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Weighted rates - are these ones normal?
Thread poster: MalinFreelancer

MalinFreelancer  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:41
Member (2015)
Swedish to English
+ ...
May 1, 2015

Help a n00b out! I haven't worked with weighted rates before and I'm not sure how to tell if the client is reasonable or not. I mean, I know starting at $0.04 is ridiculous... but percentage-wise, is this something you'll come across? From their message on one of the freelancer sites I'm on (where, arguably, there are a lot of very much not so good clients):

"Translation Trados rate:
0-74% 0.04 USD per source word
75-84% 0.03 USD per source word
85-99% 0.009 USD per source word
100% and Repetition 0.003 USD per source word
Proofreading: 0.015 USD"

I have no information about what kind of documents they have for translation. I would maybe (maybe (probably not)) accept 0.04 for something super simple where no dictionaries or thinking is involved, but I feel like if you're using weighted rates it's more likely to be something technical, correct?

Best regards,
Malin


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 11:41
German to English
+ ...
some possible answers May 1, 2015

Well, to begin with, they're your customer, right? Why is a customer telling you what they should pay you? Shouldn't you be telling them your fee, that you calculated after examining their project?

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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:41
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
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That's it!!! May 1, 2015

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

Well, to begin with, they're your customer, right? Why is a customer telling you what they should pay you? Shouldn't you be telling them your fee, that you calculated after examining their project?



Clients send projects and ask fora quotes, but they are not supposed to determine how much and how you should charge them.

USD 0.04, at least in Brazil is nothing. It does not pay the hours, money, dedication on training sessions; it does not even pay the time spent on replying such offers.



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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:41
Member (2004)
English to German
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Some ideas May 1, 2015

Look, I am running an agency. With your background and in your language pair everything below USD 0.12/source word is slave work. There is no text that might be easy enough to translate for such a rate.

With regards to fuzzy matches, there is no "match" in matches below 85%, and therefore everything below 85% should be paid the full rate.
100 % matches and repetitions at about 10 % of the full rate is low, but not unseen in our industry.
About 1/3 of the full rate for proofreading sounds pretty normal.

Back to rates, - we would never give you a job if you would offer us a rate of USD 0.04/source word - we would consider you to be extremly unprofessional or a scammer. And discussing or even accepting rates before you have seen at least a sample of the text is in my opinion also not advisable.
The normal procedure - agency sends you the text - you tell them if you can handle it, how long it will take you and what your price is for the translation. There are more than 50 shades of grey possible in this process, but this is the general outline. Discussing a rate without knowing even the topic/specialty field is something we would also consider extremly unprofessional.



[Edited at 2015-05-01 04:23 GMT]


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:41
English to German
+ ...
Some advice May 1, 2015

MalinFreelancer wrote:

....
"Translation Trados rate:
0-74% 0.04 USD per source word
75-84% 0.03 USD per source word
85-99% 0.009 USD per source word
100% and Repetition 0.003 USD per source word
Proofreading: 0.015 USD" ....


Nothing normal whatsoever about these rates above.

You will get some suggestions on what fair discounts are but the camp of professional translators is certainly divided on the issue of discounts solely based on certain "repetitions" and the arbitrariness of the whole discount business.

The percentages of repetitions are based on an analysis of segments by a machine (Trados, etc.)
Don't let a machine dictate your rates.

I suggest that you arrive at a price, either per word (for all words, repeated or not) or a total price for the project by taking everything into account that you will have to do during the project. If you get a TM from your client, how good will it really be? You don't know until you use it. You might be surprised how bad TMs can be. How familiar are you with the specific field, the terminology?

Don't believe in matches based on the source texts only. Words, phrases, even whole sentence parts are not guaranteed to be the same "matches" in the target language.

When you use or build your own TM and if you provide it to the client, you're providing an extra service and product. And only this extra work will help you in the future to streamline projects based on that TM. But as you go on with an existing TM, you will expand it and possibly improve it even more. Extra work. Extra product.
Even though I am certain that you will not always get the project done faster because you are using a CAT tool (and there might be some unforeseen glitches, unknown technical problems that you might run into as a new user), if you do nevertheless, then why should you charge less for faster delivery or for being able to get more text translated per hour?

Many times, matches from existing TMs aren't so great. You will always have to look at what the CAT tool suggests, see what really matches and then change sentences around or at least weigh your options before you accept the machine's suggestions. Additional work can be involved.
Bottom line, if the rate for new words is already ridiculous, let's not even think about accepting it.


