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How to pitch a low-paid project (Lesson No. 1)
Thread poster: Lingua 5B

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 09:46
German to Serbian
+ ...
Apr 20, 2016

A client just contacted me offering a super silly rate.

When the "our budget is small, but we expect a big volume" script didn't work, they said this:

In the last three years, since we have had the agency, we have never been late with payment.

I thought being on time with payment was a given, not something to brag about or to use as your marketing pitch? Just when I think it can't get any sillier...

We do something any ethical business should do (we pay on time), therefore you will work at slave rate? Am I the only one who can't see how these two things are related?


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 09:46
English to Polish
+ ...
Deprofessionalization among agencies includes the business angle Apr 20, 2016

It's not just professionalism in translation itself that's being abandoned.

 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 09:46
German to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Do these tricks (intimidation) actually work? Apr 20, 2016

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

It's not just professionalism in translation itself that's being abandoned.


So, through business practices, translators should be intimidated with frequently late payments (that are ongoing in the industry), so the trick is they will actually be happy and thankful they get paid at all (and whenever), and sending payment on time is like winning the gold medal at the Olympics (a thing for an agency to brag about)?

[Edited at 2016-04-20 12:59 GMT]


 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:46
English to French
+ ...
Has become the norm Apr 20, 2016

I see that current US marketing practices seem to be finding their way across the ocean.

Here in the USA, it is not uncommon to see TV commercials stating things like "On this car model, the steering wheel is included at no extra cost."

That has to be Marketing 101: When you have nothing better than the competition to offer, just emphasize the obvious to stay positive.

And I'm not even talking about political speech...


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:46
Member (2014)
English to German
LOL Apr 20, 2016

JL01 wrote:

Here in the USA, it is not uncommon to see TV commercials stating things like "On this car model, the steering wheel is included at no extra cost."

That has to be Marketing 101: When you have nothing better than the competition to offer, just emphasize the obvious to stay positive.


icon_smile.gif


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:46
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Huh? Apr 20, 2016

JL01 wrote:

I see that current US marketing practices seem to be finding their way across the ocean.

Here in the USA, it is not uncommon to see TV commercials stating things like "On this car model, the steering wheel is included at no extra cost."



Um...just where exactly did you see this - or anything resembling this - "here in the USA"?

Anxiously awaiting your reply.


 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:46
English to French
+ ...
Stating the obviously expected is the new advertising norm Apr 20, 2016

I regularly see commercial stating the obvious. I might have been paraphrasing, for illustration purposes.


Robert Forstag wrote:

Um...just where exactly did you see this - or anything resembling this - "here in the USA"?

Anxiously awaiting your reply.


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:46
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I think you've stretched your point beyond the breaking limit... Apr 20, 2016

JL01 wrote:

I regularly see commercial stating the obvious. I might have been paraphrasing, for illustration purposes.


Robert Forstag wrote:

Um...just where exactly did you see this - or anything resembling this - "here in the USA"?

Anxiously awaiting your reply.


I have to say that I can't recall seeing anything like this on US television. On the contrary, the emphasis in advertising is typically on what (supposedly) makes a product better than its competitors.


 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:46
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
low-paid projects Apr 20, 2016

There are variations of this:
"If you do this small job for us this week, we'll give you a big job next week".
"We can only pay six cents for this job but we will pay you more for future jobs".
"Give us your best rate based on long-term cooperation".
"Give us your best rate as we expect more jobs from this client in the future".
etc., ad nauseam


 

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:46
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
and more... Apr 21, 2016

-> it's a high profile client- - we do anything to win it... (bend over backwards and find slave rate translators to boot)

-> it's good for your CV (what, being known as a 0,04 ct translator is good for my CV?)

-> you are really helping us out if you do it for this extremenly low rate. (sure, and what do I get out of it, except for a few nights without sleep and a headache for not getting paid on time)

-> and we'll really pay you more next time (really!) (THE CARROT!) .. (don't you think they would have used this on the last translator they got to do it. Why are they always looking for new people??)


 

sailingshoes
Local time: 09:46
Spanish to English
variations... Apr 21, 2016

"Our budget for this job is..." (Like it was set by Martians and you can do nothing about it - the PM's equivalent to 'Vampires stole my lunch money")

"This is an introductory rate for a new client..." (And a slap in the face to an established translator)

"All of the other translators on this project have agreed to cut their rates..." (Names, mails and Skypes please)

The best I've heard: "It's for competitiveness..." (Beat the competition with... low prices! Now who would ever have thought of that?)

