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The points system
Thread poster: Thayenga

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:33
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Aug 6, 2013

Today I received the following email through my ProZ.com profile in which an outsourcer (also with a profile here) which sort of puzzles me,

Hello,

Greetings from XXXX.com. The following job is posted on
XXXXXX.com, which matches your languages. If you are interested,
please register on http://www.XXXX.com/user/register and send
us an email separately (support@XXX.com) so that we may
quickly approve you as a formal translator before you start the
translation job. Be sure to select the correct language since you
can only access jobs matching your language combination in the
future.
Say, if you are a native English speaker, select your first
language as English, which will be the target language you are
allowed to translate into.


Job ID: Job XXXX
Source language: German
Target language(s):English
Total words: 844
Translator rate (points/word): 7.1
Translation fee (points): 6630
Deadline: Tue, 2013-08-06 19:23 (UTC)

(one point is valued USD0.01)


To start the translation afterwards, please:
1. Log in to www.XXXXX.com;
2. Go to http://www.XXXXX/XXX/ to read job basic
info and instructions;
3. Click http://www.XXXXX.com//XXX///XXX//translation to start
your translation on-line, then click Edit for a segment that you
want to work on;
4. Enter your translation and change the segment status;
5. Click Save and Next to translate the next segment until all are
finished.

We appreciate your support to ensure the translation is finished
on time and with excellent quality.

Related topics:

Setting segment status: http://www./XXX/.com/node/XXX/
Meeting deadlines: http://www./XXX/.com/node/XXX/
Client rating: http://www./XXX/.com/node/XXX//node/XXX
For rate and payment, please visit http://www.XXXX.com/terms
and refer to article ,,,
For the details of how to use this system, please refer to
”Translation Guide” at http://www.XXXXX.com/node/XX.

Now, I've never worked with a points system before, but the Translation fee seems to be paid by the translator...which would put said translator in dept by some 600+ points.

Or am I misinterpreting something here? Your clarification/s will be very much appreciated.

Thank you.

Thayenga


[Edited at 2013-08-07 06:53 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:33
English to German
+ ...
I received the same email Aug 6, 2013

And sent it straight to the trash. Translation for 7 cents / word? Sorry, I must have received this email in error, wrong planet.

From what I gathered from various forum posts a while ago, points must be accumulated until you get paid or something. What a concept...

But, hey, to speak in favor of this tremendous offer - "translation fee" is what the translator will "earn" (cough, cough...), otherwise it would read "translator's fee".



Edited for typo, "7", not "1", sorry.

[Edited at 2013-08-06 17:43 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:33
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting Aug 6, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

And sent it straight to the trash. Translation for 7 cents / word? Sorry, I must have received this email in error, wrong planet.

From what I gathered from various forum posts a while ago, points must be accumulated until you get paid or something. What a concept...

But, hey, to speak in favor of this tremendous offer - "translation fee" is what the translator will "earn" (cough, cough...), otherwise it would read "translator's fee".



Edited for typo, "7", not "1", sorry.

[Edited at 2013-08-06 17:43 GMT]


So with this job, and a deadline of approximately 2 hours (expecting, of course, top quality) the translator is to earn 6630 point (x USD 0.01) for a top quality rush translation and then wait ... till the 12th of Never to get paid.

Thank you, Nicole, for clarifying my misinterpretation. Still.... "File 13" seems to the best place for such a generous offer.

Also, my "WOT" warns me to go to their site because of its bad reputation. Hmmmm...

[Edited at 2013-08-06 17:52 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:33
English to German
+ ...
If you want to add some adventure to your life Aug 7, 2013

Thayenga wrote:
So with this job, and a deadline of approximately 2 hours (expecting, of course, top quality) the translator is to earn 6630 point (x USD 0.01) for a top quality rush translation and then wait ... till the 12th of Never to get paid.

Thank you, Nicole, for clarifying my misinterpretation. Still.... "File 13" seems to the best place for such a generous offer.



Then that's the way to go!
How on earth did they come up with this ingenious business model - some sponsored contest for elementary schoolers?


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:33
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Excitement :O Aug 7, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Then that's the way to go!
How on earth did they come up with this ingenious business model - some sponsored contest for elementary schoolers?


Well, I prefer not to wait to get paid for the work I do.

This business model seems to work, though, because the agency was tested and... their average rating was 2.1 (good). Perhaps because they offer 3 "translation packages" to their clients. This means the client can choose between (expensive) top quality translations, medium expensive and medium quality translations, and cheap, low quality translations.

I have been in this business for a while, yet this was the first time I've ever heard (rather read) about an agency "dilligently" offering low quality translations. I'd put the link here, but this might violate Forum rules. The test results are in German only.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, but what do you think of the points system Aug 7, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:
And sent it straight to the trash. Translation for 7 cents / word?


So the reason you rejected the offer was not because of the points system, but because of the relative value of the points. If each point was worth 5c instead of 1c (or, if the offer was not for 7 points per word but for e.g. 25 points per word), would you then have considered the job?


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:33
English to German
+ ...
@Samuel: What I think about the "Points System" Aug 7, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:
And sent it straight to the trash. Translation for 7 cents / word?


So the reason you rejected the offer was not because of the points system, but because of the relative value of the points. If each point was worth 5c instead of 1c (or, if the offer was not for 7 points per word but for e.g. 25 points per word), would you then have considered the job?




Easy: Points are not my currency. I run a business, and I need to see hard cash. I run a business, and I can neither pay my expenses, the IRS nor the great people who work for me in points.