You might find the following discussions and information interesting:


one of my own comments regarding low rates:

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/284725-proz_publishing_the_ads_with_exploitative_rates-page6.html

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
"...There are two things that bother me. First, I am unconvinced that all these low jobs posted here simply go to people who do a terrible job. If that were the case, you'd see more complaints of clients about Proz.com.
Secondly, USD .04/word for German>English is not professional in any regard. But many people posting such jobs are certified Proz or simply members of Proz.com. What does all that say to newcomers as well as clients, and doesn't it possibly lend legitimacy to some of these bad practices, resulting in the placement of these jobs with people who try their best to do an accurate job? I surely hope not. But do you see what I mean? How many jobs have been placed again through proz.com (and yes, I know there's the directory. But there are certainly a lot of jobs placed through the job board.) I'd be more suspicious of these ongoings."


and one from a colleague:

http://www.proz.com/forum/sdl_trados_support/144982-standard_discounts_for_fuzzy_matches_100_matches_and_repetitions-page2.html

Derek Gill Franßen wrote:
Why discounts (or reductions or donations or whatever you want to call them)? Nov 12, 2009

/rant_on

You can add my voice to the choir asking why there should even be discounts (or reductions or donations or whatever you want to call them) for using new technologies, like CAT-tools:

I don't charge less because I use a computer (my father used to dictate his translations and my mother would type them);

I don't charge less because my DSL connection is quicker than dial-up, which is quicker than the post office;

I don't charge less because I use a spellchecker instead of paper dictionaries;

I don't charge less because I know how to copy&paste and can use the search function;

I don't charge less because I know more about the subject and can thus translate more quickly and more precisely.

And why should I? I learned, bought, and invested in all of that not so that others can earn more, but rather so that I can earn more (per hour of work I put into it). That is, after all, what investments are all about.

Unless the agencies want to start paying for all or even just part of these investments, i.e., for my schooling, equipment, and facilities, then they should just be happy that I offer all this service at no extra cost to them!

/rant_off

My advice: Don't perpetuate this ridiculous practice.



http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/282463-a_large_agencys_new_pricing_structure_for_translations_utilizing_cat_tools.html

http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/285205-poll_do_you_offer_discounts_for_repetitions.html


I used to also recommend the Proz.com wiki article on how to determine your rates, and it does contain some good information, but I cannot support the section on fuzzy discounts. Providing an extra and quicker service and product (although that's not necessarily the case anyway) and possibly increasing the volume of work you can turn over don't seem good enough reasons for me to expect translators to start giving these discounts. Think about it.
So be careful about the information provided. I do like the section that talks about figuring your rates in general, but even there, I highly recommend not working for rock bottom prices. Figuring that you can get more work for lower rates means hard work for highly skilled work. In the end, you'll burn out and still can't make enough money. Not right! But many job posters will make it seem like there's nothing wrong with these rates. And it's one of the drawbacks we face in this business.

See: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Determining_your_rates_and_fees_as_a_translator


[Edited at 2015-05-01 05:38 GMT]


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mariealpilles  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:41
Member (2014)
English to French
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And what else! May 1, 2015

Next some clients will not pay for words like the, and, is, are, have, etc... on the gounds that they are répétitions! I guess too many people still accept that otherwise clients would not even dream of offering such. As for proofreading (US$ 0.015), at that rate, they can do it themselves; it is not even worth starting the computer for that ridiculous rate. you might as well enjoy going for a walk rather than slaving to make a text sound right for such a rip off.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Malin May 1, 2015

MalinFreelancer wrote:
"Translation Trados rate:
0-74% 0.04 USD per source word
75-84% 0.03 USD per source word
85-99% 0.009 USD per source word
100% and Repetition 0.003 USD per source word
Proofreading: 0.015 USD"


Well, let's convert it first:

Translation 100%/rep : 7.5%
Translation 85-99% : 22.5%
Translation 75-84% : 75%
Translation 0-74% : 100%
Proofreading : 37.5%

From a strictly percentage-wise perspective, the rate scheme is not bad. The fact that they pay 75% for up to 84% matches is a positive thing. At that rate for 100% matches I don't think they can expect you to actually check whether the 100% match is correct, but only if the translation is appropriate for the context in which it is found (after all, their proofreading rate is 1/3 of the translation base rate).

However, from an amount-wise perspective, I would not be happy if the base rate is a mere USD 0.04. There is a lower limit at which the percentages no longer make sense, and I think 4c per word is past that point.

I feel like if you're using weighted rates it's more likely to be something technical, correct?


I accept weighted word rates for all types of texts and all types of translations.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Replies May 1, 2015

Maxi Schwarz wrote:
Well, to begin with, ... why is a customer telling you what they should pay you?


Paulinho Fonseca wrote:
Clients send projects and ask for quotes, but they are not supposed to determine how much and how you should charge them.


In the real world, it is the client who determines the price, for if the price is more than he's willig to pay, then the dealing simply stops, and when the dealing stops, then there is no client (for without clients, a translator is just a hobbyist).

==

Siegfried Armbruster wrote:
With regards to fuzzy matches, there is no "match" in matches below 85%, and therefore everything below 85% should be paid the full rate.


That is the ideal, yes, and it is always a pleasure to discover an agency that grasped or discovered that truth. Sadly, most agencies follow the advice that CAT tools give them, i.e. that 75-84% is a valid match category.

==

mariealpilles wrote:
Next some clients will not pay for words like the, and, is, are, have, etc... on the gounds that they are repetitions!


Doomsaying translators have been saying that for two decades, and it hasn't happened yet.


