Where is our business going to?
Thread poster: Robert Rietvelt

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:03
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Nov 9

I received this offer yesterday, and want to share it with you.

Job XXX: A used car website translation needed from English, Japanese to Spanish, Dutch, French, Sinhalese, Portuguese, Brazilian Portugese, we want to pay 0.01 EUR per word (message sent through XXX)

It almost looks like a joke, but I feel like crying.


Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Teresa Borges
philgoddard
Habibur RahmanI
Laurent Mercky
Sulim Kim
 

Davide Leone  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:03
Member (2015)
English to Italian
+ ...
Ignore it Nov 9

I hope they won't find any translator who does the work for them at such a low rate.
I hate agencies and customers who bring down our industry so much.


philgoddard
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:03
French to English
Paying to work Nov 9

I once had an agency ask me to proofread a text for 0,01€/word. That is gross (gross meaning terrible and gross meaning before deductions). That's less than peanuts. The next step is me paying the agency!

philgoddard
mariealpilles
 

Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 04:03
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
For the last 10 years or so Nov 10

I have been reading similar posts like this one.

As they say, there are clients who pay peanuts, and there are clients who pay generously, abundantly, prosperously, and it is solely you who decide who you work for.

No one will ever pay you more than you want to be paid for any service. And it is you who decide how much you want to CHARGE a client for the service.

In other words, they don't just pay you, you CHARGE them for the value you bring.

... See more
I have been reading similar posts like this one.

As they say, there are clients who pay peanuts, and there are clients who pay generously, abundantly, prosperously, and it is solely you who decide who you work for.

No one will ever pay you more than you want to be paid for any service. And it is you who decide how much you want to CHARGE a client for the service.

In other words, they don't just pay you, you CHARGE them for the value you bring.

Of course, there always will be people who don't want to pay your price. Bad for them.
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LIZ LI
 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:03
English to French
As much as I agree with that Nov 10

Vadim Kadyrov wrote: As they say, there are clients who pay peanuts, and there are clients who pay generously, abundantly, prosperously, and it is solely you who decide who you work for.


That choice is taken away from us more and more as time passes. In almost 6 years in the industry, I have found only two clients (both agencies) willing to pay generously. One has cut rates by 60% all of a sudden (becoming one of the lowest paying I have ever seen), the other never receive any work in my language pair.
The truth is, clients who even want to pay decently are becoming a rarity, and the pressure for lower rates is constant. It's true, -we- decide who to work for, but the choice keeps being reduced between "peanuts" and "barely more than peanuts".

I know you mean well, but it ticks me off to always read translators telling other translators to better choose their clients. The pressure should be on clients to give better rates, be reminded that quality has a price and that translators should be able to live off of their work. Maybe they keep lowering the bar because not enough heat is directed toward them.


Christel Zipfel
Luisa Fiorini
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:03
Member
Italian to English
What do you propose? Nov 10

Jocelin Meunier wrote:

I know you mean well, but it ticks me off to always read translators telling other translators to better choose their clients.


I understand your frustration, but this is one of the main tools we have at our disposal - refusing to work for clients who pay low rates.

You say that "the pressure should be on clients to give better rates, be reminded that quality has a price and that translators should be able to live off of their work", and we do that precisely by seeking out clients who pay decent rates, among other things.


Jan Truper
Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Erik Freitag
Davide Leone
Rachel Waddington
Philip Lees
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:03
English to French
@ Fiona Nov 10

Yes, that's why I said that I agree, it is important reject bad clients. It's just obvious that this is not enough, or the situation would get better instead of worse. That's why I said that not enough heat is directed toward them.
As for propositions, that can vary from being able to use the blue board for something as simple as "pays bad rates, best avoid" to pushing for international standards protecting translators. I know there is nothing new or undiscussed already here, but I truly
... See more
Yes, that's why I said that I agree, it is important reject bad clients. It's just obvious that this is not enough, or the situation would get better instead of worse. That's why I said that not enough heat is directed toward them.
As for propositions, that can vary from being able to use the blue board for something as simple as "pays bad rates, best avoid" to pushing for international standards protecting translators. I know there is nothing new or undiscussed already here, but I truly believe that offers like the ones Robert talked will eventually become the norm if we continue to just avoid bad clients individually.
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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:03
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
How to translate this one Nov 11

Just published on Proz:

...... Trados has to be used and discount on fuzzies and matches will be applied. We need a competitive rate since the entire volume of words is assured and more courses will come if we succeed with this one...................

How I translate it (back to front): 'We make a wild promise to pay you peanuts after we are finished with (eating) them'.



