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The Reunion Site: Open statement to clients, agencies and translators about rates & quality
Thread poster: Daniel Alcaine-Rich, M.V., BSc
Daniel Alcaine-Rich, M.V., BSc  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
Jun 14, 2002

Recently a number of ProZ colleagues have started to include a very simple insert in their member profiles, relating to the quality of their work and translation rates.



It refers to a site called The Reunion Site. Nobody knows for sure who created it, but it\'s worth a visit.



I myself browsed through it and decided to include a reference to it in my member profile.



The way I did this is to simply state that I agree with what is said in the site. I therefore consider that I\'m not fixing any prices or interfering with companies\' and agencies\' freedom to negotiate or establish their own rates. What I\'m doing is stating that I agree with certain ideas, which I saw expressed at the aformentioned site.



I humbly invite all ProZ members to visit The Reunion Site - at http://thereunion.5u.com/index.html

and, if you consider that what is said there is respectful towards all parties involved and you find it to be interesting for your own goals, to insert the following link in your member profile:



<A HREF=\"http://thereunion.5u.com/index.html\" TARGET=\"_blank\">The Reunion Site</a>



surrounded by whatever comments or directions you wish to include as to the purpose of that link in relation with whoever visits your profile (primarily your prospect customers, I assume).



I personally wrote, in my profile:



\"Concerning rates and quality, and to provide you with the service level you, your company or your customer needs, this member supports the views expressed at The Reunion Site, located at:



<A HREF=\"http://thereunion.5u.com/index.html\" TARGET=\"_blank\">The Reunion Site</a>\"





Other ProZ members have written different things around the link in their profiles.





Note: pasting the link works just fine, and upon clicking on it, a separate window opens without the browser window with your profile

closing.



Regards

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-06-14 15:26 ]


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bochkor
Local time: 14:46
English to German
+ ...
Website and linking translators out of touch with reality Jun 14, 2002

I totally agree with Tayfun\'s view and would like to add that while all this is nice in theory, it doesn\'t work for the following reasons:



1. The way it\'s written, it\'s a form of whining, begging for just a little more money, gracious Lord! (Brrrr!)



2. They don\'t care and often even have no time to read our resumes. Haven\'t you read books about resume writing, where the author warns you that companies spend a maximum of 30 seconds to look at a resume? Get real!



3. Companies that do read our resumes care only about a few buzzwords: rate, languages, name, address, experience and later our social security number. That\'s it! They won\'t read an additional long story like that, forget it!



4. It suits both agencies and end clients just fine to pay the cheapest rate possible, so arguments like a translator\'s cost of living are totally ridiculous. Again: companies do not care (and never did) how you (or the industry) survive, period!



5. The website itself lacks professionality by design and companies immediately see that. They see that it\'s a quickly thrown together way of one translator establishing a name for himself, for which he later might evehn charge other translators, if he gets enough hits on his website.



6. Threatening companies with translators quitting and this resulting in low-quality work is absurd. Reality is that translators survive unfortunately well on these low rates in poorer countries. Many of them even live better, than us in the West. The reason is a lower cost of living over there. So those for us lower rates are actually the high end inside the poorer countries. In other words: them quitting (instead of continuing to offer dumping prices) is simply not gonna happen!



7. It discloses the lower rates of 6-9 or less cents. Some agencies and especially end clients have never even heard of such low rates. So why inform them? It\'s dumb! So don\'t let them know! And no, not everyone of them knows the market! Not true, don\'t just assume! So don\'t give them any ideas! Translators simply don\'t know HOW to negotiate: when on the phone, ask those agencies for God\'s sake what rate they\'re comfortable with (without disclosing your own) and many will say 12 cents! THIS is how you do it!



And a lot more could be said to make this website owner and his fans wake up to reality. I think that linking to this website would make us look really pathetic. So do a reality check instead!


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xxxwilliamson
Local time: 20:46
Dutch to English
+ ...
Neotrace Jun 14, 2002

Is a good tool to trace just about any website. In this case, it ended up somewhere in New-York and at a second attempt, it blocked.... Smells a bit fishy.

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Olga Simon  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 20:46
English to Russian
+ ...
In my humble opinion ... Jun 14, 2002

Laci,



Absolutely agree with you on 99%!

