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Would you work for this client?
Thread poster: Gregory Lassale

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:08
Member (2019)
English to French
Oct 11, 2018

I recently completed a sample test for an agency (large, it seems) and today I received the following.

- A 56-slide powerpoint presentation they require you to go over, which contains their strict guidelines, among which:

- Confirming availability and deadline (standard)

- An update has to be provided along with a copy of the translated file
    within an hour
or accepting the project. More updates + copy of file are due, ranging from every 4 hours to
... See more
I recently completed a sample test for an agency (large, it seems) and today I received the following.

- A 56-slide powerpoint presentation they require you to go over, which contains their strict guidelines, among which:

- Confirming availability and deadline (standard)

- An update has to be provided along with a copy of the translated file
    within an hour
or accepting the project. More updates + copy of file are due, ranging from every 4 hours to once a week depending on the translation due date - no exception.

- In addition to the translation, they require you to complete a "certificate of accuracy" with every job. Its included instructions in red have to be changed from red to black; the doc needs to be signed in blue, the language pair edited, your credentials added, the file renamed and reformatted, and the whole thing emailed back following a strict nomenclature.

- Invoicing are also subject to specific requirements/instructions.

All this, knowing that most (if not all it seems) the jobs this agency handles are heavily formatted, and the translated doc is expected to be a carbon copy of the original, i.e. all graphs, tables etc MUST be replicated via desktop publishing if the originals are not editable. If a logo is on the original doc but blurry, you can contact the PM only if you cannot find it online (I'm supposed to spend time looking for graphics?? Really??).

Oh, there is also an additional formatting quizz included with the powerpoint presentation.

Finally, the rate offered is $0.06/word (take it or leave it) for translation and $0.03 for proofreading.

Seems very unreasonable to me, but what do I know? Wondering if this is somewhat common, and if not whether you'd work for such a client. I'm still getting started in the industry and in the "should I take this to get my feet wet or pass so that I don't shoot myself in the foot long-term" phase...

Thanks everyone.
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William Tierney  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:08
Member (2002)
Arabic to English
No. Oct 11, 2018

No. Smells like LB.

Aldona Parra
Tom in London
 

David GAY  Identity Verified
Dutch to French
+ ...
Let me guess Oct 11, 2018

Is the name of this company Exploitation Without Borders?

Andy Watkinson
Gregory Lassale
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Kay Denney
writeaway
 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:08
German to English
Pay peanuts, get monkeys Oct 11, 2018

Gregory Lassale wrote:

- An update has to be provided along with a copy of the translated file
    within an hour
or accepting the project. More updates + copy of file are due, ranging from every 4 hours to once a week depending on the translation due date - no exception.

All this, knowing that most (if not all it seems) the jobs this agency handles are heavily formatted, and the translated doc is expected to be a carbon copy of the original, i.e. all graphs, tables etc MUST be replicated via desktop publishing if the originals are not editable. If a logo is on the original doc but blurry, you can contact the PM only if you cannot find it online (I'm supposed to spend time looking for graphics?? Really??).

Finally, the rate offered is $0.06/word (take it or leave it) for translation and $0.03 for proofreading.


For 6 cents/word the agency would be lucky to have the spelling checked in addition to a translation. Value-added services such as special formatting are out of the question, as is on-call availability. 3 cents/word for editing is pretty much within the standard rate, although a hourly rate would be more reasonable.

Unfortunately the agency knows that there are people who will accept such terms and come back for more. The effort involved would reduce your earnings to below the hourly rate for an employee of a fast food enterprise.


Yvonne Gallagher
Gregory Lassale
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Slama-Clauzel Traductions
Eveline Gomes
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:08
Member (2008)
Italian to English
No... Oct 11, 2018

Q. Would you work for this client?
A. No.

The US must be the most litigious country in the world.


P.L.F.Persio
Teresa Borges
Eveline Gomes
Martino Dibeltulo Concu
 

IanDhu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:08
Member (2005)
French to English
Totalitarian LSP: the hard evidence Oct 11, 2018

This client wants you to do its work in its stead, for peanuts it seems. If DTP work is involved, the client must pay extra for it, and likewise if you are to hunt for blurry logos on-line. A client that raises barriers such as you describe is neither businesslike nor worth bothering about - except to herd it collectively under a portcullis

The clients I work with are realistic and understanding. Today, for example, o
... See more
This client wants you to do its work in its stead, for peanuts it seems. If DTP work is involved, the client must pay extra for it, and likewise if you are to hunt for blurry logos on-line. A client that raises barriers such as you describe is neither businesslike nor worth bothering about - except to herd it collectively under a portcullis

The clients I work with are realistic and understanding. Today, for example, one of them gave me an implicit extension to an initially over-tight revision deadline.

I agree with William that your client may well be a large, notoriously heavy-handed operator.

You would do well to look further and fare better. Slavery does indeed exist in the translation business, but should be sidestepped as far as possible.

With kind regards, and best of luck,

Adam Warren
(ProZ.com: IanDhu; Translator 41189)

[Edited at 2018-10-11 14:52 GMT]
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Kevin Fulton
Gregory Lassale
Inga Petkelyte
Eveline Gomes
 

Axelle Hawkins  Identity Verified
Member (2017)
English to French
No Oct 11, 2018

I have to read your post 3 times to understand their instructions.
And what about if you do not change them from black to red (or the other way, I don't remember). They will use that as an excuse for not paying your invoice ?
Run

[Edited at 2018-10-11 14:53 GMT]


Gregory Lassale
Jean Chao
Vladimir Filipenko
Eveline Gomes
 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Member
English to French
+ ...
No Oct 11, 2018

I didn't go freelance to get buried in red tape… plus they don't meet the price…

Kevin Fulton
Robert Forstag
Gregory Lassale
IanDhu
Valérie Ourset
Jean Chao
Vladimir Filipenko
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:08
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
You got the sequencing wrong Oct 11, 2018

Gregory Lassale wrote:
Finally, the rate offered is $0.06/word (take it or leave it) for translation and $0.03 for proofreading.

