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Official 'dump the rates' week?
Thread poster: PCovs

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 01:13
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Sep 23, 2011

This week I have received a proportionally high number of offers to be ripped off by different agencies, and it makes me wonder if something is up at the moment.

Usually, I receive a couple of such "offers" a month, but this week I have already received and rejected 5, all of which were on the extreme low side rate wise.

What also makes me wonder is that these agencies do not revert to me, and most of them do not even attempt to negotiate with me, which tells me that at lot of translators in my language pair are now suddenly prepared to take these steep rate cuts, and that's rather worrying.

Has any of you seen the same tendency lately - I mean an increased number of sweatshop approaches in just a couple of days?

(spelling mistake corrected)

[Edited at 2011-09-23 08:29 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not in my case... Sep 23, 2011

PCovs wrote:
Has any of you seen the same tendency lately - I mean an increased number of sweatshop approaches in just a couple of days?

Nope. I reckon it is just because it is September and you are now getting enquiries for jobs that were on hold during the summer.


 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 01:13
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ah, quite Sep 23, 2011

That might be it, thanks.
Hadn't thought of it, since the summer vacations in Denmark usually end mid August (same time as the schools start up again).

I will not worry too much about it, then.icon_smile.gif


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
If... Sep 23, 2011

PCovs wrote:
I will not worry too much about it, then.icon_smile.gif

If rates had dropped 0,01 cents every time there was a discussion in the translator community about rates going down during the last 20 years... we would be paying to be able to translate.

My experience is that, although customers put up a slightly bigger fight in rate negotiations than before the credit crunch etc., they end up paying a reasonable rate to good translators, quite simply because they know that they are getting something profitable in exchange.


 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 01:13
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Financial crisis finally affecting this industry for real? Sep 23, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

If rates had dropped 0,01 cents every time there was a discussion in the translator community about rates going down during the last 20 years... we would be paying to be able to translate.

My experience is that, although customers put up a slightly bigger fight in rate negotiations than before the credit crunch etc., they end up paying a reasonable rate to good translators, quite simply because they know that they are getting something profitable in exchange.


Yes, I am well aware of the endless discussions on the subject in general, and I usually take part in them myself, but this was just a sudden and very steep increase in "offers" in just a few days, and this I have not seen before.
It made me wonder if many more translators are now accepting those lower rates, or if particular markets in the translation industry are now really feeling the financial crisis in stead of simply claiming to feel it, as several agencies have claimed over the past years.


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:13
English to Japanese
+ ...
One question Sep 23, 2011

PCovs wrote:

This week I have received a proportionally high number of offers to be ripped off by different agencies, and it makes me wonder if something is up at the moment.

Usually, I receive a couple of such "offers" a month, but this week I have already received and rejected 5, all of which were on the extreme low side rate wise.

What also makes me wonder is that these agencies do not revert to me, and most of them do not even attempt to negotiate with me, which tells me that at lot of translators in my language pair are now suddenly prepared to take these steep rate cuts, and that's rather worrying.

Has any of you seen the same tendency lately - I mean an increased number of sweatshop approaches in just a couple of days?

(spelling mistake corrected)

[Edited at 2011-09-23 08:29 GMT]


Haven't experienced this, but are these different agencies from a particular country or a region (i.e. Northern Europe, Southeast Asia etc.), or are they scattered all over the globe?


 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 01:13
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Scattered, I'm afraid Sep 23, 2011

The four (I have not yet deleted) are from Israel, Sweden, Spain and USA. I don't think this is a good sign.

 

Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:13
English to Dutch
+ ...
Just randomness playing up Sep 23, 2011

If you read up on the Poisson distribution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisson_distribution), you will see that, even with sparse events, there is always a possibility (however rare) that something will come up a lot any particular moment.
If a translator receives 0.1 ridiculous offer every day, then Poisson will tell you the probaility that any given day you will receive a certain number of offers. You will find that, although very unlikely, there IS still a chance that you will recieve 1307 offers tomorrow.

(I'm a bit of a sucker for Poisson's distribution, I even composed music with it. E.g. http://dormoljw.home.xs4all.nl/mp3/minmeer.mp3 where Poisson determined, among other things, the number of notes per unit of time)


 

matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:13
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Randomness Sep 23, 2011

Quite right Jan. If a system contains truly random events then we would expect them to be grouped at various moments in time. This may be counter-intuitive to some, but look for example at a brick wall. The bricks are evenly distributed and the brick layer would certainly tell you that they were not placed randomly.
A music play-list will sometimes serve up the same tune twice in a short period of time, and some programmes have to include an instruction to prevent this in order to maintain the "random" feeling.

Nothing to do with translation but an interesting aside nontheless.


 

Simon March  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:13
Member (2010)
German to English
"Official 'dump the rates' week?" Well maybe.. Sep 23, 2011

I have been contacted by a number of new agencies in the UK in the last few weeks. The rates they have been 'offering' has been right at the bottom end of my acceptable range.
Too early or can't really say if this is a pattern but I think the general malaise of the Euro and financial markets is affecting everyone including translators.

On a more general translation note I think while customers still demand quality they are not willing to pay as much for it. This in turn drives down rates.. BUT I do think some agencies do play a bit fast and loose with freelancers since they consider them somewhat expendable.

Well that's my two-pence worth anyway..


 

Nathaniel2
Local time: 01:13
Slovak to English
what? Sep 23, 2011

Every time I worry about my rates being too high (which they are not) I only have to look at a few websites where they made the "cheaper" decision and not only do I have a laugh for at least a few hours, I end up feeling that my rates are actually too low. Let them have the low rates, in the end they all pay for it we have the last laugh.

 

Nathaniel2
Local time: 01:13
Slovak to English
where do these topics go so fast?? Sep 23, 2011

How come they disappear faster than I can blink?

My last comment here is this - I recently viewed a restaurant menu where they translated pork tenderloin as "dolls meat". I'm pretty sure that says it all.


 

Sarah Swift  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:13
German to English
Why assume that rates have dropped? Sep 23, 2011

I back the theory that this was entirely random. But if you do want to seek some deeper meaning in it, then why not assume that the pile-em-high, sell-em-cheap merchants that have been darkening your virtual doorstep are looking for new translators because their old translators have moved up in the world and started charging more?

 

Lotte Bulckens  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:13
Member (2007)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Don't lower your rates!! Sep 23, 2011

Hi everybody,

I share the same feelings and thoughts as PCovs and Nathaniel2.
I have had rather few offers during the last weeks and he ones I have had were at my minimum rate... Sometimes I wonder whether it is the crisis or agencies not willing to pay decent rates using the crisis as an excuse. Whatever it may be, I want to think that I am doing good in sticking to my rates, as I have also found that agencies have been cutting down rates in an indirect way (i.e. bigger Trados discounts!!!). This a tendency I have noticed since several months.
Keep up the good work everybody and we'll get through this 'crisis'icon_wink.gif But let's not lower our rates!!!


 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:13
Member (2009)
French to English
Good point Sep 23, 2011

Sarah Swift wrote:

I back the theory that this was entirely random. But if you do want to seek some deeper meaning in it, then why not assume that the pile-em-high, sell-em-cheap merchants that have been darkening your virtual doorstep are looking for new translators because their old translators have moved up in the world and started charging more?


This argument makes a lot of sense. As translators which used low rates as a selling point gain experience, they can charge more. The cut-rate agencies then have the choice to either raise their rates or look for other cheap translators. Over time, they may get tired of the quality of the translators they get with this approach or the frequency of recruiting and raise their own rates to keep their best translators. End clients then have a decision to make, etc etc.


 
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