I left the remaining 1% to cover my opinion that a link like that would not be a bad idea for those who live and/or work in \"poorer countries\" as you said.

Let me bring you a couple of examples.



A few days ago there was a forum posted by a fellow translator under the title \"Am I too expensive with USD.09/word?\" , where a guy was wondering if his price is too high.

99% of ProZ colleagues told him no way, your price is fine, stick to it! And only one translator from Spain told him \"you are sort of expensive. In Spain we are working for USD.05\".



In the past you and I have already talked about rates in Hungary, remember? Don\'t you think that some Hungarian agencies or clients should start paying a little more that 1.5 HUF/character? Even with the most generous calculation (and sliding USD ) you will not get more than USD10/page!



Next: I spent a few years in Central Asia and know the market there very well. In Kazakhstan for example translators are working for appr. USD15/page, in the neighbouring Kyrgyzstan for USD7.

Right now I am in Moldova(which is already Europe, not Asia) - translators here are working for (sit down!) THREE (3) USD a page!!!!!! And when I called a few agencies not willing to believe my eyes and ears, they told me that some clients find this price TOO HIGH! My husband was sent to Moldova to work on a USAID-sponsored project, but even they do not pay their translators more than USD600 a month.

There is also Ukraine, Russia etc., etc., etc.



I know you will say that a link to a site like that on your Profile page will not make your Client pay you more instantaneously, but maybe it will make some of them think...



I will not put this link on my profile page either, as I do not think anybody will follow it, much less read the text. The idea in and of itself is not bad, though.



Olga.



P.S. Jossz 26.-an powwowba?

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-06-14 13:27 ]


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Eivind Lilleskjaeret  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:46
Member (2004)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Greedy hoax cloaked in sentimental babble Jun 14, 2002

I have no intention of slating colleagues who find this initiative valuable, but this is my personal opinion:

I wouldn\'t even consider including a link to this site, which strikes me as utter rubbish placed in pop-up inferno. The only \"good\" cause which may benefit from this sentimental travesty (\"Understanding how your company\'s decisions effect thousands of people who work to serve your needs, and whom you may not know about\", etc. Oh please) is the site owner\'s bank account due to advertising revenue.

It is obviously a hoax designed to trick us poor \"dedicated, valuable, skilled individuals [who] are being hugely underpaid\" into including links in our profiles and homepages in order to increase the bulge in this person\'s wallet.

I may be wrong, but I seriously doubt that this web-site will have any effect on the rates clients are willing to pay.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 14:46
SITE FOUNDER
advice Jun 14, 2002

I agree that the statements on The Reunion Site should be made more concise, and yes, people would be more inclined to jump aboard if the person or people behind the site were known.



Still--and setting aside the issue of what the exact rates should be--there may be value to the approach. People have talked in the past about mandating certain rates, but the truth is, this won\'t happen unless (1) clients, (2) agencies, and (3) individual professionals, reach some degree of mutual understanding. The person behind the Reunion Site appears to have tried to put forward a position statement that all three can adopt. That is a start.



But the concept needs some refinement. Most notably, if the \"movement\" is about rates AND quality, well, something specific should be said about quality--not just rates! Because without a quality standard, you can not possibly set minimum rates. At least a pledge related to quality could be added.



When this oversight is addressed, and the site text is made more concise, then I advise this: a standard statement (like David\'s) should be put into html code, together with a distinctive (and small!) icon. Make this available in exactly the same format for the three parties to download and use.



Finally, take out all advertising (and if your host does not allow this, move!) The site will have no credibility with trashy popup ads all over the place.


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Daniel Alcaine-Rich, M.V., BSc  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
So what? Jun 14, 2002

So, yes, perhaps that site has been prepared by some translator and definitely it doesn\'t have a nice design.



So what?



I already said I don\'t have the slightest idea of who created it.

I didn\'t perform a research to find out who the author(s) is.



I actually don\'t care who he/she/they are, as long as I do agree with what is said there, *including* that part on the 6 cents or 9 cents or whatever being paid by who knows what agencies to which translators.



It might also look like they\'re begging for better payment.



So what?



What I saw there was a a different interpretation: someone, or many a one, describing what\'s going on, from their perspective, which I consider reflects what many have to face on a day-to-day basis. And someone, or many a one, being honest in their requests, written not to generate sides or divisions, but to Re-unite.



