American and British agencies trying to buy translation in Poland at $0.02, have you no shame?
Thread poster: Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:53
English to Polish
+ ...
Mar 29, 2016

Yes, it's only expectable that you'd figure out what Polish rates are, with $0.03–0.04 being about a decent agency rate, five to six from a direct client on a good day.

I would understand if you tried to pay prevailing rates from the translator's country rather than your own country, if lower. Not necessarily agreeable to the translator, but certainly understandable from a buyer point of view.

But why the heck do you insist on trying to pay less than the average rate in the translator's country of residence, when that average is already several times less than in the US or UK?

That was from an acquaintance of mine, but I see a lot of such offers on the job board.

Oh, and all those urgent six-cent Latin-into-English offers from the US.


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:53
German to Swedish
+ ...
Because Mar 29, 2016

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

But why the heck do you insist on trying to pay less than the average rate in the translator's country of residence, when that average is already several times less than in the US or UK?



Because there are takers?


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:53
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Funny Mar 29, 2016

I'll be amused to see the translations from Polish into other languages, by non-natives in those languages.

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:53
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Mar 29, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

I'll be amused to see the translations from Polish into other languages, by non-natives in those languages.


I'm no less amused to see translations out of Polish by non-native speakers of it, especially by native speakers of English.


 

David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:53
Member (2009)
French to English
As a general rule... Mar 29, 2016

agencies have no shame and try to cut their costs as much as possible. I note an advert placed by an agency on this site that is now offering 1 centime per word less than they offered me when I first applied to them...five years ago!

 

Jakov Milicevic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 03:53
Member (2010)
Croatian to Italian
+ ...
Quite the same problem in Croatia... Mar 29, 2016

I was surprised that someone finally spoken publicly about issue concerning the rates...Lukasz, I think that the article (which is available on: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-am-from-croatia-does-make-me-unprofessional-eyes-jakov-milicevic?trk=prof-post) summarizes quite good the issue of rates...p.s. Just replace Croatia with Poland...

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:53
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Mar 29, 2016

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

I'll be amused to see the translations from Polish into other languages, by non-natives in those languages.


I'm no less amused to see translations out of Polish by non-native speakers of it, especially by native speakers of English.


Most Poles who translate into foreign languages probably shouldn't, but Polish usually is extremely difficult to learn as an adult, especially coming from an uninflected language. It would take not five or six but twenty or thirty years to learn as a source language, which is less than some other languages do as target languages.

The other side of the coin is that we believe you shouldn't really translate out of a language if you aren't good enough to translate into it. This is different from the dominant Western model, in which comprehension is neglected and even consciously downplayed, something I'm totally opposed to on professional grounds.

Jakov Milicevic wrote:

I was surprised that someone finally spoken publicly about issue concerning the rates...Lukasz, I think that the article (which is available on: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-am-from-croatia-does-make-me-unprofessional-eyes-jakov-milicevic?trk=prof-post) summarizes quite good the issue of rates...p.s. Just replace Croatia with Poland...


I tend to think a lot of British and some American agencies just simply treat people badly by default, i.e. it isn't even about your ethnicity, they just treat everybody like that, especially considering how a lot of their PMs and even real managers come from developing countries and third-world countries, so it wouldn't really make that much sense for them to discriminate against people and languages based on GDP. However, in today's translation industry there do seem to be more prestigious and less prestigious languages where something else than rarity or difficulty comes into play. There is sometimes that particular second-class kind of feeling, colonial perhaps.

[Edited at 2016-03-29 15:13 GMT]

Anyway, it's ridicilous how they think such rates have any chance of acceptance and even sometimes have the gall to approach qualified professionals with such lowballing offers. Reminds me of that silly little Latin job (LA-EN) due midnight on the day ordered, something medieval, between 500 and 1000 words. I quoted thirty, they said 'they could offer me' six; I asked them whatever made them think it was even worth asking, they didn't reply, not like there was any sensible answer to that other than stating the obvious anyway. For six cents, I wouldn't take a non-urgent LA-PL translation for a Polish client, forget 10 pages of smallprint + rundown of DoS export rules + two pages of elaboration on how I willingly submit myself to the jurisdiction of courts in Podunk County and enthusiastically promise to fly over and hold them harmless in case they get sued there by somebody. Seriously, with that sort of stuff to look forward to, I'd better off working with clients inside this country who paid less, so I wonder what makes those guys think they can get away with that they do.

