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What is your reaction to job postings offering ridiculously low rates?
Thread poster: Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington

Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 1, 2009

I normally simply ignore postings when the payment offered is too low, but today I got really angry and did something that perhaps I should not have done.
I saw a posting (at another portal, not at Proz) offering two dollars a page because they are "looking for a really cheap solution so therefore we are looking for somebody living in Latin America." When I saw this I snapped and sent this "bid":

It is really insulting. You offer TWO DOLLARS per translated page because you are "looking for a really cheap solution, THEREFORE we are looking for somebody living in Latin America." What does that "therefore" mean? Do you think everybody in Latin America is starving and can be bullied into anything?
The fact that I live in Latin America does not mean that I am willing to give my work away. I charge what a good translator charges anywhere in the world because of the simple fact that my work is just as good.
You get what you pay for. I assure you that if somebody works for you at that rate, you will get trash.
I would not work for the likes of you.

Most likely my "bid" won't be forwarded by the portal, but who knows.
Should we take this? Should I have simply ignored the posting?


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:30
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Ignore them Jun 1, 2009

Well,


I just ignore them, but in your case I fully understand your reaction. The agency/organisation is just insulting people. "Rubbish in...rubbish out" as they say.


Liz Askew


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Non-native speakers and conjunctions Jun 1, 2009

Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington wrote:
What does that "therefore" mean? Do you think everybody in Latin America is starving and can be bullied into anything?


I think you should realise that non-native English speakers (especially those for whom English is a third or fourth language, or is spoken by them at that level) often use conjunctions incorrectly. The author may not mean "therefore" at all but simply chose it as a conjunction because to his untrained ear it sounded most English. If your author is a non-native speaker of the language, a good rule is to put less trust in what might appear to you to be an argumentative line of thought.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:30
English to French
+ ...
The fact remains Jun 1, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:

The author may not mean "therefore" at all but simply chose it as a conjunction because to his untrained ear it sounded most English.

Um, not sure... They DID specify Latin America, didn't they? In the same sentence that mentions financial issues, no less.

I think that José's reply was a fair one. To me, the job description borders on discrimination. To those who disagree with this, arguing that the client simply wanted American Spanish and not European Spanish for target language, my reply is that if they care enough to use a certain flavour of Spanish to filter out European Spanish from the start, then they should also care enough to specify the country the translator should be living in and not be content with the whole of a continent, which is very vague when we consider that Spanish is highly variable within South America. The only argument I can see is one based on lower living standards, hence lower rates.

I would have been flustered, too...


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 07:30
English to Spanish
... Jun 1, 2009

Unfortunately, it happens every so often. Take a look at this:

http://www.proz.com/forum/spanish/68696-los_traductores_argentinos_hoy_más_que_nunca_están_de_moda-page2.html#536170


Andrea


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:30
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Low rates Jun 1, 2009

Hi again

Trouble is is that if translators do work for such low rates as you say (2 dollars per page) then this undermines translators working at a higher rate (e.g. in Europe, UK?). Seems to be the nature of the game.

I was happily working for an agency in Spain until they lost the contract to a lower tender (who knows whether this tender came from L.A.).

Bye
Liz


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Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:30
French to English
Understandable reaction Jun 1, 2009

I probably wouldn't have done it because it would be too much work, but I can certainly sympathize. My usual reaction to these postings is to look around for my delete button, as if it were my own email. Then, of course, I remember that I am not allowed to delete postings from public boards. Too bad, I could save us all a lot of aggro.

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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:30
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
You can zap them with this Jun 1, 2009

I saved this from a ProZ post last year. I've only used it once, when I was really mad (since I'm not normally a rude person!).

http://www.eurozonetranslations.com/

and its subsidiary:

http://www.eurozonetranslations.com/vindaloo.html subdirectory.

(It's a joke site, and the person who posted it to ProZ didn't know who owns it.)

Mostly, I do as others have advised: hit "delete."


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Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Discrimination. Jun 1, 2009

Thank you for all your replies.
The original writer of the job posting was Swedish, but I do not agree with Samuel when he says that perhaps the writer did not know the meaning of "therefore". What he thought was very clear.
I took a look at Viktoria's link
http://www.eurozonetranslations.com/
It is very funny but it is also discriminatory. I am sure that there are excellent translators in India for whom this would be insulting. It is unfair to them to generalize.


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Richard McDorman  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:30
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I would just ignore it (but it is insulting) Jun 1, 2009

I would probably have just ignored it, but I do agree that it is insulting and discriminatory. Unfortunately, not everyone in this world is enlightended or nice.

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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:30
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
true enough Jun 1, 2009

Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington wrote:

I am sure that there are excellent translators in India for whom this would be insulting. It is unfair to them to generalize.


(Don't implicate Viktoria in my insults, I claim them for own.) You are right, of course. All ethnic jokes are discriminatory and disgusting. But if we didn't have ethnic jokes in the United States, what would our big melting pot do for humor? You are free to make "WASP" jokes at my expense.


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Claire Chapman  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:30
French to English
+ ...
It's all in the mind :-) Jun 1, 2009

Thanks to technology, we are all working in a global economy where those who traditionally have had higher wages must now compete with people who are used to low wages.

That said, it takes more than the knowledge of two languages to be a good translator because a translator must know how to write well. Since that requires a formal education, which costs money as well as time, those who are trained in the language arts expect to be paid as skilled labor. So basically, the advertiser wants skilled labor at the cost of unskilled labor. Good luck with that.

But truth be told, you don't want every job that is out there. So, my suggestion, for your peace of mind, is to reverse your thought process. Instead of thinking of clients hiring you, think of yourself as hiring the client. And then firing the ones who don't meet YOUR standards!

[Edited at 2009-06-01 18:20 GMT]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:30
English to German
+ ...
Waste of time Jun 1, 2009

JShould I have simply ignored the posting?

Yes.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:30
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Ignore it Jun 1, 2009

Unless you want to take up the mantle of the Unabomber (something that I occasionally get the impression certain colleagues would approve of), there's nothing to be done about it, so let it go. Poke a little fun at the fools (the ones posting it and the ones accepting the job) if you must, but don't let it affect your blood pressure.

As for the "therefore", I'm sure the individual involved has seen some of the same posts from Latin American translators that I have in the past few years in which the most amazing justifications are made for low rates. Peru comes to mind. I've actually seen some of these people offer publicly in these forums to work cheaper for a complaining agency PM. I was quite shocked at the lack of professionalism displayed by these people who obviously do not represent the top tier in their region.

A real professional with an understanding of the markets will command reasonable prices on the international market from anywhere in the world. This is true even of the "infamous Indians" that some people are so fond of libeling. The really good ones with business sense get "European rates" from European agencies.


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xxxjacana54  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
I would have been angry too Jun 1, 2009

While the rational thing to do is ignore this kind of posting, I understand your reaction very well and might have done the same myself. It depends on the day... But without a doubt one of the most annoying aspects of international networking sites are the occasionally insensitive remarks about other cultures and the assumption that if you live in certain regions of the world your work and expertise are worth peanuts.

In another part of this site, and very very infrequently, I've seen seen native English speakers make sardonic comments about Spanish or Latin American judges. I was only too happy the other day to be able to show that exactly the same language used by a South American court had also been used by the Supreme Court of the United States. Perfectly valid language, to my mind, but apparently not worthy of respect if it was used on the other side of the Equator.

Let's look at the positive side, José Arnoldo, let's think of all the dozens of job offers and postings that are not insulting or derogatory or discriminatory, and be thankful that of all that exists so that we can get annoyed when one of these ridiculous and offensive offers comes up.



L


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