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Insist on the rates you want
Thread poster: Karin Adamczyk
Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:11
Member
French to English
Apr 29, 2003

I keep hearing that there is so much pressure to accept low rates and just had to share what happened to me yesterday.



An agency offered me some work at $0.07 USD per word for a rush job (approx 5,000 within 24 hours).



I insisted that I would need at least $0.12 per word to complete the work on time because it would involve working very late that night and all the next day, postponing other work (that could be postponed).



The agency insisted they could only pay $0.07 per word. I answered that I understood and \'maybe next time\'.



When discussing this with a colleague, I said I would prefer to weed my garden (in other words, have time to myself) than work at that rate.



In the afternoon, another agency offered a 5,600 word job at $0.12 USD per word.



Had I accepted the first job at anything less than the rate I wanted, I would have been stuck doing it and would not have been able to accept the second job which has a much more comfortable deadline.



Some agencies think that insisting others will do the work at lower rates will convince us. Well... not this stubbornly independent freelancer



Take care,

Karin Adamczyk


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xxxPaulaMac
French to English
+ ...
Way to go Apr 29, 2003

Way to go Karin. We should all thank you - you sent an important signal to that agency. Too bad about the person who agreed to do the first job for 7 cents.



Now if everyone could just take a deep breath, say no, and hold out for higher rates, all translators would benefit. And the cheapo agencies would soon find themselves out of business.



I must be dreaming.



Paula MacLeod


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Jane Lamb-Ruiz  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Re Low Rates Apr 29, 2003

I completely agree with Karin.



It suddenly occurred to me that we translators could invent a stock phrase to put in any email, or say to people on the phone, that shows we all have a similar opinion on this. If we could get this \"phrase\" sentence to circulate around the world, by posting it and repeating it over and over, this would begin to perhaps sink in.



I suggest we have a contest to come up with a phrase and then volunteers would fan out across the translation sites on the internet spreading the phrase or sentence. We could copyright it as a group and put a copyright \"C\" after it. This idea would work as a \"voluntary\" self-regulation by translators. What are others thoughts on this idea?



So, I hereby launch the contest to come up with a sentence or phrase that would aptly state that transalation is a profession and as such commands professional fees.



I volunteer to collect the phrases and then post them for a vote by whoever would like to vote.



cheers


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:11
Dutch to English
+ ...
Insistence we accept low rates Apr 29, 2003

I agree with Karin and I think Jane\'s idea is really good.



To get us all started here is my contribution (please remember I am a technical translator and creativity is not one of my strong points; I also have a strange sense of humour!):



Sorry, this window is closed, come back tomorrow.


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G.Guarnieri
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:11
Italian to English
+ ...
My suggestion.... Apr 29, 2003

I can offer you a machine translation for that rate....







Giovanni

[ This Message was edited by: G.Guarnieri on 2003-04-29 16:27]


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Domenica Grangiotti  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:11
English to Italian
+ ...
There was a good one where I used to work... Apr 29, 2003

You want it completed by ... when???

And you are going to pay ... how much???



Ciao.

Domenica


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Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:11
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Those who can Apr 29, 2003

Quote:


Way to go Karin. We should all thank you - you sent an important signal to that agency. Too bad about the person who agreed to do the first job for 7 cents.



Now if everyone could just take a deep breath, say no, and hold out for higher rates, all translators would benefit. And the cheapo agencies would soon find themselves out of business.



I must be dreaming.







I realize that we are not all in a position to turn up our noses at low rates, and a lot of it is selfish on my part (I truly would rather weed my garden ), but if enough people refuse low-paying jobs, it WILL be more difficult for agencies to find translators who accept them.



Will anybody work at 0.001 a word -- I don\'t think so and nobody tries. Agencies try to get the lowest possible rate. If we make it less possible, over time, things are bound to change.



Another thing I am adamant about is revision. Most of the time I am too busy to accept revision jobs, but if I do, my rate is $75 per hour. Most clients are very surprised, but I tell them that the time I spend on revision must give me the same amount as what I earn translating. Given that many agencies get translation work done for as little as possible, they then get experienced translators to revise horrible material. It takes forever and I won\'t do it unless I am paid really well for it. In fact, I don\'t like doing it at all, so I usually don\'t. Nothing makes me angrier than correcting a bad translation.



I hope that this too will eventually help raise translation rates to reflect the value of the work.