I just liked the idea and indeed I liked it for being so straightforward and simple.



I Have included a link in my profile convinced that doing so Doesn\'t prevent me from negotiating higher (or lower) rates with my customers or prospect customers.





If I see any better propositions, I\'ll be sure to present them here As Well, with or without your approval.



All efforts towards improving things are welcome as far as I\'m concerned.



So it\'s far from perfect?

So (excuse me), so bloody hell what?



By the way, if anyone else wants to support this initiative, stand forward and speak your mind. I would like to see more diverse opinions here.



And by no means have I presented this post to promote my name or business. I won\'t take that part seriously, Thank You.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-06-14 17:23 ]


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 12:46
French to English
+ ...
agencies & rates Jun 14, 2002

Dear Colleagues:



Please explain the value added by agencies.



I realize that agencies serve a purpose in connecting translators with clients.

What are the other beneficial services offered?



Thank you, Rita
[addsig]


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BelkisDV  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
To Henry Jun 14, 2002

\"But the concept needs some refinement. Most notably, if the \"movement\" is about rates AND quality, well, something specific should be said about quality--not just rates! Because without a quality standard, you can not possibly set minimum rates. At least a pledge related to quality could be added.\"



Below you will find 2 references to quality in the site



\"Otherwise, the quality of our work decreases in a direct proportion to lower rates.\"



\"your company might end up with defective translations and lose sales capacity/volume in many markets\".



I have added the link to my profile. I don\'t care who created the site because I am convinced that they decided to remain anonymous because they were probably afraid of repercussions, just like most of the ProZ members who do not include their rates in their profiles are. Nevertheless, they created it to spread the message that rates need to improve if quality is. That they cannot obtain or demand good quality if they offer ridiculous rates. That they will obtain exactly what they\'ve paid for. We have a saying in Spanish \"Lo barato sale caro\".



Did you all know that years ago when they were creating names for Chevrolet vehicles (which I\'m sure you know there are Spanish versions of those names), someone came up with the Chevy NOVA. This name in itself created a chaos in marketing the vehicle...why?? Because in Spanish NOVA means NO VA, in other words, DOESN\'T RUN. So that vehicle sold less than all the others simply because of the name....and I bet my life that it was a translator who got paid $0.02 to come up with that.



Peace out!

Belkis









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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 14:46
SITE FOUNDER
what agencies do Jun 14, 2002

Agencies are indispensible in our industry. Tasks they perform:



- Sales



- Client education, guidance (many clients need to be taught how to develop products and services in a way that allows them to be localized)



- Project management (very few clients want to deal with multiple translators in multiple languages; they want to send a fle and get it back in 12 languages)



- DTP and other formatting



- File conversion, etc.



- Quality control



- Collection and management of translation memories, glossaries, etc.



The degree to which the above tasks are performed varies from agency to agency, but even the agencies that do nothing but pass jobs along have to do sales.



Please expand upon this, adding what I have missed, members from agencies!


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Urban Legend Jun 14, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-06-14 15:22, BelkisDV wrote:

This name in itself created a chaos in marketing the vehicle...why?? Because in Spanish NOVA means NO VA, in other words, DOESN\'T RUN. So that vehicle sold less than all the others simply because of the name....




That never happened. At least in Mexico, the Chevy Nova sells quite well. Incidentally, if someone wants to say that a car doesn\'t run, they would never use \"no va\".



http://spanish.about.com/library/weekly/aa072301a.htm


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 14:46
SITE FOUNDER
You'll get futher if you guarantee the client fresh tomatoes Jun 14, 2002

I said:

------------

\"...if the \"movement\" is about rates AND quality, well, something specific should be said about quality--not just rates! Because without a quality standard, you can not possibly set minimum rates. At least a pledge related to quality could be added.\"

------------



Belkis replied:

------------

\"Below you will find 2 references to quality in the site



\"Otherwise, the quality of our work decreases in a direct proportion to lower rates.\"



\"your company might end up with defective translations and lose sales capacity/volume in many markets\".

