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Agency dropped price dramatically--advice?
Thread poster: Jennifer Schottstaedt

Jennifer Schottstaedt  Identity Verified
United States
English to German
+ ...
Apr 7, 2011

Okay, here's the situation, and I do have to talk specific rates, otherwise it gets a bit too confusing and long-winded:

I translate at a fairly high capacity, and I've contracted to do 150,000 words in 36 days. It's a large project, but it also means I have to turn down other work. I agreed to do this project because the pay was higher than other work I've been getting.

The original agreement was 0.06 EUR, with no mention of Trados discounts, and then they sent me a PO with the discounts, and after some negotiation, we agreed on 0.07 EUR instead of doing away with the discounts.

However.

Now, they are asking me to accept either 0.08 USD or 0.07 USD, depending on which purchase order they were referring to in the last email (the people with whom I am dealing are not native in either of my languages). According to my currency calculator, 0.06 EUR is approx. 0.085 USD and 0.07 EUR is approx. 0.10 USD.

They say that, even though we negotiated 0.07 EUR, they have to enter prices in their database as USD and that 0.07 USD is a rate included in an appendix I signed (which was subject to limited changes). Could I just please accept either 0.07 USD or 0.08 USD, because I'd get a lot of money for it?

I am stunned, because what they are asking me to do is accept a price reduction of around $4,000 for a really large amount of work done in a short time in complete contradiction to what we agreed on in emails.

Because of the appendix, am I obligated to stick to the low price? Or are the email conversations (all of which I have stored) good enough to insist on my rate?

And, finally, am I being unreasonable when I expect to be paid a higher rate for a large volume in a very short time?

Thank you,

Jennifer


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 14:26
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Their clumsiness Apr 7, 2011

Not knowing every aspect of this negotiation I am nevertheless inclined to say:

If you haven't started your work, you should not accept their dealing.

MG, if they accept EUR they can't simply turn to USD!

Be firm!

Mats


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
Dishonest Apr 7, 2011

This agency is dishonest. They're trying to take advantage of the fact that you already are counting on this job, so you'll accept a rate which you wouldn't have at the start of the negotiations. It's an old trick. When people have already taken a step in one direction, they will be reluctant to step back again, and con artists often use this psychological effect to their advantage.

Read very carefully what you've signed exactly. And if you think you can get out, GET OUT.

BTW, personally I believe your rate of 0.07€ is already quite low. For the sake of the business, for the sake of your colleagues, don't go any lower.

And no, you're not being unreasonable for charging urgency rates, and you're not being unreasonable not to accept quantum discounts. See other threads on this forum on why quantum discounts are not clever in the first place.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Stick to the original agreement... Apr 7, 2011

...or ask them to pay you the part you have done already (at the originally agreed rate of course) and let them look for another translator for the rest of the project.

Now the all important but necessary question: did you get a new PO after the final agreement to increase to 7 cents and keep the discounts?

The PO, we would say in Spain, "va a misa", i.e. is definitive. It was their mistake and they should learn from the experience, but you should be paid the agreed amount.


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Jennifer Schottstaedt  Identity Verified
United States
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Original agreement: Apr 7, 2011

Tomas,

Actually, they just emailed me the project yesterday evening and they sent me an incorrect PO with it. I've been trying to make them match the PO to the price agreed in our emails. So I haven't done work under a PO that I accepted.

(Okay, yes, I decided to get a head start on the game and have translated 3,000 words, but I did that before confirming a PO, knowing the prices might not work out, so that's my loss if they decide not to give me the project. 150,000 words is just something I didn't want to fall behind on.)

And thank you all for your advice. I did think so. I fired off a very polite email telling them that my work is worth the money, and we'll see. There may be updates to this question, depending on their reply.

And, no, I'm not far enough into this job to be upset about turning it down. Thank goodness.


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Rifraf
Local time: 14:26
possible fraud? Apr 7, 2011

Just read on the internet:

Some Indian, Egyptian and Arab outsourcers use a technique of advertising they are willing to pay e.g. 0.05 Euro per word. As soon as the translator indicates willingness to accept the work, the outsourcer switches the offer to 0.05 Dollars. This means that the translator now has to work for approximately half the price originally agreed on.


You are warned!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
They made a mistake Apr 7, 2011

etoilevineta wrote:
And, no, I'm not far enough into this job to be upset about turning it down. Thank goodness.

Indeed. I think that the PM simply made a mistake with the currency and is trying to pass this as if it was some readjustment.

Personally I would not continue working on it until this is settled, unless you are enjoying it of course!


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Jennifer Schottstaedt  Identity Verified
United States
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yep, it probably is a mistake! Apr 7, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

etoilevineta wrote:
And, no, I'm not far enough into this job to be upset about turning it down. Thank goodness.

