Do we laugh or cry?
Thread poster: DLyons

DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 15:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 11, 2014

A current project proposes translating bad photocopies of medical records which are involved in litigation and which include partially illegible hand-written notes. My gut feeling is that one would be doing very, very well to translate 100 wds/hr.

So what's the offered rate? $0.06 to $0.10 which is well below McDonald's


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Joseph Tein  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:07
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Shamefully low pay rate Oct 11, 2014

Hi DL,

I simply wouldn't take the project at those rates. Myself, I expect .12/word for either handwriting OR poor copy, and that's still low (I don't even stop to calculate how many words I'm translating per hour, although I'm sure it's over 100.) At the low end, .06 for something like this is insulting.

[Edited at 2014-10-11 17:47 GMT]


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:07
German to English
+ ...
May not want to do it at any price Oct 11, 2014

I'm not sure I'd want to touch that translation in the first place. *Illegible* and *litigation* don't sit well with me.

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DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 15:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'd love to see who are submitting the quotes. Oct 11, 2014

It's an Es->En project, but I'm guessing En->Es translators from Latin America are the bidders.

And yes, litigation and illegible should be sending up warning flags. High risk stuff for the Agency involved!

[Edited at 2014-10-11 19:21 GMT]


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Eileen Cartoon  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:07
Italian to English
I've done some of this sort of translation Oct 11, 2014

mostly for friends or friends of friends who are seeking second opinions (often for free as I'm not going to charge a friend who is very sick)

But my 2 cents is that the worst part is that, not only are they hand written, and partially illegible but they are full of abbreviations.


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texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:07
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
The problem is not the offered rate... Oct 11, 2014

DLyons wrote:

So what's the offered rate?


THE problem is the accepted rate.


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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:07
French to English
+ ...
Slight error Oct 11, 2014

DLyons wrote:

So what's the offered rate? $0.06 to $0.10 which is well below McDonald's

In fact, "$0.06 USD to $0.09 USD per word" + formatting included.
bad copies / bad handwriting / abysmal recompense offered
Agree with texjax, too


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Little Woods  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Member
English to Vietnamese
Dont do it even if in a super dry period Oct 12, 2014

Recently I also had the same experience when I quoted on a job, the agency came back telling me that my rate is too high while other asked for much lower for the same thing. There is no limit to the offered rate but there should be a limit to accepted rate.

[Edited at 2014-10-12 04:16 GMT]


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DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 15:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Globalization Oct 12, 2014

Rachel Fell wrote:

DLyons wrote:

So what's the offered rate? $0.06 to $0.10 which is well below McDonald's

In fact, "$0.06 USD to $0.09 USD per word" + formatting included.
bad copies / bad handwriting / abysmal recompense offered
Agree with texjax, too


Yes indeed - those are McD's rates, rather than the offered rate. And that's an OK rate in some countries.

I suppose what's really surprising is not that translators work for that (maybe they are quoting higher, but I doubt it) but that a "first-world" agency is able to get the business. There are, for example, some very professional agencies in India. Why have such "third-world" agencies not driven higher cost "first-world" agencies out of business? Is it that the latter agencies offer so little added value that their margins are a negligible part of the total cost to the client? Are some effectively just business addresses with all operations farmed out to freelancers in low cost locations?


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:07
Member
Italian to English
Laugh or cry? Oct 12, 2014

The agency laughs. The translator cries.

Actually let me correct that.

The agency laughs in any case, then maybe cries when they realise the skills of those prepared to take on the job.

The translators divide into two camps - those who laugh at such preposterous rates and send them straight to the trash, and those who sob uncontrollably having accepted the job.

[Edited at 2014-10-12 12:47 GMT]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Terribly Low Oct 12, 2014

I saw that. I know what is referred to and I would charge at least 0.20 to 0.25 USD per word for that, translating that sort of stuff is like slogging through mud. I have experience with that sort of thing and I have been very good at deciphering bad handwriting and poor legibility.

But when I agree to a job I set the rate, not the client. If they don't like what I charge, then they're welcome to look for someone cheaper who will give them poor quality.


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Bruno Depascale  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:07
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
I hate them! Oct 12, 2014

I simply refuse to translate handwritten materials.
They're are not worth the hassle.
I have got to pay the rent after all, so cannot spend my day on deciphering scanned texts..


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DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 15:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Henry/Bruno Oct 12, 2014

Totally agree with both of you.

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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:07
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Used to do it but not now Oct 12, 2014

I took a few of those handwritten medical ones in the beginning. As Henry said, it is like slogging through mud. Anyway, I'm glad I had the experience of slogging through that mud so I know not to do it again.

The last one of these I took was a few years ago and almost against my will. A good customer sent me 100 pages of the stuff through regular mail so I could take a look. I turned them down. They pressed me and promised it would be okay if I littered the final product with [illegible]s. That is just what I did. They did not complain and paid on time. A nice final goodbye to this type of work from my life.


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