------------



These statements are vague, debatable, and anyway, only state the negative, ie. \"if you don\'t pay enough you might not get good results.\" I think a translator who demands decent rates should also have the pluck to promise: \"Given these rates, I guarantee that you will get results you can be proud of.\"



Without that, the Reunion Site can not be called a statement about quality and rates; it is only a statement about rates.



Read the case study on Cesar Chavez, and the farmworkers\' movement. It wouldn\'t have worked if they put their stamp on rotten tomatoes.



.......



I would be interested to hear from the person or people behind the site. Are you here?


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Marisapad  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:46
English to Italian
+ ...
God bless the agencies! Jun 14, 2002

I totally agree with Henry.



From the agencies I receive:



- Pretranslated files

- Translation memories or only parts of TMs to be used for a given file, so I don\'t have to waste my time in searching my old files and in consulting a huge TM.

- Timely payments

- Answers to issues peratining the source text, even if I didn\'t ask the questions.

(I mean, a colleague in Spain raises a question, another one in France asks another question and everybody in every nation receives ALL answers)



I could go on for a month but I\'m in a hurry...



best wishes to everybody

marisa



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Daniel Alcaine-Rich, M.V., BSc  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
some further replies Jun 14, 2002

1) When I started this post, the title I gave it was different from the one I\'m now seeing. I wonder if it\'s been edited by someone else.



2) The assumption that the webmaster(s) of that site will collect money by having people visit/link to the site and then clicking on the ads seems absurd to me. Maybe we\'re too used to that kind of thing to believe that these people are just trying to convey a message and that\'s all.



3) Equally, most of you seem to think that the site in question wants to act as a kind of referee and \"approval seal\" or something of the sort. All I\'ve seen there is an exposition of some known facts and wishes.



4) Probably home-made, I doubt that the person or people behind it have the resources to develop a professional site and/or the time to take it to all \"fronts\" (i.e., the LISA organisation, the ATA, the numerous Associations of Translation Companies, etc.), let alone try to make it a standard



5) I doubt that the statements that Belkis has noted about quality could Really be \"debatable\". I personally believe that they are Facts.



6) By what I\'ve read in the site, it\'s not against agencies and it\'s not against end-customers.



7) In reference to what Henry wrote about \"David\'s\", if what you mean is \"David against Goliath\", please read again item 6), and read the contents of the site, maybe I\'ve got it wrong.

In any case, I disagree with the idea of David and Goliath, and I disagree with the comment \"God bless the agencies\", not because I be against agencies, but simply because I do value my work. The idea that I need thank the end-customer and the agency because they may be so kind to send me work is absolutely simplifying things to a extent I don\'t like. I could also say that they should thank translators for performing tasks the former can\'t do themselves, and it\'d be equally true or false depending on the point of view.



8) If some or many translators feel that they\'re being underpaid or exploited, sooner or later they will succeed in having any payment demands satisfied. They may take long, or not, to get organised, but I certainly hope they don\'t take long.



9) Quality, or quality control, is done by every translator I know and respect. Not better, not worse than any agency or standard can really guarantee. Because if the \"standard\" is having a translation edited, reviewed, sent, sent back by the end-customer in-house reviser, and finally corrected, translators also do create partnerships among themselves and give a satisfactory customer service.

Furthermore, translators know how to use CAT tools to \"pretranslate\" files, and they are increasingly using DTP apps. File conversions? Trados and other CAT bundles already solved most of that for many translators.



10) Continuing with this line, I don\'t understand why it seems as if many of the people participating in this debate are against translators\' (or, well, against this person\'s or people\'s) legitimate and only logical demands.





11) Finally, or when I get an answer to this last issue, why don\'t we then try and do it better?

No one has the knowldege, the time, the money?



I certainly do not, I know too little about HTML and I don\'t have the time and money to come up with a \"decent\" site.



However, I will maintain the link in my profile because, as it has been said here, it\'s a start.



I\'ve never seen Proz.com, Aquarius, the ATA, anyone with the potential means, in short, do something as simple and straightforward as what these other \"dubious\" people have done, regardless of whether they\'re being naïve or not.



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-06-14 17:27 ]


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BelkisDV  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
To Henry Jun 14, 2002

So how would you word it Henry? First you stated that there were no references to quality and I provided you with two of them. I\'m very interested in finding out how you would word that people get what they pay for, which is in essence the message being conveyed.



Belkis


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