Off topic: Well, at least they were honest....
Thread poster: Niina Lahokoski

Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:00
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Jan 16, 2015

A job posting of an Indian agency from the job board here on Proz (emphasis mine):

"We have 75000 words for English to Norwegian, Finnish & Swedish Translation.
We are seeking for translation services for MSDS sheets.
domain is Technical.
Our client is from Europe and the reason he contacted us is because he is hoping to get less expensive translation than comparable services in Europe.
Now, we looking to quote him with a competitive rates"


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:00
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The moderators would remove what I muttered in Danish... Jan 16, 2015

... So I will spare them the trouble.
Impudent is the printable word. I mean the clients, not the Indian agency.

I would take that as an invitation to ask for a realistic, north-European rate, and let the agency explain that they and the translators still have to cover their costs.

People here in northern Europe with fixed salaries, 'free' welfare, 'free' education for their children, 'free' hospitals if they fall ill, and guaranteed pensions, paid for by taxes - mine, among the highest in the world...
are far too used to the idea of outsourcing and 'cheap labour' the other side of the globe.

They don't think about the fact that where the cost of living is said to be low, people have to pay direct for all that. Fair enough, if they also earn enough to save up for the extra costs. Anyone who can translate into a Scandinavian language has to pay for Scandinavian education, travel, resources, dictionaries...

If the clients won't pay for the translator's training, health insurance, daily life and children's education, holidays... in short a decent standard of living, then don't work for them.

OK, rant over.
As you say, that agency was honest, but anyone bidding for the job should make sure the rate is not too 'competitive'.

[Edited at 2015-01-16 13:33 GMT]


Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:00
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
You said it Jan 16, 2015

Indeed, the end client is here to blame - an European client should be aware of the rationale of (and be able to afford) the prices of European translators. No professional in Europe can afford to work for the rates offered by most Indian or Chinese agencies, and I doubt that there are many Norwegian or Finnish translators living in those countries.

[Edited at 2015-01-16 12:29 GMT]


Andres Pacheco  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
Plus, the translators are the same Jan 16, 2015

I don't think they will find many good native translators anywhere in the world other than their own countries.

(I know there are exceptions, just a generalization for argument's sake)


Neil Cross
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:00
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
If... Jan 17, 2015

...there was a "like" button on, I would have used it for Christine's comment.

Nail truly hit on the headicon_smile.gif.


United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Me too! Jan 17, 2015

But they refuse to give us a Like button.


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:00
Chinese to English
How dare businesses try to save money! Jan 17, 2015

Christine Andersen wrote:

Impudent is the printable word. I mean the clients, not the Indian agency...People here in northern Europe...are far too used to the idea of outsourcing...They don't think about the fact...If the clients won't pay...

OK, rant over.

It was indeed a rant. And I get it. I also think your response is exactly the right one: send a proper quote and explain why it costs that much.

I just think the passion is misplaced. It is quite literally a business's job to try to cut costs. Sometimes they'll succeed and sometimes they'll fail. On this, we all know that they will fail to find cheap, good, reliable translators. But they don't know that, and I don't think we should feel angry about the fact that they're trying. As the Godfather says, it's not personal, it's just business!

I think this is the part of our job that many translators are worst at. I've really enjoyed watching those "reality" business shows over the years - Apprentice, Dragons' Den and the like. They've showed me that when at work, businesspeople really do see everything in terms of price, not value. They are more shallow and grasping than the very worst caricature any writer can produce, because people who care about words simply can't imagine that way of life. But those are the people we have to deal with. You just have to treat them like the mindless money zombies that they are, and not let it get to you.


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Well, at least they were honest....

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