Is Ireland going the way of the rest of the PIIGS?
Thread poster: Anil Gidwani

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:37
German to English
+ ...
May 21, 2013

All these years, Ireland stood out as a country that paid relatively well, unlike the rest of the PIIGS nations (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain). That appears to be changing.

A recent e-mail from a client of mine, whom I routinely contacted, informed me they were not sending me projects over the last year because, for one, my rates were too high. Here's what they had to say:

"Standard FR/ES/DE-EN rates at the moment are 0.04-0.06c/word for translation, 0.02-0.03 for proofreading and 18e hourly.

Would you be interested in discussing these rates?"

Hmmm. For a client that was paying in the double decimals, that's a major climbdown. And an 18e hourly rate is just ludicrous, when they were happily paying 30e not too long ago.

Has anyone else noticed that rates have come down in Ireland to levels in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece? Or is this just a one-off client who has done so?


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 09:07
Turkish to English
+ ...
Cyprus May 21, 2013

Tiny Cyprus is now also on the list, sadly.

 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
I believe that rates are not determined by country May 21, 2013

but rather by each individual business. I have not dealt with any Irish companies recently but I don't really see a country-specific pattern in rates, especially as translation agencies should be used to working in a global - and not a local - market.
I have clients in many countries with whom I have agreed a wide range of rates based on the regularity of work and the service they expect me to provide.

If a client decided to drop their rates severely without offering any added value, I would be inclined to act in the same way as they would if I decided to suddenly double my rates with no additional services, which would be to phase them out in favour of other, more beneficial business relationships.

You could always try the "what's in it for me?" approach. I would ask what they would offer me as added value if I were to consider this drop in rates. Perhaps they could offer you longer projects if that's an advantage to you. That could be a point to negotiate on. Or they could perhaps offer you payment within 5 days or even pre-payment, which could be good for your cash flow and perhaps induce you to offer a lower rate. To me negotiation works like that. If they're just expecting you to drop your rates for no reason, that's not negotiation, that's haggling and I only haggle for objects in markets, not with my work.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Chancers May 21, 2013

They might get away with offering 6 cents a word for Spanish->English, but I doubt the same would hold for French or German, at least not according to the translators I know working in these pairs. It sounds like they are "trying it on".

PS: The rates quoted are NOT "standard" but "low". A standard rate for Spa-Eng today would be at least 25% more than what they quote. For example, my current hourly rate is twice theirs, and I consider it average (it's the same as my car mechanic charges me).

[Edited at 2013-05-21 10:11 GMT]


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:37
English to Hindi
+ ...
Ireland's economic troubles May 21, 2013

Ireland, along with Greece, was among the first European countries to face economic trouble in 2011. Greece still muddles along and is still in the news for the wrong reasons. Of Ireland, I haven't been hearing anything for quite some time now, so I assumed that it was on the mend.

But it seems Ireland is still not out of the woods.

I have worked for a couple of Ireland agencies, and have not had any issues with them, both with rates and with timely payment. I have though not received any work from them for quite sometime now. Even before, they were intermittent with work, which I thought was because they did not get much Hindi work to pass my way. But it could also be that economic trouble has felled them. They have however not made any request to me to reduce my rates.

Sadly, large parts of Europe are in deep economic trouble and the list of affected countries seems to be expanding every day. The only country doing well there seems to be Germany.

The fact is that when money from the colonial loot was available in plenty a century ago, they all built up a large welfare state, which they are now finding difficult to sustain, especially with their population ageing fast. Theirs is not a problem that can be solved in a jiffy, so we can expect further such surprises from many Europe-based agencies.

[2013-05-21 12:20 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 09:07
Turkish to English
+ ...
monopoly of industrial production May 21, 2013

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:

Ireland, along with Greece, was among the first European countries to face economic trouble in 2011. Greece still muddles along and is still in the news for the wrong reasons. Of Ireland, I haven't been hearing anything for quite some time now, so I assumed that it was on the mend.

