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Email notification of a reduction in rates from a translation agency
Thread poster: Lena Nemeth

Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:25
Member (2008)
English to Czech
maybe Jul 17, 2013

But you cannot maintain a consistent high standard of service for .06 a word.

Maybe they kind of admit it between the lines:
"...huge pressure from both the private and public sector to drive down prices. This, of course, is not necessarily for their own profit..."


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:25
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Just say NO! Jul 17, 2013

Lena Nemeth wrote:

... telling me that they can no longer pay their translators the same rates due to "huge pressure from both the private and public sector to drive down prices."

Is there any way we as translators can fight against such practices?


If someone can no longer afford to have lunch at the Ritz every day, they should go eat at the Ratz! No point in telling the Ritz they can't afford it any more.

No chance that the Ritz will lower its prices as long as there is a waiting line at the door every day.

Apparently they are spending a fortune on a large sales team, traveling everywhere to peddle the crap they are getting from cheaper and cheaper translators... until their clients discover that free online machine translation is faster, and about just as good... or bad!


 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:25
German to English
+ ...
Doing well while doing good! Jul 17, 2013

I really don't see what the problem is here. Don't you realize how much they do to feed colleagues in our profession in these difficult times? Here is an example.

 

Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 16:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Me too!! Jul 18, 2013

Gül Kaya wrote:

I am very curious to know which agency this is. I know you can't name them here but could someone send me a pm?


 

IrimiConsulting  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 23:25
Member (2010)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Received the same e-mail... Jul 18, 2013

This company was my first recurring client and there were good PMs and good jobs. But there have been more and more requests for small (less than 100 words) rush jobs and fewer large jobs with balanced deadlines. And all of the PMs I started working with in the medical/life science field seem to be gone.

I find it extremely unprofessional to post a litany detailing all costs involved. Especially since the financial situation is less than uncertain: 500 employees, 67 million USD in a
... See more
This company was my first recurring client and there were good PMs and good jobs. But there have been more and more requests for small (less than 100 words) rush jobs and fewer large jobs with balanced deadlines. And all of the PMs I started working with in the medical/life science field seem to be gone.

I find it extremely unprofessional to post a litany detailing all costs involved. Especially since the financial situation is less than uncertain: 500 employees, 67 million USD in annual revenues = 134,000 USD/year revenue per employee, according to figures on their own website.

I returned with an e-mail stating my lowest acceptable rates and was contacted by one of the client's resourcers. We'll see what she says.

[Edited at 2013-07-18 18:40 GMT]
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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:25
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Same thing that "Tigerford" tried a few years ago Jul 18, 2013

"Tigerford" (not the actual company's name, but close enough), tried that a few years ago, when their Vice President, Mr. Heinous (not his real name either, but, again, close enough), demanded an immediate 5% discount from all translators.

I know many translator fumed, but accepted to be paid at the lower rates.

Others, however (me included) just wrote back that we didn't accept to provide any discount, and that the next invoice would be at the same (contractually agr
... See more
"Tigerford" (not the actual company's name, but close enough), tried that a few years ago, when their Vice President, Mr. Heinous (not his real name either, but, again, close enough), demanded an immediate 5% discount from all translators.

I know many translator fumed, but accepted to be paid at the lower rates.

Others, however (me included) just wrote back that we didn't accept to provide any discount, and that the next invoice would be at the same (contractually agreed) rates as before. I expected that for at least some time work from them would dry up, but it actually continued to arrive just as before, and we continued to invoice it at the old rates.

So they made a quick stab at getting a discount, undoubtedly did receive a discount from some easy marks, but didn't from more professional translators.

I don't know who this new company is, but I bet the strategy is the same: a quick grab aimed at getting a discount from the more fearful or desperate translators.

My advice: stick to your guns, insist that it is you, as provider, who decides rates, not them, and you'll see that work will continue to arrive.

That is, if you still want to work for such sorry bottom feeders.



[Edited at 2013-07-18 05:22 GMT]
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Recep Kurt  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 00:25
Member (2011)
English to Turkish
+ ...
I received the same letter Jul 18, 2013

The funny thing is, I never got any jobs from them. They would not state any rates and whenever I asked them, they would tell me that the job was either assigned to someone else already or was sent to me by mistake.

I replied to the letter saying that I don't want to be treated as a serf working for peanuts and asked them to remove me from their database.


 

Peter Nicholson  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:25
Polish to English
Tina is right – see these previous threads Jul 18, 2013

Tina Colquhoun wrote:

...and you will find that they were sending out the same e-mail at least as far back as 2002!!

"As from July 1st 2002, with immediate effect, we expect our translation suppliers to reduce their rates significantly. As you know XXX is regarded as highly professional and pay their suppliers on time. I hope that you will continue to be part of XXX and I look forward to our future relationship."

So this is just routine practice...

Tina


http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/123029-agency_reducing_rates.html

http://www.proz.com/forum/being_independent/122987-agency_policy_updates_re:_the_economy_and_our_rates.html


 

Andrei A.Albu
Romania
Local time: 00:25
Member (2002)
English to Romanian
+ ...
I hope they go down the slope Jul 18, 2013

Since October 2012 to January 2013, I passed a number of difficult translation tests from this "Big-Mouth" company, whose replies have been always "Congratulations on a successful test piece!". The result? Only two job offers, which I had to deny because all they wanted was... transcriptions, not translations. So much time wasted!!! And yesterday, I got the same letter as you all. Here is what I replied:

"Dear Dulcineea (fake name)

Thank you for this message.

