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8 Euro per page??? You must be kidding... (questioning low-priced job posting)
Thread poster: pma

pma
Spain
Local time: 14:33
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Sep 27, 2004

Oh, no, she wasn´t. It looks she was serious and the job is now closed.
If you wonder what I am talking about, please have a look at the ProZ job posting this morning for a specialized EN>ES URGENT! translation on gensets.
After having submitted my bid I tried to estimate what the job would pay. I was not sure my calculation was correct, so I stroke the calculator keys for three or four times. No doubt: an estimate of 400 words per average page will result in a 0.02 Euro/word for a technical job not everybody can do. Besides, the pages with only a few words are usually figures and pictures with the names assigned to the engine or generator parts -difficult terminology-. It looks that the very term "genset" is not understandable to everybody (I remember it was subject to a question in KudoZ)...
Anyway, I know this is a free market. No objection. Now, this is also a free country (Ok, a free forum), so we can express our opinion, right?
Let me tell you something: chances are that such cheap a translation will be a terrible job (the kind of job I usually refuse to proofread unless I am paid for a full re-translation). Technical translation (same as medical, legal or other specialized texts) take a big deal of effort, attention, concentration, understanding and investigation (try to find "genset" in the "Beigbeder", and this is only the easiest thing right in the heading of the doc, or ask in ProZ what "power pack" means and you will get "unidad hidráulica" without even suspecting it is a ridiculous translation in your context). You mught not agree with me, but you only have to look at the questions in ProZ to realize how difficult it is sometimes to grasp the actual meaning of matters we never saw in real life. If somebody accepts peanuts for a job that will keep him or her busy day and night or doesn´t mind to produce a calamity job, it is not my business, but I think this kind of job offers seriously damage the reputation of this site, and that is bad for all of us, isn´t it?
My sincere apologies to anybody who might feel upset about my comments... Please, note that I am not aiming at critizicing the particular translator who accepted the low rate. He or she could be a fortunate exception to the rule. What I am saying is that an agency who offers such low rates is taking chances and jeopardizing their own reputation in the first place and the whole industry's in the second place. I think it is about time we do something to dignify this activity.
Your comments will be highly appreciated.
Thanks for listening
Pablo Martínez

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-09-27 14:01]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:33
English to German
+ ...
Checking payment after quoting? Sep 27, 2004

Hi Pablo,
Please have a look at past threads, both in this forum and in Business Issues: this topic has been discussed on numerous occasions already, so I'm sure you'll understand that I won't reiterate arguments.

There's only one statement in your post that I find somewhat alarming:
After having submitted my bid I tried to estimate what the job would pay.

How did you quote, then?

Best regards,
Ralf


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:33
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
You calculate after bidding? Sep 27, 2004

Hi Pablo

I'm surprised because you say that you calculated after bidding.
I know that many people take the time to answer to such offers with a letter explainig why a translation deserves more and asking for their rate. I also know other people who just bid because they agree with the rate, but... disagreeing with the rate and bidding without asking for another rate is strange.

You'll find many discussions about this topic, just look for "peanuts"

Claudia


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pma
Spain
Local time: 14:33
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
I didn't actually quote Sep 27, 2004

To be exact, I asked what the price per word was. I used the bidding form for such purpose without realizing that in any case the rate would bo that low.
It is really an ununderstandable situation to me, so I did not expect those figures!
Hope this will satisfy your curiosity
Thanks for answering
Pablo


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Judy Rojas  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Careful! Sep 27, 2004

pma wrote:

To be exact, I asked what the price per word was. I used the bidding form for such purpose without realizing that in any case the rate would bo that low.


I have seen many comments about job postings with extremely low rates that say "I put in a bid saying that they were chep so and sos", or "I sent them a bid telling them that they need to pay more if they want a decent translation", etc.

Well, all of these show up as bids submmited, so other translators may get an idea that that is an acceptable rate since there are so many other bids.

I think the best thing to do in these cases is to abstain from bidding. They will soon get the idea that if they want someone to accept the job they will have to offer a higher rate.

Regards,
Ricardo

[Edited at 2004-09-27 15:37]


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pma
Spain
Local time: 14:33
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
I agree, Ricardo Sep 27, 2004

I do agree. Problem was that I did not realize it was a ridiculous rate. I have never bothered to reply that kind of nameless thing before and I never ever will.
Who can expect 0.02 Euro per word? I don´t get it, honest. I am still in shock
Again, I do not have any objection to accept free market pricing. I simply want to use the forum to express my opinion and send a "warning" to any potential client, visitor to the website or whoever reads me, that misserable rates will, 99 times out of 100, mean misserable quality and a far more expensive retranslation in the long term.

I found strange that other repplies were merely focused on my personal reasons to bid -which is a personal decision after all-
Yeah, I know, the matter was discussed so many times... well, it looks many people have something to say about something, right?
And I thank the moderators for allowing me and all the other people do so. They don`t need to get involved if they find it a boring conversation!

Thanks also to you, Ricardo for your comments. They really make sense.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:33
Dutch to English
+ ...
Abstaining works Sep 27, 2004

Ricardo Martinez de la Torre wrote:

I think the best thing to do in these cases is to abstain from bidding. They will soon get the idea that if they want someone to accept the job they will have to offer a higher rate.

