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

Lena Nemeth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:26
Member (2010)
Polish to English
Jul 17, 2013

Hello, I hope you are all well!

I'm writing because I've just received an email from a translation agency (I'm not sure if it's appropriate to name and shame them here) basically 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." I am absolutely livid that a translation agency would degrade freelance translators by offering to pay them £0.015 less per word!!!

I would like to know if anyone else has experienced something similar and what I can do. I suppose the obvious answer would be to talk to them and see if we can come to some kind of agreement -- which isn't completely out of the question, but I will not debase myself by working for so little after the years I have spent gaining experience, investing in my career and developing myself as a freelance translator.

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

Thanks in advance!


 

KateKaminski
Local time: 12:26
German to English
I got the same email Jul 17, 2013

Next time they offer you a job which you would be willing to accept, simply reply that you are available and your rate is xx.xx.

It is up to you to set the rate, not them. They claim sales costs are rising so they have to pay translators less. Well, maybe they should not pay their salespeople so much if they are unable to compete with other agencies ... (who I for a fact know can afford to pay their translators far more per word!)

I might reply to this email telling them thank you for the offer, but I will stick with my current rate.icon_smile.gif

I hope all affected translators stick to their guns and insist on decent rates! Do not let them see us as the "weak link" to be taken advantage of.


 

Déborah Essers-Jansen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:26
Member (2007)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Same e-mail Jul 17, 2013

Hi Lena,

I have received the same e-mail! My first reaction was to decline this offer straight away. I absolutely disagree with the rate they suggest and I don't work for them regularly. To me it wouldn't be bad to lose them as my client, so I don't bother to negotiate. I haven't sent them a response yet, because I will have to think first about how to phrase it.icon_smile.gif


 

Peter Gleason  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Did they actually ask everybody to cut their prices by £0.015 per word? Jul 17, 2013

Was it a mass e-mail? Unconventional approach.

 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:26
English to German
+ ...
it might become a trend Jul 17, 2013

Lena Nemeth wrote:


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

Thanks in advance!


Hi Lena,

My sympathy. My experience so far is that certain agencies have not raised their prices so to speak or, since we are not their employees, have not reacted well to being told nicely that after 3 or 4 or even 6 years, it is time for the translator to ask for more. But that being said, I understand why they are trying to do it. Now, I hope that excellent agencies will go on using fair practices.

But I see all this as a larger trend and the pressure they're under is certainly a fact just as it becomes more difficult for us to get new, good clients. It will probably become more difficult in the future to keep making a decent amount of money. I am trying to apply different strategies and have started a thread that is certainly related to your experience, asking others for their input.
http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/252683-what_are_your_suggestions_for_increasing_decent_business.html

Cheers,
Bernhard


 

Déborah Essers-Jansen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:26
Member (2007)
English to Dutch
+ ...
My e-mail said Jul 17, 2013

Therefore, with effect from Thursday 18th July, xxx will change its payment per word rate to 0.060 EUR.

 

Ian Giles  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:26
Member (2012)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Absolute disgrace Jul 17, 2013

I've just been on the phone to vendor management to have them take me off the books. I experienced incompetence at every stage during their so-called recruitment process, and have received few offers of any work from them whatsoever. I had quoted a lower rate with a promise of a significant quantity of easy work, none of which materialised. To suggest that they pay me 30% less than I charge all my other clients because of their hard times/uselessness/profiteering (delete as applicable) is astonishing. I suggest others vote with their feet. If you google around, you find evidence pretty quickly that staff morale within this company is rock bottom - that and low pay presumably go some way to explain the uselessness.

 

Ian Giles  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:26
Member (2012)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Email below (anonymised) Jul 17, 2013

For any other translation companies out there, this is a template with gaps to fill if you would like to stop using my services. It is guaranteed to infuriate me and will mean that our relationship is terminated.

