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Cheeky outsourcer 'adjusted' my rates to 'make them more competitive'
Thread poster: Mats Wiman

Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:37
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Apr 6, 2004

I was enticed to enter my name on a translator list and got the following back:

"Dear associate, (as if I already were)

Please go to our front page and at the top on the right add your user name and password, then click on “Login” and enter into your account.
Please also check the rates. Our system has ajusted them in order to be competitve.(my bold typeface)

I answered that I would not let anybody adjust my rates.
If they did not change their policy on this I would have them delete my account.
After a few more rounds without them budging at all, I was finally 'let free'.

Unbelievable!

Mats


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 06:37
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Wow, Mats... Apr 6, 2004

It's amazing how someone can simply modify your own info without warning.
I think this just goes to show us that Internet, with all its rosy promise, still harbours some thorns...
Nancy


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:37
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Scary! Apr 6, 2004

Mats,

That they can just do this and change your rates gives me goosebumps. What if you had not been able to let them 'free' you? Then you would have been involved in a perhaps lengthy legal battle to get yourself removed.

Scary! I agree with Nancy. The Internet is both a blessing and a curse sometimes.

Thank goodness that you were able to get out of this one relatively easy.

Take care!
Lucinda

[Edited at 2004-04-06 15:11]


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Thierry thierry_lafaye
Spain
Local time: 12:37
English to French
+ ...
Now I'm scared too... Apr 6, 2004

Lucinda Hollenberg wrote:

What if you had not been able to let them 'free' you? Then you would have been involved in a perhaps lengthy legal battle to get yourself removed.

[Edited at 2004-04-06 15:11]


Thanks Mats for sharing this with us. I was told of a similar case and, to be honest, I kind of get unsettled with this as it may happen to anyone of us. I was told of a similar issue by a peer of mine who experienced the same sad situation, even with a long term business partner. If we could go into a shop and impose our prices the same way, would not that be just great?

Seriously, I think this is just unfair. They of course have the freedom to prefer an apparently "cheaper" offer for a different quality, experience, etc, but they should actually try to negotiate rather then enforce rates that you never discussed (or rather that you discussed totally different rates with them so I consider this breaking an agreement, purely and simply).

I wonder how you may have had to go to court to get yourself removed though, and not forced to work at a disagreed rate. Is it really possible? Has this situation been seen in the past? Thanks for letting me know, it quite concerns me.


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:37
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Negotiation Apr 6, 2004

The outsourcer doesn't seem to have good business sense. Rates are an agreement. The outsourcer's attitude attitude was all wrong. They should have been more diplomatic, perhaps posing the counter offer in the form of a question.

You are so right, Matts. This outsourcer was very cheeky.

Edward


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:37
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Proz.com also does it. Apr 7, 2004

Mats Wiman wrote:
"Our system has ajusted them in order to be competitve". I answered that I would not let anybody adjust my rates.


Keep in mind that Proz.com is doing the same, although Proz doesn't adjust your rates but instead simply refuses to accept your rates if they don't conform to or comply with the idea of Proz's BOD about fair rates.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:37
English to German
+ ...
Not quite Apr 7, 2004

Hi Samuel,

Keep in mind that Proz.com is doing the same, although Proz doesn't adjust your rates but instead simply refuses to accept your rates if they don't conform to or comply with the idea of Proz's BOD about fair rates.

That's not quite true, actually. The ProZ.com rates system does not force you to adapt a certain price level - all that it imposes is a relationship between your minimum and maximum price levels. The rates I have entered are way above the ProZ.com average for my pairs - what this means is that I cannot quote on a 2-cent job because my minimum also needs to move up.

Best regards, Ralf


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 07:37
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Not right, Samuel Apr 7, 2004

I'm sorry to come after Ralf with more comments, but in fact your are completely wrong.
How many times ProZ has been asked to set a minimum rate? Impossible to say, every two months (at least) there's a thread about outrageous rates in job offers and a request to set a minimum.
ProZ policy has always respected the right to anybody to chose his own rates. It just publishes statistics in order to let you see where you are compared to other translators working in the same pair. It works the same way when you are "cheap" than when you're "expensive". You just have to keep a logic relation between the lowest and highest rate you apply.
I think there's no comparison with the system described by Mats.

Samuel Murray-Smit wrote:
Keep in mind that Proz.com is doing the same, although Proz doesn't adjust your rates but instead simply refuses to accept your rates if they don't conform to or comply with the idea of Proz's BOD about fair rates.


[Edited at 2004-04-07 12:09]


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Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What about not inserting the rates at all? Apr 7, 2004

Hello,

I think that the solution might be not inserting any rates. I know this might be against most people's ideas, but the fact is that I don't think fair to have my work judged by the rates only and no matter what people say once we start negotiating by mentioning rates these are going to be the most important issue in the negotiation. How can I have my work judged just by the rates I practice:-(? Remember that rates "per si" don't indicate we do a good work at all - if that was so, we would have beginners using high rates just to make people believe they are good.

