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Spotlight on: the BEST RATE
Thread poster: Bernhard Sulzer

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:13
English to German
+ ...
May 3, 2015

"We have an EN into GER translation job available immediately, user manual of around 12k words.

If interested and available now, please send us your resume along with your best rate in USD. Timeline is due in two days at 4pm CET."

---------------------------

The above is a representative example (changed slightly to protect the poster). Often seen on job boards. And the company is from India. Not that it couldn't be from any other country. I've seen it from many countries. But you know what I mean.

Who are the people working under such conditions? If you are one of them, would you care to share your experience?

But more importantly, why is it okay to have to read this on job boards? What makes it professional?
Well, nothing. It's a blatant attempt to get the best work for the cheapest and most unprofessional price.

Note to Proz.com staff: Will you do something that might prevent seeing this euphemism for "as low as you can go" on your site, a site that is called Proz.com? Isn't this phrase part of a di..., unprofessional bidding war?


Why bring this up again? Because it's not professional language, it's insulting, and it's not professional or "best practices" to work under the implied conditions. Neither the poster nor the person working at inadequate rates can possibly be adhering to "best practices" as is suggested as a guideline by Proz.com and is what we all should do.. And as long as I have to read "best rate" anywhere where "professional translators are supposedly forming a community and decide to accept such b.," I'd like to speak out against it.

To all the newcomers: do your 'due diligence" and get familiar with the profession before you start working for the "best rate." If anything, take this as well-meant advice NOT to succumb to such low practices as they are proposed and seemingly accepted here every day. Why would agencies continue to ask for the best rate if they didn't' find anyone to work for rock bottom prices?

Just know: Asking the translator for the BEST rate means asking for the WORST rate (rock bottom rate). And that means exploitation.



[Edited at 2015-05-03 15:41 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-05-03 23:01 GMT]


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Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:13
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Best rates May 3, 2015

Sometimes I can quote my best rate, i.e. the highest rate I have managed to negotiate so far.

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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:13
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No highs here May 3, 2015

Vladimir Pochinov wrote:

Sometimes I can quote my best rate, i.e. the highest rate I have managed to negotiate so far.


In my experience, prospective clients who are asking in job posts or emails for the "best" rate (mostly agencies) are not interested in the highest rate you have managed to negotiate so far (be it the highest rate you really ever worked for, or the "highest of the low rates" that you ever worked for when dealing with agencies asking for "best rates"). On the contrary, they are looking for the lowest bidder. Rates usually range from USD .0015 - 0.04/word. Those are not professional rates. And still, people think they have to work for it.
And to emphasize: I'm talking about posters and possibly direct email contacts that ask for the best rate, not translators quoting what they deem their best (= most acceptable or fair) rate.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 15:59 GMT]edited for typo

[Edited at 2015-05-03 17:08 GMT]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:13
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Rate May 3, 2015

I don't have a best rate. I have a rate.

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Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:13
Member (2002)
English to Russian
@Bernard May 3, 2015

I have two options upon receipt of a job notice with the request to quote my "best rate": either to send the message straight to the "Trash" bin (preferred), or quote my Best Rate, which is a polite way to send the poster on his or her way.

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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:13
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Best practices versus THEIR best rate demands May 3, 2015

Vladimir Pochinov wrote:

I have two options upon receipt of a job notice with the request to quote my "best rate": either to send the message straight to the "Trash" bin (preferred), or quote my Best Rate, which is a polite way to send the poster on his or her way.


That's great. But it doesn't stem the flood of offers and people who do work under such deplorable conditions. But thank you for clearly refusing to work for "worst" rates as the demands for "best rate" unfortunately imply.

And why do we have to read this year in and year out? Here, at Proz.com
What about the best practices that every professional translators AND any professional poster should adhere to? Well, at least if they are members here or even Certified Proz.


