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Yet another rate rant, with a twist
Thread poster: madak

madak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:25
Swedish to English
+ ...
Nov 16, 2011

I want to add my rant about rates to all other rate rants in these forums. Only my perspective is from the other side of the world – i.e. the end client*.

I’m pretty fed up with seeing professional business owners, also know as freelance translators, moaning about X or Y agency demanding x or y rate or below. For example, in this thread where many who totally appeared to ignore the fact that they are the vendor, i.e. the person/business that sets the price. Their potential customers/clients, or as we like to refer to them in the business world, prospects, might disagree with the proposed price. Fair enough, you can’t force someone to buy from you unless you have a monopoly selling an essential product/service, but you can refrain from supplying your product/service to such a prospect.

If your prospect refuses your price, they can go elsewhere and get what they pay for and you can find clients who actually value quality translations. Might take a bit of time and if you’re at the beginning of your translation career this might be painful (this is why you should not go freelance without first building up X amount of savings – for me X represents at least 6 months expenditure). But as long as you have a business like approach and know that you can deliver a quality product you will eventually succeed. Until you get there, you might have to supplement your income with other activities – ever heard of the jobbing actor?

Now to a little real-life story:

My in-house company, not an agency, recently needed a short translation into a language we do not currently work with (agencies please stop reading here**). I searched through the directories here at ProZ and found 2-3 possible candidates. After outsourcing to one of them, I requested a PO from accounts and instantly got an email from them querying the low amount – only two figures!

Then we needed another even shorter translation so I contacted the same translator and he came up with an even lower quote, i.e. fewer words. I mentioned this amount to my boss – non-translator but very aware of the importance of correct writing + he’s the only one in the company that I allow to proofread my translations and original copy – and although I can’t remember his exact words they were along the lines of: you translators are cheap.

Please note that the translator I found was anything but cheap compared to what I see people here at ProZ publically mentioning that they accept – he almost charged as much as I would have done.

End of story.

Finally, please stop thinking in rates per words, lines or pages. You supply a service which takes X amount of hours to perform – charge for these hours. Work out how much you want/need to earn per hour to live a comfortable life taking into account how many hours you are actually work producing – i.e. how many hours you actually translate or proofread rather than do admin, marketing, etc. To do this you divide the amount you want/need to earn to live comfortably per month, deducting tax and any social fees you might need to pay, by the amount of hours you expect to work producing your “commodity”.


*also a current part-time, previous full-time, and possibly future, freelancer
**don’t contact me, we have fully competent translators in-house for the languages we normally work with and I don’t need any more time-consuming sales calls

PS. Excuse the long posting, but I now have to have my postings vetted again so try to get all my responses to what might come later into the first posting to ensure there's only one time-delayed posting.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:25
Chinese to English
Top tip for living a happier life Nov 16, 2011

If you don't like reading a particular kind of post - don't read them.

This kind of insight is why I get paid the big bucks.


 

madak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:25
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I know it was a long posting... Nov 16, 2011

...but did you actually get past the initial sentences Phil?

If you did, you might have noticed that my "rant" is about freelancers undervaluing their time rather than being underpaid.

You obviously don't undervalue your time as you get paid "big bucks".


 

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 12:25
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Couple of things Nov 16, 2011

Phil Hand wrote:

If you don't like reading a particular kind of post - don't read them.

This kind of insight is why I get paid the big bucks.


Phil,

a) Maybe I'm just thick, but how, exactly, does your post relate to Madaleine's interesting perspective?

b) Those earning "the big bucks", as you call it, charge three times your rates (according to your Proz profile).

Any enlightenment?

Andy.


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:25
Italian to English
Careful Nov 16, 2011

Let's keep this courteous please folks.

 

Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:25
French to German
+ ...
Madeleine,... Nov 16, 2011

I like the twist in your story. Enough said for the moment.

 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:25
Chinese to English
For those who believe the internet to be an irony-free zone Nov 16, 2011

Sorry, I forgot to put the irony smiley on my post.

Madeleine, I found your post quite interesting. Didn't tell me much I didn't already know, but it's always good to be reminded about how those outside the industry actually think. /noirony

My sardonic comment was directed at your complaint about other ranters. I think what you were saying was misdirected. People post on Proz to let off steam. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are unaware of how to handle rates issues, they just like talking about them. /noirony

Andy, see above. But I'd love to know how you read things. You're British, yeah? Have you ever met a British person who could say "that's why they pay me the big bucks" in all seriousness? I am utterly bemused by the idea that any person who speaks my language would not know I was joking. /noirony

[Edited at 2011-11-16 23:58 GMT]


 

Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:25
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Or, in other words... Nov 17, 2011

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

I requested a PO from accounts and instantly got an email from them querying the low amount – only two figures!

