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Time to establish anti-dumping policies
Thread poster: Cristiano Lima

Cristiano Lima
Brazil
Local time: 02:18
Russian to Portuguese
+ ...
Jul 21, 2015

Not a long time ago, a company requested me a translation. When I offered my prices, USD 0,10 for a rare pair, guess what kind of answer I got? "We are sorry, this price is too high for us", so I offered USD 0,08, and they claimed that some people work for them for USD 0,02. I laughed, that's a complete non-sense, specially to the pair requested!

So, I started a thread on this issue, and I got shocked how some users attempted to justify the position of the company, some of them even disclosed that they work usually for 0,02 or 0,025 cents of dollar. That's utter ridiculous! If people work for such prices in a rare pair, imagine an usual pair like English-Portuguese.

Don't you think that it's time to establish anti-dumping policies?! That completely messes up the life of people who work with translations in a professional level. If someone offers a job for 0,02 or 0,03, it would be better to ask it for free!


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:18
English to German
+ ...
Dear Cristiano Jul 21, 2015

Why not start with it by NOT lowering your rates? I am afraid there is not much more you can do about it.
Ideas welcome, of course.

Gudrun


 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
If you can't beat them, join them. Jul 21, 2015

....not in the sense of basement bottom prices, but in terms of reducing your cost of living. It's the only way to earn more while doing less, and is the only way they can afford such low prices (moving to a cheaper location is a good way to start). Once you're established as a reliable go-to for a few good clients, such poor-quality high-turnover jobs, as you mentioned, are just trivial.

 

Cristiano Lima
Brazil
Local time: 02:18
Russian to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well Jul 21, 2015

Gudrun Wolfrath wrote:

Why not start with it by NOT lowering your rates? I am afraid there is not much more you can do about it.
Ideas welcome, of course.

Gudrun


I wished to have an idea of what was "too much" for them. But of course, their offer was below I expected.


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:18
Member (2014)
English to German
Wish them good luck with their budget translation! Jul 21, 2015

It is a very risky strategy to buy translation this cheap - they may come back to you after a bad experience.

 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
We've discussed this a hundred times before. Jul 21, 2015

There have always been bad payers, and bad translators for that matter. The internet, and ProZ in particular, has made us more aware of them.

It's no big deal, and if you're able to offer languages and subjects that people want, and to a high standard of quality, you have nothing to worry about.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:18
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
What do you mean, practically? Jul 21, 2015

Cristiano Lima wrote:
Don't you think that it's time to establish anti-dumping policies?!


What do you mean, practically?


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 13:18
Chinese to English
Reasons why markets don't work Jul 21, 2015

You're absolutely right.

The basic theory of markets goes something like this:

price varies proportionally with quality
price varies inversely with supply

So a good quality supplier in a small pair should command a high rate. But in practice that doesn't always happen.

First, there's a problem with the nature of translation quality: it's not linear. A translation which is 90% correct isn't 10% worse than a translation which is 100% right. 90% right is 100% wrong. So quality doesn't fall on a nice straight line.

Second, there's a problem with supply, which radically changes demand. In rare pairs, it's often hard to find a good translator, so most customers don't even bother. Instead they manage with a combination of bad translations, MT, and translations through a pivot language. They get good at managing with those things. You present them with a good translator, and they don't even know what to do with her. The lack of supply changes the market by killing off demand.

There isn't really any way around either of these problems. But you can carve out your own market. Customers will slowly try you, and start to appreciate you.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:18
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Every offer I get under .07, I respond as follows: Jul 21, 2015

"Very funny!"

It's short and simple and makes a point.

Curiously, not one has responded "what do you mean very funny???"

If there were good and reliable translators working for USD 0.02, I could be a millionaire by reselling their translations for .04.



Cristiano Lima wrote:



[

[Edited at 2015-07-21 17:57 GMT]


 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:18
German to English
+ ...
Re: Rare pair Jul 21, 2015

Phil Hand wrote:


So a good quality supplier in a small pair should command a high rate. But in practice that doesn't always happen.

...

Second, there's a problem with supply, which radically changes demand. In rare pairs, it's often hard to find a good translator, so most customers don't even bother. Instead they manage with a combination of bad translations, MT, and translations through a pivot language. They get good at managing with those things. You present them with a good translator, and they don't even know what to do with her. The lack of supply changes the market by killing off demand.



Another problem with rare pairs: The economy may be doing poorly in the rare-language country, and translators there may be willing to translate into their non-native language. It becomes the norm in some cases (parts of Eastern Europe at least) and pushes down rates for those languages.

I also agree that you have to carve out your own market. There will always be various price levels of translation available. On some forums I frequent, your USD 0.10 would be considered a dumping rate, so it's all relative.


[Edited at 2015-07-21 20:29 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-07-21 20:30 GMT]


 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:18
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
anti-dumping Jul 21, 2015

When I am confronted with an agency of this type, I say something like:
"If you are paying the India rate, why are you looking for translators in North America?"
Or "if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys".


 

Pierret Adrien  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 13:18
Chinese to French
+ ...
Why not just ignore? Jul 23, 2015

What astonishes me is why would you let such ridiculous offers get to you to such extent that you feel the need to report it here.

When it happens to me - and it does to everyone I guess, I just refuse, maybe drop a word about peanuts and monkeys, then get over it and focus on stuff that actually matters.

Policy? This is translation you're talking about. If you want policies really you picked the wrong job.


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Seconded Jul 23, 2015

Pierret Adrien wrote:
When it happens to me - and it does to everyone I guess, I just refuse, maybe drop a word about peanuts and monkeys, then get over it and focus on stuff that actually matters.


Absolutely. Or even better, politely and briefly decline the rate and offer them yours. It will not get you that job, but will make them aware of the reality.


Policy? This is translation you're talking about. If you want policies really you picked the wrong job.


Indeed, notaries' fees are regulated at least here in Belgium. It's never late to go for it.


 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:18
German to English
+ ...
Exactly what I do Jul 23, 2015

Merab Dekano wrote:


Or even better, politely and briefly decline the rate and offer them yours. It will not get you that job, but will make them aware of the reality.




And then just move on!


 

Florencio Alonso  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 02:18
Member (2013)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The hard truth: reality is reality Jul 23, 2015

I feel your pain, but trying to impose minimum rates in an open, unregulated market is pointless. The law of supply and demand is simple and non-compromising: it's the market that defines your work's worth, not our own sense of justice or local cost of living.

I agree with everyone who's said that you're only option is to carve out your own niche market.


 
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