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To translation buyers: Stop your silly use of "best rate" (rant warning)
Thread poster: IrimiConsulting

IrimiConsulting  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:31
Member (2006)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Jan 31, 2014

I am so sick and tired of job posters asking for "best rate", "best word rate" or the like.

Job posters: Most of you turn to ProZ.com AFTER your pool of existing resources have been found to be busy or unwilling to accept the job posted. Most posted jobs -- at least in my language pairs -- are low paid and/or rush jobs.

So why the **** should we offer our best rates for these jobs? No, seriously. Why.Should.We.Offer.Our.Best.Rates?

You want my best rate? Sure, no problem! Just follow this easy program in 4 simple steps.

1) Offer your best jobs -- that is, contact us first with PERSONAL E-MAILS and not via ProZ.com member mass e-mails.
2) Offer decent payment terms (you know EXACTLY what this means, although some of you pretend not to).
3) Ask nicely -- because you are in a tight spot already and we know it.
4) Be willing to pay what it takes. You want it fast and with high quality? That won't be cheap. Cheap, fast or high quality -- you can have any two in any combination, but all three is sadly not possible. This should not come as a surprise.

If you fail this program, please go to http://translate.google.com/ for all your translation needs.


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Ezequiel Fernandez
Local time: 10:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't bother, just ignore them Jan 31, 2014

We all know what "best rates" really means - the lowest rate. This rate will only come from translators with very little or no experience at all in the industry, or maybe with a pressing need for cash. In any case, please don't even bother to reply to this kind of job.
It's a completely waste of time .

Regards
Larrú,


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:31
French to English
+ ...
It is a bit bizarre... Jan 31, 2014

It is a bit bizarre how this "best rate" thing seems to be catching on-- I can only assume there was some business school that taught people to use it as a psychological trick and it somehow caught on.

Other than that, I don't know quite what the logic would be. Maybe they genuinely think that when quoting for a job, we would say "it'll be 500 pounds if you want my best rate, or 1000 if you want my worst rate"...

On the plus side, when people mention "best rate", it acts as an advance warning that it will probably be a waste of time replying to the job ad...


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:31
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Also... Jan 31, 2014

see "competitive rate"...

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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:31
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
@ Giovanni Jan 31, 2014

You forgot to include one more word: this ought to read "most competitive rate", which is diametrically opposed to what I'd call my "commercially viable rate" (according to my own definition).

[edited for typo]

[Edited at 2014-01-31 14:45 GMT]


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Radian Yazynin  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:31
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
It is interesting that Jan 31, 2014

when (if) you ask such a job poster: "And what is YOUR best rate that you can afford yourself to pay for your job"? The answer will definitely be "Well, the best we can pay you ..." and they will indicate their highest (though still not attractive) rate.
The correct answer must be: "Oh, it is so high, could you lower it a bit?"

[Edited at 2014-01-31 13:50 GMT]


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:31
Member (2004)
English to Italian
ah yes... Jan 31, 2014

Steffen Walter wrote:

Your forgot to include one more word: this ought to read "most competitive rate", which is diametrically opposed to what I'd call my "commercially viable rate" (according to my own definition).


silly me!


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:31
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Good idea! Jan 31, 2014

Radian Yazynin wrote:

when (if) you ask such a job poster: "And what is YOUR best rate that you can afford yourself to pay for your job"? The answer will definitely be "Well, the best we can pay you ..." and they will indicate their highest (though still not attractive) rate.
The correct answer must be: "Oh, it is so high, could you lower it a bit?"

[Edited at 2014-01-31 13:50 GMT]


That's actually quite a good idea. I'll try that out next time and ask for their best rate.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:31
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Best is relative (isn't it in Swedish?) Jan 31, 2014

IrimiConsulting wrote:
I am so sick and tired of job posters asking for "best rate", "best word rate" or the like. ... So why should we offer our best rates for these jobs? No, seriously. Why.Should.We.Offer.Our.Best.Rates?


Because you must always offer your best rate. Always. Imagine how sad it would be if you deliberately offered a second-best rate.

But I suspect you don't realise that "best" is relative. Best depends on all the factors being taken into account. Best does not mean cheapest. Best means the best that you can offer at the time of offering it, after taking into account all variables and uncertainties. If a client asks for a "best rate" without giving much information that would help you to determine the most accurate rate, then obviously the "best rate" would have to include some safety margin in it that would raise it above the "cheapest rate". You can always lower your rate once the client informs you of something that would make the rate better (if he hasn't accepted the rate yet).

Don't get so upset. Saying "best rate" is just meaningless business talk. It's like writing "Yours truly" at the bottom of an e-mail, even though you don't really, realy mean it literally.


[Edited at 2014-01-31 14:49 GMT]


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IrimiConsulting  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:31
Member (2006)
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Nope Jan 31, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:
Because you must always offer your best rate. Always.

There are extremely few things I "must" do. Please provide your reasoning behind this statement or it has no credibility at all.

Samuel Murray wrote:
But I suspect you don't realise that "best" is relative.

Your suspicions are incorrect. My interpretation of "your best rate" is that I somehow should be tempted to offer lower rates because the offer/client should deserve something extra just for being there. I don't believe in it. just as I don't believe in treating a person differently just because he/she is a doctor/king/emperor/blue-collar or whatever.

