Pay to play?
Thread poster: Robert Forstag

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:30
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dec 2, 2016

Earlier this week, I received notification from a translation agency I've previously worked for regarding the rollout of a new program of theirs. In fact, I received three messages over the course of three consecutive days that initially provided a tease regarding the content of the initiative - which the agency hailed as "exciting" and "special" and a way of helping me "thrive" - before revealing what exactly it consisted of.

I was informed in the third e-mail that the program in question involved access to a (current and future) library of educational and informational content, courses, and forums. This content was being offered me at the "special" rate of $3.33 per month for the first three months (which would increase to $9.99 per month after 90 days).

I have to say that, apart from those few translation outfits that charge up front for the right to bid on future jobs, I have never seen a scheme proposed that so strongly reeks of a quid pro quo.

Were this an agency that regularly offered me work at good rates, I might entertain the thought of at least initially subscribing to the content being offered - merely as a business proposition.

However, I have done only a single (very large) job for the agency in question, and that over one year ago, and I was never subsequently contacted.

I immediately unsubscribed from further notifications regarding the "exciting" and "special" program, including an explanation along the above lines.

Is this something that we might expect more of in the future? I for one hope not....


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
A step too far, perhaps? Dec 2, 2016

Robert Forstag wrote:
Is this something that we might expect more of in the future? I for one hope not....

I can't imagine who'd be desperate enough to go along with that particular scheme. Obviously those who are desperate enough to earn a living that they'll take on jobs at peanut rates aren't in a position to invest (or gamble). And of the rest of us who can afford to give ourselves time to think about it, most will surely realise that we don't pay agencies - they pay us! I'm sure there will be a few newbies who won't work it through before falling for the marketing speak, but surely not sufficient for this agency to get any sort of ROI.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 12:30
German to Serbian
+ ...
Precisely, good point. Dec 2, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:
Obviously those who are desperate enough to earn a living that they'll take on jobs at peanut rates aren't in a position to invest (or gamble).


This pretty much sums it up.


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:30
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
An ill-conceived notion from the get-go Dec 2, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:
Obviously those who are desperate enough to earn a living that they'll take on jobs at peanut rates aren't in a position to invest (or gamble).


This pretty much sums it up.


The idea strikes me as a losing proposition no matter how you slice it, because it puts the agency in a position of "keeping happy" those translators who are paying the ten bucks a month for their "opportunity to thrive." It is hard to imagine any translator not averaging revenues of at least $600 every six months continuing to subscribe to the service. And as Sheila points out, many (whatever their level of experience) will refuse to initially take the bait. If you then factor in the costs for creating and maintaining the service, it doesn't seem like it has the potential of being much of a revenue producer at all for the agency, and may in fact end up being a net loser. In addition, such a gimmick doesn't exactly enhance its standing in relation to other agencies.

I can only hope that this company quickly realizes that this was a misconceived notion from the start, and that it either abandon the program entirely or make access to the content free of charge.

I would add as an afterthought that it says something for the state of affairs in the industry that an agency would actually charge for access to such content, rather than provide it as a free add-on in an attempt to attract quality translators to its team of freelancers.



[Edited at 2016-12-02 21:34 GMT]


 


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