I had somebody try this on me a couple of years ago, when, after I had quoted for a job, the agency demanded that I submit work every 4 hours. I immediately withdrew from the project.

I would never work with the agency you are talking with. It would be far, far too much hassle, and most of what they are asking you to do is not even translation.

Nevertheless, you could have saved a lot of time by telling them your rate first. If they refuse to discuss rates beforehand they're almost certainly not worth working with.

Dan


Jean Dimitriadis
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Daryo
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
FTR Oct 11, 2018

I do a couple of regular jobs for possibly the same global agency.

For one I get paid $55 a shot for 5-10 easy words.

For the other I get paid $0.17 per word and don't have to use any of their online systems.

In other words they can be quite flexible and generous when they want to.

So it might not hurt to try negotiating a better price and no added extras.


mughwI
Christine Andersen
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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:08
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Gregory Oct 11, 2018

This client of yours reminded me of an American translation agency which first of all asked me if I was willing to do a short medical test. OK! No problem! After this was done and approved, asked for a photo (?), a signed NDA and a long list of other requirements and to top it all emailed me a so-called welcome pack having 34 pages for me to read, sign and return. Some companies seem driven mad by bureaucracy…

[Edited at 2018-10-11 19:50 GMT]


Gregory Lassale
Roy Chacón
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Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:08
Member (2019)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for confirming Oct 11, 2018

As a newbie in the industry, it can be hard to know if my expectations are unrealistic or if I'm truly faced with a ridiculous offer.

Glad my better judgement is in line with the general consensus.

Someone said I should have tried to negotiate the rate first. It is actually the first thing I did. I explained to the agency that $0.06 / word was significantly below my rate (which is already at the bottom of the average range in my language pair) and too low to make a go
... See more
As a newbie in the industry, it can be hard to know if my expectations are unrealistic or if I'm truly faced with a ridiculous offer.

Glad my better judgement is in line with the general consensus.

Someone said I should have tried to negotiate the rate first. It is actually the first thing I did. I explained to the agency that $0.06 / word was significantly below my rate (which is already at the bottom of the average range in my language pair) and too low to make a good living rate where I live.

Their reply: "I understand but for us to make a profit the translator has to make less than the agency. Good luck in the future"

I almost emailed back to say "then offer a true quality product and charge more!", but I didn't see the point. They don't care what I have to say, plus it wouldn't surprise me if they do charge a high fee and simply pocket the difference.

A couple of weeks went by, and after giving it some thought, I decided to follow up with them. Not because I want to work regularly with this client, but because I'd come across several agencies who requested references as part of their application process. I don't have enough at this point so I thought "maybe do one or two jobs for those guys and just use them as a reference".

So I followed up...and they sent me that 56 slide presentation and all these ridiculous requirements. That's also when I found out that on top of only paying $0.06/wd, their jobs all involve heavy DTP, logo research and I was like. Are these people for real??

I just wanted to consult with the proZ crowd to make sure it wasn't just me.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Eveline Gomes
 

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:08
Member (2019)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
LB? Oct 11, 2018

William Tierney wrote:

No. Smells like LB.


LB?


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
:) Oct 12, 2018

Gregory Lassale wrote:

William Tierney wrote:

No. Smells like LB.


LB?


Clearly it’s not LB then!

I’d try the local two person agencies, they tend to have less paperwork


Christine Andersen
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
@Gregory Oct 12, 2018

Gregory Lassale wrote:
I recently completed a sample test for an agency (large, it seems) and today I received the following.
...
Finally, the rate offered is $0.06/word (take it or leave it) for translation and $0.03 for proofreading.


There is nothing unreasonable about any of the job requirements (although I must say that most freelance translators I know would typically not accept jobs like these).

The only unreasonable thing is the price. Theoretically, if you want to do this job (i.e. if you feel that this is the sort of service that you can provide), you must decide how likely it is that the agency will accept your counter offer, and if you believe that it will not be a waste of your time to calculate a reasonable price for it, do so, and tell the agency your price. However, since their opening bid is USD 0.06, and your first counter offer is likely to be in the USD 0.12-18 range, I suspect this one is a lost cause.

It is possible that many of the requirements are not set by the agency but by their end-client. However, it is the agency's task to check whether the rate they will be able to offer will actually cover the amount of work, and they (or perhaps the PM, who may be new at this and did not receive sufficient guidance from his supervisor) clearly did not do that. Perhaps they'll learn their lesson and will become a better client in future.

Gregory Lassale wrote:
I explained to the agency that $0.06 / word was significantly below my rate (which is already at the bottom of the average range in my language pair) and too low to make a good living rate where I live.


Although I believe you should tell the agency that USD 0.06 is too low, I don't think it creates a professional impression to mention how you struggle to make a living in your own country. If you want to justify a rate, do so on professional grounds, and not on survival grounds.

I'd come across several agencies who requested references as part of their application process.


You can also use colleagues as references.


[Edited at 2018-10-12 07:53 GMT]


Eveline Gomes
 
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