Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
How can we make good rates more visible?
Thread poster: Christine Andersen

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 19:48
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Feb 17, 2014

A discussion on another site is running in circles once again, on the low rates offered for jobs posted on Proz.com.

I don't want to start it again. I want some brainstorming about how we can change the pattern in a positive direction.
If low rates are visible, but never the higher ones, then anyone who does not know better thinks this is normal.

Meanwhile the low rates get this site a bad name, and in the long run serious outsourcers and professional translators will go elsewhere.

It doesn't matter which forum the discussion is held on - we have all seen variations on the same theme:
Someone complains about low rates offered for jobs posted on Proz.com in their language pair. Others can't see the rates because they work in different languages.

Someone points out that a competing site bans posters of jobs with low rates, so of course they come running to Proz.com. There are demands that Proz.com should ban these postings too. (Although it is unrealistic and is not going to happen.)
FAQ 2.35 - Why doesn't ProZ.com set a minimum rate for translation?
http://www.proz.com/faq/3187#3187

It is mentioned that on this site the lowest-paying jobs carry a warning that the rate offered is below 80% of the rates charged by translators in that pair, or whatever.

A number of members or former members say that is why they do not intend to renew their subscriptions... and complain that Proz.com is not what it used to be...

And interspersed in the discussion are a few remarks that the best rates are not visible on Proz.com, either
1. because the budget or rate is not mentioned at all when the job is posted (and we assume or hope the client is willing to pay a reasonable rate proposed by the translator)
or
2. because many clients find translator profiles in the directories and approach translators directly, so no one sees what rate is offered or agreed upon.

Please do not repeat arguments of this kind here.

One observation in the chain I am referring to is that the problem is the same across the profession, and it is not Proz.com's fault.

It would be really great if we could stem the tide of pessimism just a little and get things moving in the right direction.
_____________________

I have started by proposing a Quick Poll about the HIGHEST rates people have earned recently. I hope that if people can vote anonymously within certain ranges, they will be less secretive about rates, and we will see some more encouraging levels.

I don't know whether the poll will run, but it was a thought.

So, folks, we have discussed the problems earlier ad nauseam.
Any positive suggestions to solve them?


 

Amel Abdullah  Identity Verified
Jordan
Arabic to English
+ ...
A good initiative! Feb 17, 2014

Something I have often wished to see when checking out the Blueboard is some indication of what various companies and agencies are actually paying their translators. I would like to see a system implemented in which one could anonymously provide this information without having to leave a comment about the company. Then the data could be visible as something like the following:

20 translators have provided information about the rates they were paid working for this outsourcer

The average rate reported was 12 cents per word

The highest rate reported was 22 cents per word (2 translators)

The lowest rate reported was 8 cents per word (4 translators)

Not sure how this could be done in the most effective way possible, but I am sure the data would be very useful and enlightening. ANY data at all would actually be of use. Even if translators were invited to rate agencies as low, medium, or high payers (the definitions of which could be decided by the community), this would certainly help one make more informed decisions about where to direct any marketing efforts.


 

Jane Proctor  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
French to English
Tweaking Proz around the edges? Feb 17, 2014

It's admirable that you care enough about Proz to save it from itself Christine.
But in all seriousness, I think the best solution IS that all the good translators leave. Let it "thrive" as a LOL bucket shop and then sooner rather than later it will be seen for what it is.

[Edited at 2014-02-17 19:08 GMT]


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:48
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What site Feb 17, 2014

Could you let me know which site is having the discussion you mention?

 

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:48
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I like the idea of anonymous comments on the BB Feb 17, 2014

Jane Proctor wrote:

It's admirable that you care enough about Proz to save it from itself Christine.
But in all seriousness, I think the best solution IS that all the good translators leave. Let it "thrive" as a LOL bucket shop and then sooner rather than later it will be seen for what it is.

[Edited at 2014-02-17 19:08 GMT]


I discovered ProZ by translating. Until I began to work as a professional translator I had no idea it existed.

Ok, you might think it's a bucket shop but thanks to the forums I've managed to leave rates of €0.03 per word behind me. I also learn a lot by answering KudoZ questions and practically all of the clients I work for today contacted me via ProZ.

I totally agree with being able to mention rates anonymously. It seems to me that the Blue Board is only used to comment whether or not the client pays, or pays within the agreed terms, and it would be nice to provide fellow translators with more information, without jeopardising our respective professional relationships with our clients.

I've just googled 'low rates proz' and I got the impression I was reading articles taken from tabloid newspapers. I wouldn't be surprised if the people who published the articles were just using ProZ to their own advantage.



[Edited at 2014-02-17 21:31 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
There is little Proz can do Feb 18, 2014

Proz merely publishes job offers from outsourcers on an as-is basis.

