Questions about Job Postings and Rates
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:59
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 26, 2005

With all the improvements being made, this site is becoming more and more perfect everyday. It is great to know that we can all contribute to the improvement of this site. See: http://www.proz.com/topic/20114 for some of the suggestions that I made and that are now a reality! However, there is still one issue that keeps coming up over and over again and I am curious to know how the overall general ProZ community feels about this issue so that it can be laid to rest:

Do you think outsourcers should be prohibited from requesting any specific rates in their posts (including such things as "best rates", "don't apply if you charge more than xxx, etc.) and that if posted, this information should be deleted by moderators with a warning sent to the outsourcer?

Is it better for the image of the profession that rates not be specified or is this a useful tool for translators to avoid wasting their time responding to ads with rates that are below their accepted minimums?

Also, does the fact that an agency is stipulating the rate rather than the contractor leave the door open for an agency's contractors to be reclassified as employees by the IRS or the revenue department of the outsourcer's country, leaving the company liable for employee insurance, social security taxes and other penalties?







[Edited at 2005-03-26 02:01]


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:59
Member (2002)
English to German
Rates are valuable information Mar 26, 2005

Dear Jeff,

I think that rates are very valuable for me. Instead, if they aren't posted I always try to find out if the agency in question is a 'cheap one' by going to their site or checking other sources. If they only offer low rates, I don't have to do anything else and I won't waste any time.

Therefore I would oppose this suggestion.

The agencies aren't the problem. They will always try to lower the prices.

We ourselves are responsible for low prices because we accept them.

In addition there is also no awareness about quality and about how we are doing our job. A large and respected agency e.g. told me some months ago that they have enough translators who can translate annual reports for 6 cents a word from English into German and that this task doesn't require a deep knowledge of the subject matter. In my opinion that's nonsense. Every day I see the results of these decisions and have to fix them and I wonder why there aren't more law suits that make them come to their senses.

I would be too scared to accept a medical or an arts translation into German. There are enough colleagues though who will accept any subject matter and even in several languages and this way it is just impossible to do a good job.

Take care

Andy


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 21:59
SITE FOUNDER
We encourage ProZ.com members to calculate their desired rates... Mar 26, 2005

... and stick with them.

Outsourcers do not have the power to set your rates. If an outsourcer posts a "desired" rate, post your "desired" rate. If an outsourcer posts a "maximum" rate, and it is below yours, just skip the job. You won't work with that outsourcer.

That, as far as I am concerned, is the practical solution. All that is left is perception... and I share your concern about that.

So to be clear: the ProZ.com team is open to addressing "perception" regarding rates, and regarding ProZ.com as a community. ProZ.com is *not* open to attempting to dictate rates, and will not interfere in member communication related to any aspect of a job, including rates. That is not our style.

Thanks for your earlier suggestions, Jeff; we should have thanked you sooner. I hope you like the initial implementation of availability and lists, which is something short of what you envisioned.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:59
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
RE: Questions about Job Postings and Rates Mar 26, 2005

Thanks for the excellent response. I too find the rate information useful. It is not so much the amount of the rate that concerns me. If I don't like the rate, I don't have to take the job. What concerns me more, however, is the fact that the agencies are in essence telling translators/interpreters what they are willing to pay rather than asking for their rates. The analogy has been made countless times - you would not call a doctor, lawyer or plumber and say - I have a leaky faucet and I need you to come repair it - I am offering $25.00.

I think one major issue is that translators like me who started in the pre-Internet days have a different set of values when it comes to accepting certain jobs. In those days, if you didn't understand the subject matter or if you didn't have the appropriate resources, you were in trouble and you didn't dare accept such jobs. The internet provides translators with a much broader source of information and wider access to different types of translation jobs. My definition of quality may differ considerably from someone else's definition. I have faith that the market will eventually return to valuing quality as soon as clients figure out that they are not paying enough and not getting what they are paying for.




Andy Lemminger wrote:


Dear Jeff,

I think that rates are very valuable for me. Instead, if they aren't posted I always try to find out if the agency in question is a 'cheap one' by going to their site or checking other sources. If they only offer low rates, I don't have to do anything else and I won't waste any time.

Therefore I would oppose this suggestion.

The agencies aren't the problem. They will always try to lower the prices.

We ourselves are responsible for low prices because we accept them.

In addition there is also no awareness about quality and about how we are doing our job. A large and respected agency e.g. told me some months ago that they have enough translators who can translate annual reports for 6 cents a word from English into German and that this task doesn't require a deep knowledge of the subject matter. In my opinion that's nonsense. Every day I see the results of these decisions and have to fix them and I wonder why there aren't more law suits that make them come to their senses.

I would be too scared to accept a medical or an arts translation into German. There are enough colleagues though who will accept any subject matter and even in several languages and this way it is just impossible to do a good job.

Take care

Andy


[Edited at 2005-03-26 03:02]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:59
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Re: Questions about Job Postings and Rates Mar 26, 2005

Thanks for your response Henry and thanks for making this site an open forum where we can discuss both positive and negative issues in an intelligent manner without censorship and help contribute to the continued evolution of this website.

Why not post a link at the bottom of each job posting such as "PROZ and rates" or something similar where viewers can read a description of Proz.com's rate policy as you described it to me?

Henry wrote:

... and stick with them.