I run a business and my goal is to make money, and so does the client. I feel sorry for all translation newbies who feel that someone is doing them a favor by offering a nugget of low-paying work, and using phrases like "best rate" is a sneaky way of doing this.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:31
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Must Jan 31, 2014

IrimiConsulting wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
Because you must always offer your best rate. Always.

There are extremely few things I "must" do. Please provide your reasoning behind this statement or it has no credibility at all.


1. The word "must" is a four-letter alternative to a long explanation that includes all the exceptions that pedants would be able to think of. You are a professional translator (or: you want to remain one). To be a professional translator, you "must" do certain things. Having an aversion to being told that you "must" do something will not take away the fact that you "must" do those things if you want to accomplish the thing that has that requirement as a requirement.

2. I did not realise that you would not agree with my statement that "you must" always offer your best rate. If you do (and it seems that you do), then you can simply ignore the first paragraph of my original reply, for the statements in the second and third paragraphs are not dependent on it. The credibility of the rest of my post does not depend on your acceptance of or agreement with the point I make in the first paragraph.

I feel sorry for all translation newbies who feel that someone is doing them a favor by offering a nugget of low-paying work, and using phrases like "best rate" is a sneaky way of doing this.


I would also feel sorry for translators who would think that "best rate" means "lower rate".

In the same way, I fould feel sorry for translators who think that clients hold them dearly because they address them as "Dear so-and-so", or for translators who think that the question "Can you tell me what your rate is" requires a yes/no answer, or for translators who have an almost uncontrollable urge to ask "how much" when a client says "thank you so much", or for translators who feel guilty for having been less kind in the past because the client now says "that is most kind of you". Some things need to be taken literally, e.g. deadlines. But not niceties.


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:31
English to German
+ ...
The best, the low, and the ugly Jan 31, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:

IrimiConsulting wrote:


I feel sorry for all translation newbies who feel that someone is doing them a favor by offering a nugget of low-paying work, and using phrases like "best rate" is a sneaky way of doing this.


I would also feel sorry for translators who would think that "best rate" means "lower rate".


Fact is we do know what outsourcers mean by it and want you to think of when they ask for the/your best rate or the/your most competitive rate.

It doesn't matter if you offer YOUR best rate as in: most fair and/or adequate rate.
That's not going to win you that job. But I don't recommend applying for a project when the poster or mailer asks for the/your best rate anyway.

Is it annoying? Yes it is. Does it matter? Yes, as long as translators flock to apply and sell themselves and their whole industry for cheap. Just my opinion.

B

[Edited at 2014-01-31 17:17 GMT]


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:31
Member (2008)
French to English
Most competitive Jan 31, 2014

Steffen Walter wrote:

You forgot to include one more word: this ought to read "most competitive rate", which is diametrically opposed to what I'd call my "commercially viable rate" (according to my own definition).



I'm curious to know what a "most competitive rate" is that we get asked for.

Presumably it's the one that gets the job, because it's the lowest price when competing with other bidders. So does that mean that a price that is merely "competitive" but not "most competitive" only gets part of the job? How does that compare with our "least competitive" rate? Since outsourcers sometimes ask for our "most competitive" rate, as if it's necessary for this particular job, I'd be interested to know under what circumstances they would be happy with our merely competitive or least competitive rates?

Just illustrating how inane it all is...


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:31
English to Polish
+ ...
... Jan 31, 2014

I believe one of the problems with the 'best rate', or rather 'the best rate' (the definite article is a vital part of the drama), is that it suggets to the translator – a living, feeling human being – that the best kind of reward for his work is the lowest. Imagine, 'please indicate your best salary,' in ads looking for salaried employees. How would that make people feel?

On the other hand, 'I'll give you my best prices,' is pretty normal, neutral and harmless when you're selling some goods or even services (the kind of services where you talk about 'prices' rather than 'rates'). Actually, if you, as the translator, were to say, 'I'll give you my best rates!,' to your customer, then that'd probably not make you feel so bad or give an appearance of dehumanising you and your job.

So problem 1 is the implication that the best means the lowest, which appears degrading in the context of a translator who is hired by people to translate their texts between languages.

Problem 2 is the why. Why should I give someone any sort of preferential treatment which:

1. he has done nothing specific to deserve;
2. is not actually reciprocating;
3. is not even making any effort to form a special relationship?

This appears presumptuous.

Finally, the use of 'best' for 'lowest' when everybody knows instantly what is meant is not quite in line with language correctness. It has the appearance of a semantic error.

Bottom line: please put more effort in those ads.

Actually, a little something by way of post-script: Translators don't benefit from economies of scale or scope. They don't necessarily earn more by charging less. They're bottlenecked by production limits, unlike agencies, who are mostly bottlenecked on the demand level. Agencies can make more by charging less and increasing the volume for it. The markup will be less in each instance, but there will be more opportunities to charge it, for a net gain. Unlike translators, except perhaps for translators who are less busy than they'd like to be.


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 08:31
Japanese to English
More honest? Jan 31, 2014

IrimiConsulting wrote:

I am so sick and tired of job posters asking for "best rate", "best word rate" or the like.

It will thrill you to know that many posters these days openly write "Preference will be given to the lowest rate," saving you the trouble of answering.


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