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Another rant about bad pricing practice
Thread poster: Manuela Junghans

Manuela Junghans  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:13
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Aug 24, 2009

Over the past days and weeks I have been observing with growing annoyance how one particular outsourcer in the UK has been offering various jobs on the site for what any professional translator should consider as unacceptably low rates. At least translators who want to live on the money they earn. This outsourcer has been around for quite a while and their rates have always been low, especially for the UK or Western European market, however, over the past few months they seem to have cut even those already appalling rates in half again. What worries me most is the fact that there are always enough bidders for them to get on with this practice and that their blueboard rating is not exactly bad. Those low rate issues do not normally get at me as much as at others on this side, but this one is really annoying me. If you are willing or can afford to work for the Chinese or Indian markets (no offence intended here) than go on, however, if you are an outsourcer wanting to be respected on the European market than please offer corresponding rates.
Since this has been discussed many times before I suspect there´s nothing that could be done to prevent outsourcers like those wasting the time and nerves of professional freelancers, but I just had to get it off my chest...

Manuela


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:13
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
add country in alert email? Aug 24, 2009

Manuela Junghans wrote:

...willing or can afford to work for the Chinese or Indian markets (no offence intended here) ...

Manuela


Maybe adding a line in the alert email we reveive from Proz to mention what country the offer is from can same some time already, I now waste time clicking on the offer to see the full description...

On the other hand I sometimes submit quotes with NORMAL Eurpean reates to people paying peanuts, just to tell them their rate is rediculous, so some of those bids are not actually from people interested in the jobs they offer....

===
Ed


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Manuela Junghans  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:13
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Ed Aug 24, 2009

I´m not sure if I understand what you mean by "adding a line in the alert e-mail about the country the offer is from"? Well, in this particular case it is from the UK, where you would at least expect some decent rates...

And as for submitting an offer with reasonable rates...I´ve done this a couple of times before (also with this outsource), but I do not really have the time nor the patience to keep on doing that, since I also believe people offering such ridiculous rates would really care...especially since they always seem to find someone who does it for their low rates in the end...


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Rifraf
Local time: 02:13
ridiculously high rates Aug 24, 2009

Don't let it bother you so much...

Bare in mind that there are still agencies that pay top Dollar, so to speak, which means that there are still customers who are prepared to pay those higher rates too - and I don't hear anyone complaining about that.

It's like supermarkets or clothing brands; there are cheap ones and expensive ones; therefore for each exists a demand and supply market.

But you can be sure about one thing: business is probably going bad at the agency, hence the drop in rates.


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:13
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
they will pay in the end.. Aug 24, 2009

...,I've seen a UK agency posting jobs to Dutch recently (3 times over the past few weeks) and they seem to be unable to find any candidates, but they blue board rating has gone down considerably over the past year... so that is a clear warning to all new translators...

As for "adding the country of origin" in the alert emails, it wou;d not help here (and those agencies actually have a good rating most of the time), maybe adding the blue board rating would be a help, ...
or adding a separate rate calculator would be something...
Anyway, I think the average rate calculator on the Proz is showing low numbers already, with the low dollar and everything...

So what I am saying "united we stand" or something heroic like that...
Thanks for Proz and other forums for helping us poor translators make a stand against those mean agencies and outsourcers...

!!
Ed


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:13
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Is it a trend in the UK? Aug 24, 2009

Now and then I get a request to redo some translation work, obviously rejected by the end-client, who was lucky enough to have someone to check it in Portuguese. To me it is immediately evident that the agency went overboard on the cheap side, and hired a keen practicioner of... amateurism, not translation!

Amazingly, all such requests I had lately came from the UK, so it makes me wonder what's going on there.


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Rifraf
Local time: 02:13
Crisis is the trend Aug 24, 2009

Sure there's something going on (in the world): it's called Crisis.

The first large agencies are going bankrupt at the moment in the UK, but I can't imagine it being a problem in only the UK. The supply of translation work has dropped considerably this year, and unfortunately many agencies drop their rates just to be (more) competitive. And lower end rates mean that translation work has to be bought for lower rates, which normally leads to less quality... it's a vicious circle.


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Sebastian Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:13
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
Take a look at the payment practices board at that big translators' site from Ontario, Canada Aug 24, 2009

Over there, service providers are given the option to check various standardized frases, one of which reads: The outsourcer has great rates. You'll be surprised how many outsourcers' records lack this sentence.

This is what ProZ needs to implement asap. The Blue Board as is ain't helpful at all because numerous outsourcers paying peanuts have high or even flawless ratings on there.