"We are writing to advise you that ______ is to amend the fees it pays to translators. This will bring ______ into line with other large LSPs that are servicing the needs of large Government and Corporate contracts. This has been driven by changes in the way that these organisations operate which has created a downward pressure on costs. Coupled with an increased cost of sales and significantly extended sales cycle, this has eroded margins to the point where the rates that we are currently paying you are not viable in this very competitive market place.

I would like to explain the efforts we put into generating business which creates work for you as one of 4,000 translators in more than 70 countries that carry out projects for us every month.

At present, _____ employs 60 sales people worldwide who, as a group have to take 80 flights a month and on average, have to each spend 2-3 nights a week away from their family and home. We employ a further 50 people who recruit, interview and test linguists in order to maintain the high standard of our service. In addition, we support our global linguists’ community with more than 250 project management staff from our 10 global offices who liaise between our customers and yourselves. We also have over 50 people working on our technology so that we can improve our internal efficiency, drive down our internal costs and provide the state-of-the-art, highly secure systems that our customers now demand, and that you need to deliver your service.

However, having said all of this, never before has our industry experienced such huge pressure from both the private and public sector to drive down prices. This, of course, is not necessarily for their own profit but simply a reaction to the state of world economies. At _______ we have endeavoured to keep our rates to the highest possible level whilst enabling us to keep the work flowing to you but at the present time, those rates are not viable in the competitive marketplace. Therefore, with effect from Thursday 18th July, _____ will change its payment per word rate to [15% less than already low rates]. These rate changes are not retrospective but will apply to any new work received from Thursday 18th July 2013."

[Edited at 2013-07-17 16:58 GMT]


 

babi  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:26
English to Italian
+ ...
I received the same mail Jul 17, 2013

Dear Colleagues,

I just received the same mail from that agency. This is my simple and straightforward reply:

"Thank you for your letter. Please delete me from your database of translators. This rate is simply offensive."

I hope that EVERY translator who is working with this agency replies this way. I work with other agencies and they pay me 2x as much... so it's not a matter of rising costs, it's just a matter of having decided to save money on human resources, and this is not acceptable. I had been working with this agency for 8 years...

babi (Manuela)


 

Lena Nemeth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:26
Member (2010)
Polish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all Jul 17, 2013

It most likely was a mass email. Deborah, my message also said the same -- I find it insulting and an utterly despicable business practice to notify us of this less than 24 hours from when it is intended to come into effect!

I have had good business with them in the past and helped them out of a tight situation a time or two. I have always delivered translations on time and have never had any complaints from them or their PMs. No translator should be treated in such a way! I wish there was a way we could boycott this alleged 'company'.

I'm writing them a rather serious email at the moment. I'll have someone proofread it to make sure it's diplomatic and appropriate and that all of my harsh expletives have been deletedicon_smile.gif


 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:26
English to French
+ ...
Welcome to the real world Jul 17, 2013

What else is there to say?

 

Lena Nemeth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:26
Member (2010)
Polish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Spot on Jul 17, 2013

babi wrote:

Dear Colleagues,

I just received the same mail from that agency. This is my simple and straightforward reply:

"Thank you for your letter. Please delete me from your database of translators. This rate is simply offensive."

I hope that EVERY translator who is working with this agency replies this way.

babi (Manuela)





Here, here! I am in the process of doing the same. They may as well get a little backlash from their poor approach to business!


 

Déborah Essers-Jansen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:26
Member (2007)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Blueboard Jul 17, 2013

Lena, you can always post a note on the Blueboard. Not the same as a boycott, but it's better than nothing. Right?!

 

Gül Kaya  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:26
Turkish to English
+ ...
Which agency? Jul 17, 2013

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?

 

Martin Damiano Alcorta  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:26
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
Me too! Jul 17, 2013

I thought I was the only one... They offered me USD 0.034!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTF! I can't believe this , I hope for all our sake that this doesn't become a trend.
More seriously -even more- is, I think it's time we all unite and form some kind of union or something. No one is watching our back right now, if we don't defend ourselves, who will? I think this is too serious to ignore.
Also, I think it would be fair to name the company, after all this is our forum, not theirs!

Cheers


 
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