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The cost of an expert, doing what you love and the rest
Thread poster: Valeria Burova

Valeria Burova  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:15
Member (2014)
English to Russian
Aug 28

Dear colleagues, hello, sincerely hope to find some voice of reason among readers, as at the moment I am more emotional rather than rational.

I am professional linguist and translator/interpreter, the only one who has succeeded in freelancing as a translator from my uni class (started working in parallel with studying), 8 years of working in the industry - not 32 of course, but I'm young enough yet.

Recently I've started cooperation with new quite big agency and I applied there as a translator, as this is what I can do really well and love to do, creative translation is my strength and passion. After some selection procedures the agency started to insist, that they want me to work not as a translator, but as an editor because my level is that high etc. Same time I don't love this job and it’s obvious from the evidence that it is more responsibility and less money despite you provide more expert work. Moreover as I participated in selection of other translators I have seen that the level of most of them is not suitable to be named marketing or creative translators, some were good, but only 2 rated the highest from 13 candidates. So I was aware what kind of quality this translation could be.

Moreover the policy of the agency is giving too big volumes in short deadlines bearing in mind some average daily output, time of work and quality, which also affects final translation product.
Same time they denied accepting my hourly rate for editing and offer a scheme of 30% of translation rate for only edited words (which I banned completely) and second is 30/100 scheme when you're paid 30% of your translation rate for words you read and 100% - for edited words, which makes sense in terms of earning only if the volume is really big - when it is 30 000 words or less I already lose money comparing to translation of the same piece. Not to mention it is more time spent in general.

And despite I repeated many times, that I will be happy to translate they continue sending me review jobs and I don't get any translations...

I accepted one big job like that (30/10) as it was kind of an "image job" which will be published later. Same time I was contacted by one of translators I edit which I consider not very ethical actually, as he pointed my work on his translations...but the essence was that I figured later - that guy has no linguistic education, works in translations for 3 years only and his rate is more than 50% higher then mine in this agency, which completely demotivated me.

I understand that I would want to work with the projects they offer because they are interesting, same time I feel how cheap I am as a resource for them doing the most expert work which the client is happy with and they ask me to do it, and I have invested so much in becoming what I am currently, starting from the uni and all the experience and hard work after...And they don't even agree to pay hourly rates.

I am trying to find the solution (if any), to continue working with them the way that allows me to be more happy about what I earn at least or what's more - do the job that I love doing, because being an editor for one project is one thing, doing what you don't like all the time - makes you hate your job as a result.

Would it be correct to offer them raising my per word rates up to suitable level saying if they want me to do editing, this must happen?.. And then see if I can drop it after a while?

Thank you for reading.




[Редактировалось 2017-08-29 09:24 GMT]


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:15
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Drop them? Aug 28

Setting aside the readability issues of your post, what's stopping you from dropping them?

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Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:15
Serbian to English
+ ...
Drop them Aug 28

and ignore them completely. If they keep ignoring what you are saying, they deserve no better.

They may come to their sense, and come back to ask you to do translations. Or not. In which case, good riddance.

From what you are saying, they are deadbent on using you the way that's convenient ONLY TO THEM, that fits into their model of saving money / pushing volumes up by giving work to whoever is the cheapest and then finding someone capable of turning the translations into something acceptable for a fraction of what they should pay. They care only about their gains, they couldn't care less about your losses. You have no reasons to accept that forever.

in your language combination there is surely many other options apart this agency. You could also try finding few direct clients, for example.


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Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 08:15
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Valeria, Aug 28

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Setting aside the readability issues of your post, what's stopping you from dropping them?


I would strongly suggest that you never ever cooperate with clients of that kind. Too much stress, too much fuss, way too much.

You`d better spend you precious (no irony, really) time looking for better clients (you live in Saint Petersburg, come on!), sharpening your marketing skills, etc.


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The Misha
Local time: 01:15
Russian to English
+ ...
Not to be a critic, but... Aug 28

Vadim Kadyrov wrote:

...sharpening your marketing skills, etc.




... and, if you don't mind me saying so, improving your writing skills and basic command of English grammar seeing that you claim to be offering translation into English in your profile. You are really not doing yourself any favors by posting such poorly written texts in English in a public forum where potential clients will be able to see them.


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Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 08:15
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
try upping your rates for editing Aug 28

Chances are your rates for editing/proofreading are too low.
Just try upping them first chance you get. Experience shows it should solve the issue.
Also, you are looking at this in per word earnings. You should be looking at it as per hour earnings. You should be able to earn the same if not more editing as compared to translating in the same time unit. You should be able to edit at least 1000 words per hour.
Good luck.

[Editat la 2017-08-28 13:57 GMT]


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Valeria Burova  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:15
Member (2014)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
I've asked for an advice Aug 28

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Setting aside the readability issues of your post, what's stopping you from dropping them?


not for criticism of my skills


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Valeria Burova  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:15
Member (2014)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Aug 28

Cristiana Coblis wrote:

Chances are your rates for editing/proofreading are too low.
Just try upping them first chance you get. Experience shows it should solve the issue.
Also, you are looking at this in per word earnings. You should be looking at it as per hour earnings. You should be able to earn the same if not more editing as compared to translating in the same time unit. You should be able to edit at least 1000 words per hour.
Good luck.

