Low rates again - never ending story
Thread poster: Jacqueline Sieben

Jacqueline Sieben  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:29
Dutch to English
+ ...
Dec 7, 2009

Since I am a member of a Yahoo! Rates Group, I am updated about the last low-rate offers from agencies around the world. I received this email from a fellow member:

You were really lucky Jacqueline!
I got a $.04/word offer from XXX for a SPA>ENG weekend job, rough wordcount, pdf format, etc., AND a second email clarifying there'd been a mistake and the actual rate was $.03!!! Of course I declined too, but I'm sure someone else sacrificed his/her weekend and accepted the offer.
No doubt this is one of the reasons why translation rates keep going down and down.

If you want to know the name of the agency - and a well established one at that, please send me an email!


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:29
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It is as you say... Dec 7, 2009

As long as there are translators that accept such rates, and as long as the agencies contracting such work deem the quality of the translations provided at such rates to be be acceptable, then there will be a steady stream of these kinds of offers.

I strongly suspect that that the vast majority of translators accepting such offers are (i.e., when the target language is English) non-native English speakers residing in countries where a large job at such a rate translates into a pretty good payday.


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Jacqueline Sieben  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:29
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You know why I bring this up again? Dec 7, 2009

... because it is also related to my other topic on proofreading a bad quality translation. Poor translators (at least in the required field) provide poor translations at very low rates, after which it is up to the proofreader to make a respectable translation out of this mess, preferably in 2.5 hours per 4,500 words... tsssss. You must have guessed by now that this is the same agency I wrote about in my thread about the proofreading job...

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Audra deFalco
United States
Local time: 23:29
Italian to English
+ ...
re: non native English speakers translating into English Dec 7, 2009

Robert Forstag wrote:

As long as there are translators that accept such rates, and as long as the agencies contracting such work deem the quality of the translations provided at such rates to be be acceptable, then there will be a steady stream of these kinds of offers.


I cannot stress this enough. It is *so* important to translate into your native language, otherwise you'll miss a lot of nuances that only a native born speaker would know.

[Edited at 2009-12-07 19:42 GMT]


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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:29
English to Arabic
+ ...
Interesting topic on business practices Dec 7, 2009

Greetings to all.

A somewhat-related irritant is that some agencies when posting jobs on < proz.com > will ask a responding translator to include that translator's "best rates," as if there were a variable sliding scale in effect. This stipulation seems akin to the unlikelihood and impropriety of asking a physician, architect, or lawyer to provide some similar form of "best rates" before engaging such professional services.

Ditto about an agency's asking a responding translator to provide, gratis, a multi-lined "test translation." [One wonders if the reader/assessor of the test translation also provides that service to the agency for free?]

Those are not reasonable business practices.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Stephen H. Franke
English - Arabic,
Kurdish, and Persian
San Pedro, California


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Tae Kim  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:29
Member (2007)
English to Korean
+ ...
.03 cents is nothing Dec 7, 2009

I once got an offer with a rate of .01 cent. When I told them I couldn't do it, I was replied with a very terse statement like this, "you should know, there are a lot of competitions out there..." However, from an agency's point of view, having at least somewhat reliable translators who are willing to work for those low rates is actually good. If I were an agency, I would hire these translators who will work for such low rates. I guess the only way to compete with these low rate translators is to provide best possible personal service with far better translation quality. The so called low rate translators are a force to be reckoned with. Just ignoring them and do business as usual won't solve the problem.

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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:29
French to German
+ ...
Agreeing on that... Dec 7, 2009

Tae Kim wrote:
I guess the only way to compete with these low rate translators is to provide best possible personal service with far better translation quality. The so called low rate translators are a force to be reckoned with. Just ignoring them and do business as usual won't solve the problem.


but with the reservation that some agencies are (cliché-wise, so to say) completely unprofessional when dealing with their clients - one could call them yes-Sir-sayers. And that's not a minor problem in our trade (please, everybody: stop talking about translation if you associate this word with industry).

[Edited at 2009-12-07 21:04 GMT]


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Jacqueline Sieben  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:29
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's all nice and dandy, Dec 7, 2009

but I would not call it a force, rather a pest, because the translations coming out of those very low-pay translators are usually in need of an extensive 'repairing job', and that's were the better qualified translators come in who have to fix it. Eventually, an agency cannot deliver such a poor translation to its customer.

[Edited at 2009-12-07 21:58 GMT]


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Albert Fischer (Dipl. Jur., LL.B., BDÜ)  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:29
English to German
+ ...
Potential high quality @ low price, but result not good Dec 8, 2009

today I accepted a proofreading assignment at €0.01/word - it was a contract, I specialise in legal

so of course I said I do it bc I want to be considered as a translator. the provider got a pristine record on proz and was friendly, he said my rates were too high and that his translator asks for €0.05/word - for specialised legal content

so I was surprised and got a bit scared. then i read the doc.

the translator clearly had the skills to get it right, but she was completely careless. she missed entire sentences and so forth.

so maybe the way forward is to accept low rates and deliver cr@p work. if people complain you explain to them that u must watch ur hourly pay and if they want better stuff they need to pay up...because in legal, at the end of the day if provider delivers this type of doc he loses his client immediately, or so I reckon

so it did cross my mind to lower my rates, use trados for contracts, too and deliver slipshod work without bad conscience - and 'without prejudice', i.e. no guarantee. if people aren't happy...cry me a river.

if people treat me right, i.e. pay me what I'm worth then ofc I give my very best, if they only want to give me half of what I'm worth then I'm gonna spend half the time on it

is this a plan? not that I'm actively going to pursue it but it did cross my mind. above translator certainly did not put all her effort into this doc and she shouldn't at this rate


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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:29
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
what? Dec 8, 2009

"today I accepted a proofreading assignment at €0.01/word - it was a contract, I specialise in legal"

Albert, how much do lawyers make in the UK nowadays?

I mean, you have two degrees in Law, what on earth are you doing in this field? (unless you' re doing it part time during the winter only...)


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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:29
English to German
+ ...
Wow! Dec 8, 2009

Albert Fischer wrote:

today I accepted a proofreading assignment at €0.01/word


That's almost one penny per word nowadays! Don't spend it all at once...


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xxxH Saarelaine
Finland
Local time: 06:29
English to Finnish
does someone really.. Dec 14, 2009

accept these so called fees ( in my opinion, 0,05USD/word Eng-Fin, is more a joke than fee..)

I had few job offers (Eng-Fin), and offered fee were 0,05USD=0,03EUR, does someone really agree to do translation jobs with so low fees? I turned those "offers" down.

I also noticed few similar job notification from translation job board.

I Finland costs of living are high, for example, with this 0,05USD fee, average broadband connection would cost 1333 word per month.

I'm lucky, i have also other incomings than translation jobs, but i can't help thinking those translators whos incoming is solely up to translating.

It would be great, if translators would have some uniform fee arrangement. But, yes i know, good daydream...


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Low rates again - never ending story

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