[Edited at 2019-11-11 13:16 GMT]


writeaway
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Self-regulation twix Nov 11

For a good start--

1) There're should be specialists in a field (engineers, designer, doctor, lawyer...) with decent foreign language skills--no "pure" translators.

2) Reducing spongers (agencies/outsourcers/intermediaries and the stuff) to dust via forced public ratio declaration--how much they charge their clients and how much they pay to their translators. Nowadays it's very difficult for predators to substantiate why they charge $0.35+/word in advance or with
... See more
For a good start--

1) There're should be specialists in a field (engineers, designer, doctor, lawyer...) with decent foreign language skills--no "pure" translators.

2) Reducing spongers (agencies/outsourcers/intermediaries and the stuff) to dust via forced public ratio declaration--how much they charge their clients and how much they pay to their translators. Nowadays it's very difficult for predators to substantiate why they charge $0.35+/word in advance or withing seven working days while paying to their translators $0.03/word minus "discounts" after a couple of months.
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Laurent Mercky
France
Local time: 03:03
Member (Jul 2019)
Chinese to French
+ ...
Say NO Nov 11

0.01 is just unacceptable.

 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:03
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Not all shall have prizes Nov 11

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:
...and we do that precisely by seeking out clients who pay decent rates, among other things.

And although you don't make it explicit, the fact is that only a small fraction of all translators are going to get the best clients who pay decent rates. Those will probably be the translators with the most attractive specialisations, with the marketing chops to catch the eye of clients, and with the actual translation skills that persuade clients come back with repeat business.

If a translator is ranked in the top 30% most skilful translators in their pair, but the client is looking for somebody they perceive to be in the top 10%, then Mr 30% isn't going to get the project, and will not be able to charge the highest rates.

Translation is a fiercely competitive industry. Not everybody is going to finish on the podium.

Dan


LIZ LI
Recep Kurt
 

LIZ LI
China
Local time: 10:03
Member (2008)
French to Chinese
+ ...
Business Nov 12

In the business world, there are people/ companies who are doing great, and some others may not be as good as they are, so there are people who earn more (or even a lot more) than others.
Some may say that I'm good, but I can't find good clients. That's probably because you aren't so good targeting the right clientele. So you are not good enough in Marketing.
It applies anywhere, as well as for us freelancers.

I recently translated a fee note from a French lawyer to his
... See more
In the business world, there are people/ companies who are doing great, and some others may not be as good as they are, so there are people who earn more (or even a lot more) than others.
Some may say that I'm good, but I can't find good clients. That's probably because you aren't so good targeting the right clientele. So you are not good enough in Marketing.
It applies anywhere, as well as for us freelancers.

I recently translated a fee note from a French lawyer to his Chinese client. It was doubtlessly a HUGE amount compared to my invoices. But what surprised me the most, it's that my husband told me, he was aware that local lawyers qualified to represent their clients at international cases might have charged even more......Not to mention about those top ones....
Just to give an idea, min. wage in the city I live is appx. 400 usd, and it could be just half an hour for "ordinary" lawyers qualified for international lawsuits in PRC.



[Edited at 2019-11-12 07:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-11-12 12:16 GMT]
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Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:03
German to English
+ ...
who cites their fees (Jocelin) Nov 17

These parts:
Jocelin Meunier wrote:
....One has cut rates by 60% all of a sudden .....

The pressure should be on clients to give better rates, ....

Clients are not employers, and they cannot dictate fees. You're the professional, and they are asking you for your services. Therefore you set the fee. A customer cannot "cut rates" because the rates are not determined by the customer. Since we set out fees, the only pressure is that some clients may not like our fees and thus not use our services. The wrong relationship is being established or assumed, too often, when I read discussions on forums.


Dan Lucas
 

CATHERINE MARCHAND  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 04:03
Member (2018)
Greek to French
LOW AVERAGES FROM TRANSLATION AGENCIES Nov 17

Do not spend your time to answer them ....

 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
If it became known that people on Proz systematically turn down all nonsense offers... Nov 17

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

Just published on Proz:

...... Trados has to be used and discount on fuzzies and matches will be applied. We need a competitive rate since the entire volume of words is assured and more courses will come if we succeed with this one...................

How I translate it (back to front): 'We make a wild promise to pay you peanuts after we are finished with (eating) them'.



[Edited at 2019-11-11 13:16 GMT]


then these insulting, laughable job postings/emails would eventually stop. Once upon a time, there was another major site for translators that was known as the place to go for ridiculous low-ball job offers. Back in the day, Proz was considered a cut above all that. Sadly, those days are long gone and Proz is now the go-to place to find people willing to work at any price. CAT tools and access to massive TMs now matter more than knowledge and as long as that remains the case, I don't see much hope for improvement.
Just say no, to borrow the phrase.


 


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