FWIW,

Karin

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:11
German to English
+ ...
A punch in the mouth Apr 29, 2003

A sign often seen in small stores in Britain states:



\"Please do not ask for credit, as a punch in the mouth often offends\".



Perhaps you (Jane) are thinking of something like this.



Joking aside: as self-employed professionals, it is up to translators to set their own rates, and up to customers to take them or leave them. That does not preclude negotiation. But the starting-point for negotiation should be the translator\'s rates - not the customer\'s.



Many translators (and, clearly, many of their agency customers) evidently have a problem accepting this concept, even though it is otherwise the norm in business. I don\'t go to my plumber, or doctor, or computer store, and tell them what I am going to pay them for a certain service.



The question is this: is drawing attention to this uncertainty conducive to strengthening translators\' status? Or is it not, in itself, an admission by translators that they are not treated in the same way as other professionals? I am convinced that the translators with the highest rates have achieved them not by negotiating, but by NOT negotiating, and that they do not need to draw attention to the fact.



I am currently considering drawing up guidelines for the way in which translation memory projects are handled. Why bother? Well, one reason is that if translators don\'t, other people will. In fact, they are already doing so. Look at:



www.oasis-open.org/news/oasis_news_12_17_02.php



- and notice that they don\'t seem to have asked the translators about it. Well, why should they?



However, drawing up standards regulating business aspects of TM is one thing. Customers cannot necessarily be expected to understand why they must pay again for an identical sentence that was translated and invoiced in the last order. The idea that the translator, as an independent businessperson, sets his or her own rates is, though, basic enough for anyone to understand.



One other point: you must be very careful, particularly in some countries, that you do not appear to be trying to fix rates across the profession. This is illegal in some countries.



Regards,

Marc


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Nicolas Rick
Local time: 12:11
English to French
+ ...
Yes ! Apr 29, 2003

Jane, your suggestion is excellent !

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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:11
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
My proposal Apr 29, 2003

\"Less is More? Not with translation rates!\"



[ This Message was edited by: Laura G. on 2003-04-29 17:09]

[ This Message was edited by: Laura G. on 2003-04-29 17:10]


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:11
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Funny you should bring this up.... Apr 29, 2003

I\'ll recount my experience.

Good Friday, mid/late morning. Phone rang and it was an agency I work for only every so often. They wanted 7 cartelle (Italian count, equivalent to about 1750 words) for Tuesday. I said there would be a surcharge, given that Easter Monday is a national holiday here. The PM said OK. Five minutes later, the head of bookkeeping called in a real huff. Surcharge? Ridiculous, when I\'ve got 4 days to do the job. So I sweetly pointed out that Saturday is part of the weekend (and it belongs to me, not them), Sunday was Easter, Monday was a national holiday, so that left me Tuesday morning to do the job.

He huffed and puffed and said, \"Well, I never! You tell ME!\"

So I did: I told him I thought he should find someone else. He essentially hung up on me.

Today the head of the agency e-mailed me to point out that any translator should understand \"common business sense\". In other words, I was unreasonable.

Anyone care to comment?


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:11
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Mirror tactics Apr 29, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-04-29 17:45, cbolton wrote:

Today the head of the agency e-mailed me to point out that any translator should understand \"common business sense\". In other words, I was unreasonable.

Anyone care to comment?





It would be absolutely fair on your part to say the very same words to the agency\'s boss



Otherwise we\'ll be stuck at our PC\'s on Xmas nights or whenever.



Cheers,

Oleg

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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 06:11
SITE FOUNDER
Right on Apr 29, 2003

Absolutely, Karin (and cbolton). Thanks for posting!

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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 13:11
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Insist on the rates you want Apr 29, 2003

and die from starvation. Dear Karin, not all of us live in the prosperous countries, (though all who replied above, obviously do) and I (an Agency, too), am not to blame, if clients in this country to an Agecy offers price you\'d die laughing if I\'ll tell you. And the client, too, can\'t pay more, economy in any particular country is interconnected. None the less, our translators here generally are much better off than the population in general.

And about holydays and office hours- I dream about time when we\'ll be able to observe them. Not yet though, it\'s 0:49 AM here and I\'m still working- and not to by a new MB, but to make ends meet...



_________________



[ This Message was edited by: uldis on 2003-04-29 21:54]


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
no point in participating in a contest.. Apr 29, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-04-29 14:50, nonogogo wrote:

... I suggest we have a contest to come up with a phrase ...





I bet that Mats would win it anyway

just read his related postings under \"Business issues\"



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