Attempt to create new profit-extracting level between agencies and translators
Thread poster: Jack Doughty

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:15
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Jul 7, 2011

I have just received the following email, which quite apart from the low rates mentioned, seems to be seeking to cream off profit even from those translators who find themselves obliged to accept such rates.

Dear Translators,

I hope this email finds you at your best!

I am XXXX, a Project Manager handling about 7 languages! My role as a project manager and coordinator working with lots of PMs is to agree with qualified translators to have their CVs in order to send them for potential clients and customers so that we all get potentially regular projects.

We, me and my colleagues of project managers, deal with numerous agencies which are too much famous and able to offer projects with different fields which fit all translators.

All information About our translators are saved in our database very carefully.

This work and cooperation help all of us to earn living in regular way!

I wish from all translators who would like to cooperate, to send me their comments along with resumes and I am ready for any discussion.

If you do not agree to cooperate or if you do not agree that I send your cv to potential clients, please do not reply this email.

If you agree on giving us authorization and permission to do that as a kind of mutual cooperation, let me know.

Please note that your email reply in case of agreement will act as an official authorization and permission to start work and cooperation.

We only can accept limited number for now. Your CV must be attractive and you must offer high quality with competitive prices.

Please note that prices range between 0.03 - 0.05 USD. Can can not pay more than 0.05 USD per word. This is because there is strong competition in the market and of course we should have a margin of profits in order to be able to run the project.

Have a wonderful day!

Your cooperation is appreciated.

Regards
XXXX
_______________
Needless to say, I did not reply and this email went in the Trash.


[Edited at 2011-07-07 18:51 GMT]


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andyhd  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
German to English
+ ...
Inconceivable Überagency without proofreader Jul 7, 2011

Thanks for posting this!

Best wishes,
Andy


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:15
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'm feeling like a DJ today! Jul 7, 2011

TR.... T.... TR..... TR..... TRA.... TRASHH.... RASHH.... HH..... HH..... TRA-TRA-TRASHHH!

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:15
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
3-5 cents for what? Jul 7, 2011

To spam companies with your CV so they will never consider a personal application from you? To hand over 5 cents out of a job that pays 8-10 cents absolute maximum? I'm assuming that nobody with the clout to ask for 10+ cents would look twice at such an offer.

It's really sad that these sort of sharks are able to prey on freelancers. Thanks for giving them some publicity, Jack. Maybe a few poor, vulnerable translators will be saved from making a gift of most of their hard-earned cash.


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Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:15
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
Hola, Amigos! Jul 7, 2011

Jack Doughty wrote:

...



Somehow, the meaning of this email skips my mind. What is their main difference form a "normal" greedy agency?


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:15
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The difference Jul 7, 2011

The difference is that this is not an agency in the sense tha we understand it at all. It wants to get between the normal greedy agencies and make a profit out of setting up contacts between such greedy agencies and translators. And where is their profit to come from? They are not likely to get anything from greedy agencies, so what they get will come out of the already meagre amount being paid to the translators.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:15
English to Portuguese
+ ...
These are the middle-middlemen Jul 7, 2011

Translation has two intrinsic problems: ubiquity and deregulation.

Translator location matters very little. I may remain in Sao Paulo, move to Hawaii, or even to Siberia and, apart from my local video and sworn translations work, as long as I could have a decent connection to the Internet, little would change in my work.

If I cut my prices to half, I'd have to work 24/7 to cope with the demand... and to make a living. If I got into a full-time job, I could double my rates, simply to curb my workload to my available time. Yet nobody would tell me that I'd be breaking any rule whatsoever.

Maybe this is what attracts so many adventurers to our trade. There is nobody, nothing to stop them from outsourcing translations for X and reselling them for 3X or more. They don't have to know anything other than some salesmanship; all they have to do is to push files back and forth. Also, there is nothing, nobody to stop them from hiring low self-esteem translators that accept being paid in 30, 60 or more days, and receiving payment up-front or COD from their clients. They can build a posh web site using freeware. Free clip art photos of some ritzy commercial building can be placed in lieu of a snapshot of their actual headquarters: the kitchen table. And there is no way for serious, professional outsourcers to assert their image, because all these web sites look the same. In fact, some great, professional translation agencies have pretty lame web sites.

Apparently the "file-pushers posing as translation agencies" virtual market is overcrowded, to the point of leading such "translation agency agent" here to think that there is room for one more tier in the supply chain.