Rates are important but there are other things to mention before that: i.e. experience, training, qualifications, way of conducting business, etc.

This is just my opinion, of course:-)

Kind regards to all
Mónica


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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 12:37
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Rate statistics Apr 8, 2004

"It just publishes statistics in order to let you see where you are compared to other translators working in the same pair."

Hi Claudia,

Could you tell me where this info is posted as I can't seem to find it?

Gracias,
Andy


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:37
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I still believe there is a correlation Apr 8, 2004

Ralf Lemster wrote:
The ProZ.com rates system does not force you to adapt a certain price level - all that it imposes is a relationship between your minimum and maximum price levels.


With all respect due to your office as moderator... your statement is contradictory. See below.

Claudia Iglesias wrote:
How many times ProZ has been asked to set a minimum rate? ... ProZ policy has always respected the right to anybody to chose his own rates.


Not quite. It respects the right to choose your own rate as long as your rate complies with what Proz assumes is the correct formula for determining a fair rate.

==

I agree that adjusting rates willy-nilly is not acceptable. My rates were adjusted by the Fair Rates Group shortly after I joined, and although I was willing to compromise, they weren't, and they kicked me off Group list for not changing my quite sober rate to their rather ridiculous rate.

My point is that a translator who has charged a certain rate all his life must, upon joining Proz and declaring his rates, change his rate to suit the policy of Proz. He is forced to do that (the system won't allow him otherwise). Now whether he changes his rates himself (under duress) or whether the computer changes his rates for him, the fact is that an arbitrary rate algorithm is enforced.

By the way: The OP didn't mention whether his rates were lowered or raised - I wonder which was the case.

[Edited at 2004-04-08 07:00]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:37
English to German
+ ...
You're not bound by the community average Apr 8, 2004

Hi Samuel,
Samuel Murray-Smit wrote:

Ralf Lemster wrote:
The ProZ.com rates system does not force you to adapt a certain price level - all that it imposes is a relationship between your minimum and maximum price levels.


With all respect due to your office as moderator... your statement is contradictory. See below.

No worries - moderators are just as prone to be wrong as anyone else...

Not quite. It respects the right to choose your own rate as long as your rate complies with what Proz assumes is the correct formula for determining a fair rate.

What formula would that be? The only restriction is a factor of 2.5 between your minimum and maximum prices, regardless of the absolute level. It's true that the min/max margin, in absolute terms, gets wider with a higher price level, but is that bad?

My point is that a translator who has charged a certain rate all his life must, upon joining Proz and declaring his rates, change his rate to suit the policy of Proz.

Frankly, I don't get the point here: is the 250% range the problem, or are your prices so high that the built-in error detection mechanism kicks in? Note that I'm not being ironic here: I had the latter problem, and it was solved by a manual entry by the ProZ.com team. (There are certain check levels to prevent an erroneous entry of, say, 1,000 euros per hour distorting the average.)

If you prefer not to discuss your prices in public, please contact me through my profile.

Best regards, Ralf

[Edited at 2004-04-08 08:10]


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:37
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Lowered Apr 8, 2004

Samuel said:
By the way: The OP didn't mention whether his rates were lowered or raised - I wonder which was the case.

Could the expression "Adjust a price in order to be competitive" ever mean 'raised'??

OP


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:37
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Low rates can also be non-competitive Apr 8, 2004

Mats Wiman wrote:
Could the expression "Adjust a price in order to be competitive" ever mean 'raised'??


Absolutely. Rates that aren't competitive can be too high but it can also be too low.

One example: If an agency charges too little, some potential clients might think they're cheap, and go elsewhere. So if an agency has a standard mark-up percentage, they'll prefer to deal with freelancers asking higher rates. Paying (or asking) low rates just wouldn't be competitive.

Another example: In my example of the Fair Rates Group, for example, my standard rate was considered too low. I got kicked off for not raising it high enough. If one member of a translators' pool charges too little, there is a danger that he might be undercutting the rest.

What does "competitive" mean? If it's just a euphemism for "cheaper than others", then I agree with you than a competitive rate is always one that is lower. But if it is "in ?sober relation with current market prices", then a high rate can be competitive too.


[Edited at 2004-04-08 12:19]


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:37
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Agreed minimum rate is OK Apr 8, 2004

Dear Samuel,

Do you not refer to FairTradeNet when you mention 'Fair Rates Group'

FTN business idea is to agree on a minimum rate of EUR 0.15.
This is OK. If it works is another matter but the effort is worth making.


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