educating clients
Thread poster: Laurie Price

Laurie Price  Identity Verified
Mexico
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 13, 2011

Dear fellow language services providers:

I'm so tired of seeing clients post jobs that are accompanied by a little tag saying that 80% or more of the Proz.community feel that the rates offered are below standard (or something to that effect) that I'm leaning out and "bidding" -- and telling the client that as a skilled and professional linguist I'm disappointed in their posted rates and how that reflects their disinterest in employing someone skilled.

I think we owe it to ourselves, as discussed here numerous times by numerous linguists from everywhere -- to respond to these "job offers" rather than ignore them. I don't mean that we have to vigilantly respond to each of them, but go ahead, speak out, feel free. Free is the word I want us to all take note of. I will gladly do that much, for FREE. Anymore, it's on the clock.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sandra Baptista  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:18
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
... Jan 13, 2011

I agree with you. I respond to those job offers with MY RATE. If I get the job, better, if not, at least they know the price of someone skilled.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 23:18
SITE STAFF
Quote your own rate Jan 13, 2011

Please note that, according to rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/jobs_answ/2.1#2.1 responses to job postings should be based upon interest in the work. Contacting a job poster (by using the quoting form or contacting directly) to make commentary on the posting without having any interest in completing the job, is prohibited.

Sending a quote with your own rates, even if they are higher than the budget information provided, is perfectly OK. This is in line with the principle that the translators are the ones who decide their rates and it could induce some outsourcers to consider a high quality offer, even outside their suggested budgets.

Regards,
Enrique


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Laurie Price  Identity Verified
Mexico
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks, both of you Jan 13, 2011

I usually do just that -- reply with my own rate and even explain (sometimes) why my rate is what it is -- or how it might vary depending on the specific document, since no two documents are alike.

I just wanted to call attention to this strategy once again as I don't think we can state this enough. Lots of crowd-sourcing going on out there in cyberland.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:18
Dutch to English
+ ...
Respond with what the agencies would reply Jan 14, 2011

It makes no business sense to accept your rates since they are lower from what I normally get and just like you, I am running a business and not a charity. My profit margin is as important as yours.

You may be in a country where the cost of living is lower but I am not and I want to at least earn 3 times what I pay my cleaner (fill in as appropriate).

I have come to the conclusion that if you reply in their language, they tend to get the message sooner. I believe in calling a spade, a spade.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:18
French to English
Agreed Jan 14, 2011

If the job is of interest to me, if I can complete it on time and to a high standard, I will pitch my offer. Clients who seek to downbid on rates are generally those who pay late. Not the sort of client I seek to have on my books!

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:18
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
@Laurie Jan 14, 2011

I completely sympathize with your point of view, and I've made such (snarky) responses myself on a number of occasions. However, my sober judgment on this is that bidding at a rate considerably above the posted budget of such "offers" doesn't make much sense, given that: 1.) your bid will not be selected; and 2.) the outsourcers in question are well aware that what they are offering is peanuts, so no "education" will really take place.

I've come to see the Jobs Board as largely a waste of time for any serious translator (at least in our language pair). I have found that it no longer serves even the modest purpose of allowing me to cultivate a handful of new contacts each year.

So my advice would be: Forget the Jobs Board, and try to find other ways of soliciting new business.

[Edited at 2011-01-14 15:53 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Laurie Price  Identity Verified
Mexico
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@ Robert Jan 14, 2011

I'm right there with you -- I don't even anticipate finding new clients on Proz anymore. But I do recognize that it is possibly the widest-circulation website of translators & language people, as far as I know, so I think it's important to not remain silent while the beast is replaced with a different beast, if you get my intended meaning.

Yes, I can do the job or Yes, I can meet the requirements, but I'm no monkey and don't work for peanuts and won't let fear of NOT getting chosen prevent me from expressing my opinion.

I didn't do this in the past -- I ignored all of those posts -- and I thought it was possible to find clienbts here, but after a few years I've discovered that Proz provides a community of sorts more than anything else, and that's what its value for me is. But ... at the same time, I think it's important for me to defend my so-named territory.

No?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:18
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
@Laurie Jan 14, 2011

Laurie Price wrote:

I didn't do this in the past -- I ignored all of those posts -- and I thought it was possible to find clienbts here, but after a few years I've discovered that Proz provides a community of sorts more than anything else, and that's what its value for me is. But ... at the same time, I think it's important for me to defend my so-named territory.

No?

*****
Your "right," certainly. I just don't think it will actually do anything other than make you feel (temporarily) better (which in itself does have at least some value, I must admit).

Your use of "territory" is apposite here. For many of us, proz.com is sort of an online "home," and there is something inherently offensive about constantly seeing insultingly low offers for my services in my "home." (And I have no interest in using a filter to spare myself the sight of such offers, which would be as prudent a course of action as wearing a blindfold when taking a walk in a dangerous neighborhood.)

[Edited at 2011-01-14 17:19 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Laurie Price  Identity Verified
Mexico
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@ Robert and for all of us Jan 14, 2011

Exactly.