[Edited at 2016-03-29 15:30 GMT]


 

Francisco Vare
Poland
Local time: 03:53
Polish to Spanish
+ ...
Working in Poland Mar 29, 2016

I am a Spanish native speaker but I live and translate in Poland, and even with Polish clients I would not accept less that 5 cents of Euro for standard translations. I have been offered even 1 cent! But that is not going to happen!

As Łukasz says, learning Polish, especially for a person whose native language is not inflected, is a real challenge. I am quite good at languages, and after 10 years living in Poland I can say I am almost proficient, but I know people who have been living here for 20, even 30 years, and are still fighting to deliver their messages. I would never ever, despite people telling me they are not able to say I am not a native Pole, translate into Polish. Never. I only translate into Spanish and English, but Polish is for Poles only.

The tend to exploit us here, or at least they try, and i believe it is our fault, as translators. Hell, I have seen offers, from translators! on oferia.pl for example, where they offer the client 3 PLN!!! for an A4 standard page of translation. I cannot understand how and why that is possible, but it exists. Then my clients tell me that I charge too much and I just want to cry... But it all depends on us. I say American and British, and German, and Spanish and wherever-you-are-from agencies which want to buy translations for 2 dollar cents just odpierdolcie się...

EDIT to add: Oh, and I have seen "translations" into Spanish that have made my eyes bleed, and "translations" into Polish that can cause cerebral paralysis... But they keep on trying to offer their services because "they have been living in Poland for 10 years" or because "my wife is from Poland". What most people don't know is a lot of Poles don't speak correctly their own language, and then my most repeated sentence in the past 15 years: Being a native doesn't make you a translator...". And I better stop because I'm getting nervous...

[Edited at 2016-03-29 16:35 GMT]


 

George Fabian
Local time: 03:53
Polish to English
Words of wisdom to clients Mar 30, 2016

Whenever there is talk of low rates on ProZ a quote from LinkedIn I read a while back comes to mind:

"If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire a beginner".

Of course that doesn't work in talks with the agencies so I just ignore those types of offers. A professional has to value himself/herself. And quoting Francisco - odpierdolcie sięicon_wink.gif


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:53
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Mar 30, 2016

I usually say 'odpierdolcie się' using a couple more words such as: 'Whatever made you think I could possibly accept a counter-proposal to work for six times less than my initial quote?'

What really gets to me is how they won't even settle for actual Polish rates — already at least 2-3 times lower than the average US or UK rate due to price/salary differences (costs of living in larger cities are a bit more complicated, as they can match western cities 1:1 in some areas) — but for some reason they seem to think they are so cool, impressive or hard-charging, or whatever else it's supposed to be, that we're going to work for them for even less than for agencies from here.

I imagine some sort of a modern freebooter in a leather armchair asking: 'How much is the going rate in Poland, for agencies?' 'Three cents.' 'Great, let's offer two thirds of that.' Puff, cloud of smoke, smug non-smile, a job well done, business as usual.

The truth is that while one or other Oferia sharklet is always going to jump at the 'opportunity' and promise the moon, those translators who take themselves seriously will simply start wondering just what the actual IQ of that business genius might be. Or just get worked up and need a break (and write silly posts like this one).


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 04:53
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Google translates Polski quite well Mar 30, 2016

When I look at the page about Warsaw in Polish Wikipedia and let Google translate it into German I believe I could make a reliable translation from this without any knowledge of Polish. At least for technical subjects MT will render adequate output for edition by a person with some knowledge of the source language. But of course if we talk about literature that's another chapter.
When I remember with how little Russian I have sometimes translated chemical patents into Finnish (my second language) I cannot believe that one needs decades of study for Polish. Perhaps spoken Polish is difficult, like Danish, where the children sometimes cannot understand their parents.

According to general believe Europe's most difficult languages are Hungarian and Finnish.

But my best wishes to all fellow translators in Eastern Europe, may the Force rise your rates, so that also we others sometimes can accept jobs from your agencies.


 


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American and British agencies trying to buy translation in Poland at $0.02, have you no shame?

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