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Manuela Junghans  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:13
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
crisis as a pretext Aug 24, 2009

It might be true that some outsourcers/agencies need to lower their rates due to the crisis, however, I think that many (if not the majority) are just using the crisis as a pretext to offering ridiculous rates. I´m not talking about agencies that lower their rates somewhat (within reasonable and temporarily acceptable limits) to secure (more) business or tide them over a bad stretch...

As for the phenomena of using very cheap translators and then sending the often horrendous results to someone else to proof-read!!! it, I´ve also observed this over recent months, however, in my experience this practice is not restricted to the UK.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:13
Italian to English
Translators should take responsibility for rates Aug 24, 2009

There is simply no point in complaining about outsourcers who offer low rates. When the client hasn't got any specific translator/translator profile in mind, the rate for the job is hardly likely to be wonderful. As Dante said, only in Italian, "Let us not speak of them but look, and pass on".

Good rates are available, though, if the translator has sufficient business nous to negotiate them, when the outsourcer knows what kind of specialist translator is needed for the job in hand and wants to find out how much his/her services will cost.

These paragons often use the Proz directories to draw up short lists, and that's where you want to be (on their short list!). If the job goes well, you will probably have a long-term client who pays acceptable rates and has decent payment practices.

No one in their right minds is going to post high-paying jobs to the entire Proz membership in any of the popular language combinations. How long would it take just to read all the replies?

We all had to battle with the bottom feeders to start with. The key is to have a clear idea of where you want to get to, which will generally involve acquiring better than average language skills and sector-specific knowledge in areas of the translation market that are likely to be buoyant in the long term.

Giles


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:13
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
That is a great point! Aug 24, 2009

Giles Watson wrote:


No one in their right minds is going to post high-paying jobs to the entire Proz membership in any of the popular language combinations. How long would it take just to read all the replies?




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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:13
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Repeat, repeat Aug 24, 2009

Giles Watson wrote:

No one in their right minds is going to post high-paying jobs to the entire Proz membership in any of the popular language combinations. How long would it take just to read all the replies?



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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:13
German to English
+ ...
Seller's market Aug 24, 2009

Giles Watson wrote:

There is simply no point in complaining about outsourcers who offer low rates. When the client hasn't got any specific translator/translator profile in mind, the rate for the job is hardly likely to be wonderful. As Dante said, only in Italian, "Let us not speak of them but look, and pass on".

Good rates are available, though, if the translator has sufficient business nous to negotiate them, when the outsourcer knows what kind of specialist translator is needed for the job in hand and wants to find out how much his/her services will cost.

These paragons often use the Proz directories to draw up short lists, and that's where you want to be (on their short list!). If the job goes well, you will probably have a long-term client who pays acceptable rates and has decent payment practices.

No one in their right minds is going to post high-paying jobs to the entire Proz membership in any of the popular language combinations. How long would it take just to read all the replies?

We all had to battle with the bottom feeders to start with. The key is to have a clear idea of where you want to get to, which will generally involve acquiring better than average language skills and sector-specific knowledge in areas of the translation market that are likely to be buoyant in the long term.

Giles


I chose not to paraphrase this. It's best as it stands.

Cheers
Chris

(Edited because of incorrect preview display)

[Edited at 2009-08-24 22:38 GMT]


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LegalTrans D  Identity Verified
Turkey
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Amen! Aug 25, 2009

Giles Watson wrote:

"Let us not speak of them but look, and pass on".



Thank you, Giles!

(...and grazie, Dante!)


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Brian Young  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:13
Danish to English
"Best rates", best for who? Aug 26, 2009

I see this all the time: "Please submit your resume and best rates.". Obviously, they are asking you to submit the lowest possible rate that you would be willing to work for. My idea of "best rate" is the highest rate that I can get from a client who is interested in getting a good translation, on time. Everytime I see the phrase "Best rate" I feel that the outsourcer is looking for bottom feeders who are willing to do anything, to work for less than minimum wage, just to do a translation. It is a bad, dishonest, and misleading term. The very idea of translators trying to underbid each other is one that I find disgusting. I don't have any great solution to this problem. When I bid on a job I give them "my" best rate, which is the same rate for everyone, and if they don't like it then I am probably better off without their work. I have definitely found that my best clients, who give me constant repeat business, are those who are willing to pay a higher rate for a good job. I have never received any repeat business from the few "outsourcers" who I gave a lower rate to. And I stopped that demeaning practice a long time ago. Good translators should be proud of the work they do, and never be willing to sell out at half price just to get a "job".
Brian Young


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