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What do you think about babelcube? (Part 2)
Thread poster: Juliano Martins

Paulo Celestino Guimaraes  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:33
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Bravo! LegalTransform!! Same here! Jun 1, 2016

LegalTransform wrote:

Babelcube. I still get requests from them and it really looks like a great program, but unfortunately it doesn't pay and I think that if they paid translators an advance royalty, very few authors would be willing to make the investment.

Congratulations on the 5K a month. I've never earned that much in 22 years and I've had virtually no work at all for the past four months (total of under $600 in four months), so you're doing better than I am.

Juliano Martins wrote:



[Edited at 2015-10-15 14:03 GMT]


 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Removed as requested by poster.

Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:33
Italian to English
+ ...
A little update on Babelcube... Aug 4, 2018

Hello colleagues,

have you seen this?

http://www.thoughtsontranslation.com/2017/06/23/babelcube-one-translators-experience/

I have signed up to Babelcube a few days ago and have just received an offer to translate a book;

I have been reading reviews here and elsewhere about Babelcube and I have decide
... See more
Hello colleagues,

have you seen this?

http://www.thoughtsontranslation.com/2017/06/23/babelcube-one-translators-experience/

I have signed up to Babelcube a few days ago and have just received an offer to translate a book;

I have been reading reviews here and elsewhere about Babelcube and I have decided to turn down

the offer, simply because the niche market for the book in question would not warrant large enough

sales volume to pay me a decent sum in royalties.

I have been learning how to trade the financial markets in the last five years and there are similarities

between low-paid translations and low-paid traders: the amount of TIME spent on the task, day in day out,

far outweighs the revenue it delivers. In short: when trading a small account in the financial markets you

spend a lot of time in front of the screen and receive very little to compensate you; this can be said exactly

for something like Babelcube translations!

The truth is that if you earn less per hour than in the famously quoted 'working at McDonald's' case, you

really should try finding ways to get those who pay you to properly value your time, experience, and knowledge,

otherwise you will be working for less than the hourly minimum wage.

Saying to friends 'I trade stocks' or 'I translate books' may make you sound interesting and exciting but, as trader

Anton Kreil put it, what you are worth is not the title on your business card but what you can withdraw from your bank

at the end of the month: if your account is at or near zero each month, you are living a hand-to-mouth existence,

struggling to make ends meet.

I just wanted to say that, for me, dreams are not enough to feed me, so without sounding cynical I have to agree with

ProZ forum posters on here who say that everyone who has already spent time educating themselves in, and practising the craft of translation

should start valuing their experience and expertise more and accepting less of the exploitative offers out there. Yes, it is a freely

entered agreement, but once you do the maths it is nothing short of exploitative, I am sorry to say.





[Edited at 2018-08-04 22:56 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-08-04 22:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-08-04 23:00 GMT]
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Elena Feriani
 

Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:33
Italian to English
+ ...
Also, in relation to royalties, it may be worth reading these figures... Aug 4, 2018

https://www.quora.com/How-many-copies-does-the-average-book-sell

...to set realistic expectations, especially for lower-ranking authors (as seem to be featured on Babelcube)...

This translator really sums up the problems with the Babelcube set-up:

See more
https://www.quora.com/How-many-copies-does-the-average-book-sell

...to set realistic expectations, especially for lower-ranking authors (as seem to be featured on Babelcube)...

This translator really sums up the problems with the Babelcube set-up:

http://charettetranslations.com/sunshine-abroad/2014/5/21/babelcube-how-about-them-apples


[Edited at 2018-08-05 07:21 GMT]
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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:33
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Double Taxation Jul 29

I have read about Babelcube and would like to give it a go as the situation is so bad here, no work at all, and could bring in some cash. However, there is one thing that is very worrying, and that is that there appears to be double taxation involved. With US taxes at 30% and Brazilian taxes at 27.5% that means you get practically nothing in the end even though you translated a big book. Maybe I have the wrong idea, but I find it very odd that a publisher asks for a US tax declaration when the c... See more
I have read about Babelcube and would like to give it a go as the situation is so bad here, no work at all, and could bring in some cash. However, there is one thing that is very worrying, and that is that there appears to be double taxation involved. With US taxes at 30% and Brazilian taxes at 27.5% that means you get practically nothing in the end even though you translated a big book. Maybe I have the wrong idea, but I find it very odd that a publisher asks for a US tax declaration when the client is in another country.

