What do you think of this company's justification for their low rate?
Thread poster: Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 17:43
Member (2012)
English to Indonesian
Apr 4, 2012

Dear colleagues,

A game company offered me a rate of $0.03 per word. They said it's reasonable because:

-it's more or less the cost of writing the text and they believe translation needs less time than writing from scratch, so they're trying to keep the translation cost the same as the writing cost.
-a lot of repetitions.
-the volume of the project is large.
-they don't require the translator to translate literally. (what?? this only makes it harder)

I already asked for an increase but they haven't replied (won't?). To be honest I would accept that rate if it's really their highest offer since I need the experience and I don't have many jobs right now but I thought negotiating wouldn't hurt. Now I'm afraid I've lost this job for good. What do you think I should do now? Did I make the correct decision? Thank you.

[Edited at 2012-04-04 01:26 GMT]


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:43
Member (2008)
French to English
Probably could get higher, but from others Apr 4, 2012

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha wrote:

Did I make the correct decision?


You have to ask the market that question. Can you get a higher rate? My guess is you probably can, probably a lot higher. But probably not from the same people. Usually when you raise your price you attract a whole different class of clients that are more used to paying a higher rate. Have you checked out the Rates section of the site at http://search.proz.com/employers/rates ?


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:43
German to Swedish
+ ...
You have answered your own question Apr 4, 2012

You would accept $0.03/word. Why, then, should they offer more?

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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 12:43
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
What exactly does Apr 4, 2012

lot of repetition mean? If use of Trados or other CAT tool could save your time considerably (e.g. 30-40% of the translation could be "copied"), then some price allowance is reasonable. In addiion to our qualification, we are selling our time and if the time can be reduced, then we gain some extra profit.

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha wrote:

Dear colleagues,

A game company offered me a rate of $0.03 per word. They said it's reasonable because:

-it's more or less the cost of writing the text and they believe translation needs less time than writing from scratch, so they're trying to keep the translation cost the same as the writing cost.
-a lot of repetitions.
-the volume of the project is large.
-they don't require the translator to translate literally. (what?? this only makes it harder)

I already asked for an increase but they haven't replied (won't?). To be honest I would accept that rate if it's really their highest offer since I need the experience and I don't have many jobs right now but I thought negotiating wouldn't hurt. Now I'm afraid I've lost this job for good. What do you think I should do now? Did I make the correct decision? Thank you.

[Edited at 2012-04-04 01:26 GMT]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:43
Italian to English
When to raise your rates Apr 4, 2012

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha wrote:

To be honest I would accept that rate if it's really their highest offer since I need the experience and I don't have many jobs right now but I thought negotiating wouldn't hurt.



When outsourcers fix a tariff in advance, it's probably reasonable to conclude that they're not going to increase it no matter how nicely we ask

If you haven't got much work, though, now is probably not the best time to negotiate higher rates. Concentrate on getting the jobs first.

At that point you can crank up your tariff, quoting higher rates for new customers as they come along. When you already have plenty of work, it won't bother you too much if some, or even most, of the new inquirers turn you down.

Remember that the best customers aren't interested in your rate: they want your translation (because they think it will add value to their text). However to find those clients you will have to establish a distinctive market profile in whatever specialisations you think you can handle better than most of your competitors.


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:43
Romanian to English
+ ...
Absurd reasoning Apr 4, 2012

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha wrote:

They said it's reasonable because:

-it's more or less the cost of writing the text and they believe translation needs less time than writing from scratch, so they're trying to keep the translation cost the same as the writing cost.


Well, if translation is "more or less the cost of writing the text", why don't they just hire someone who can type? Simple: because translation is NOT just writing the text in that language (even if for some very experienced translators the effort is the same), but it's writing the RIGHT text and that requires education, specialization and experience. I'm sure they would never decrease their prices for the game because it's "just" programming and some writing...

If you're in great need of the job right now, you could accept the rate but give them a veeeery relaxed deadline which allows you to take jobs anytime from better paying clients.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:43
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
What's your cost of living? Apr 4, 2012

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha wrote:
A game company offered me a rate of $0.03 per word.


At that rate you'd have to translate 1600 words to buy a pair of shoes. I have to translate 1300 words to buy the shoes. To earn the same as me (and I actually earn very little, compared to other translators in my current country), you'd have to charge $0.04 per word.

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Indonesia
http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Netherlands

They said it's reasonable because:
1. it's more or less the cost of writing the text and they believe translation needs less time than writing from scratch, so they're trying to keep the translation cost the same as the writing cost.
2. a lot of repetitions.
3. the volume of the project is large.
4. they don't require the translator to translate literally. (what?? this only makes it harder)


1a. Do journalists and copywriters in Indonesia really get paid only $0.03 per word?
1b. Their argument makes sense, but do they use the right numbers?

2. If they want discounts for repetitions, they should indicate how much discount for how much of a repetition. It is unsafe for you to simply accept a lower rate without knowing how many repetitions or what nature the repetitions are.

3. The volume argument relates to the effort it takes for you to get another job. In certain types of industries, the extra costs for preparing a job (or even a tender) are so high that high volume jobs actually amount to a saving (and the client then expects to share in the saving).

But in the translation world, the cost of preparation does not exceed the minimum rate (i.e. 1 hour's work), so the only saving that a high volume client can hope to share in is the cost of 1 hour. Besides, if it is a large project and there are lots of files to process, the time it takes to prepare the files will be the same per file or per day as it would have been for a smaller job.

4. Allowing the translator to translate more freely can be a time-saver, but that depends on the type of text. It usually applies to paragraph text of a general nature, and not to game translation.

To be honest I would accept that rate if it's really their highest offer... but I thought negotiating wouldn't hurt.


I'm always polite when I negotiate for a higher rate, and I don't negotiate for more than one round... though this may simply be a cultural thing. Negotiation skills are nice to have, but if you're a beginner translator, then translation experience is more important, and you should accept all jobs that fall within your chosen rate range.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:43
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My arguments Apr 4, 2012

I have my rates for the markets I serve. I hope you have yours. So you should know when a work proposal is acceptable, and when it isn't.

When a prospect demands that I work for rates too low to be acceptable by ANY human competitor of mine, I give them this link and thell them to compare on their own to decide.

Though you probably don't understand Portuguese to check the difference there, you may use machine translation and your skill to build a similar comparison with your language pair instead.

Regarding repetitions, I give no-brainer repetitions for free on jobs involving over 5,000 words, typically parts lists and similar things, however I maintain my full rate. If a job involved translating just 2,000 bolts, 2,000 nuts, and 4,000 washers, their specs being in separate segments, I'd charge for 3 words, i.e. my minimum.


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Vesna KK  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 13:43
English to Serbian
+ ...
Unbelievable May 4, 2012

I just got this offer in my email and I don't know whether to laugh or cry:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hello,

We have a new project for you.
Language pairs: English> Serbian/Croatian
Volume: 175 words
Rate: 0.05 USD/ word
Deadline: xxxx

Please let me know if you are interested and available.

Best regards,
xxxx

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Naturally, I said no.


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