A while ago, a somewhat lame copycat of Proz, crowded with bottom-feeders, decided to improve its image - IMO to no avail - by setting a hard rule that no job offering less than EUR 5¢ would be posted. As a result, as soon as some translator accepts 5¢, the bottom feeders immediately start negotiating to push it down to 1~2¢, and to impose hefty discounts on fuzzy matches.

The problem here is that translation is an ubiquitous online activity. I could move from Sao Paulo to New Delhi or Paris, and go on translating in my language pair just as before, serving the same clients, at the same rates. However my need for income would change sharply either way.

Go to the Blue Board and have a look at some translation agency in India, having 4-5 dozen WWAs, all 5. Look at them closer. Quite often most - if not all - of the translators who gave these WWAs have Hindu names, live in India, and they love and praise the agency that so generously pays them USD 3¢ per word, instead of 1-2¢ like the others there.

So "good" rates are quite relative. Before making them more visible, they would have to be uniform.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:48
English to German
+ ...
Rates need not be uniform but they need to be fair ... and make the bad rates INVISIBLE Feb 18, 2014

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Go to the Blue Board and have a look at some translation agency in India, having 4-5 dozen WWAs, all 5. Look at them closer. Quite often most - if not all - of the translators who gave these WWAs have Hindu names, live in India, and they love and praise the agency that so generously pays them USD 3¢ per word, instead of 1-2¢ like the others there.

So "good" rates are quite relative. Before making them more visible, they would have to be uniform.


So it's Indian nationals who provide English>German translations for $ 0.05/word or less, in India? Or are there some German native speakers outside India accepting low-paying jobs from low-paying companies, no matter where those companies are?

By the way, I wouldn't be moving to India because there I could live off $ 0.03/word.
If I were moving there, I would do it because I like the culture and the people, and many might have done that.

I am not going to move there anyway but not having an adequate income as a translator in one country should certainly not be the reason to move to India. That's ridiculous.

There is a difference between professional rates and unprofessional rates wherever you are. You don't just charge according to your location. You charge is based on native language, second or third language skills, education, experience etc.
Don't forget, YOU CHARGE according to YOUR terms, that's professional.
If you don't, you let yourself be exploited and seriously undercut professional prices, contributing your part to ruining the industry.
That's what's going on way too much IMO.

Rates need not be uniform. They just need to be fair. A professional works for adequate rates. If that doesn't work, I'd get out. Charging less and working harder is not an option for me. A professional also always provides quality work. Remember your background, your education, your experience!

Maybe many will get out.

B

PS: I believe the Proz.com translation rates page shows what is at least a starting point.
http://search.proz.com/employers/rates


[Edited at 2014-02-18 22:14 GMT]

PS 2:
I would make the bad rates INVISIBLE. I suggested before to completely take away from job posters the option to post rate or price suggestions of any kind. I mean, we are the "store," they're the customers.

[Edited at 2014-02-18 22:43 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The highest rates for *what*? Feb 19, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:
I have started by proposing a Quick Poll about the HIGHEST rates people have earned recently.


Highest rates for what? I have a number of clients who want just one thing, namely simple translation, and I can compare those clients' offered rates fairly because the rates pertain to the exact same type of service. But I also have clients who want me to do translation along with other things, like reading and implementing a style guide, following a glossary (or multiple glossaries), delivering the work in several rounds, or participating in the feedback rounds, etc. And all those clients have different requirements and expectations, and all of their jobs take a different toll on me. So, for those clients, I can't fairly compare their offered rates. I can't say "X pays 10c per word but Y pays 12c per word, therefore Y pays better" because it may be that Y's work takes 1 hour per 1000 words whereas X's work takes 1 hour per 2000 words, and/or it may be that with X's work I can recuperate within minutes after 1 hour's work, whereas with Y's work I'm knackered for an additional hour afterwards. And I'm not even talking about things like different payment terms and other reasons why you might want to work for less -- I'm talking here specifically about what is involved in the actual work that you do. You can't compare rates except for the simplest of translation jobs.


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:48
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Convert to hourly rate Feb 19, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:

You can't compare rates except for the simplest of translation jobs.


You can: You just need to convert them into an hourly rate. However, this will make them comparable only for yourself. Still an exercise well worth doing, at least from time to time, and if only implicitly.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 19:48
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Mention them anywhere on the site, in any form you like Feb 19, 2014

My concern is that very often people prefer not to mention specific rates, myself included, except to complain that they are peanuts. As a result, only the peanut rates are visible.

Assuming the quick poll actually runs, I phrased it as a per-word rate, asking people to indicate within ranges. You could give the highest per-word rate for simple translation for that purpose.

It may not run, or it may be edited by staff, and in any case, these quick polls are probably never admissible as scientific evidence or statistically significant.

The idea was simply to bring some of the better rates out into the open and raise awareness of them.
The discussion might be interesting too.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:48
English to German
+ ...
Making good rates VISIBLE / RAISE AWARENESS Feb 19, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:

The idea was simply to bring some of the better rates out into the open and raise awareness of them.
The discussion might be interesting too.



