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Bonuses paid to PMs who can get translators to accept lower rates
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:48
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 24, 2015

Blog article by Steve Vitek: https://patenttranslator.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-blue-ocean-the-red-ocean-and-the-yellow-ocean/

[Edited at 2015-10-24 17:07 GMT]


 

Dani Karuniawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:48
English to Indonesian
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Adjust Oct 24, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

Blog article by Steve Vitek: https://patenttranslator.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-blue-ocean-the-red-ocean-and-the-yellow-ocean/

[Edited at 2015-10-24 17:07 GMT]


Simply adjust time & quality to rate!

[Edited at 2015-10-24 18:59 GMT]


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:48
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Are you saying that we should do a... Oct 24, 2015

...bad job on purpose?

Everyone, even if they are only paying .08 a word, expects to get good work. They are delusional, but they expect it.

No customer says, they're only charging .08 a word, so I shouldn't expect much.

Besides, I've noticed that some of the big companies attempt to circumvent the problem of low pay = low quality by assigning other translators to verify or police work done by others. These reviews can then be exchanged for points, greater priority to receive paid job allocations or other fantastic bonus prizes..

Dani Karuniawan wrote:

Simply adjust time & quality to rate! ]


[Edited at 2015-10-25 14:11 GMT]


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:48
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Adjusting to rate is nigh on impossible anyway Oct 24, 2015

It's rather a moot point anyway. In my opinion translators have heavy perfectionist tendencies (of course I'm generalising here, but the term 'grammar nazi' didn't just appear out of thin air -- linguists can be so very pedantic)

It's only natural to produce your best work regardless of the rate. It's like that hard-to-reach itch that just bothers the hell out of you until you scratch it. Once you notice an error, you want to correct it so badly that it takes more effort to ignore it than fix it -- and as professional translators, our eyes are trained to spot the errors.

I personally would be more miserable 'adjusting' the quality to suit the rate than just not working at all and spending my time looking for better clientele.

It's exactly the same reason why I refuse to do jobs that ask me to ignore 100% matches and repetitions. I still have to read those matches to do a decent job translating around them, and the job satisfaction is just rock-bottom when the client refuses to pay you to do your job properly. Or God forbid you spot an error in those matches and then you have to force yourself to ignore it because the client should have to learn to face up to the consequences of not paying for these things to be looked at properly. Either way, not something I choose to participate in.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:48
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Never!! Oct 24, 2015

Dani Karuniawan wrote:
Simply adjust time & quality to rate!

I hope this was irony! If it was not, I completely disagree: I only have one level of quality. Working below that level would make me feel a fake and miserable inside. I always strive for the best quality I am able to produce and, if I feel the pay is not enough for that quality, I simply prefer not to take care of the job and do marketing work instead.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:48
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
And this is something new or unusual? Oct 24, 2015


Trying to wheedle, cajole, bully, browbeat, persuade, brainwash, argue, entice, railroad and inveigle suppliers into cutting their prices has been an integral part of trade for as long as trade itself has existed. So for several thousand years, I would guess.

You really think the ancient Celts, for example, didn't dicker over pricing?
"Cynwrig, look mate, you're a promising young hunter and I like working with you, but last month you charged me six pottery beads for that deer you caught. And today you're asking for another six beads for this deer. I just don't have the budget on this job.

See, once I've skinned and dressed this deer it's going over to deputy chief Vercingetorix's hut for a banquet, day after tomorrow. You know his daughter got betrothed, right? Well, he's a bit strapped for cash at the moment, what with all the gifts he had to give to her betrothed's family and that. He's not going to pay six beads plus my cut on top.

Why don't we compromise a bit. What say I pay you five beads today and in return I'll make sure I send a bit more business your way. How many deer do I buy from you a month? Two deer? Right, well if this goes well, I could up that to three deer a month, easy.

You know old Vercingetorix, he likes a regular booze-up and a roast deer with the lads, so accept five beads per deer and this could be an ongoing high-volume project for you. But seriously fella, six beads? Just can't afford it. Plenty of hunters out there will accept five beads for a deer these days."
Three thousand years later the basic dynamics of buying and selling haven't changed. The only thing about that blog post that surprises me is that people can be surprised or even offended that employees who generate profit for the company would be rewarded. Er, what did they expect would happen to such employees - tarring and feathering?

I sometimes wonder how many of us have ever worked outside the echo chamber of translation. There is a big, brash, muscular, sweaty, vigorous, competitive world out there and there's no law that says it can't be pushy, even with delicate little translators. If it pushes you, push it back and say no. Or capitulate. Up to you.

Regards
Dan

Standard disclaimer: I'm sure Steve Vitek is a lovely bloke etc. etc.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:48
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I don't want to get into bad habits! Oct 24, 2015

I am lazy by nature, but have spent a lifetime telling myself that if a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well.
If I still need convincing, I play it over in my mind in my Granny's voice, and it works as it used to when I was a child!

Don't think cheapskate clients are going to accept poor quality for low rates. They will complain loud and long, and then you will have all the hassle of calming them down, unpaid.

The understanding types of clients who pay well may query your work now and then, or even find a typo, but they know you are human and can usually be pacified fast with an apology and a corrected file.

I have difficulty ignoring errors too, although I make enough!
Delivering less than your best work simply doesn't pay. If you can't live on the client's rates, turn down the job and let them find someone else. I always let people know if their rate is too low - I have enough agencies to work for who pay reasonably, and I do not want the others to undercut them.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:48
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Besides... Oct 24, 2015

... I've noticed that some of the big companies attempt to circumvent the problem of low pay = low quality by assigning other translators to verify or police work done by others. These reviews can then be exchanged for points, greater priority to receive paid job allocations or other fantastic bonus prizes..