I suppose it's fallen to me, among others -- it's "my turn" -- to defend what I also feel to be "home."

I was brought up with the adage: "don't shit where you eat" and have apparently come to include "anywhere near my table" as well! I don't at all like the idea or the reality of this site being taken over by crowdsourcers or anyone with that kind of mentality. This is not product-driven stuff. I do not provide a product -- I provide various services.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:18
English to Spanish
The Jobs Board is largely a waste of time for any serious translator Jan 14, 2011

Robert Forstag wrote:

... bidding at a rate considerably above the posted budget of such "offers" doesn't make much sense, given that:
1) your bid will not be selected; and
2) the outsourcers in question are well aware that what they are offering is peanuts, so no "education" will really take place.

I've come to see the Jobs Board as largely a waste of time for any serious translator (at least in our language pair). I have found that it no longer serves even the modest purpose of allowing me to cultivate a handful of new contacts each year.

So my advice would be: Forget the Jobs Board, and try to find other ways of soliciting new business.




I 100% agree with Robert.

Robert Forstag wrote:

... there is something inherently offensive about constantly seeing insultingly low offers for my services... (And I have no interest in using a filter to spare myself the sight of such offers, which would be as prudent a course of action as wearing a blindfold when taking a walk in a dangerous neighborhood.)



Once more, Robert is right on the money.



[Edited at 2011-01-14 17:04 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sarah Swift  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:18
German to English
Education clients: Besides rates, what else is important? Jan 14, 2011

I enjoy educating clients and being educated by clients. When I worked as a teacher, and later as a lecturer, I used to love those moments when you could almost literally see a lightbulb going on in a student's head. They often occurred in one-to-one consultations. Educating clients can be similar. For me, any meaningful consultation with a client is a (two-way) education process where insights are exchanged and new insights generated.

Before I get utterly castigated for Candide-like optimism, I'll acknowledge that it's a problem that budgets for many jobs are now so low...

1. ...because the outsourcers' have no money and are not earning any. (These clients won't survive long enough to benefit from education.)

2. ...because the outsourcers have the cash, but feel cynical contempt for their readers and are reluctant to spend money satisfying readers' needs. This is the group that has been the main focus of the thread so far, as far as I can see: the clients who “deserve” to get realistically priced offers, possibly accompanied by tartly-worded letters. As a “No Peanuts” translator, I send those letters out now and again too. It doesn't make much economic sense, but what we do as professionals is to mediate between the interests of source-language communicators and target-language readers. Or, more philosophically, between the actual languages. Most of that mediation takes the form of actual translation, but sometimes other approaches make sense too.

3. ...because the outsourcers could afford good translations but don't know how to compare translators and translations, so they have settled on price as something which is easy to measure. It is unsurprising that this is a problem for outsourcers: we are looking at a profession where a student working at his kitchen table in pyjamas might outperform a vast corporation, or not deliver at all. So at this point serious client education enters the equation. Just as other professionals like lawyers or tax consultants, we need to listen to clients and then tell them what service they would benefit from and what it will set them back.

To my mind, though, it is just as important to “educate” the “good” clients who pay our fees on time and without quibbling, but sometimes unintentionally find themselves standing in our way, oblivious to our needs as we attempt to “ferry” their messages across to their audiences. This example is from Chris Durban's The Prosperous Translator, my favourite book on translation:

I work as an in-house Houyhnhnm-Yahoo translator for a large Houyhnhnm company and have repeatedly observed a phenomenon which, to my knowledge, no one has openly discussed before: the more literal, i.e. the more "Houyhnhnmized" our translations, the happier the Houyhnhnm authors are with our work. If we put their texts in real Yahoo, the translation sounds too free to them and they often complain.

The rest of the question (and an answer) are here: http://translationjournal.net/journal//13fawb.htm

Explaining why “morning hour has gold in mouth” does not sound as good as “the early bird catches the worm” uses up time and energy. (“My text is NOT about birds and worms.")

I would love to hear more about the tactics you use in situations like this. I think it would make our lives easier if more clients were aware that a translation is not the “same” text as an original, but a text which contains the same content in much the same tone, but often with different words, different syntax, different images. What metaphors do you use to get this across to people who may not necessarily be fascinated by language(s) or texts? A recent discussion I had with a colleague on XING yielded the idea of painting by numbers: even conscientious and accurate painters could start with the same original and still end up with different pictures. Film versions of books might be another example, although that one veers back towards language and texts. I've used the image of the translator as a ferryman in this post, but I don't want to start telling clients that a lot depends on the wind and the weather!

I apologize for not sticking better to the topic of rates in the money matters forum. But I suspect that having a supply of metaphors that tell non-linguists what we do might be useful in negotiations when projects are assigned and when clients then come back and says something like: “Jane, the native speaker down in HR, would have translated this differently, so you must be all wrong.”

Thoughts?

[Bearbeitet am 2011-01-14 23:55 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

educating clients

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search