Has anybody else had this problem, and how did they solve it?
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Eric Azevedo
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Paul: give it a miss, mate Jul 29

Paul Dixon wrote:
I have read about Babelcube and would like to give it a go. However, ... there appears to be double taxation involved. With US taxes at 30% and Brazilian taxes at 27.5% that means you get practically nothing in the end even though you translated a big book.


Yes, Babelcube's royalty fees should be taken with a grain of salt. I did the following sample calculation a while ago:

Suppose Babelcube sells the translation on Amazon for $2.99. The "seller" (in this case Babelcube) gets $2.09. From this, the royalties are paid. Babelcube pays the translator progressively less with more books sold.

First 480 books sold = translator gets 73c per book = $350 per 480 books
Second 480 books sold = translator gets 73c per book = ($700 total after 960 books)

Third 480 books sold = translator gets 51c per book = $244 per 480 books
Fourth 480 books sold = translator gets 51c per book
Fifth 480 books sold = translator gets 51c per book ($1432 total after 2400 books)

Sixth 480 books sold = translator gets 21c per book = $100 per 480 books
Seventh 480 books sold = translator gets 21c per book
Eighth 480 books sold = translator gets 21c per book ($1720 total after 3840 books)

Further books sold = translator gets 7c per book.


If the book in question was 25000 words long, and the translator would usually charge 10c per word, it would take about 15000 books sold before he reaches the amount that he would have earned if he had charged per word. If a translator usually charges 7c per word, he would clear his per-word rate after selling 4200 books.

However, posts on the internet from authors who tried making money via Babelcube show that these translations rarely sell more than 100 books per year.

I have read about Babelcube and would like to give it a go.


The best advice for people trying out Babelcube is to do your research about what books are likely to sell well, and translate only short ones.

Another piece of advice I've read is that you look for books that are not on Babelcube, and then suggest to the author that you do the translation via Babelcube. The advantage of working via Babelcube is that it takes care of the accounting, so an author is more likely to agree to use Babelcube if it means they can get more money for very little extra effort.

Yes, it is unfortunate that Babelcube charges an additional 30% "tax" for non-US residents, but that is just part of the deal.

[Edited at 2020-07-29 08:03 GMT]


Sheila Wilson
Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Eric Azevedo
 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 16:33
Member (2016)
English to German
Taxes are your least problems with Babelcube Jul 29

With Babelcube, taxes are your least problems. The problem with Babelcube is that you don't make any serious money in the first place. I have translated five or six books for Babelcube a while ago and the monetary outcome is negligible. You can do it for fun, for the learning experience, for having your name on a book, maybe for getting some clicks your way, but not if you want money for your work.

The Babelcube concept has one critical flaw: No one does any marketing for the books.
... See more
With Babelcube, taxes are your least problems. The problem with Babelcube is that you don't make any serious money in the first place. I have translated five or six books for Babelcube a while ago and the monetary outcome is negligible. You can do it for fun, for the learning experience, for having your name on a book, maybe for getting some clicks your way, but not if you want money for your work.

The Babelcube concept has one critical flaw: No one does any marketing for the books. Babelcube does not do any marketing. The original author does not do any marketing. No marketing, no sales. Babelcube and the original author only sit there and wait if sales happen or not. For them, this is entirely risk-free, since they don't have to put any work into doing the translation (and since they don't have to put any advance payment into it).

The only chance for sales of your translated book would be if YOU, the translator, make an enormous marketing effort yourself. So you would have to add even more work on top of the months of translation work, in order to get anything out of it. IF you are a talented salesperson, and if you are lucky and if there is a market for the book. Go figure.

[Edited at 2020-07-29 10:32 GMT]
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Babelcube distributes but does not market Jul 29

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
The Babelcube concept has one critical flaw: No one does any marketing for the books. Babelcube does not do any marketing. Babelcube and the original author only sit there and wait if sales happen or not. The only chance for sales of your translated book would be if YOU, the translator, make an enormous marketing effort yourself.


Allow me to qualify what you wrote: while Babelcube does not market your book, it does distribute it. It has "300+" sales channels where it distributes the book, but ultimately the author and/or the translator has to market the book. This is why you should translate only books that you are confident that you can market successfully. I could not call this a "critical flaw", though. It is only a flaw for anyone who had thought that Babelcube would take care of the marketing. (-:

I'm not 100% sure but I believe that you don't have to use Babelcube for the distribution. In other words, I believe you are allowed to come to an agreement with the author that you sell the book yourself, in your own channels, for a royalty split that is different from that of Babelcube. The value of Babelcube is only that it automates and centralises the accounting and distribution.