[Edited at 2004-09-27 15:37]


I am talking from experience although the language pair was Dutch -> English. During the summer, I got offered a huge technical job by 6 different agencies around the world. I know it was the same job because the test translation was the same. Only the agency based in the Netherlands was offering a reasonable rate and I accepted their terms. I ignored all the other agencies since they were offering ridiculously low rates (and also because the ethics of the whole situation were beyond me). The Dutch agency got the job! The agency also paid my invoices the next day after getting my invoice (first time ever for me). So abstaining does work (although it will depend on the language pairs I suspect).


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:33
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
My first reaction Sep 27, 2004

Sorry Pablo, this is not quite right

pma wrote:
I found strange that other repplies were merely focused on my personal reasons to bid -which is a personal decision after all-
Yeah, I know, the matter was discussed so many times... well, it looks many people have something to say about something, right?


My first reaction was due to surprise, because what I saw reminded me people who accept low rates and afterwards complain, I didn't focus on your personal reasons for bidiing but on the fact that you bid on an a job that doesn't fit your requirements. I do understand now that you hadn't noticed how low it was.

Educating clients is important but my time can be used in something more interesting, so I don't waste time answering to offers which don't interest me. And when I accept a rate I don't complain either.

Who can expect 0.02 Euro per word? I don´t get it, honest.


Beginners, I think. I remember when I was starting, I was ready to work for free in order to get experience and to have something for my resume. Fortunately this period didn't last long and thanks to these forums where you can freely say what you think about such paractices I learned a lot.

Claudia


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pma
Spain
Local time: 14:33
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Claudia Sep 27, 2004

No problem, Claudia. You don`t need to be sorry.

I understand your point, and of course I agree that everyone can decide on how to use his or her time.

The only thing I am not sure about -and this is just a trivial comment- is whether one should accept extremely low rates for practice purposes, but that is up to everyone.

The important thing here is that clients should know -in that case- that when they pay low rates, they can expect that their highly technical document will probably be dealt with by a beginner who has important reasons to accept such low rates.

Thanks again for your comments.


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Jussara Simoes  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:33
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Low rates Sep 27, 2004

Ten years ago, the arguments were about charging 0.10 USD per word, and that it was a low rate.

6 years ago, the arguments were about 0.06 USD being a low rate.

Now the low rate is 0.02 EU.

And rates keep going steadily down.
Like that Canadian band's song: We all go down!

The arguments never change, but rates keep goind downhill.

XXXXXX
JPS


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
German to English
+ ...
8 Euro per page??? You must be kidding... (questioning low-priced job posting) Sep 27, 2004

Jussara Simoes wrote:

Ten years ago, the arguments were about charging 0.10 USD per word, and that it was a low rate.



It still is.

Marc


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pma
Spain
Local time: 14:33
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
it still is? Sep 27, 2004

Well, Mark,
0.10 Euro might be a low rate in some cases -probably in your country- I really don't know, but not extremely low, I guess. In Spain it is not a bad rate, I think.
0.02 Euro per word is a extremely low rate even in Spain, especially for a technical job (I think it was a Spanish agency who posted the thing).

Anyway, complaining about low rates is an understandable -but useless- reaction. We cannot fight the laws of the market.
This is a free place, and ProZ is a great thing for the translators community I do like, even if I think many aspects could be dramatically improved with only minor changes.

The best thing we can do, as Ricardo and Marijke said, is ignoring ridiculous offers.

...And, maybe something else:
Many translators ask questions and many translators answer questions in KudoZ. It is a way to help yourself helping others. A good idea. My approach to this issue has always been to answer only those questions where I feel my opinion can be actually useful -I try not to guess just to see if I get a few points I am really not interested in, because that would confuse the asker. It is nice to help other people and benefit at the same time from showing your expertise in a specific area -I must say I get half of my clients in ProZ-; but having said this, I don't think I should help in those projects I know are ill-paid jobs.
In other words, I will not answer any questions relating to gensets for the next few weeks, unless I positively know the questions relate to other than the 0.02 "award-winning" project.
It is only a small step, but if you also believe in a free market, and more people walk in the same direction, maybe we won't need to complain so often.


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Ltemes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Next time just send them an e-mail and let them know how you feel. Sep 27, 2004

I've done this before when I saw a bid for which I was qualified but paid WAY too low. So I simply sent them an e-mail and contacted them in that manner.
8 Euros a page is crazy.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 15:33
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Depends on the page Sep 28, 2004

If there are lot of pages with figures only and just a few legends to be translated 8 Euro would be exceptable. I don't agree that it would be difficult terminology. Not if one is familiar with the subject.
The worst jobs are lists of spare parts for a rare kind of machinary. Even with normal rates either per line or word don't pay for the time needed.
Hard to say if the rate is bad without seeing the sourcefile.


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pma
Spain
Local time: 14:33
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
A lot of figures Sep 28, 2004

Hi Heinrich,
Well, what can I say?
You might be right. Maybe it was a bundle of pages with just figures and short legends: Figure 1, Figure 2, etc...
Yeah! Maybe I missed something good!
As for the terminology, it shouldn't be a problem either. Things are simple.
Come on, Heinrich!


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