[Editat la 2017-08-28 13:57 GMT]


That's the point - they don't pay hourly and don't want to and I am not an editor in general - my skills for editing are not like described above, as I always prefer to translate.. They don't have editing rates - they pay percentage from read and edited words based on translation rates.


[Редактировалось 2017-08-28 14:25 GMT]


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Jean Dimitriadis
France
Local time: 07:15
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
Suggestion Aug 28

Hello Valeria,

Assuming you have a thriving client/agencies portfolio, you can inform them that you no longer offer editing services and will be happy to take on translation assignments.

Also remember that you can always refuse a job if it does not suit you. You can just say you are already working on a different project.

Not much you can do to change their strategy...

Good luck!

Jean


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Valeria Burova  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:15
Member (2014)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Aug 28

Vadim Kadyrov wrote:

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Setting aside the readability issues of your post, what's stopping you from dropping them?


I would strongly suggest that you never ever cooperate with clients of that kind. Too much stress, too much fuss, way too much.

You`d better spend you precious (no irony, really) time looking for better clients (you live in Saint Petersburg, come on!), sharpening your marketing skills, etc.




I feel like finishing the project I've taken and letting them know I will never ever deal with them for review. I've spent way too much time and energy for negotiations already and I can't affect them.

[Редактировалось 2017-08-29 09:55 GMT]


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 06:15
Japanese to English
Stop editing for them Aug 28

You're a freelancer, not a slavelancer. Send them an email right now telling them that you no longer offer editing services but only translation services at $0.XX per word (equal to or higher than what the other translator was making). If they get back to you, all well and good. In the meantime start looking for other clients.

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Valeria Burova  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:15
Member (2014)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Yup, Aug 28

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:


Not much you can do to change their strategy...

Good luck!

Jean



I think I feel that, I tried to break their system and no success.

Thanks much!


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Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 08:15
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Editing is a good option to have Aug 28

Valeria Burova wrote:

Cristiana Coblis wrote:

Chances are your rates for editing/proofreading are too low.
Just try upping them first chance you get. Experience shows it should solve the issue.
Also, you are looking at this in per word earnings. You should be looking at it as per hour earnings. You should be able to earn the same if not more editing as compared to translating in the same time unit. You should be able to edit at least 1000 words per hour.
Good luck.

[Editat la 2017-08-28 13:57 GMT]


That's the point - they don't pay hourly and don't want to and I am not an editor in general - my skills for editing are not like described above, as I always prefer to translate.. They don't have editing rates - they pay percentage from read and edited words based on translation rates.


[Редактировалось 2017-08-28 14:25 GMT]

It's an innovative model, not necessarily bad
When setting your rates, in general, being paid by the word, by the line or by the hour should still all come to the same earnings per time unit in general. You should always calculate your earnings based on the time spent (you still have a limited number of hours/day). So, you should still make the same translating or editing (or whatever you else) in one hour. I.e. you translate 300 words in one hour or edit 1000 words in the same time unit netting you the same earnings. This is how you should calculate rates. So, if your translation rate is 0.10 USD/word, your editing rate would be 30% of that, you should still come to the same earnings per hour. If you are not happy with your editing rate, you are probably not happy with your translation rate, since the editing rate is based on the translation rate? Then up the rate.
If you are just not happy editing, your can just turn down the assignments. I have turned down clients for years and they still come back, it's not an issue. If the client pays punctually and has work in your language combination, I would not simply fire the client. You can still try a lot of other things before coming to that.
For me at least, I would say between translating and editing, editing is probably more profitabile in terms of earnings per hour. For some clients I am paid for editing an hourly rate, for others a per word rate, but I make sure I still make at least the same (usually more) per hour. Editing is a good option to top your earnings. Generally, you can translate a couple of thousands of words per day before growing tired, but after that you can certainly fit in a couple of editing jobs during the afternoons. But you also have to learn to edit efficiently and it's a bit of a different skill and there is a learning curve to it.
And, it's a choice, of course. If you don't like it, don't feel obliged to accept it. I'm simply saying it's not a bad option to have.
Good luck.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:15
French to English
Remind yourself why you chose to be a freelancer Aug 28

Assuming that you need to make a living from translation, there are some jobs you will enjoy more than others. You will accept or refuse jobs for different reasons. They are your reasons and regard no-one else. I hate editing for many of the reasons you mention. I find it difficult to make it profitable so I simply decline proofreading jobs.

If you don't accept the conditions being offered and there is no room for negotiation, walk away.

[Edited at 2017-08-29 00:07 GMT]


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:15
French to English
Reading through your post once again Aug 29

You applied as a translator. You say that proofreading/editing carries more responsibility. The responsibilities are different. If you are not happy doing proofreading, then refuse those offers.
Some agencies apparently have their translations done to a very low standard and then rely on paying proofreaders to correct the work to a presentable standard. In such cases, the translators are poorly paid and the proofreaders are even more poorly paid. Again, if nothing better is offered, why continue to work with them?

I do have one question though. How did you as a freelancer participate in selecting your client's translators?


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