Reverse bait and switch?
Thread poster: John Fossey

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:11
Member (2008)
French to English
Jul 19, 2016

I don't often respond to jobs posted, but this one looked like a possibility. I should have been warned, it asked for "your best rate". I offered my standard rate, which they appeared to accept, and went through the usual procedure of registering details on their form, etc. Then when all seemed to be well and they were just waiting for final approval of the project, the PM mentions that they suggest $30 per hour and 1000 words per hour, and trust that's fine with me! In other words, $0.03 per source word! There would even be a bonus - I would get an additional 20% - another $0.006 - if I could produce 1250 words per hour!

This is a US-based company that claims to be large and have a "seamless" translation service, whatever that means.

They have all 5's on the BB until the last entry which was a 2, due to 8 months delay in payment. When quoting I gave them the benefit of the doubt for the single bad entry but now I see the warning was well founded.

[Edited at 2016-07-19 11:51 GMT]


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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:11
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Go for the bonus Jul 19, 2016

If they're offering a bonus, by all means, you should jump at the chance! It sounds like an opportunity to make real money!

/sarcasm/


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 08:41
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Negotiation technique Jul 19, 2016

I had read a book quite a while ago (hence I can't remember the name or author) on negotiation techniques. One point that I remember having read in it, is to make the opposite negotiating party invest so much in the negotiation process that it would consider a failed outcome of the negotiation as a major setback, at which point you should bring in the more difficult points of your side of the negotiation and there would be a much better chance of the opposite party, having been mellowed and softened (and tired) by the whole negotiating process by then, accepting them.

So if you are buying a second hand car, make the seller come to you several times, take several (long) test drives with him, ask him for a whole lot of supporting and difficult to come by documents about the car, and prolong the whole process over several weeks and never commit to anything until the seller shows signs of breaking down. At that stage mention a sufficiently low price for the car, and there is quite a chance the seller would jump at it to just get rid of you!

Probably your client has read this book too!

But now you have learned too, and that is the silver lining in this dark cloud. Next time you wouldn't fall to the same trick, nor would anyone who would read this read and internalize its message. Thank you, therefore, for sharing this experience.

My own technique is to be very brief in the initial negotiations and not to proceed any further in the beginning itself if a few of my non-negotiable conditions are not met early on.


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Bruno Depascale  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:11
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
Same happened to me with a big US company named Tr...Perfect Jul 19, 2016

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:

I had read a book quite a while ago (hence I can't remember the name or author) on negotiation techniques. One point that I remember having read in it, is to make the opposite negotiating party invest so much in the negotiation process that it would consider a failed outcome of the negotiation as a major setback, at which point you should bring in the more difficult points of your side of the negotiation and there would be a much better chance of the opposite party, having been mellowed and softened (and tired) by the whole negotiating process by then, accepting them.



I agree with you. See my forum post regarding a big translation company named tr...perfect: http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/301160-huge_translation_company.html

They behaved in a very similar manner with me, but I haven't accepted their ridiculous offers.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 05:11
English to Croatian
+ ...
Location of the agency. Jul 19, 2016

John Fossey wrote:

I don't often respond to jobs posted, but this one looked like a possibility. I should have been warned, it asked for "your best rate". I offered my standard rate, which they appeared to accept, and went through the usual procedure of registering details on their form, etc. Then when all seemed to be well and they were just waiting for final approval of the project, the PM mentions that they suggest $30 per hour and 1000 words per hour, and trust that's fine with me! In other words, $0.03 per source word! There would even be a bonus - I would get an additional 20% - another $0.006 - if I could produce 1250 words per hour!

This is a US-based company that claims to be large and have a "seamless" translation service, whatever that means.

They have all 5's on the BB until the last entry which was a 2, due to 8 months delay in payment. When quoting I gave them the benefit of the doubt for the single bad entry but now I see the warning was well founded.

[Edited at 2016-07-19 11:51 GMT]


I suppose you mentioned they are US-based in relation to the low rate, which should allegedly be more surprising. Well, I am commonly being offered €0.04 from Chinese and Indian agencies, and €0.02-€0.03 from German and Swiss agencies.

What do you think about that? This has been very consistent.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:11
Member (2008)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Switching rates Jul 19, 2016

The low rate is one thing, but my rate was quoted at the beginning of discussions and no comment was made about my much higher rate until much further down the road, on the brink of the go-ahead. That's why I title the thread "bait and switch".

I am surprised about €0.02-€0.03 from German/Swiss agencies.

[Edited at 2016-07-19 13:45 GMT]


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Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:11
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Reverse bait and switch Jul 19, 2016

The same thing has happened to me after I have jumped through all the hoops (NDA, profile).
The only thing more discouraging is agencies that brazenly expect rush service without a rush fee.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:11
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Ah yes, the forms Jul 19, 2016

John Fossey wrote:
I offered my standard rate, which they appeared to accept, and went through the usual procedure of registering details on their form, etc.

