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No agencies with acceptable rates?
Thread poster: Beatriz Ramírez de Haro

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:26
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 28, 2011

Dear colleagues,

I just had a job proposal: 1,213 words for 0.05€/word. and a regular collaboration in the future.
I replied that my minimum rate is 0.09€ and that I would be happy to collaborate in the future for top quality translation in my fields of specialization.

The answer: "... in this current economic climate, clients who are willing (and able) to pay top rates are incredibly few and far between. I fear you will not be very busy if you continue to insist on such a high rate. However, I do not doubt that you are extremely talented at your job and I wish you every success."

Well... fortunately I am very busy with my direct clients, but I wonder, aren't they any agencies that value top quality and pay accordingly? (I haven't found any) and if not, what would you consider an acceptable rate for an agency in Eng or Fr>Esl? (0.05€ is way too low IMO).

Thanks for the info.
Bea


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
Some nerve... Jan 28, 2011

They have some nerve, suggesting that noone would pay .09€. ALL my clients pay me that AT LEAST, and if I have a problem with workload, it's that there's too much of it.

Don't despair, all quality agencies pay quality rates. And the ones that don't, you don't need.


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784512
Germany
Local time: 10:26
German to English
+ ...
I just had something similar... Jan 28, 2011

I had an agency (2 PMs, it seems) add me on Skype. Friendly, chatty, likeable, and interested. My suggested rate got the following response:

[09:46:00] Rose Newell: Usually, 0.08 EUR, or the equivalent in the local currency
[09:46:25] Rose Newell: most of my clients are in the Euro zone...
[09:48:01] Agency: hmmm
[09:48:03] Rose Newell: I also apply a high volume discount on texts above 8,000 words
[09:49:25] Rose Newell: hmmm?
[09:49:46] Agency: the reason why i woke your CV is im looking for a long term collabertion for this language
[09:50:09] Rose Newell: always good...
[09:50:29] Agency: and my regular translator is going on a meternity leave in another few weeks
[09:51:17] Agency: she has a very similar profile as your and i pay 45 Euros per 1000 words

They still seemed to want me to register, and said it would be discussed with the PM, to see if he could "afford" my rate.

Are there really translators out there with a "very similar profile" who demand so little? I was paid more than that when I started....


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Freeze out the middle man? Jan 28, 2011

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro wrote:
fortunately I am very busy with my direct clients


I'm sure that will continue and when you need/want new clients you'll know where to look. Maybe that's the way we all need to go - freeze out these agencies who don't add much (if any) value but who take double or triple what they pay you.

If the agency was paying you 0.05, doing a good job of proofreading, terminology coherence, DTP, etc and charging the client 0.09 then I could see their point of view. But they'll pay you 0.05, maybe do nothing at all, and charge the client 0.15 minimum.

I hasten to add that I am well aware that some agencies DO add value to our work and earn their markup, and of course they do a very valuable job in simply connecting the translator with the document for translation. But it must be a markup over and above a sensible rate to us - and 0.05 in Europe is NOT a sensible rate.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:26
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
+ ...
How arrogant! Jan 28, 2011

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

They have some nerve, suggesting that noone would pay .09€. ALL my clients pay me that AT LEAST, and if I have a problem with workload, it's that there's too much of it.

Don't despair, all quality agencies pay quality rates. And the ones that don't, you don't need.


Agree with Jan. I too have clients who would pay my suggested rate and even accept my payment terms and conditions. I guess it's a waste of time dealing with this kind of arrogant agency who's patronizing you and think that if they don't give work to you, you would starve to death. There are countless decent agencies, so just forget about it.


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Christopher Fitzsimons
Switzerland
Local time: 10:26
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Waste of time... Jan 28, 2011

Hi Beatriz,

I agree with what some others have said here. This sort of agency, and I have come across many of them, is simply a waste of your time. If this is the attitude they have to rates then their attitude to all other aspects of business (including paying your invoices and proofreading your work properly) will also be highly unprofessional. They are just simply not the type of people you want to be working with. Their suggestion that you will not manage to find work at your rate is laughable and insulting; they are only one agency, they are not the entire industry! I am usually quick to remind this sort of agency of that fact. When I have dealt with agencies who have been arrogant and unprofessional to the point of using scaremongering/threats to try to frighten me into lowering my rates and accepting their pathetic payment practices and silly rates I am quick to make them aware that I am not interesting in working with them at that rate and that my other clients are more than happy to pay my standard rates. In this sort of situation translators must be assertive and professional; value your time and work and do not settle for this sort of rubbish. It is essential that we, as a professional community, reject these companies. After all, without our work, they would simply not have a business.

The sort of agencies that hassle you regarding rates are normally the ones churning out low quality work (sending translators high volumes with short deadlines for low rates and then not proofing the work) and not paying their translators' invoices; they will go out of business very soon and you certainly do not want to be associated with them. Ignore them and move on.