[Edited at 2015-05-03 20:20 GMT]


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:13
Member (2014)
English to German
Why offensive? May 3, 2015

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

Rates usually range from USD .0015 - 0.04/word. Those are not professional rates. And still, people think they have to work for it.
And to emphasize: I'm talking about posters and possibly direct email contacts that ask for the best rate, not translators quoting what they deem their best (= most acceptable or fair) rate.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 15:59 GMT]


Most clients want best value I suppose and each client looks for a skill set that matches their job I hope.

In your sample post the client doesn't specify any rate (but you are probably right with your assumption), so what they mean by 'best rate' is not stated, therefore they need to see what kind of quotes they get, really. And if of the lowest quote they got was $0.12 per word with 4 days required to do the job - what then, they would have to either go for that or they may go elsewhere where they can get it done quicker, cheaper and less professionally.

A few days ago I did apply to a high volume job here that had no budget indication (and yes, from India), I got a very quick reply letting me know that they would pay $0.01-$0.02! I did ask them to please include budget information next time so that I don't waste time applying. I then received another reply asking me to consider the volume!

I think it is up to translators to quote reasonable prices (e.g. using community rates as a guide), because if nobody worked for that then these job posts would soon disappear.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 17:21 GMT]


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Radian Yazynin  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:13
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
To find the best rate is very simple May 3, 2015

Use the ProZ directory, filter out unnecessary candidates, contact the best suitable ones and ... voilà!
Well, what to say, life is a game.
Anyway I do support Bernhard in his emotions and the suggestion. It's time to automate the function and add the word "best rate" to a Ignore/Autocorrect List (best > worst).

[Edited at 2015-05-03 17:43 GMT]


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:13
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Raising awareness will hopefully help. What say you, ProZ.com? May 3, 2015

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

Most clients want best value I suppose and each client looks for a skill set that matches their job I hope.

In your sample post the client doesn't specify any rate (but you are probably right with your assumption), so what they mean by 'best rate' is not stated, therefore they need to see what kind of quotes they get, really. And if of the lowest quote they got was $0.12 per word with 4 days required to do the job - what then, they would have to either go for that or they may go elsewhere where they can get it done quicker, cheaper and less professionally.


These are not USD .12/word jobs. Try quoting. What they mean by best rate is a far worse rate.
And you're supposed to quote (actually: bid) before you've seen the text?
The whole approach is unprofessional. "Job" posts should not include "demands" like that. It shows how ignorant and unprofessional these posters are.

Gabriele Demuth wrote:
A few days ago I did apply to a high volume job here that had no budget indication (and yes, from India), I got a very quick reply letting me know that they would pay $0.01-$0.02! I did ask them to please include budget information next time so that I don't waste time applying. I then received another reply asking me to consider the volume!

I think it is up to translators to quote reasonable prices (e.g. using community rates as a guide), because if nobody worked for that then these job posts would soon disappear.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 17:21 GMT]


True. Community rates are a start.

But the fact is that quite a few ProZ.com members and Certified Proz can and do post these kinds of jobs and that doesn't sit well with me. It gives these posts a professional appearance (not that I think they are professional - but that's because I know better), and many new translators are duped into thinking it's okay. This cycle of "best-rate" projects and "best-rate" translators continues, I am sure It belies everything "best practices" stands for. It's certainly not just the translators who don't know any better who are to blame for this.

I hold there shouldn't be any place for demanding "best rates" on a professional site.
At the outset, this and other similar sites were not supposed to be"discount stores" or allow a bidding circus.
Hard-working newcomers are exploited, and seasoned professionals lose out on jobs. And clients will suffer as well.


[Edited at 2015-05-03 18:57 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-05-03 23:21 GMT]


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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:13
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
I ask for best rates May 3, 2015

Not sure why this is so offensive on its own. When I have my outsourcer hat on and the budget is tight, I will often ask for my translators' best rates. I'm not wanting to be exploitative. What I mean by "best" in this case is, "lowest but still fair".

One poster here mentioned not having best rates, just having one rate. With respect, I find that approach inflexible. Some projects do offer space for flexibility in rates, based on things like how many repetitions there are, whether the text looks like it will be quick to translate, whether there are other things the client could do to prep the file that would result in a lower cost in the long run, etc.