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The Misha
Local time: 15:15
Russian to English
+ ...
All due respect, Jul 8, 2011

but why are you getting so pumped up about this? The way I see it, there is a certain amount of money I want to get for my work. Either I do get it, or I don't work. I don't care how many middlemen they squeeze in between - I still want what I want. If someone can pay me that and still pocket the difference - well, power to them. I say, bring them on. If they can't, they are history. If, on the other hand, I want too much, and there's no takers - then it's my turn to look for greener pastures. This is called the market, and it works the same with any other occupation - provided the Big Brother keeps his filthy hands off it. Let's keep it this way.

The kind of work I now do takes two college degrees and 25+ years of varied experience spread across half a dozen industries and two continents. Something is telling me there are few einsteins out there who do it as well as yours truly for 3 to 5 cents per word. When - and if - it really happens, I'll pick up stakes and move to those greener pastures. There is definitely life beyond translation.

But it probably ain't gonna happen tomorrow ...

[Edited at 2011-07-08 01:46 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:15
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good middlemen and bad middlemen Jul 8, 2011

Our goal should be to stop serving people who don't add any value to our work, and only work with people (individuals or agencies) who help us find good, interesting work at a good rate, have solid marketing and technical skills to sell our services appropriately, respect our rate level, and understand the character and needs of a professional translator.

Poor-quality middlemen like the people discussed in this forum mean an automatic reduction of our rates. It's best to drop them altogether.

[Edited at 2011-07-08 04:45 GMT]


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:15
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Famous companies? Jul 8, 2011

Jack Doughty wrote:

We, me and my colleagues of project managers, deal with numerous agencies which are too much famous and able to offer projects with different fields which fit all translators.



[Edited at 2011-07-07 18:51 GMT]


Too famous for what? Too famous that we would kneel down and make a deep bow once we hear those names as if they were our kung-fu masters? lol

[Edited at 2011-07-08 07:01 GMT]


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Ata Arif  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:15
Member (2009)
Kurdish to English
+ ...
It is not their fault Jul 8, 2011

I do not blame the greedy agencies or so called Project Managers to look for the cheapest ever rates, that is how the business system works. But the problem is that I know about agencies who have a very bad reputation in paying people, they look for the cheapest and get the worst quality but still they get jobs from the market. Why they assign jobs to those agencies and do not look for professional translators to contact them directly and pay them the same rate they pay to that agency, which will be quite good for the translator on his own.

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GerSi  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 21:15
Member (2010)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
how cute Jul 8, 2011

Jack Doughty wrote:


Please note that prices range between 0.03 - 0.05 USD. Can can not pay more than 0.05 USD per word. This is because there is strong competition in the market and of course we should have a margin of profits in order to be able to run the project.

Have a wonderful day!



Since no harm has been done I'll allow myself a little joke:

... nevertheless, they are straightforward ...


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:15
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Who are WE??? Jul 8, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Our goal should be to stop serving people who don't add any value to our work, and only work with people (individuals or agencies) who help us find good, interesting work at a good rate, have solid marketing and technical skills to sell our services appropriately, respect our rate level, and understand the character and needs of a professional translator.

Poor-quality middlemen like the people discussed in this forum mean an automatic reduction of our rates. It's best to drop them altogether.


I've stopped serving people who don't add value to my work long ago. They have stopped asking for my services as well. They ask me how much they cost, and then write me apologetically, saying I'm too expensive for them.

The entire problem is in the end-client, who most often lacks the means to ascertain the quality of the translations they receive. They assume it was expensive enough to be good. They have no clue that their job hopped over a long chain of in-betweens, and the people who actually did it were paid a very small fraction of that amount.

We cannot blame that translator who accepts that very small fraction and overly extended payment terms, desperately trying to earn a living, and whose output quallity is probably not worth more than that.

So it's impossible to circumscribe "WE" as long as all translators remain nameless to end-clients behind fully-justifiable NDAs, and the length of the supply chain is secret. While WE may stop serving such file-pushers, desperate cheap amateurs worldwide will keep them supplied.

All we can do is hope that translation outsourcers paying under 6¢/word will eventually switch to free online machine translation, in an attempt to increase their profits further. When end-clients start doing random checks, comparing what they get with free MT and seeing it's identical (anyone can do it), they'll wipe these non-value-adding outsourcers from the market.


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