Then we needed another even shorter translation so I contacted the same translator and he came up with an even lower quote, i.e. fewer words. I mentioned this amount to my boss – non-translator but very aware of the importance of correct writing + he’s the only one in the company that I allow to proofread my translations and original copy – and although I can’t remember his exact words they were along the lines of: you translators are cheap.




Or, in other words, from Mox's blog:



 

Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:25
Member
English to German
Rants and other empty talks... Nov 17, 2011

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

I want to add my rant about rates to all other rate rants in these forums.


Hmm, I was just wondering: What is the English word for the German term "Pauschalisierung". I couldn't find it on the internet, only "Pauschalierung", whatever that may be...

Has anybody got a hint?

lang.gif

link_button.gif

[Edited at 2011-11-17 00:49 GMT]


 

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 12:25
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Another couple of things Nov 17, 2011

Phil Hand wrote:


Andy, see above. But I'd love to know how you read things. You're British, yeah? Have you ever met a British person who could say "that's why they pay me the big bucks" in all seriousness? I am utterly bemused by the idea that any person who speaks my language would not know I was joking. /noirony

[Edited at 2011-11-16 23:58 GMT]


Off Topic & brief.

Yes Phil. I'm British, from Liverpool actually. We do know a bit about humour. We also know that if your "humour" requires smileys, best not give up the day job.

And stick around in the profession for another twenty years and your utter bemusement will floweth over.

On Topic:

Can we get back to Maeleine's original post?
I believe that too many, not all, end clients (via agencies or direct), view language services on the debit side, a necessary evil, as 'twere.

Not as an added value - which, of course, they're quite willing to pay to ad agencies: how much did the guy who came up with "Come alive with Pepsi" make?, to take an extreme example.

Bet he didn't undervalue his work.

Andy.


 

Ana Malovrh  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 12:25
Member (2010)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
talking about humor Nov 17, 2011

Andy Watkinson wrote:

Not as an added value - which, of course, they're quite willing to pay to ad agencies: how much did the guy who came up with "Come alive with Pepsi" make?, to take an extreme example.

Bet he didn't undervalue his work.


I just love your example Andy.icon_cool.gif

I got an idea.
Maybe we should establish a support group for anonymous translators:

"My name is Jane and I'm a translator. I turned down my first job with a ridiculously low rate proposal today and I'm still alive ..."


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Ironic smiley Nov 17, 2011

Is there actually an ironic smiley - i.e. one where the mouth smiles but the eyes don't? Or one with a slightly twisted smile? If so, I need it. (British humour intended).
Jenny ☺☻ (No, not those).


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:25
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Pauschalisierung Nov 17, 2011

Marina Steinbach wrote:

Hmm, I was just wondering: What is the English word for the German term "Pauschalisierung". I couldn't find it on the internet, only "Pauschalierung", whatever that may be...

Has anybody got a hint?


If your question was serious (a bit difficult to tell what is or isn't serious in this thread), the answer is "generalization" / infinitive: "to generalize".

Personally, I tend not to get involved in these rates discussions, just read them occasionally to see if anything has changed, see that it hasn't, say "tsk tsk" to myself about the greedy agencies who are interested only in quantity and don't appreciate quality work, and move on. It's been that way since I got here 6 years ago and will probably continue long after I'm gone. I also get plenty of unsolicited offers via the ProZ directories, but most of them are not acceptable, so I write a polite "Thanks, but no thanks unless you can meet my rate requirements", end of story. Getting all worked up about it either way consumes time and energy needlessly, so after adding my 2 cents here, I'm going back to my rather large, decently-paid translation assignment without having raised my blood pressure.icon_biggrin.gif Ciao!


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
The English term Nov 17, 2011

Marina Steinbach wrote:

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

I want to add my rant about rates to all other rate rants in these forums.


Hmm, I was just wondering: What is the English word for the German term "Pauschalisierung". I couldn't find it on the internet, only "Pauschalierung", whatever that may be...

Has anybody got a hint?


Generalization!icon_biggrin.gif


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Exceptions to the rule Nov 17, 2011

Riccardo Schiaffino wrote:


Or, in other words, from Mox's blog:



Thank you for theicon_smile.gif !

Although this is normally the case, I have experienced it twice when I started off as a freelancer that the client gave me a job and...doubled my quoted rate. These two cases are extremely rare exceptions, but they doe happen.icon_smile.gif


 
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