In my mind, "best" can mean "optimised" -- not exploitative, just flexible because as we all know, not all projects are equal.


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Radian Yazynin  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:13
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Optimised rate is May 3, 2015

archness. It can either be High or Low or the Lowest ("the best").
Of course it's up to translators to decide whether to accept it and feel or not feel exploited.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 19:14 GMT]


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Laura Tridico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:13
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Best = cheapest May 3, 2015

Let's be honest - if you're asking for "best" rates, you're asking for the cheapest rate you can get.

Before I quote, I want to see the text, assess the difficulty - and yes, take reps into account. Then I will quote you a rate that I deem acceptable, based on the hourly rate I wish to achieve.

This is why I rarely, if ever, "quote" on ProZ. There are legitimate agencies who seek out quality translators, contact me directly, and pay decent rates (and I mean over $0.12/word, at a minimum). These outsourcers don't ask for the "best" rate, or make silly proposals. They ask for MY rate, and make their own business decisions accordingly. I respect that, even if they decide not to use my services.

It would be nice if ProZ could help to separate the wheat from the chaff, and make clear to newcomers that there are different markets - and that accepting low rates marks you as a member of the bottom tier.

Laura

[Edited at 2015-05-03 19:20 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-05-03 20:49 GMT]


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:13
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What it means to me May 3, 2015

Angela Rimmer wrote:

I ask for best rates

Not sure why this is so offensive on its own. When I have my outsourcer hat on and the budget is tight, I will often ask for my translators' best rates. I'm not wanting to be exploitative. What I mean by "best" in this case is, "lowest but still fair".


Problem is you're excusing the phrase and imply there's nothing wrong with it. As you say, to you it means "lowest" - and then you add "still fair" - and that must mean what YOU consider fair. Granted, that can be a bit more than rock bottom, but I don't hold my breath for it to be significantly higher; I hope it is, because you say you are also a translator.

But as a translator, I don't want anyone to tell me right off the bat: "Give me your best rate" - it's just like saying "I need you to 'bid' as low as you possibly can." If I thought it would help quoting a "fair rate" for such a "demand," I would do it. But many translators' experience shows that this is not the case. We're talking absolute rock bottom prices when outsourcers (or any client) demand this.

I would never expect that kind of language from a colleague wearing the outsourcer hat.
"Best rate" does not instill confidence in the post or poster. Do you really want to belong to that group of outsourcers? If you have a limited budget, it still needs to be reasonable, right? Or else it's unprofessional. Just because all you can pay is USD .04/word doesn't make it right. And what's fair or affordable to you might not be fair for the amount of work involved.

Angela Rimmer wrote:
One poster here mentioned not having best rates, just having one rate. With respect, I find that approach inflexible. Some projects do offer space for flexibility in rates, based on things like how many repetitions there are, whether the text looks like it will be quick to translate, whether there are other things the client could do to prep the file that would result in a lower cost in the long run, etc.


How is working for "just one rate" different from demanding the "best rate?" In both cases, there is no flexibility. Quoting "best rates" means you compete with people who work for rock bottom prices. Thus, I wouldn't want to compete and I won't "bid" for such "jobs." "Best rate" seems worse to me than "just one rate", as long as that one rate is clearly within reasonable price ranges.

PS: I believe the colleague meant "an adequate rate" when she said she has "a rate."

Angela Rimmer wrote:
In my mind, "best" can mean "optimised" -- not exploitative, just flexible because as we all know, not all projects are equal.


To me, it means all that: cheap as h..., exploitative, not flexible, not taking into account professionalism or reasonable rates.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 22:53 GMT]


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Empty post.

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 22:13
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
I would love to have that function in the forums as well May 3, 2015

Anyway I do support Bernhard in his emotions and the suggestion. It's time to automate the function and add the word "best rate" to a Ignore/Autocorrect List (best > worst).

I'm about ready to support that just to do away with people with way too much time on their hands whining about that in the forums every single bloody freaking godforsaken day and dreaming up deluded "solutions" that do nothing to alleviate the problem and everything to exacerbate it.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 22:17 GMT]


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