than domestic ones, but they also appreciate my qualifications and investment in becoming a professional translator.

I don\'t agree with people who say \"you can only blame yourselves\" for driving the rates lower. This is a multi-player game of the classical game theory example. Nobody has any interaction with the other players and everybody plays open cards to the other side, i.e. the potential clients. One idea could be forming a \"guild\" as in the Middle Ages and set an acceptable price for services. But then again, there are always people who break this guild and offer inferior rates - and inferior quality.

I cannot see the way out for the translators\' community as a whole. On the individual level, you can try and ditinguish yourself. In marketing parlance: brand yourself to the upper end of the market.


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:27
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
I agree with you Csaba Ban Nov 21, 2001

You should stand for whom you are. In my past experience with ProZ, first I was not getting lots of translation projects, rather I was getting more proofreading projects though. But things are picking up and finally clients are understanding that cheap rate translators do not neccessary generate good quality. I think clients should be educated more on this matter.

Monika


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