If the language is spoken in a poor country, should it be cheap?
Thread poster: Ethiotrans

New user
Jun 17, 2004

Is the country's economic condition and the language has any thing in co
Dear readers we are doing lots of translation for some exotic languages and very hard to get the right term, vocabulary and phrase as well as typing these words are pain. DO not mention finding the right qualified person for the project. We are based in US But when we get any call from some translation companies they want us to do it cheaper than any language because the countries who speak those languages are poor. Do you thing this is right, we hire translators in US and do you think we need to pay them based on the complexity of the project or based on the country they are from. Please give us your input.

We get such kind of request mostly UK companies and I don't know who people paid in UK, is that based on the nationality. If that is the case in US that is discrimination. Please send us your input. Some of the companies who request this are part of Proz,com


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Naive sort of reasoning, isn't this? Jun 17, 2004

In a lower-middle income country by the Human Development Index, only the upper and upper middle classes, not to mention corporations, could have access to the kind of technology it takes to service such requests. Unless you sent someone there to pick up translators from the corner and provided them the means (yes, buy them a computer, try it and calculate your own costs), very few would statistically be in a position to attend to demand. This is one reason why the so-called "exotic" languages are still the highest-paid. The other reason is, demand for these is not so high. That forces the would-be suppliers to fold up or lie dormant, and the industry feels it (they're never around when you need them, since a 24-hour dedication doesn't "yield"). So, when finally you get one, thank your stars you found him at all. If you want him to still be around next year, pay him well or he'll quit.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes and no Jun 18, 2004

[This is the *second* post in this thread. The first post was bodyless.]

Basically, if the *client* is in a poor country, the translator is morally obliged to charge cheaply for it.

But if the client is in a rich country and wants a translation into a language which is spoken primarily in a poor country, then the client should be prepared to pay the same rate as he would for any other translation in his own country.

That said, remember that a client's reason for wanting a translation may be to conduct business in that country, and if the country is poor, it may be that an expensive translation may not be financially feasible for him.

So on the one hand, if the client is a *business* client, then he should pay business rates according to his domicile. On the other hand, if the client finds that it is too expensive for him to do business in that poor country, the translator may be party to disenfranchising that poor country by virtually pricing it out of the market.

Short answer: rate should be based on client's domicile. Long answer: if you care about the economy of that poor country, do some research and if you feel that you would do the poor inhabitants of that poor country a favour by doing a cheap translation, then do so by all means.

See also my article on fair rates:
http://www.leuce.com/translate/fairrate.html

[Edited at 2004-06-18 07:09]


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AnaAngelica Amador
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's up to you. Jun 19, 2004

If you are in the business of translations, you know that finding qualified translators in exotic languages is very difficult, so is finding qualified editors. You have to factor in your time in locating these professionals, and your risk in providing translations that probably no one in your staff can judge. You are not billing based on your client or their customer's condition (which you cannot control) you are billing based on the time and effort invested in providing YOUR service.

If your client is a wealthy corporation, they must learn to budget for their marketing or whatever area the translation will serve. If it is a nonprofit organization providing free information or services, you could consider a discount on condition you can either write it off on your taxes or a chance to have your company name listed on the translated item as the translation provider. I have done some healthcare and prevention brochures with a 25% discount on condition they include a line "Translated by" (company name) with my email or phone number. This type of agreement is mutually beneficial and encourages long-term business relationships. When I've gotten business from people who read the line on their material I send my client a thank you card with a coupon for XXXX words free on the next translation.

If you are a philanthropist, and can afford to give your work cheaper and (unlike me) unconditionally, then by all means do so. Sometimes people do not have access to information they need and you can make a difference. Pretty much it's up to you.


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Ethiotrans
Local time: 06:54
Amharic to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
ethiotrans Jun 19, 2004

AnaAngelica Amador wrote:

Well, here is what happened. Both the client and translator are in a rich country, except the language is spoken in a poor country. Most of the time we do not have any problem dealing with such issues, but some times some clients get mad when we tell them our price, because they expect the language should be cheap because the country which the language is spoken poor ( in their standard). I keep getting such problems mostly from UK companies and I just want to hear how these kinds of issues are dealt in UK.

I told this story to for one of my translator and he told me if he works for cheap why not he does not get a discount when he buys gas, pays his mortgage and his expenses.

So far we are charging based on the complexity of the project and most of our customers are happy except few and I hope they will read this email and well have a better understanding before they call our office



If you are in the business of translations, you know that finding qualified translators in exotic languages is very difficult, so is finding qualified editors. You have to factor in your time in locating these professionals, and your risk in providing translations that probably no one in your staff can judge. You are not billing based on your client or their customer's condition (which you cannot control) you are billing based on the time and effort invested in providing YOUR service.

If your client is a wealthy corporation, they must learn to budget for their marketing or whatever area the translation will serve. If it is a nonprofit organization providing free information or services, you could consider a discount on condition you can either write it off on your taxes or a chance to have your company name listed on the translated item as the translation provider. I have done some healthcare and prevention brochures with a 25% discount on condition they include a line "Translated by" (company name) with my email or phone number. This type of agreement is mutually beneficial and encourages long-term business relationships. When I've gotten business from people who read the line on their material I send my client a thank you card with a coupon for XXXX words free on the next translation.

If you are a philanthropist, and can afford to give your work cheaper and (unlike me) unconditionally, then by all means do so. Sometimes people do not have access to information they need and you can make a difference. Pretty much it's up to you.


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Paraschiva Bloju  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 16:54
Member (2005)
German to Romanian
+ ...
good calculation Samuel! Jun 21, 2004

But the costs depends from country to country.
I think that the translators have to calculate their prices according to the expenses from the country they live in. The translators from poor countries will charge less for their work because of the living costs from their countries. I believe that a lot of translators from the West will loose some jobs as soon as the translators from the less developed countries will discover the global market/internet, more and more. Each of them will have to translate in the language of the country they live in. It is obvious that this becomes a criterion of selection.

Let’s take the language pair English -Romanian, for example: the translations from English into Romanian will be chipper because they will be made by Romanian translators while the translations from Romanian into English will be more expensive because they will be made by translators from more expensive countries such as: England , U.S.A. …
I believe that the market imposes this system, at list proz.com does it.

The ones from the West will not be able to live if they would be paid with the prices from East, but for us from the East, we are glad to raise the prices up ( a little bit more) so that we would live better.
Greetings,
Paraschiva


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