They request rates, give high scores on the test, and then offer low rates. Don't you hate that?
Thread poster: Artem Vakhitov

Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonia
English to Russian
+ ...
Mar 1, 2013

So this agency has a project to bid on. They request to fill a detailed questionnaire complete with your rates and payment information. Then they give you a test job, tell you that you scored high on it - and then offer 60% of your rate and ask to send your payment information if you agree! Granted, I quoted my rates per word as I usually do with agencies, and the agency's rates were per 1000 characters with spaces, but I seriously cannot believe that agency personnel doesn't know how to approximately convert between these units for a given language pair. I wouldn't even bother with the test translation if I knew that they had no intention to work at my rates... I mean, come on, show just a little respect to the other people's time!

OK, I vented.

[Edited at 2013-03-01 09:49 GMT]


 

SwissLocalizer
Switzerland
English to French
+ ...
Agree on rates first :) Mar 1, 2013

The rest is not your business

 

Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
I don't take free tests Mar 1, 2013

My recommendation:

Don't take free tests. From what I have seen, the companies that ask for free tests, offer low rates. If they want to test your ability this way, then they can pay for it.

If you have decided to take a test for free, then have the agency agree on your terms before taking it.


 

Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 14:32
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Agencies which ask you to fill in a large questionnaire Mar 1, 2013

will almost never give you any real job with decent (for you) rates.

This is another Murphy's law.


 

Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonia
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To me, this is an implicit agreement Mar 1, 2013

Floriane Pochon wrote:

The rest is not your business


Requesting rates from the outset and then giving a test looks to me like an implicit agreement to work at the quoted rates provided the test is scored high. Or at least that should be the proper way. Normally, when a customer asks me for the rates early (before testing), they just tell me outright if my rates are too high for them, and then we don't both bother with the test.


 

Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonia
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A free test is not a problem for me Mar 1, 2013

Penelope Ausejo wrote:

From what I have seen, the companies that ask for free tests, offer low rates.


This as such is not my experience. *But* if the test is paid, the rates will be decent, that's for sure.


If you have decided to take a test for free, then have the agency agree on your terms before taking it.


Yes, in future I will agree on it explicitly, though I used to perceive offering the test as an implicit agreement on the rates quoted in advance - and it worked for me all these years. Maybe I was just lucky.

[Edited at 2013-03-01 09:45 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-03-01 09:46 GMT]


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:32
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
A similar experience - and "Antidote" Mar 1, 2013

I was contacted last week, via Proz, by an agency in Canada saying they were keen to recruit me to their database. They asked for my rates, sent a lengthy application form and asked me to do two free tests totalling about 650 words. They are on the Blue Board, but have no entries. I agreed to do one of the tests of about 300 words and politely asked them to agree to my rates and terms of business in principle before I did the test. After several email exchanges, they finally said they wouldn't agree to anything until I'd done the test. I then discovered from their application form that they insist on all their translators using a CAT tool called Antidote, which I'd never heard of before. Has anyone heard of it?
Anyway, as by that time matters were less than cordial between us, I politely told them I had decided to drop the possibility of being added to their database. I think I'd already wasted enough time.
Ça alors!


 

Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:32
Member
French to English
+ ...
Getting their foot in the door Mar 1, 2013

I suppose the reason why they wait before telling you what they really intend to pay is that by the time you've jumped through the first few administrative hoops, they're hoping that you'll think to yourself: "Well, I know it's less than what I quoted, but I've come this far now, so I may as well accept otherwise I'll have wasted my time and theirs..." A bit like a salesman who comes to your door and asks you just to let him in so that you can sit down and discuss whatever he is trying to sell; it's all about taking that first step so that you feel you should (or may as well) take the next step, if for no other reason than to save face.

Last year, I was contacted by an agency which sells a particularly well-known CAT tool and was asked to go through a lengthy registration process for a large project. Before embarking on the process, which included a test, I asked them to confirm whether they agreed to my rate. The PM was evasive and urged me just to start registering for now. When I stood my ground, she eventually conceded that she couldn't make any guarantees about rates, but very persistently kept encouraging me to fill in the forms. She also suggested that the rate they would offer would depend on how well I did in the test! So I went no further. I definitely got the impression that she was following instructions, and that the reluctance to agree on a rate from the outset was deliberate.

As long as we're willing to stand our ground, we won't be susceptible to that technique, though I can totally understand why it's irritating. This kind of brazen "trying it on" is becoming such a common practice these days, and it seems to work best on those of us who lack self-confidence.

[Edited at 2013-03-01 10:55 GMT]


 

juliette_K  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:32
French to Italian
+ ...
True Mar 1, 2013

Vadim Kadyrov wrote:

will almost never give you any real job with decent (for you) rates.

This is another Murphy's law.



 

Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Pay attention! Mar 1, 2013

Artem Vakhitov wrote:


Requesting rates from the outset and then giving a test looks to me like an implicit agreement to work at the quoted rates provided the test is scored high. Or at least that should be the proper way. Normally, when a customer asks me for the rates early (before testing), they just tell me outright if my rates are too high for them, and then we don't both bother with the test.


I was really upset last time (several years ago) when I did a test after having offered my rates. Like you, I thought it meant they implicitely agreed on them sending me the test. The translation was ok, but *unfortunately* it happened they couldn't pay my rates. I felt quite duped. For any normal person, it *is* implicit, but obviously, not for everyone.

Since then, I never have done any more tests for free.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:32
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
The moral is there Mar 1, 2013

Artem Vakhitov wrote:
I wouldn't even bother with the test translation if I knew that they had no intention to work at my rates...

Never take a test, send copies of documents or jump through any hoops at all until they've explicitly agreed to your rates. Anything else is pure folly.

Once they've explicitly accepted your rates, they're technically in default of contract by refusing to stand by that acceptance; not that that would make any difference in a court, but it gives you the moral high ground.icon_smile.gif


 

Charles Milton Ling
Local time: 13:32
English to German
+ ...
Never do anything for free Mar 2, 2013

Except a brief telephone call.

 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 19:32
Chinese to English
Call them on it Mar 2, 2013

This is not a case of "different expectations" or "meaning different things to different people". This is a negotiation strategy which I regard as a bit dishonest, but within the bounds of what can be expected.
A company that wants you to work for a low rate will attempt to increase your level of engagement through form-filling and test translations, so that when they finally say, we're only willing to pay X, you have already put in so much work that you feel like you have to take it, rather than just write off all that wasted time.
Personally, I always expect agencies to try this on. It's a known hazard. But when I catch them at it, I make a point of always holding to my desired price, and of pointing out that their tactics are bordering on the dishonest.


 


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They request rates, give high scores on the test, and then offer low rates. Don't you hate that?

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