I normally walk away when they start coming out with registration forms etc. I've already put all the relevant details in my quote. If they're looking for a relationship with a professional, that should be enough. If they want to process me then they're thinking of me as just one element of the process and that sort always seem to find a way to tip things in their favour. I prefer to be on first-name terms with my clients, not be classified by reference number.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The perfect setup for my bait & switch Jul 19, 2016

I bait them with my qualifications and experience upon offering my services at my rates.

When they switch to low rates, I switch too, suggesting they don't use my services - nor any other human translator - but FREE, online, immediate Google Translate instead.

I explain them that every now and then I get hired to fix/edit/salvage human translation work done at the rate they are offering after the switch. Having seen it more often than I'd like to, I can tell them that albeit the flaws will be different in nature, the overall quality they'll get is roughly the same.

Therefore, if they are so smart to switch and take their chances, they should take their chances FOR FREE with GT. If their end-client buys that @#$%&, their profit will be higher. If they don't, there will be more money left in the budget to have me redo it from scratch at MY rates.

So far, this never happened (that I know of). However it gives me the closure I need, to know that they'll remember my warning after the job and the client have gone South.


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Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 05:11
Member (2002)
English to Russian
@José Henrique - Nice workable technique Jul 20, 2016

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I bait them with my qualifications and experience upon offering my services at my rates. .. suggesting they don't use my services - nor any other human translator - but FREE, online, immediate Google Translate instead.

I explain them that every now and then I get hired to fix/edit/salvage human translation work done at the rate they are offering after the switch. Having seen it more often than I'd like to, I can tell them that albeit the flaws will be different in nature, the overall quality they'll get is roughly the same.

Therefore, if they are so smart to switch and take their chances, they should take their chances FOR FREE with GT. If their end-client buys that @#$%&, their profit will be higher. If they don't, there will be more money left in the budget to have me redo it from scratch at MY rates.


+1 Some of them just need some education, and they sometimes may change their mind which would be the first step towards our long-term business relationship.

[Edited at 2016-07-20 17:13 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Haven't met one of these yet Jul 21, 2016

Vladimir Pochinov wrote:

Some of them just need some education, and they sometimes may change their mind which would be the first step towards our long-term business relationship.


Believe me, I give PLENTY of translation client education every single day, both to private individuals (mostly on law-regulated sworn translations in Brazil) and to agency PMs (mostly on video subtitling/dubbing).

Evidence of this is one agency PM - after we went through a rather complex video editing & dubbing in two languages project - who bought Sony Vegas, and set out to edit all his family videos.

However I've never had a translation agency prospect who realized that the rates they were offering to translators could be too low to get the desired quality.

Either:
a) they ask me about my rates and payment terms, and then check if they fit into their budget... or
b) they state their rates and terms, and then tell me to take them as-is or get lost.

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 500th job with a translation agency who asked about my rates almost ten years ago. They are second only to a local direct client for whom I did some 900 jobs in 20+ years, most of them before the Internet.

In long-term sustainable business relationships there is no room for smart tricks.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:11
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I received this same request... Jul 21, 2016

It was 6.5 million words and it was for "post editing" MT. The project was also (going to be) outsourced to several other agencies.

Just for fun, I asked if they expected the same quality as normal translation for .03 a word, especially since machine translation is completely free, so the only reason to grant such a huge discount would be permission to produce severely reduced quality, and they said :

"Yes, we are expecting normal quality translation, but the content is very simple as you've been able to see in the sample file, so it will be a fast pace project. If you upload it on Lilt.com you'll be able to see the translation quality and how fast it can go. After a few days you'll see that your capacity will increase as you get familiar to the platform and as the engine learns from previously translations.
Therefore we suggest 30 USD per hour for an average of 1000 words per hour + incentives based on productivity:
10% bonus for up to 1150
15% bonus for up to 1200
20% bonus for up to 1250
Is that fine with you?"

Then less than an hour later:
"" Hello,

I hope this finds you well!

Just to let you know that the huge MTPE project has not been confirmed "


Guess they couldn't find enough suckers. Either that or the client reconsidered spending $390,000 (.03 for the translator and .03 for the agency) for a crap translation.

You see, they put the translation through a free MT engine, and for some reason, that entitles them to a huge discount. Be smart people.


John Fossey wrote:

I don't often respond to jobs posted, but this one looked like a possibility. I should have been warned, it asked for "your best rate". I offered my standard rate, which they appeared to accept, and went through the usual procedure of registering details on their form, etc. Then when all seemed to be well and they were just waiting for final approval of the project, the PM mentions that they suggest $30 per hour and 1000 words per hour, and trust that's fine with me! In other words, $0.03 per source word! There would even be a bonus - I would get an additional 20% - another $0.006 - if I could produce 1250 words per hour!

This is a US-based company that claims to be large and have a "seamless" translation service, whatever that means.

They have all 5's on the BB until the last entry which was a 2, due to 8 months delay in payment. When quoting I gave them the benefit of the doubt for the single bad entry but now I see the warning was well founded.

[Edited at 2016-07-19 11:51 GMT]


[Edited at 2016-07-21 02:26 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-07-21 02:29 GMT]


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