Outsourcers do not have the power to set your rates. If an outsourcer posts a "desired" rate, post your "desired" rate. If an outsourcer posts a "maximum" rate, and it is below yours, just skip the job. You won't work with that outsourcer.

That, as far as I am concerned, is the practical solution. All that is left is perception... and I share your concern about that.

So to be clear: the ProZ.com team is open to addressing "perception" regarding rates, and regarding ProZ.com as a community. ProZ.com is *not* open to attempting to dictate rates, and will not interfere in member communication related to any aspect of a job, including rates. That is not our style.

Thanks for your earlier suggestions, Jeff; we should have thanked you sooner. I hope you like the initial implementation of availability and lists, which is something short of what you envisioned.


[Edited at 2005-03-26 03:16]


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Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
Different professions have different practices Mar 26, 2005

[quote]What concerns me more, however, is the fact that the agencies are in essence telling translators/interpreters what they are willing to pay rather than asking for their rates. The analogy has been made countless times - you would not call a doctor, lawyer or plumber and say - I have a leaky faucet and I need you to come repair it - I am offering $25.00.
[quote]

Hi,

Different trades have different practices. It's just a matter of power. In many industries (like automotion or the big supermarkets) the outsourcers (big companies) set the prices and the providers (small companies) have either to accept them or go out of business.

But then again, that's free market. You can always make a counter-proposal with your own rates. If they cannot find any translator at the price they wanted, they may have to give you the job at your own rates.

Daniel


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:59
Italian to English
The Good, the Bad and the Agencies Mar 26, 2005

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

The analogy has been made countless times - you would not call a doctor, lawyer or plumber and say - I have a leaky faucet and I need you to come repair it - I am offering $25.00.



Hi Jeff,

If an experienced plumber won't work for $25.00, I can either try my luck with an inexperienced one (and then explain the consequences to the insurance company). Or pay more.



The internet provides translators with a much broader source of information and wider access to different types of translation jobs. My definition of quality may differ considerably from someone else's definition. I have faith that the market will eventually return to valuing quality as soon as clients figure out that they are not paying enough and not getting what they are paying for.



I share your faith. After all, the internet also offers clients the opportunity to compare different translators' skills with a couple of mouse clicks.

Andy Lemminger wrote:

The agencies aren't the problem. They will always try to lower the prices.
We ourselves are responsible for low prices because we accept them.
In addition there is also no awareness about quality and about how we are doing our job.



I agree with Andy's first two points.

On point three however, I have found over the past year or two that more and more agencies are becoming quality-driven, insisting less on low rates. AFAICS, this is because even quite small agencies now need to offer a full range of localisation and language services to quite small clients, who have to tackle global market problems and opportunities that were once faced only by the largest corporations.

Translation fees are therefore a less significant proportion of the final bill to the client, and rates are not always the agency's first concern. However, translations are still very much quality-critical for the agency's product (the home page and other high-traffic pages of a website, for example).

A while ago, I had only direct clients, but recently I have started working again with one or two agencies. The rates are decent, and these "new-generation" agencies are also fun to work with. They know their business, are willing to negotiate, and generally keep you on your toes. And one got in touch through ProZ (thanks, Henry!).

FWIW

Giles


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:59
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Different perceptions for different translators Mar 26, 2005

dgmaga wrote:


Different trades have different practices.

But then again, that's free market. You can always make a counter-proposal with your own rates. If they cannot find any translator at the price they wanted, they may have to give you the job at your own rates.

Daniel


Giles Watson wrote:

If an experienced plumber won't work for $25.00, I can either try my luck with an inexperienced one (and then explain the consequences to the insurance company). Or pay more.



Thanks for your opinions. However, that is precisely the difference in perception between the "newer" and "older" generation of translators. It did not used to be this way, but then again, we did not have the Internet either. However, you cannot blame us for liking things the way they were. After all, one feels more like a professional when someone comes to you and asks you how much you charge for your services rather than being told how much you will be paid, often by clients who are not in a position to judge or appreciate the value of what you do.

[Edited at 2005-03-28 01:09]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:59
Italian to English
Old heads and young heads Mar 26, 2005

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

Thanks for your opinions. However, that is precisely the difference in perception between the "newer" and "older" generation of translators.



It's very kind of you to include me among the "newer" generation of translators, Jeff. I did my first paid translation job in 1977...

Giles (still young at heart, though)


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Leonid Gornik  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:59
Russian to English
+ ...
You say you don't have anything to do with the rates... Don't you? Mar 28, 2005

Henry wrote:

... and stick with them.

Outsourcers do not have the power to set your rates. If an outsourcer posts a "desired" rate, post your "desired" rate. If an outsourcer posts a "maximum" rate, and it is below yours, just skip the job. You won't work with that outsourcer.

That, as far as I am concerned, is the practical solution. All that is left is perception... and I share your concern about that.

So to be clear: the ProZ.com team is open to addressing "perception" regarding rates, and regarding ProZ.com as a community. ProZ.com is *not* open to attempting to dictate rates, and will not interfere in member communication related to any aspect of a job, including rates. That is not our style.

Thanks for your earlier suggestions, Jeff; we should have thanked you sooner. I hope you like the initial implementation of availability and lists, which is something short of what you envisioned.


Your system automatically assigned me a minimum rate when a job was posted with a rate. I did not fix any rates at all. If you don't have anything to do with the rates, then why your system does? Maybe I don't get that, or your system doesn't know what you want.


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