Rate: 0.015USD/Chinese word, is this a joke?
Thread poster: YJ ZHANG

YJ ZHANG  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:26
English to Chinese
+ ...
Sep 25, 2014

Just came cross this posted job this morning. I couldn't believe this is the price offered for translating a bidding document from Chinese to English. If one translates 300 words per hour, which is normal and on average, we talk about $4.50/hour, a more than 50% reduction from the minimum wages of the most states in the United States. This is way beyond ridicules. I think any job offered below the US minimum wages should be considered as a violation of the US labor law.

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Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:26
Member (2013)
Chinese to English
Saw this as well Sep 25, 2014

Received 4 emails today about this one.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
But at 500 words... Sep 25, 2014

YJ ZHANG wrote:
If one translates 300 words per hour, which is normal and on average, we talk about $4.50/hour, a more than 50% reduction from the minimum wages of the most states in the United States.


Yet if you can manage 500 words per hour (which is what many people hereabouts do), then you're over the $7.25 limit, aren't you?


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YJ ZHANG  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:26
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Unresonable price is harmful to all including the owner of Proz Sep 25, 2014

Those ridiculous prices offered in this site are not just insulting to the freelancer here, I think it's also destructive to Proz's business. It may get a few more outsourcers posting jobs here, but it will discourage new member and keep its old member away from the business. In the end, it will be a lose-lose situation to all.

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Lawrence Zhang
Canada
Local time: 02:26
Member (2013)
English to Chinese
500 words per hour is not worth of a minimum wage Sep 25, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:

YJ ZHANG wrote:
If one translates 300 words per hour, which is normal and on average, we talk about $4.50/hour, a more than 50% reduction from the minimum wages of the most states in the United States.


Yet if you can manage 500 words per hour (which is what many people hereabouts do), then you're over the $7.25 limit, aren't you?


First of all, I doubt 500 words per hour can ensure a good quality of translation.
Secondly, even you can, 500 words per hour is indeed a hard working and highly professional job which should worth way more than a minimum wage.

just my 2 cents.


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Gianluigi Desogus, PhD  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:26
English to Italian
+ ...
min wage Sep 25, 2014

I have a hunch Samuel was being ironic...

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:26
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Minimum wages are... Sep 25, 2014

for skilled or unskilled blue-collar workers, for skilled or unskilled white-collar workers and for bankers (at about USD 10.000/month). Translators belong to neither "working class".

For this reason a translator can be offered anything from USD (or any other currency) 0.10 - 0.0001 (yes, 3 zeros after the dot). (Stated with a huge sigh). It seems that these "generous" outsourcers don't realize how much such a rate is telling industry professional about their company. After all, subtext does matter.

[Edited at 2014-09-25 22:35 GMT]


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Pierret Adrien  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 15:26
Chinese to French
+ ...
And they'll find someone, and they'll get a $0.015 delivery Sep 26, 2014

These ridiculous offers have been around since forever. It's up to everyone not to accept them... right?

YJ, you must already know the business of translating from/to Chinese can be... wild to say the least.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Irony, and "translators'" minimum hourly wage Sep 26, 2014

Gianluigi Desogus, PhD wrote:
I have a hunch Samuel was being ironic...


Yes, I apologise for not adding a smiley. I was just amused by the comparison between translator income and minimum wage.

Remember, per-word quoting is simply a method used by translators (and clients) to easily calculate the translator's hourly rate of a job.

If you charge USD 0.015 per word, then you're really saying to the client "I can translate so many words per hour that if you divide my hourly rate by the number of words that I translated, the result would be USD 0.015". If you look at it this way, then USD 0.015 isn't below the minimum wage at all -- it is above it, in fact. And if the translator can't make minimum wage on that rate, the it is the translator who is lying. This may not be a popular thought, but there.

On the flip-side, if a client offers USD 0.015 per word, then he's really saying "I'm looking for the type of translator who can [attempt to] translate so many words per hour that if he/she divides his hourly rate by the number of words that he translated, the result would be USD 0.015".

And what hourly rate should you be aiming for? Let's face it: we're nothing more than highly glorified specialised typists. The average hourly wage for general typists in the US is $12, and the top 10% of typists earn at least $20. That should be the absolute minimum hourly rate for translators (in fact, the average hourly wage for translators in the US is $19).

So... USD 0.015 per word... that's 1250 words per hour, if you want to get $20 per hour (or 800 words per hour, if you're satisfied with $12 an hour).


[Edited at 2014-09-26 07:01 GMT]


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Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:26
English to Serbian
+ ...
:P Sep 26, 2014



So... USD 0.015 per word... that's 1250 words per hour, if you want to get $20 per hour (or 800 words per hour, if you're satisfied with $12 an hour).


Well, there's a thought, hire a professional typist who should be able to do a 40-50 words per minute, then simply read the text as if it were a simultaneous translation. The quality won't be tops, but that price is saying they don't expect quality anyway.


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golf264  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
The market decides as always, this is hype-up Sep 27, 2014

This is probably unnecessary scaremongering. You can wind yourself up about anything.

The market determines what the prices are, and who is the best competitor. So the best competitor plays in those prices, but also delivers quality translations (knowledge and experience). Otherwise he would not remain for long in the industry it it was just about the price()s.

If it was true that a scab would kick most translator professionals out of work then one of two things was true:

1) the number of current professional translators would be extremely low

or

2) People would work for a hunger pay.


Neither one is true, and the profession continues, so there is nothing wrong.

Moreover, the labor market of a particular country has decisive influence on the cost of the work force. In a country like China people work dirt cheap, so you have to adjust to them. In some other language pairs we do not have that problem.


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Thanh Nguyen  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:26
Member (2011)
Vietnamese to English
+ ...
$20 per day for interpreting Sep 30, 2014

I was once offered by a French guy to interpret in an exhibition at the rate of USD20 per day! And I asked him: Did you forget a zero somewhere?

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