One way is to simply put some of your rates out there in your profile. You can word them as average rates. I am considering doing that myself because I really can't accept low rates.
Publishing some of your rates here will certainly help to distance yourself from low bidders and be an important signal to visitors about what professionals can accept as/consider an adequate rate.

Another way to go about it is to put a note in your profile distancing yourself clearly from low offers (professional inquiries only please!) and by inviting visitors to contact you to get a rate overview for the professional services you provide. That way, you don't really have to put the actual rates on the profile page. Maybe I'll do that.

I still think posters should lose their ability to suggest any rates/prices. It gives the impression these low rates are okay. And it implies that they're the ones laying down the prices. They're really not - only if they find translators who believe them.

B

[Edited at 2014-02-19 16:44 GMT]


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:48
English to German
+ ...
"Simple" does not equal cheap Feb 19, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:

And I'm not even talking about things like different payment terms and other reasons why you might want to work for less -- I'm talking here specifically about what is involved in the actual work that you do. You can't compare rates except for the simplest of translation jobs.



You can always differentiate and have different rates for different tasks.
But whatever you do, I'm sure you agree USD .05/word is not a professional offer/rate for any translation task, "translation," mind you. It's not even average for proofreading. And still, rates like these are often proposed on various job boards, and they do often want your expertise, your CAT tools, a perfect/effective product, a speedy delivery, a 30-45 days payment term, etc. All for a measly 5 cents/word.

And by the way, what is a simple translation? Is it simple to do for you? Well, yes, maybe. But your client hires you to do a professional job. Even so-called simple translations need to be done to the best of one's knowledge from a professional's point of you, and they need to be paid adequately. Do you think a lawyer is going to charge less per hour because he "only" had to make a few phone calls? And I see my rates within the scope of my entire work. Just because I get "simple" translations all throughout February, my bills are not going to be "simpler" = lower. Just some thoughts.

[Edited at 2014-02-19 20:57 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 19:48
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rates need not be visible on your profile, but they are included in the statistics Feb 19, 2014

There is an option to state rates on your profile for statistical purposes, without showing them publicly.

Then, if you operate with different rates for different services, you are not tied to a single rate because that is what clients can see.

However, your rate will be included in the average, and will help to keep it realistic.

When the average goes up, so will the level that triggers the message to outsourcers if they offer a rate that is 'below the rate charged by 80% of translators' or whatever the wording is.

Maybe a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is made up of drops... But all comments about negotiating rates, and that we set the rates etc. will pull in the right direction.

It is also necessary to make it clear that a rate per word, or whatever unit you use, does not necessarily include other services like DTP if you do that, or that you may charge extra for complicated formatting, whatever.

I want to get away from the idea that translation is sold like groceries, by the kilo!


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:48
English to German
+ ...
Real visibility versus hoping for others' actions Feb 19, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:

There is an option to state rates on your profile for statistical purposes, without showing them publicly.

Then, if you operate with different rates for different services, you are not tied to a single rate because that is what clients can see.

However, your rate will be included in the average, and will help to keep it realistic.

When the average goes up, so will the level that triggers the message to outsourcers if they offer a rate that is 'below the rate charged by 80% of translators' or whatever the wording is.

I want to get away from the idea that translation is sold like groceries, by the kilo!


Raising the average Proz.com rates that way might or might not happen - in any case, they are just a starting point and, as is also stated there:

"These are general rates for typical projects, but it should be understood that actual rates often vary depending on details such as the type of service, expertise required, minimum fees, type of client, etc."

In one word, it's all relative.

For me personally, I won't wait for all the professionals adding their higher rates that way. There's no guarantee this will happen. There aren't many guarantees here regarding anything anyway let's put it that way. Also, as long as 20% provide a service similar to the 80%, why should an outsourcer who operates in that 20% niche change their policy?

When it comes down to it, it is all in the amount of money/the rate you actually charge. That's what matters.

I suggest to every professional translator to make changes to/make it clear in one's own profile where you stand and explain why, and that way you can distinguish yourself more clearly from the low bidders. I believe professionals should do that. That's a visible difference. Again - my opinion only.

And Proz.com should do away with posters' option to suggest "their" rates. The rates are really "ours" to state.

B


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
When I said "simple" I meant uncomplicated Feb 19, 2014

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
You can't compare rates except for the simplest of translation jobs.

"Simple" does not equal cheap. And by the way, what is a simple translation?


In the post that you quote from I used the word "simple" to mean uncomplicated. In other words, in and out. In other words, the client sends a source text, the translator translates it to the best of his ability and to a high professional standard, and the translator sends back the translation. No additional tasks, no additional requirements, no additional hoops and loops. Just translation.

I won't respond to the rest of your post because in it you seem to have misunderstood what I meant by "simple" translation jobs. I don't mean easy or cheap. I mean without bells and whistles.


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

How can we make good rates more visible?

Advanced search







memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search