Translation Rates and Agencies
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:13
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 7, 2003

I think it is safe to say that we have all noticed the growing tendency of some translation agencies to offer or pay their translators what many would consider to be low rates. This has caused some heated debates on this site and elsewhere. Some have called the rates insulting and demeaning, while others support the enforcement of a minimum rate. It has also been pointed out, and rightly so, that many translators can make a decent or even excellent income with what we would consider to be low rates based on their geographic location and economic situation. This is not the fault of this site, but rather a new market reality. In addition, a number of new sites offering jobs to translators have appeared recently and when agencies dictate the price rather than the service providers, the trend can only continue downward. One does not call a plumber or a lawyer and tell them how much you will pay for their services. On the other hand, it has been pointed out numerous times that the number of bids a job receives is not indicative of the number of people willing to work for the specified rate. Many translators use this opportunity to educate clients about rates. This opportunity would not be available if clients were prohibited from specifying the rates they are willing to pay.



This site offers a wealth of features and opportunities for the freelance professional that simply did not exist many years ago. Those translators who have been working in this field for a long time can certainly appreciate the ability to communicate and interact more efficiently with their colleagues. The rewards for beginning translators are also enormous.



Agencies also provide a wonderful service for the freelance translator and many of us owe a great deal if not all of our monthly income to these companies. They work hard to market themselves, procure jobs, deal directly with clients, etc. In short, we are grateful for their existence and we appreciate the work they do. Unfortunately, some have been forced to lower their rates due to the present economy or for other reasons.



However, what has not been said is that in many respects these agencies are only hurting themselves in the end because:



1) A lower price inevitably lowers the value of the product in the mind of the consumer. If you can purchase something for a cheap price, you automatically assume that it did not cost that much to produce or was “easy” to produce and therefore, you cannot appreciate its value.



2) You cannot lower your rates and then expect to suddenly increase them. The fast food industry discovered this when they began offering .99 hamburgers. You can’t offer something for .99 for six months and then expect consumers to now pay $2.50. You have lowered the “value” of the product in their mind and you must now convince them why they now have to pay more for the same product.



3) The same advantages that the internet provides agencies in finding “cheap” translators can also be used by translators to market themselves and find their own direct clients. Faced with falling rates from agencies, these translators will have to seek out more direct clients in order to survive. In others words, both agencies and translators will now be competing for the same customers. Those agencies that do not offer any kind of value-added service will not be able compete with the prices offered by individuals and will be forced to lower “their” rates in order to stay in business and thus lower the rates they pay their service providers. As a result, their pool of clients will be considerably reduced and their pool of available translators will also be reduced because some will assume in-house positions, take jobs in related fields or open their own small agencies. Others will be either be busy working for direct clients or unwilling to accept a price “cut” to work with the agency.



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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:13
English to German
+ ...
Thanks, Jeff Mar 7, 2003

...for your realistic and balanced view of the situation.



If you feel that ProZ.com could do something else to help freelancers (or groups of freelancers) market their services, please do not hesitate to submit a suggestion to a moderator, or one of the coordinators listed in the \"Site Moderators\" section. It may take a while, and obviously we cannot implement everything, but we certainly appreciate constructive input.



Thanks, and have a nice weekend!

Ralf


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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 14:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
only symphaties for freelance translators. Mar 8, 2003

This issue is being discussed on this forum quite cyclically.

Given the situation the freelance translators cannot but deserve our symphaties.



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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Conflict of Interests Mar 8, 2003

Some months ago I proposed ProZ to support translators to find direct clients or end customers because it is often unnecessary and deleterious to have X agencies in between.



The proposal was deprecated, because ProZ is aiming marketing activities at agencies and wants to protect their interests. Agencies do not want to lose their clients to freelance translators, naturally.



So we cannot expect ProZ to help us in this aspect. ProZ would not mind being adverted to end customers by freelance translators, but if a freelance translator has found such a contact, he would rather behave like an agency and keep this knowledge for himself.



So there seems to be no solution for this conflict of interests,

except becoming an agency..





Comment added for Rick:

I do not say that ProZ is not doing enough for translators.

(How do you define enough in this context?)

But given at least 90% of positive comments about ProZ,

it cannot be wrong to point out some limitations.



[ This Message was edited by:on2003-03-14 11:43]


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Rick Henry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:13
Italian to English
+ ...
How exactly would proZ do that? Mar 8, 2003

How exactly would proZ \"support translators to find direct clients\"? People who need translations done come to proZ and look for translators. Plain and simple. Do you propose proZ provides a list of every private company name it can get it\'s hands on? Seems to me that that is a freelancer\'s job - to market your own services.

As for proZ canvanssing agencies, I can\'t speak to that, but so what if they do? What\'s so wrong with proZ going to agencies and saying \"Hey, we have a huge pool of translators here - if you\'re in need of one, consider looking here\". Again, do you want proZ to go to private companies and do that? That\'s your job. Only you know what kind of direct clients you want for yourself. Frankly I get a bit tired of people complaining that proZ isn\'t doing enough for them, when, bottom line, you\'re the maker of your own destiny. Market the hell out of yourself and you\'ll get work, be it through an agency or with direct clients.



Sorry for the rant.



R.

==

Quote:


On 2003-03-08 16:45, Harry_B wrote:

Some months ago I proposed ProZ to support translators to find direct clients or end customers because it is often unnecessary and deleterious to have X agencies in between.



The proposal was deprecated, because ProZ is canvassing agencies and wants to protect their interests. Agencies do not want to lose their clients to freelance translators, naturally.



So we cannot expect ProZ to help us in this aspect. ProZ would not mind being adverted to end customers by freelance translators, but if a freelance translator has found such a contact, he would rather behave like an agency and keep this knowledge for himself.



So there seems to be no solution for this conflict of interests









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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 11:13
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Re: Conflict of Interests- Harry B. Mar 9, 2003

Let me start with the fact that, IMHO, ProZ, agencies vs freelancers, doesn\'t have any biases either side- at least I, representing an Agency, haven’t noticed any. As far as I can see, most of the bids in ProZ are won by freelancers anyway.

But, of course, it’s up to a client to decide whether to hire an agency or freelancer. To hire a freelancer, of course, is cheaper, OTOH, an Agency is more likely to keep to the deadlines (not an offence to freelancers, just that every individual can happen to broke a leg, his computer can crash, whatever). For agencies it also is easier to deliver proofread text, revised by person other than translator himself, and, if a client needs his job done in multiple languages, it is much easier for him to deal with one agency, rather than 10 separate freelancers, e.g., then the client has to assign a special person to organize translation in 10 languages, watch deadlines and delivery, plus separate payments and all- vs one ready packet received from an agency.

But anyway, it’s up to each client to chose with whom to deal and believe me, agencies can little influence that.

Also- if you work for an agency, you find the job waiting for you in your mailbox, if you’re freelancing, you have to find it yourself, which also takes time and resources.

So I really do not see there the conflict of interests you’re speaking about- an agency takes payment for its services, but it takes it from the client, not from you.



Take care,

Uldis



Quote:


On 2003-03-08 16:45, Harry_B wrote:

Some months ago I proposed ProZ to support translators to find direct clients or end customers because it is often unnecessary and deleterious to have X agencies in between.



The proposal was deprecated, because ProZ is canvassing agencies and wants to protect their interests. Agencies do not want to lose their clients to freelance translators, naturally.



So we cannot expect ProZ to help us in this aspect. ProZ would not mind being adverted to end customers by freelance translators, but if a freelance translator has found such a contact, he would rather behave like an agency and keep this knowledge for himself.



So there seems to be no solution for this conflict of interests




[addsig]

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