Seriously: I don't care what each point is worth. I am a translator, not a store coupon.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:33
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Indeed! Aug 7, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Samuel Murray wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:
And sent it straight to the trash. Translation for 7 cents / word?


So the reason you rejected the offer was not because of the points system, but because of the relative value of the points. If each point was worth 5c instead of 1c (or, if the offer was not for 7 points per word but for e.g. 25 points per word), would you then have considered the job?




Easy: Points are not my currency. I run a business, and I need to see hard cash. I run a business, and I can neither pay my expenses, the IRS nor the great people who work for me in points.

Seriously: I don't care what each point is worth. I am a translator, not a store coupon.


I couldn't have said it any better! Especially in regards to the IRS. Oh, they will tell you what they think about it, no doubt.

Just imagine paying your electricity provider with points. Or your grocery bill. The list of examples of people and/or businesses is endless...especially with - what seems to be - an open payment deadline.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Payment in kind Aug 7, 2013

Thayenga wrote:
I couldn't have said it any better! Especially in regards to the IRS.


Say, how does the IRS deal with payment in kind? And, would the IRS consider payment in points (essentially a delayed, accumulated payment) as payment in kind, as payment in cash, or as payment in credit?


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:33
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@ Samuel Aug 7, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

Thayenga wrote:
I couldn't have said it any better! Especially in regards to the IRS.


Say, how does the IRS deal with payment in kind? And, would the IRS consider payment in points (essentially a delayed, accumulated payment) as payment in kind, as payment in cash, or as payment in credit?



Good question, Samuel. I couldn't speak for any other country, but I'm certain that the German IRS wants cash, preferably bank transfer of the taxes owed.

If these points are not paid for in hard currency, then I suppose they won't have to be declared as income. After all, we've left the Stone Age a while ago, so I guess beads, livery stock and pelts no longer count as income. Or do they?


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:33
English to German
+ ...
Payment in kind - they take your firstborn Aug 7, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:
Say, how does the IRS deal with payment in kind? And, would the IRS consider payment in points (essentially a delayed, accumulated payment) as payment in kind, as payment in cash, or as payment in credit?



If a person dies, they go after the relatives. They take obscene interest rates. If you are a few dollars short, they repossess your entire house. Only gigantic companies like Enron had to pay a symbolic annual fee of US $10.00 per year.

No, sorry, giggle, they don't accept payment in kind and most definitely no "points".


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:33
English to German
+ ...
I love that one Aug 7, 2013

Thayenga wrote:
I guess beads, livery stock and pelts no longer count as income. Or do they?


Darn, those good ol' times!



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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:33
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I also find this points idea fundamentally flawed Aug 7, 2013

and I don't suppose that this company is likely to attract what I like to call 'professional' translators, to differentiate them from bilingual odd-jobbers who want to earn some cash (or points even) on the side, rather than to differentiate them from people who don't charge for their work.

This is:
1) because of the language they use to address them. I take exception at being told what language "I'm allowed" to translate into for example. I'm used to being ASKED what language I translate into. There is a subtle difference.

2) I also object to the idea of being awarded points. What do points mean? Prizes? What happens when you earn enough points? Do you get a Brucie bonus?
Joking aside, I agree with Nicole in that, as a professional, I charge money for my work and points are for loyalty cards. I would be open to negotiation for payment in kind on a case by case basis, e.g. translating an artist's website in exchange for a painting or something like that, if this arrangement is based on mutual agreement, so I don't consider myself someone particularly inflexible. But points frankly put me off. It seems to me that they're only awarding points to trick people into thinking they're earning more than they are. Why would 1 point not equal 1 dollar? Isn't that trickery indicative of the level of intelligence of the people they intend to attract?

At the risk of repeating oft-quoted analogies, I don't think that my solicitor would be impressed if I set up a points system for his/her remuneration.

The value of the points is to a certain extent immaterial. It's the fact that it seems unilaterally imposed that would put me off, not to mention the fact that the value of the points is hiding behind another number that bears no mathematical relation to it.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Thayenga Aug 7, 2013

Thayenga wrote:
If these points are not paid for in hard currency, then I suppose they won't have to be declared as income.


That would be a bad assumption, IMO. Income is income and must be declared as income, whether it is in the local "currency" or not.

If you do professional work for someone and they pay you in benefits that can be expressed in a monetary value, then you will have to pay tax on that "income". You may be exempt from paying tax in certain cases (e.g. if it's just hobby income) but as a rule income must be declared, its value converted to the local currency.

One would have to speak to an accountant about this, but my laymen's opinion is that since the points have a fixed value, you could simply issue an invoice for each job, for the amount that the points would be worth. So, simply ignore the fact that the client calls it "points", and call it "money" in your bookkeeping system. Even if you can't submit the invoice (where would yoiu send it?), you should draw it up, for your paper trail.

I'm just not sure if you'd have to write up those jobs as "paid" or not, because... strictly speaking, you did get paid, but the money is held in escrow until you withdraw it. Similarly, when I get paid by PayPal, then the date that the payment comes in at PayPal is considered by me as the date on which I received the money, even if this is not reflected on my bank statement, because I withdraw my PayPal funds in larger amounts, to save on transaction fees.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:33
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'm glad... Aug 7, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Thayenga wrote:
I guess beads, livery stock and pelts no longer count as income. Or do they?


Darn, those good ol' times!



t.. have made you smile. Mission accomplished.


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