One other thing I wanted to mention regarding rates is language combinations and countries; I am assuming that this agency is Spanish? In my experience Spanish and Portuguese agencies do unfortunately tend to be less willing to pay fair rates for high quality work and more of them seem to be insistent on absurdly low rates, particularly for work into and out of Spanish and Portuguese, even when it comes to niche/specialised texts. This is, of course, not always the case and there are exceptions to the rule but in general I have found that Northern European agencies are more interested in quality and more willing to pay higher rates to ensure that they get good quality work than Southern European agencies. I am quick to make agencies in Spain/Portugal aware that my work (as a result of my education, acquired skills and experience) is worth the rates I charge and that, if they are not willing to pay for high quality, professional translations, then I will simply work for agencies in other countries who are. On this note, those of us who live in the European Union (and especially the Eurozone) should take advantage of the many benefits it provides us with as a freelance professionals and simply reject the low rates/bad payment practices offered by agencies in certain countries. With time they will learn that fair remuneration equals high quality work which leads to a successful business and longevity in the industry. Yes, the cost of living can be marginally lower in Spain/Portugal than it is in France/UK, for example, but it is most certainly not 30-40% lower, which is the difference in the rates my Northern European clients are happy to pay in comparison to the rates which seem to prevail among many agencies in Southern Europe. Most of my (agency) clients pay between 0.07 (absolute minimum) and 0.11 EUR per source word (higher for German to English) so please do not settle for insulting rates under 0.07/0.08 cents- your time, skills, experience and professionalism are simply worth more than that.

[Edited at 2011-01-28 16:00 GMT]


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 10:26
German
+ ...
Answer Jan 28, 2011

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro wrote:

... Well... fortunately I am very busy with my direct clients, but I wonder, aren't they any agencies that value top quality and pay accordingly?

Yes, there are.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:26
French to German
+ ...
Patronising... and arrogance Jan 28, 2011

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

They have some nerve, suggesting that noone would pay .09€. ALL my clients pay me that AT LEAST, and if I have a problem with workload, it's that there's too much of it.

Don't despair, all quality agencies pay quality rates. And the ones that don't, you don't need.


Agree with Jan. I too have clients who would pay my suggested rate and even accept my payment terms and conditions. I guess it's a waste of time dealing with this kind of arrogant agency who's patronizing you and think that if they don't give work to you, you would starve to death. There are countless decent agencies, so just forget about it.


I just had some e-mail dealings in the framework of a test. The agency wouldn't say if they were ready to pay my rate. I thanked them for their interest and stopped corresponding. Needless to say, I didn't do the test.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My opinion Jan 28, 2011

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro wrote:
The answer: "... in this current economic climate, clients who are willing (and able) to pay top rates are incredibly few and far between. I fear you will not be very busy if you continue to insist on such a high rate."

Bollocks!! (oops - sorry; I might be seeing too much British police drama)


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Sandra Baptista  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:26
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
"Are you a professional translator? If so, do NOT lower your translation rates!" Jan 28, 2011

The market is going crazy...
This article has some good tips:

http://latitudescoach.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/are-you-a-professional-translator-if-so-do-not-lower-your-translation-rates/


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kchansen
Local time: 10:26
English to Danish
Pay Peanuts, Get Monkeys Jan 28, 2011

My attitude to agencies who want to pay us unskilled labour prices is that they should find an unskilled labourer and see what kind of translations they would deliver. If an agency wants to pay Indian rates, they should find Indians to translate complicated texts into the European languages and try to pass their translations off to end clients as "professional work".

I'm sure clients would learn pretty fast to distinguish between translations delivered by skilled professionals, and translations delivered by whoever the agencies could get at the lowest price!

We have some skills that we studied and worked hard to acquire. We should not be afraid to feel - and display! - pride in these skills, and in our profession! We are worth more than what such agencies think of us. Their attitude reveals an opinion of the translation profession and of translation professionals - and that opinion is best described as "contempt"!

/end rant


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:26
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Your right to be offended Jan 28, 2011

The agency in question seems to be a bit offended by what it considered a very high rate.

The translator, in turn, is offended by what she considered a very low rate.

There is really no need for anyone to get bent out of shape here. If there is no deal, there is no deal.

A few factors have not been mentioned here, such as the language combination (English into Spanish). This combination pays different rates than, say, Finnish.

Finally, was a sample of the work in question ever seen?

Just my two cents.


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Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:26
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
they lower their rates because they can Jan 28, 2011

I was very discouraged to see this morning that the latest job posting (from English into nine different languages) set a rate of €0.03 to €0.05 per word ((my rates for proofing)) for a 1200-word project and has already received *132* bids. I see this as the number one cause for dropping rates. Outsourcers offer ridiculously low rates because they CAN. : (

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Doron Greenspan MITI  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 11:26
Member (2005)
English to Hebrew
+ ...
And what about rate changing mid-term? Jan 28, 2011

There's something even more frustrating than agencies who come up with ridiculous rates to start with.

It's those agencies you've worked with for some time who suddenly come with a request for rate reductions because of [insert economic crisis/mean clients/ etc.] and expect you to start bargaining all over again.

I really hate this, especially when you've built such good relationship with your PMs, who themselves are powerless to stop the Accountancy Department's efficiency moves.

I also have enough work on good rates, so don't despair!

[Edited at 2011-01-28 15:58 GMT]


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Vincenzo Di Maso  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:26
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
conversely, about their right to be offended Jan 28, 2011

Edward Potter wrote:

The agency in question seems to be a bit offended by what it considered a very high rate.

The translator, in turn, is offended by what she considered a very low rate.

There is really no need for anyone to get bent out of shape here. If there is no deal, there is no deal.

A few factors have not been mentioned here, such as the language combination (English into Spanish). This combination pays different rates than, say, Finnish.

Finally, was a sample of the work in question ever seen?

Just my two cents.
I agree with Edward. I also add that agencies have no right to feel offended when a translator offers her/his rate. The acceptance of my conditions is not mandatory. You are always free to search elsewhere.
When someone says "but other colleagues work at ...", we should answer "this is my rate, I have education, experience and skills which can justify it. I cannot go lower".
Negotiations can be made only on a serious basis. If my rate is 0.09 Euros and the client offers 0.07 Euros, then we can agree 0.08 Euros. But if they offer 0.045 everyone will run his own path.


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