[Modificato alle 2016-04-21 15:00 GMT]


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:46
English to German
+ ...
Ridiculous, yes, and not worth the hassle Apr 21, 2016

Michael Newton wrote:

There are variations of this:
"If you do this small job for us this week, we'll give you a big job next week".
"We can only pay six cents for this job but we will pay you more for future jobs".
"Give us your best rate based on long-term cooperation".
"Give us your best rate as we expect more jobs from this client in the future".
etc., ad nauseam


I used to say
...and that's the sad thing because there are thousands of translators working for a pittance and leaving glowing remarks on the blueboard.

But I don't really care anymore. I offer my services at fair prices and it seems to be working better and better, and I am focusing on end clients who are becoming more and more my regular client base.




[Edited at 2016-04-21 15:00 GMT]


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:46
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Buzzwords and bullshit Apr 21, 2016

Edward Vreeburg wrote:
-> you are really helping us out if you do it for this extremenly low rate. (sure, and what do I get out of it, except for a few nights without sleep and a headache for not getting paid on time)


This use of the word "help" seems common among certain large agencies. Accompanied by cheerful salutations, the intended message seems to be that a personal relationship is somehow involved (rather than an ad hoc contracting in which only the bottom line matters).

Along these lines, it is surprising how often I am contacted regarding short, unattractive, and unprofitable projects by the very same PMs who do not accept my offers for larger and more profitable jobs. From their point of view, the sensible thing to do would be to foist that kind of work on the same freelancers whom they assign the big jobs, since they would be the ones who might feel an obligation to be of assistance in such cases.

It is when a PM is faced with having to assign unattractive work that personal relationships come into play, and favors can be called in....

-> and we'll really pay you more next time (really!) (THE CARROT!) .. (don't you think they would have used this on the last translator they got to do it. Why are they always looking for new people??)


This seems to be a particularly crude application of the general strategy of the big agencies to always push for lower rates, and to respond to offers from experienced translators to do work for bargain rates not with gratitude and loyalty, but instead by requesting even lower rates and looking for even cheaper translators....


[Edited at 2016-04-21 14:30 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:46
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
My answers to this kind of thing... Apr 21, 2016

With one agency I went over the PM's head to the marketing person and explained that 10% of my already competitive fee was a much smaller flea-bite in their turnover than mine. I said firmly that if they wanted to give discounts for new clients, it was their affair, but not my policy. They noted it...

I ended up firing that agency for other reasons, but they started out small and friendly, so I tried to give them a chance.

If clients ask for my rate for long-term collaboration, they have to compete with the other clients who keep me busy - i.e. they have to pay me at least as well. AND on time...

'Best rate' means best for me, naturally icon_biggrin.gif

The tax authorities already get well over half of what I earn, and then there is 25% VAT on everything in the shops. I can't live on fresh air and promises!

I also send positive mails to my favourite clients ... just to make sure they keep on getting it right.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:46
English to German
+ ...
Pathetic! Apr 21, 2016

Robert Forstag wrote:

Edward Vreeburg wrote:
-> you are really helping us out if you do it for this extremenly low rate. (sure, and what do I get out of it, except for a few nights without sleep and a headache for not getting paid on time)


This use of the word "help" seems common among certain large agencies. Accompanied by cheerful salutations, the intended message seems to be that a personal relationship is somehow involved (rather than an ad hoc contracting in which only the bottom line matters).

Along these lines, it is surprising how often I am contacted regarding short, unattractive, and unprofitable projects by the very same PMs who do not accept my offers for larger and more profitable jobs. From their point of view, the sensible thing to do would be to foist that kind of work on the same freelancers whom they assign the big jobs, since they would be the ones who might feel an obligation to be of assistance in such cases.

It is when a PM is faced with having to assign unattractive work that personal relationships come into play, and favors can be called in....

-> and we'll really pay you more next time (really!) (THE CARROT!) .. (don't you think they would have used this on the last translator they got to do it. Why are they always looking for new people??)


This seems to be a particularly crude application of the general strategy of the big agencies to always push for lower rates, and to respond to offers from experienced translators to do work for bargain rates not with gratitude and loyalty, but instead by requesting even lower rates and looking for even cheaper translators....


[Edited at 2016-04-21 14:30 GMT]


In one word: pathetic!


 
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How to pitch a low-paid project (Lesson No. 1)

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