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Working for next to nothing - do you?
Thread poster: Montefiore

Montefiore  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:59
English to Russian
+ ...
Sep 20, 2015

Would any of you work for such a low pay? If so, this site is undermining our profession by allowing such quotes to get through (see below).
___________________


Job type: Interpreting Job
Service required: Exhibition / tour interpreter (other)

Languages: English to Russian, Russian to English,

Job description:
Exhibition / tour interpreter

Budget and payment details:
Hide / show
$40.00 USD to $60.00 USD total





[Edited at 2015-09-22 19:06 GMT]


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 03:59
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Pricing system disturbance Sep 20, 2015

Montefiore wrote:

Would any of you work for such a low pay? If so, this site is undermining our profession by allowing such quotes to get through.



In my policy, I shall not destroy the pricing standard.
OR
I can work for charity or contribution if significance of the situation is realized.

Soonthon L.

[Edited at 2015-09-23 00:31 GMT]


 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:59
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Working for Peanuts Sep 20, 2015

The only way to refuse such low rates is to have nothing to do with the agency.
proz.com is a big-tent site and all agencies are permitted to post there.
After subscribing to proz.com for a while you get to know which agencies--and which countries --to avoid. The developing country agencies will find someone sooner or later. There are always translators in Calcutta, Minsk or Ouagadougou who are willing to work for next to nothing. Another note: agencies which are located in the West (NYC, London) but owned and managed by persons from developing countries will never pay professional rates and are best ignored. Translators need to wean themselves from agencies.


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:59
Member
Italian to English
Do something instead of complaining Sep 20, 2015

To be honest, I am getting a little tired of these posts. Bottom feeders exist, price fixing is illegal, also different standards of living and personal circumstances mean that there will always be people willing to work for these prices. Whether through ingenuity, willingness, need, or the simple fact that for some people the price is right.

Doesn't mean you have to agree, or accept these prices.

What I say is, instead of complaining, why not be proactive instead? And this goes for everyone tempted to write a post like yours. No-one forces you to work for these rates. And they are not representative of the industry as a whole. If the price is too low, find a price that's right. Specialise. Identify your USP and make sure people know about it. Stop working for agencies and start looking for direct clients instead. Start writing a blog, creating glossaries, give back to the community. Be useful.

To quote the Kevin Costner movie, "If you build it, they will come."


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:59
Seconded Sep 20, 2015

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

To be honest, I am getting a little tired of these posts. Bottom feeders exist, price fixing is illegal, also different standards of living and personal circumstances mean that there will always be people willing to work for these prices. Whether through ingenuity, willingness, need, or the simple fact that for some people the price is right.

Doesn't mean you have to agree, or accept these prices.

What I say is, instead of complaining, why not be proactive instead? And this goes for everyone tempted to write a post like yours. No-one forces you to work for these rates. And they are not representative of the industry as a whole. If the price is too low, find a price that's right. Specialise. Identify your USP and make sure people know about it. Stop working for agencies and start looking for direct clients instead. Start writing a blog, creating glossaries, give back to the community. Be useful.

To quote the Kevin Costner movie, "If you build it, they will come."



From time to time, I see similar posts on the forum complaining about low rates. Yes, I used to feel insulted seeing those ads, but nowadays I became immune to them. Just stay away from them and pretend that you don't see them because you don't want to have anything to do with them. It's a waste of your precious time and energy getting upset about this issue. Just consider them as not your cup of tea.You could use your time and energy working with decent and honest clients which would make you feel much much better.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:59
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Agreed Sep 20, 2015

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:
Identify your USP and make sure people know about it. Stop working for agencies and start looking for direct clients instead. Start writing a blog, creating glossaries, give back to the community. Be useful.

Completely agree. However, I would point out that there are good agencies out there as well. Direct clients may not be the ideal solution for every translators. I for one don't want to have to supply the level of handholding that direct clients (especially in my pair) might demand.

But the point, as you say, is to differentiate yourself. And not to take on work that doesn't pay.

Regards
Dan


 

Montefiore  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:59
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not a complaint - an observation Sep 20, 2015

There is no need to be abrasive, guys...
It was an innocent observation, no ad hominem, and look at all the replies telling me what to do.

If you are tired of such posts, don't read them or comment on them. Those who feel the same as I do about the quoted rates will write a more friendly post.


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:59
Member
Italian to English
Low rate postings Sep 20, 2015

Montefiore wrote:

Those who feel the same as I do about the quoted rates will write a more friendly post.


I doubt anyone who has commented here feels any affection for low rates. I certainly don't. But this is a free market, and ProZ has reiteratered its policy with regard to the Jobs Board time and time again. In response to the posts made on the topic time and time again.

If you expected everyone to agree with you, then you probably should have posted somewhere else.


 

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 22:59
English to German
+ ...
Necessary posts Sep 20, 2015

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

To be honest, I am getting a little tired of these posts. Bottom feeders exist, price fixing is illegal, also different standards of living and personal circumstances mean that there will always be people willing to work for these prices. Whether through ingenuity, willingness, need, or the simple fact that for some people the price is right.