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dianaft  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:41
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Seen it all... May 1, 2015

mariealpilles wrote:
Next some clients will not pay for words like the, and, is, are, have, etc... on the gounds that they are repetitions!

Samuel Murray wrote:
Doomsaying translators have been saying that for two decades, and it hasn't happened yet.


I've come across a (direct) client who tried to argue that I shouldn't count abbreviations that aren't translated, names of organisations and the like. I challenged him to send me an amended version of the source text leaving out all the words he doesn't wish to pay for and explained that he would be free to insert them into the target text once I'm finished. After two days of silence, he came back saying he was beginning to understand my argument...

On a serious note though, I can understand the argument for fuzzies.
I prefer to simplify things: no charge for repetitions, full rate for fuzzies. The rationale is simple. I've had clients send me only those sections of a text which require translation, removing all the sections that have been translated before. This does not make my job easier! Of course, I don't have to accept additional segments, but the new sections are taken out of context. IMHO, an absolute nightmare.
Whether or not this results in higher or lower total earnings than a fuzzy grid is debatable, and it will likely depend on the type of text in question. As long as repetitions/fuzzies are counted ONLY against your own TM, I don't see a problem. Shared or agency TMs are a completely different game. It may be worth considering that an agency which proposes a rate of 0.04, and expects fuzzy discounts on top of that, may have a tendency to also do funny things like providing an MT-based TM to leverage those discounts.

Samuel Murray wrote:
Well, let's convert it first:

Translation 100%/rep : 7.5%
Translation 85-99% : 22.5%
Translation 75-84% : 75%
Translation 0-74% : 100%
Proofreading : 37.5%


Some have higher rates for higher match ranges and lower rates for lower match ranges. I would suggest running it through some of typical texts you translate and working out how it affects your earnings and then deciding if it would be worth your while working for that amount.


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:41
English to German
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Why not use Google Translate in this case? May 1, 2015

"I would maybe (maybe (probably not)) accept 0.04 for something super simple where NO dictionaries or THINKING IS INVOLVED..."

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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:41
English to German
+ ...
In the real world May 1, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:


In the real world, it is the client who determines the price, for if the price is more than he's willig to pay, then the dealing simply stops, and when the dealing stops, then there is no client (for without clients, a translator is just a hobbyist).


I respectfully disagree. But unfortunately, it seems a lot of people think that way.

So I would suggest:

In the real world, it must be the translator who determines the price, for if the price is too high for the client, then the dealing simply stops, and when the dealing stops, then the translator will not be exploited.

Not saying you can't negotiate and be flexible. But in the end, the translator must be in the driver's seat and know what is reasonable and what is not.


[Edited at 2015-05-01 15:26 GMT]


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:41
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Only if you use a CAT tool May 1, 2015

MalinFreelancer wrote:

I haven't worked with weighted rates before and I'm not sure how to tell if the client is reasonable or not.


I don't think anyone has mentioned the most important point of all:

If you don't use a CAT tool, you shouldn't offer or accept any weighted rates at all. You only get increased productivity with repetitive texts if you have the previous texts stored in a translation memory (TM) in a CAT tool. A 95% match in a client's TM is no use if you're doing the translation in Word.

More thoughts on weighted rates here:
http://signsandsymptomsoftranslation.com/2015/03/06/fuzzy-matches/


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 11:41
German to English
+ ...
responding to Samuel May 1, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:

Maxi Schwarz wrote:
Well, to begin with, ... why is a customer telling you what they should pay you?


Paulinho Fonseca wrote:
Clients send projects and ask for quotes, but they are not supposed to determine how much and how you should charge them.


In the real world, it is the client who determines the price, for if the price is more than he's willig to pay, then the dealing simply stops, and when the dealing stops, then there is no client (for without clients, a translator is just a hobbyist).

In the 25+ years that I have translated as a full time freelancer and sole wage earner, I have ALWAYS stated my fee. Occasionally someone contacts me via a portal /discussion forum having the wrong impression that it is their role to impose a fee - which is usually such a low rate that their going elsewhere is not a concern.

A hobbyist is someone who tries to do work for which he does not have proper training and/or sufficient knowledge. Someone with no work at all but is competent in his field, is a professional without work. A given client deciding to look elsewhere does not spell having no work. It makes room for the next client who does want professional work. The FEAR of being without work is what makes people accept these things, and it's not a fear that I want to foster.

My accountant tells me her fees. My dentist has her fees. The grocery store tells me how their apples cost. Why should this suddenly be different in translation?


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MalinFreelancer  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:41
Member (2015)
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone May 1, 2015

There are a lot of really good points here and I appreciate everyone chiming in with their views and experience. To be honest I'm starting to feel like weighted rates are only benefiting the client through the translator's increased efficiency, and not benefiting the translator themselves... As is, yay - we can get more product for the same amount of money! Not yay - I can translate more and earn more money in the same amount of time. No fair!

And just to clarify - I would not work for $0.04/word.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:41
English to Polish
+ ...
At 75-84%... May 4, 2015

... Giving discounts only makes sense if you're translating between American English and Canadian English.

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Weighted rates - are these ones normal?

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