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Whining about low rates
Thread poster: Susan Welsh

Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:08
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Jan 25, 2013

Can we have a special forum for whining, and put all the relevant posts there? It seems like whining has become a big topic on the forums in the last year or so, especially.


[Edited at 2013-01-25 13:35 GMT]


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:08
German to English
Constant topic Jan 25, 2013

(My previous response apparently disappeared into cyberspace, please forgive if this appears twice)

This has been a constant topic for as long as I've been here, at least 10 years. Yet I don't recall seeing a discussion of the relationship between the oversupply of translators/agencies and the lack of price growth.


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 07:08
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Supported! Jan 25, 2013

My answer seems to have disappeared too.

A forum titled "Whining about low rates would be very good indeed. I'd be prepared to write the invitation along these lines:

Please understand that ProZ.com is a fantastic marketplace where clients/outsourcers who are at different positions of a learning curve have the right to offer any rate they see fit.
If you are not attracted to that rate, there is a perfectly easy and complete action to be recommended:

Disregard the offer an go on to find a more profitable one!

AND:

Don't whine - that is unprofitable!


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:08
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
An interesting pattern that I've observed... Jan 25, 2013

...in these kinds of discussions is that those who work in language pairs where rates have remained robust chide those whom they perceive as "whiners" who work in pairs subject to constant downward pressure as a result of oversupply (an oversupply, it should be noted, facilitated by web portals that enable anyone and everyone to offer their supposedly professional translation services).

At times, "the happy few" who work in the oversupplied pairs and who apparently enjoy a steady flow of work at high rates will also join in on the chiding.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:08
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agree Jan 25, 2013

Robert Forstag wrote:

...in these kinds of discussions is that those who work in language pairs where rates have remained robust chide those whom they perceive as "whiners" who work in pairs subject to constant downward pressure as a result of oversupply (an oversupply, it should be noted, facilitated by web portals that enable anyone and everyone to offer their supposedly professional translation services).

At times, "the happy few" who work in the oversupplied pairs and who apparently enjoy a steady flow of work at high rates will also join in on the chiding.


And I am one of those lucky few...

Instead of berating those who whine, we should be supporting them. They also open our eyes on how lucky we are when we can make a decent living. I know scores of very good translators who cannot get the jobs at reasonable rates (never mind high rates).


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Adrian Grant  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:08
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Whining squared and cubed Jan 26, 2013

Once we've established the new whining forum, can we then go on to have a whining-about-whining forum?

Or even (up to now, only I would qualify, but I have hope), a whining-about-whining-about-whining forum?


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Fit for purpose Jan 26, 2013

I'd welcome a whingers' section. Surely the idea is that if we all get together and share our grievances, some ideas about how to combat low rates might emerge as a result of this "brainstorming"...?

Anyway, what is considered low is moot - for instance, although I consider my rates fair and average for my pair and area, I've been ticked off by translator colleagues who charge 50% more than I do, but don't realise that they provide more services for their fees, for example working with scanned PDFs and other laborious or time-consuming formats, or using more than one CAT program, or more complex SW... which I avoid like the plague.

I'd also welcome a "no-holds-barred" section where we didn't always have to call a spade a digging implement.


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:08
Italian to English
Apologies Jan 26, 2013

Apologies to Kevin and Mats, whose posts disappeared "into cyberspace"

I had a discussion with the OP about the most appropriate forum for this post (as originally phrased).

When a thread is moved to a different forum, it can take around 20 minutes to be fully registered on the site and no further "interventions" are possible until this process is complete.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:08
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Amen to that Jan 26, 2013

Marijke Singer wrote:

Instead of berating those who whine, we should be supporting them. They also open our eyes on how lucky we are when we can make a decent living. I know scores of very good translators who cannot get the jobs at reasonable rates (never mind high rates).



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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:08
Russian to English
+ ...
I agree that Proz is a great place but whining is also necessary from time to time Jan 26, 2013

-- just to make clients aware of the problem, and remind them that translation is a highly complex activity comparable to drafting pleadings or writing academic papers, not data entry. By offering low rates they don't present themselves as serious and knowledgeable clients to the community.

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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Carry on whining Jan 26, 2013

Whining doesn't offend me either. Whining about whining does a little bit though... It's OK for them lot who learnt German, Dutch or Swedish, do you think that we don't know that... They are not even tempted to stop working in summer, not like us lot when the sun is beating down...

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Texte Style
Local time: 07:08
French to English
but Jan 27, 2013

LilianBoland wrote:

-- just to make clients aware of the problem, and remind them that translation is a highly complex activity comparable to drafting pleadings or writing academic papers, not data entry. By offering low rates they don't present themselves as serious and knowledgeable clients to the community.







do you seriously think that clients come and have a look at these fora before posting their job?


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Sian Cooper  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:08
French to English
+ ...
More worried than whining Jan 28, 2013

I offer two over-supplied languages - Spanish and French (into English). If you're in France, and can get work via French agencies, rates tend to be higher (in fact, perfectly reasonable). In general, French is paid more than Spanish; and the environment seems quite professional and respectful. But, the French do like their administration and their certification!

Spanish is the pits, because of the massive US and South American supply of translators. And is also the pits because precisely that massive supply is so often of very poor quality, and the clients/agencies just do not care as long as it's fast and cheap. This may be fine for the business world, but it pollutes the worlds where quality is more important.

One can whine - I do - or suck it up - I also do (on the basis that any money is better than none); and one can try to improve one's future, by investing in training - which I also am.

I have paid to do Trados training and get certified.

I am paying to do an MA in Translation online with a well-respected university.

I sure as hell hope that in a couple of years I will be able to command better rates, and actually get some work. If I make it that far: right now, I can't survive on what crumbs I am getting.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:08
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Slightly OT, or a different angle: A sign in the baker's shop... Jan 28, 2013

Sign in a baker's shop:

If you don't like my bread, please tell me.
If you do like it, please tell your neighbours.



Do your whining here, among sympathetic colleagues.
(Those who run out of sympathy, please go and enjoy your well-paid jobs, or make some positive suggestions!)
Don't let clients know you feel like that.

We need to back each other up and renew our strength to get back into the fray.
When the clients are looking, we should talk like the women in the cosmetics commercials: 'Because we're worth it!'

Here we can exchange good arguments to support that statement.

Whingeing and whining have their place. We all need a little tea and sympathy now and then. If you go round with a constant smile and it is all a big lie, you will crack up, believe me. Been there, done that!

But everyone who enters the whining forum should, at least sometimes, contribute with a positive suggestion, or at least try to find some way to move on.


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:08
French to German
+ ...
Not whinging and whining... Jan 28, 2013

doesn't necessarily imply going around with a constant smile or living a big lie.
It's just not everybody's cup of tea to whinge and whine, perhaps simply because they don't see any point in it.


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