But it seems Ireland is still not out of the woods.

I have worked for a couple of Ireland agencies, and have not had any issues with them, both with rates and with timely payment. I have though not received any work from them for quite sometime now. Even before, they were intermittent with work, which I thought was because they did not get much Hindi work to pass my way. But it could also be that economic trouble has felled them. They have however not made any request to me to reduce my rates.

Sadly, large parts of Europe are in deep economic trouble and the list of affected countries seems to be expanding every day. The only country doing well there seems to be Germany.

The fact is that when money from the colonial loot was available in plenty a century ago, they all built up a large welfare state, which they are now finding difficult to sustain, especially with their population ageing fast. Theirs is not a problem that can be solved in a jiffy, so we can expect further such surprises from many Europe-based agencies.

[2013-05-21 12:20 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


I think it was also a case of the Western world having the monopoly of industrial production, and being able to import cheap raw materials from other parts of the world, that enabled the post-war consensus society based on the welfare state to be developed. As you say, the rug has been pulled from beneath the feet of European countries.


 

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:37
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I do find rates offered to be country-specific May 21, 2013

Marie-Helene Dubois wrote:

but rather by each individual business. I have not dealt with any Irish companies recently but I don't really see a country-specific pattern in rates, especially as translation agencies should be used to working in a global - and not a local - market.



If translation agencies should be used to working in a global - and not a local - market, rates should be uniformly high throughout the world, or uniformly low for that matter.



If a client decided to drop their rates severely without offering any added value


Hmm. I don't see what the added value can be if rates drop so severely.


Perhaps they could offer you longer projects if that's an advantage to you.


Earnings per hour would go down with lower rates. How would longer projects help if earnings are less over that longer period of time?


That could be a point to negotiate on. Or they could perhaps offer you payment within 5 days or even pre-payment, which could be good for your cash flow and perhaps induce you to offer a lower rate.


How can prepayment justify a lower rate? It's like saying a shop should offer lower rates if a customer offers cash payment instead of cheque payment.


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Answers May 22, 2013

Anil Gidwani wrote:


Perhaps they could offer you longer projects if that's an advantage to you.


Earnings per hour would go down with lower rates. How would longer projects help if earnings are less over that longer period of time?


That could be a point to negotiate on. Or they could perhaps offer you payment within 5 days or even pre-payment, which could be good for your cash flow and perhaps induce you to offer a lower rate.


How can prepayment justify a lower rate? It's like saying a shop should offer lower rates if a customer offers cash payment instead of cheque payment.




Hi Anil,

Of course everyone works in their own way and these were only suggestions but in answer to your questions (I wish I could work out how you can quote bits and answer below them):

Longer projects reduce your down time.
I often find that a 10,000 word project is much more productive to me than 100 100-word projects even though in essence they involve the same amount of words.

This is because there is time involved in accepting the job, waiting for the PO, setting up the job, querying points, researching, getting into the project lingo, delivering the job, not to mention that there may be gaps between each 100-word project where I don't actually get any work because there's none on offer. I also find translations get exponentially easier which means I work faster towards the end and you don't get this on 100-word projects. This means that a 10,000 word project is a guarantee of a certain level of income and with each 100-word project, where your next income is coming from is uncertain. As a result, on occasion, if an agency wants to negotiate rates with me, I may be open to doing so only if the project concerned is 10,000 words or over.


To me, pre-payment could potentially justify being open to negotiation because you don't incurr any risk. With any new job, you incurr a risk. At the top end of the risk scale is not being paid at all and on the bottom end of the risk scale is having to spend time on checking accounts, with chasing payment hovering somewhere around the middle.

If you eradicate this risk completely and the time investment inherent to it, then this could be a point worthy of negotiation.


These are the values that I may consider 'added' if an agency wanted to negotiate with me on rates but I do appreciate that these may be different for different people.


 


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