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Since October 2012 to January 2013, I passed a number of difficult translation tests from this "Big-Mouth" company, whose replies have been always "Congratulations on a successful test piece!". The result? Only two job offers, which I had to deny because all they wanted was... transcriptions, not translations. So much time wasted!!! And yesterday, I got the same letter as you all. Here is what I replied:

"Dear Dulcineea (fake name)

Thank you for this message.

Being one of the translators who has never received a single job from your company, despite the fact that I passed numerous tests many months ago, I would appreciate it if you removed me from your mailing lists. The more so that I have actually increased my rate as of June 1st , making it to EUR XX/source word (twice their new rate), and EUR XX/hour. Should you ever reconsider your rates, I shall be pleased to discuss an eventual co-operation. Meanwhile, I wish you all the best for the future."
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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 04:25
English to Indonesian
+ ...
I love you all! Jul 18, 2013

Thank you all for sticking to your high rates! That'll teach them!

IRL: You don't. Less than a few percent of us do. We're sh*t, pure and utter sh*t.

No cheers,

Hans (who does stick to his rates, and is very, very poor at this moment)


 

Markus Wahlgren  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 23:25
English to Swedish
I got the same Jul 18, 2013

... and "unfortunately" they provide jobs for me every day so it's difficult to turn them down, it would be easy if I had received very few jobs from them like some of you mention.

But how can they dictate prices for their providers?

This is my reply:
Does this work at Shell too? "Your rates for fuel is too high, starting today I will only pay xx" Let me know if that worked, then we can discuss.

Is it forum policy not to mention their name, it's not
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... and "unfortunately" they provide jobs for me every day so it's difficult to turn them down, it would be easy if I had received very few jobs from them like some of you mention.

But how can they dictate prices for their providers?

This is my reply:
Does this work at Shell too? "Your rates for fuel is too high, starting today I will only pay xx" Let me know if that worked, then we can discuss.

Is it forum policy not to mention their name, it's not like it's Voldemort.

[Edited at 2013-07-18 06:17 GMT]
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Thomas Rebotier  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:25
English to French
Beware competing with yourself! Jul 18, 2013

Not a client from (un)said agency, I did not receive the email but have been under similar pressure from smaller agencies.

I think two things are at play: (1) large corporations do and will put pressure on agencies, and (2) the profession structure with agencies acting as a fluid layer of middlemen helps that price pressure. As end providers, we can be in competition with ourselves if we consent to lower rates for one agency. That agency is then in a position to succesfully compe
... See more
Not a client from (un)said agency, I did not receive the email but have been under similar pressure from smaller agencies.

I think two things are at play: (1) large corporations do and will put pressure on agencies, and (2) the profession structure with agencies acting as a fluid layer of middlemen helps that price pressure. As end providers, we can be in competition with ourselves if we consent to lower rates for one agency. That agency is then in a position to succesfully compete with our other clients, take from them the business they (we) already had and give us the same translation we would have got, for less money. The end client wins, the cheaper agency wins, we lose.

Respectfully decline. If you are on the books, yout service is valued. And no, an agency cannot afford to lose a substantial part of their translators, especially the best ones. If an agency experiences downwards pressure from clients, it's up to them to organize better and reduce their margin accordingly. Productivity gains from TM/MT are already factored in by now, those from management tools are not.

One last word: avoid double middleman situations. Client --> Large agency --> SLV --> you. There is only that much margin that can be made on the client budget. Double middleman subtracts too much money and time from the actual production team (translator+proofer). Until agencies realize that in a double middleman situation they should halve their margin, it won't work. And if they did, they would just starve, so it won't work, period.
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Hannele Marttila  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:25
Member (2011)
Finnish to English
+ ...
Big boy Tesco/ M&S tactics Jul 18, 2013

I have received the same email. It would seem, having read the chain, that while the letter's wording of "Therefore, with effect from Thursday 18th July, the company will change its payment per word rate to 0.106 GBP. " would seem to imply that they are offering the same cut rate to all translators is not so at all. 15% seems to be implied which certainly applies in my case.

Big retailers such as the above mentioned have been using these techniques in the UK for a long time, writin
... See more
I have received the same email. It would seem, having read the chain, that while the letter's wording of "Therefore, with effect from Thursday 18th July, the company will change its payment per word rate to 0.106 GBP. " would seem to imply that they are offering the same cut rate to all translators is not so at all. 15% seems to be implied which certainly applies in my case.

Big retailers such as the above mentioned have been using these techniques in the UK for a long time, writing to their suppliers that sorry, we will just be paying x, not what we agreed.

Tomas Mosler's financial analysis in the chain is revealing - if the company cuts its "manufacturing costs" then there is more profit in the bag and also a chance to make discounts to clients effect of which is just passed to the suppliers, us translators.

Still mulling this over, but I am inclined to agree with the comments that either, get out, or simply when contacted next time for a job, say you'll do it on rate x. I intend to raise the current rate they were paying and offer that.

If a sufficient number of their regular translators do not accept this missive then they may have to give in. Time will tell.
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Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:25
Member (2008)
English to Czech
a thought Jul 18, 2013

I'm not a lawyer, but in case their statements about their financial situation are misleading or not fully true, cannot it be contestable somehow? Surely they have (at least formally) some "ethics" comittee or the like?

[Edited at 2013-07-18 09:11 GMT]


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
someone wrote about this Jul 18, 2013

http://www.translationtribulations.com/2013/07/tough-times-in-sty.html

 
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