I used to think like you. But I have come to believe that we need to flag this from time to time. Newcomers need to be aware of this, otherwise they might be convinced that 0.02 USD is a normal rate. There needs to be a constant effort in educating those that are new to the business and encourage them to become better negotiators.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Cut-off point Sep 20, 2015

Montefiore wrote:
This site [may be] undermining our profession by allowing such quotes to get through.


The problem with having a system to prevent such quotes from getting through is that you have to set a cut-off point, and no-one knows what that is. What rate would you consider the absolute lowest that would not undermine the profession?


 

Verlow Junior
Brazil
Local time: 17:59
Member (2014)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
It is a free market Sep 20, 2015

It is an old topic. Translators are based all around the world, living costs are different, and it is a free market. Service quality is also different. If you want better prices, fixing minimum prices on proz is not the way. People will always bid less so they can get the project. The best way to get better prices is to commit to specializing in areas and language pairs scarce for linguists. Right now, every ESL, bilingual person (thanks to Gengo and others) believe they are translators. Use this to your advantage somehow. Leave the easy stuff to the amauters and go iinto something way more difficult. Enterprise-up, take marketing and sales and digital marketing classes and hit the market with skills, project management, and put the low rate working people to work for you.

It is time to leave our comfort zone and go nuclear.

[Edited at 2015-09-20 22:37 GMT]


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:59
English to German
+ ...
Nothing wrong with being vocal on this very important topic Sep 20, 2015

Verlow Woglo Junior wrote:

It is an old topic. Translators are based all around the world, living costs are different, and it is a free market. Service quality is also different. If you want better prices, fixing minimum prices on proz is not the way. People will always bid less so they can get the project. The best way to get better prices is to commit to specializing in areas and language pairs scarce for linguists. Right now, every ESL, bilingual person (thanks to Gengo and others) believe they are translators. Use this to your advantage somehow. Leave the easy stuff to the amauters and go iinto something way more difficult. Enterprise-up, take marketing and sales and digital marketing classes and hit the market with skills, project management, and put the low rate working people to work for you.

It is time to leave our comfort zone and go nuclear.

[Edited at 2015-09-20 22:37 GMT]


Old topic? I disagree.

It's been around yes, but it's hotter than ever. Look at the audacity with which most job posting agencies and others demand ever-lower prices.

What skills, what enterprise-up, what marketing ...? These factors are most often already in place, have been for years. Don't make this seem like the people complaining are new to the profession or don't know what they're talking about.

Let's not stick our heads in the sand and let's not believe these low rate jobs don't impact the whole industry or that there aren't people who think they need to accept those jobs and then do a good job. Little do they know that they are exploited and most likely doomed to fail in their business.

Works quite well (still) for many agencies, be they middlemen of middlemen or not. Check out the number of jobs that go out from here.

I am happy for you if you're so fortunate to have established a great clientele but there are many good jobs out there that get turned into peanut jobs by people who use people and people who let themselves be used.

I hope this will end when the last straight-thinking person will realize that every time they accept a shi..y pittance for their hard work they've been had and that they don't do any of us or themselves any favor with it.

There's nothing wrong with speaking out against these bottom feeders, be they agencies or translators.
You just hope that they will crash their businesses into the ground before long when the only people left accepting such jobs are the ones who are bad and deliver rubbish. If not, they're going to make it most certainly more difficult for even you, dare I say.

Let's not patronize people for standing up for ethics and correct behavior in our profession and wanting to educate newcomers! New translators need to know that it doesn't pay to work for less than the rates published on Proz.com's translation rates page (see below). If they do, it's bad for the entire profession. I hope you see the big picture. Many other threads have been covering that point.

As far as I am concerned, get rid of the job board.

Proz.com's translation rates page:
http://search.proz.com/employers/rates

[Edited at 2015-09-21 01:32 GMT]


 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Empty post

Montefiore  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:59
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A simple respect for our profession Sep 21, 2015

[quote]Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

Montefiore wrote:

Would any of you work for such a low pay? If so, this site is undermining our profession by allowing such quotes to get through (see below).

Budget and payment details (for the entire day):
Hide / show
$40.00 USD to $60.00 USD total
Further payment details: 40USD half day. 60USD full day.


In my policy, I shall not destroy the pricing standard.
OR
I can work for charity or contribution if significance of the situation is realized.

Soonthon L.



Good for you, Soonthon. We are not charity organizations. And we do volunteer work when asked. Somehow, lawyers would not agree to work for 1/10th of their normal rate, if not less. And no one would dare ask them; and the pro bono lawyers charge their clients regular rates later.

[Edited at 2015-09-22 19:04 GMT]


 

Montefiore  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:59
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Keeping our standards high Sep 21, 2015

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro wrote:

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

To be honest, I am getting a little tired of these posts. Bottom feeders exist, price fixing is illegal, also different standards of living and personal circumstances mean that there will always be people willing to work for these prices. Whether through ingenuity, willingness, need, or the simple fact that for some people the price is right.



I used to think like you. But I have come to believe that we need to flag this from time to time. Newcomers need to be aware of this, otherwise they might be convinced that 0.02 USD is a normal rate. There needs to be a constant effort in educating those that are new to the business and encourage them to become better negotiators.


Absolutely. We have to stand up for ourselves, otherwise the standards will degrade (which they already have).


 
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