Indeed. I think that the PM simply made a mistake with the currency and is trying to pass this as if it was some readjustment.

Personally I would not continue working on it until this is settled, unless you are enjoying it of course!


Oh, enjoyment. It takes so many forms. The subject material is deadeningly boring, but it is very enjoyable to be able to do it quickly. Kind of an awesome ego boost. =)


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Jennifer Schottstaedt  Identity Verified
United States
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Update Apr 7, 2011

Update: they are offering me a flat rate which, when calculated, is maybe USD 0.083 or 0.084. If that. But they will pay me two weeks after the project is finished.

Does rapid payment make up for a frankly embarrassing rate?

And I just did some calculations: if I just multiply the words for which I'd be paid full price (not including Trados-discounted words) by the original price they quoted to me, then I get a result that is more than $1000 over the flat rate they are offering.

Honestly, every part of me says that this is a scam and they should at least offer the original rate, for heaven's sake. But they are such nice people, and this is a huge job, and even their bad flat rate is a lot of money.

Advice? Please. Even if you just repeat what you said. I'd like to know that being adamant is still an option, if you think it is.


[Edited at 2011-04-07 13:02 GMT]


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Kate Chaffer
Italy
Local time: 14:26
Member (2009)
Italian to English
Isn't it about the same? Apr 7, 2011

etoilevineta wrote:

Does rapid payment make up for a frankly embarrassing rate?



I calculate that to be just under €0.06 a word, which is what you agreed upon in the first place and you said you accepted the job

because the pay was higher than other work I've been getting.


I don't understand why you now think it is a 'frankly embarrassing' rate.

[Edited at 2011-04-07 13:03 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-04-07 13:03 GMT]


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Jennifer Schottstaedt  Identity Verified
United States
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not quite Apr 7, 2011

Kate Chaffer wrote:

etoilevineta wrote:

Does rapid payment make up for a frankly embarrassing rate?

[Edited at 2011-04-07 12:49 GMT]


I calculate that to be just under €0.06 a word, which is what you agreed upon in the first place and you said you accepted the job

etoilevineta wrote:
because the pay was higher than other work I've been getting.


I don't understand why you now think it is a 'frankly embarrassing' rate.


I didn't, actually. I talked them up to 0.07 EUR before I accepted the job, and the 0.07 is the higher rate I was talking about.

[Edited at 2011-04-07 13:04 GMT]


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Kate Chaffer
Italy
Local time: 14:26
Member (2009)
Italian to English
Trados discounts? Apr 7, 2011

etoilevineta wrote:

I didn't, actually. I talked them up to 0.07 EUR before I accepted the job, and the 0.07 is the higher rate I was talking about.

[Edited at 2011-04-07 13:04 GMT]


I understood that the higher rate was to compensate for the Trados discounts they wanted. I suppose it also depends on how many repetitions/fuzzies there are in the text.


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Jennifer Schottstaedt  Identity Verified
United States
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Miscalculation Apr 7, 2011

Kate Chaffer wrote:

etoilevineta wrote:

I didn't, actually. I talked them up to 0.07 EUR before I accepted the job, and the 0.07 is the higher rate I was talking about.

[Edited at 2011-04-07 13:04 GMT]


I understood that the higher rate was to compensate for the Trados discounts they wanted. I suppose it also depends on how many repetitions/fuzzies there are in the text.


Let me make this a little clearer! I went back and rechecked all the figures after reading your comments, and after doing so I realized why the total on the 0.08 USD PO they gave me seemed absurdly low: it's because they actually completely miscalculated the total sum by almost $2,000. I added up all the different discounts for each repetition match, which they entered on the PO--but the total number is completely wrong.

I think that helps to see why I believed that it was an indecently low rate. Thanks for making me go back and recheck.


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:26
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Make sure you sign an agreement an the PO is very clear Apr 7, 2011

I would stay away from them, they don't stick to their agreements so how can you even be sure you will get paid,

Bu if you do decide to do the job make sure you sign an agreement with them specifying everything, if you already had an agreement signed with them have it amended to reflect the correct situation, otherwise the signed agreement is valid, make sure your PO is correct. I would also suggest partial deliveries/payments.


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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:26
Member
French to English
+ ...
Niceness Apr 7, 2011

You mentioned that they are "such nice people". I haven't even attempted to do the maths (not my strong suit anyway), so I'll leave that to you and others, but as a more general point, I would say: don't let niceness get in the way of business sense. Sometimes, charm has a motive! Unless you've committed yourself to this contractually, you're not obliged to them just because of whatever has been said up to this point.

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