 

Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:33
Member (2008)
English to French
In answer to your question Jul 29

I've been asked to update what I think of BabelCube

I only translated the 2 books in 6 years as business has really really picked up and I just haven't had the time to do 'free' work - I have 2 books that have been on the backburner for YEARS now; I feel bad for the authors for the delay, but on the other hand, it's free professional work so I haven't had complaints on the glacial pace I work at for free...

... See more
I've been asked to update what I think of BabelCube

I only translated the 2 books in 6 years as business has really really picked up and I just haven't had the time to do 'free' work - I have 2 books that have been on the backburner for YEARS now; I feel bad for the authors for the delay, but on the other hand, it's free professional work so I haven't had complaints on the glacial pace I work at for free...

The 2 books I translated were a Spanish phrase book (3354 words) and a book on how to make homemade jerky (7702 words). The weighed word counts were much lower (around 20-25% of total word count) as the phrase book needed less than half the words translated (Spanish would stay the same and there were many variants) and the cook book was mostly repetitions since the recipes were very similar and just changed in protein and seasoning. I just looked at the tally of royalties and I have made the royal sum of 53.74USD, so from a financial point of view, it's not worth it, but when I google my name, they come up as examples of my work, so I do give it some marketing value.

Funnily enough, I had a dry spell a while ago (a full 2 days without a project) and amongst other things, I finished up a 3rd book (another cookbook) - it just needs a reread in Word and then I'll release it to the ether and see how it goes.

In a nutshell, it's a fun way to pass the time and get your name out there and you might earn enough to buy yourself a nice lunch, but that's about it

I will say however that when I got a 5* review on Amazon it made my day
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Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 16:33
Member (2016)
English to German
Technically you are right, Samuel Jul 29

Samuel Murray wrote:

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
The Babelcube concept has one critical flaw: No one does any marketing for the books. Babelcube does not do any marketing. Babelcube and the original author only sit there and wait if sales happen or not. The only chance for sales of your translated book would be if YOU, the translator, make an enormous marketing effort yourself.


Allow me to qualify what you wrote: while Babelcube does not market your book, it does distribute it. It has "300+" sales channels where it distributes the book, but ultimately the author and/or the translator has to market the book. This is why you should translate only books that you are confident that you can market successfully. I could not call this a "critical flaw", though. It is only a flaw for anyone who had thought that Babelcube would take care of the marketing. (-:


Samuel, you are right that Babelcube works as it says it works. What I wanted to express was the reason why translators cannot be successful with Babelcube in getting any serious money for their work. For translators, the fact that no marketing happens is a critical flaw in this concept. I could imagine that the whole Babelcube idea could work (in monetary terms) for translators if only Babelcube and the original author would commit to invest in marketing effort. A real commitment by Babelcube and the author would mean that both have something to lose if the translation is not successful. At the moment, both cannot lose. They would have an incentive to put their own effort and money into it. They would have an incentive to choose promising books, to take quality seriously, in other words, to work professionally and to take the whole project seriously. At the moment, Babelcube is a dumpster for the most amateurish authors who want to make a few extra dollars with their books of random quality and market value, by finding a translator who happily puts some months of work into it without any promise of payment. The Babelcube website is a 1990s design that was never updated and it is absolutely obvious that Babelcube avoids any investment besides the minimal essential effort.

If you want, replace "critical flaw" with "reason for financial failure".


Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:33
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Babelcube doubt Aug 27

Another point is that the translator has to send 10% of the work, possibly as a sample, and then do the rest, but it is not clear whether the translator can continue with the rest of the work or can only resume when the client confirms. The instructions seem to suggest a need to wait but for how long? And what happens if the client decides not to go ahead with the work?

Maybe someone who has worked for Babelcube can shed light on this. What happens after the initial 10%?


 

Juliano Martins  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:33
Member (2008)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
10 pages Aug 27

It's not 10%, but 10 pages. If the author doesn't want to continue, you'll have translated 10 pages for nothing.

 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:33
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Yes, 10 pages Aug 27

Yes, it is 10 pages of the work and not 10%.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:33
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Doesn't seem too bad a deal to me Aug 28

Juliano Martins wrote:
It's not 10%, but 10 pages. If the author doesn't want to continue, you'll have translated 10 pages for nothing.

So, 10 pages translated for nothing. As opposed to an entire book translated for nothing quite likely, as most books don't sell well. That's a tremendous saving of your time and effort.


Jorge Payan
 
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What do you think about babelcube? (Part 2)

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