French Agency.....how low is too low in France?
Thread poster: Rebecca Lyne

Rebecca Lyne
France
French to English
+ ...
Aug 12, 2011

I was recently contacted for a small project by an agency in France after I had responded to their project posting on Proz.

In my offer to them I stated my rates for the project which were already very low by most standards and certainly more than reasonable. When they contacted me they seemed very interested in using my services. I then received a second email asking if I would consider lowering my per word rate even futher...down to .07 centimes per source word!

I realize we are in an economi crisis globally, but frankly, how low is too low for you all?

I declined the project by the way and have not been contacted since.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:29
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
OK! Aug 12, 2011

rebeccalyne wrote:
I declined the project by the way and have not been contacted since.

Well, I reckon this not much to say about this: some companies can't afford your services, the same way not everybody can afford a luxury car. If you try to buy a brand new Audi for 5,000 dollars, chances are that you leave the dealership without a car, right?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:29
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Too low, probably! Aug 12, 2011

rebeccalyne wrote:
I then received a second email asking if I would consider lowering my per word rate even futher...down to .07 centimes per source word!

I realize we are in an economi crisis globally, but frankly, how low is too low for you all?


The reason for the "probably" in the heading is that it depends very much on what you're doing, but normally I'd say that was much too low.

Normally, my minimum is 10 centimes per source word for French to English but there's one job I do that only pays 8.5 centimes per word. Although the per word rate is low, it gives an hourly rate of up to 40€ due to the simplicity of the text and to the memory and glossary matches that are all highlighted by Wordfast.

So, I'd probably give this agency a wide berth, but I'd want to make sure first that I wasn't looking a gift horse in the mouth!


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:29
French to German
+ ...
What's too low? Aug 12, 2011

A rather known French agency offers translators 0.06 € ex VAT per word no matter how difficult or technical the jobs may be.

Its actual payment terms are in the region of 60 days EOM (meaning 75 days if everything goes well, but rather 90 days as they seem to ignore their own standards) and it has a lot of questionable purchasing conditions.

The average BB rating for this agency is 4.6 for the last twelve months and 4.2 starting in the summer of 2005.

I never worked for them given the facts above, but obviously many, many European and French colleagues are happy and willing to be fed such rates.

So... What's too low (financially and... morally)?

[Edited at 2011-08-12 20:29 GMT]


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Frankie JB
France
English to French
+ ...
Turnaround really depends on difficulty Aug 12, 2011

Like Sheila, I think turnaround (and therefore rates) really depends on difficulty, and while 0.07 may be low when you are 'scout translator' (I mean, don't have TM or glossary) and the subject matter is somewhat advanced, other times, when you only need copy/paste TM segments and all terminology work has been done, 0.07 is finally not that unfair (yet may be boring;)

But of course, accepting it upfront is risky, and when you have qualifications and can afford it, it seems logical to refuse, quality has a price after all!

I wish to add that a former professor of project management of mine used to tell us ''If you insist you can get them work for 0.06, 0.05 and even 0.04 for some pairs!" (I don't know whether it was just for the purpose of computing margins and prices, but it's a bit... frightening!)


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:29
French to English
+ ...
As Sheila says, it really depends... Aug 12, 2011

Raw rates without any context are difficult to assess. It really depends on a range of factors:

- how easily you can get through the material in question?
- what other expectations the client has?
- will somebody else be checking formatting?
- will somebody else be doing extra QA checks or are you expected to do additional checking?
- how much do you want to do that particular job because it will give you valuable experience or because its particular timescale fits in with your work pattern etc?
...

If it's a specialised text that's going to require a lot of research and will not be that useful as experience for getting further work, then your time might be better spent on other things. If it's easy material or material you're extremely familiar with and can whizz through 4,000-5,000 words per day, and/or if it's a project that is of particular interest to you, then that's another story. Only you can weigh that kind of thing up.

That said, for an "average" commercially funded project in France, I would usually expect clients to be budgeting for more than this. Sadly, it's not unprecedented that they don't...

[Edited at 2011-08-12 22:21 GMT]


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Ambrose Li  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:29
Chinese to English
+ ...
I might have read it wrong Aug 13, 2011

but isn’t .07 centimes 0.0007€ ?

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Ana Cuesta  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:29
Member
English to Spanish
USD or EUR Aug 13, 2011

Ambrose Li wrote:

but isn’t .07 centimes 0.0007€ ?


I take it the poster meant 7 centimes, but are we talking dollars or euros? A big difference these days...

Added later: OK, I correct myself, centimes should be euros (as most other repliers rightly assumed) since dollars would properly be cents. My apologies for adding confusion to the matter...

[Edited at 2011-08-13 07:42 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:29
French to German
+ ...
A fact of life.... Aug 13, 2011

is that agencies underbid each other without caring in the slightest about the translators who will be doing the job.

End clients thus have been accustomed to lower prices and tend to budget accordingly.

Neil Coffey wrote:

(.../...)

That said, for an "average" commercially funded project in France, I would usually expect clients to be budgeting for more than this. Sadly, it's not unprecedented that they don't...


As per Frankie's post:
Frankie JB wrote:
(.../...)

I wish to add that a former professor of project management of mine used to tell us ''If you insist you can get them work for 0.06, 0.05 and even 0.04 for some pairs!" (I don't know whether it was just for the purpose of computing margins and prices, but it's a bit... frightening!)

it should not be too difficult either to find (without insisting) *French agencies* willing to pay ***0.06 to 0.04 USD per source word*** ex VAT, minus the trados rebates - of course!

[Edited at 2011-08-13 09:30 GMT]


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