 

sailingshoes
Local time: 03:48
Spanish to English
Misreading the market Oct 25, 2015

I think the linked article pretty much sums up an irritating and increasingly common type of approach by certain agencies, who release droves of eager youngsters dressed up as PMs offering, say, a Clinical Trial Agreement that looks like 6,000 words, accompanied by a pretty little multi-coloured grille telling you that it's really only 1,300 words plus three hours of your 'post-editing' or maybe 'implementation' time.

The message sounds chirpy (hi there!), asks you how you're 'doing' today (with a retinue of winking, simpering emoticons). I usually ask these bright things why in the world I'd bother to accept this kind of offer when I find it hard to accept more than 30% of work offered me at 2/3 times their rate (i.e. my rates as stated in their own files) and often get back lectures on 'competitiveness' (i.e. cheapness), sometimes testily delivered with stilted power-talk cliches: "And just so we're reading from the same page...."

It's not unusual for more senior staff at the same agencies to contact me few days later (URGENT - PLEASE READ!!!!) asking me to 'have a look over' the catastrophic results of these bargain basement arrangements that have angered 'a very important client'. Can I fix the mess in two hours for 40 euro? Well, I don't know... I mean, have you every cut your hair with a nail scissors and rushed to hairdresser's to have the result 'fixed up' for the price of a tip?

The fact is that many of these agencies don't know how to run a business, how to read and price a market, or how to maintain the loyalty of customers or their most important human resource, their translators.

[Modificato alle 2015-10-25 14:13 GMT]


 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:48
Member (2007)
German to English
Bonuses paid to translators who can get PMs to offer higher rates Oct 25, 2015

> Bonuses paid to PMs who can get translators to accept lower rates

Bonuses paid to translators who can get PMs to offer higher rates


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:48
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Well put Oct 25, 2015

Richard Bartholomew wrote:
> Bonuses paid to PMs who can get translators to accept lower rates
Bonuses paid to translators who can get PMs to offer higher rates

Exactly so. A direct and immediate bonus for the translator! Yet do we get upset and write blog posts when translators succeed in extracting more money from clients by charging a higher rate?

Regards
Dan


 

Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:48
Member
French to English
+ ...
Have suspected this for a while Oct 25, 2015

For some while now, I have suspected that some agencies are offering PMs incentives to persuade translators to accept lower rates, because of how persistent some PMs are in trying to get me to knock off even tiny (sometimes ridiculously so) amounts off the total price of a job.

One long-standing client of mine recently adopted an annoying tactic whereby the PM "accidentally" misremembers my rate and asks me if I will accept a job (with a question along the lines of "GBP XXX is your rate, isn't it?" where XXX is about 5-10% lower than the rate I have charged them consistently for a long time). Then I correct them and remind them what my rate is, and then suddenly the whole job is thrown into doubt as the PM says that their budget won't stretch to that as they quoted a price to the client on the basis of the "misremembered" rate. This has happened twice now, and both times, I told them I don't haggle. The first time, they caved in; the second time, the PM said she would rather have assigned the job to me but her manager wouldn't let her assign it at my rate. And we're talking about an overall difference of less than GBP 5 off the total price for a small job. This from an agency that never used to take this kind of penny-pinching approach.

Another scenario I've come across, more than once, is where the PM asks me my rate, I tell them and then they say "will you accept (80% of my rate)?" I refuse. "Okay, how about (90% of my rate)? Meet me in the middle?"

Because some PMs can be so persistent in trying to haggle me down, I have started to wonder whether there's something in it for them, and it seems to be a practice that's spreading. So I'm not entirely surprised by what Steve says.

[Edited at 2015-10-25 21:01 GMT]


 

TranslateThis  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's spreading. Oct 26, 2015

Peter Shortall wrote:

One long-standing client of mine recently adopted an annoying tactic whereby the PM "accidentally" misremembers my rate and asks me if I will accept a job (with a question along the lines of "GBP XXX is your rate, isn't it?" where XXX is about 5-10% lower than the rate I have charged them consistently for a long time).


Annoying indeed. This year one of the agencies I work with adopted a similar strategy. Instead of paying my usual rate, now the budget is always 10-20% lower and they claim they can't afford to pay more. I politely remind them that this is below my standard rate and refuse to accept these jobs. Sometimes they are quite insistent but in the end their "budget situation" changes and my rate is suddenly acceptable again. Other times they presumably find someone cheaper. Which is fine. Except that they are not one of my favorite agencies anymore.

The interesting thing is that it all started after they hired a PM who used to work for one of the worst offenders. Ugh! The cancer is spreading.


 

Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 04:48
German to Turkish
+ ...
I would not be surprised Oct 26, 2015

if I hear about a course in a similar platform for PMs like Proz, with a title like "Effective ways of persuading your translators to happily accept lower rates" icon_biggrin.gif

 

TranslateThis  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Find better clients. Oct 26, 2015

Dan Lucas wrote:

there's no law that says it can't be pushy, even with delicate little translators. If it pushes you, push it back and say no. Or capitulate. Up to you.


Or find better clients.

I learned to negotiate pretty fast and I think I became pretty good at it, but I still detest having to haggle all the time, fifty times a day, so I am gradually firing the most aggressive agencies. As far as I am concerned, good PMs will check the rates in their database before contacting me. Is this really too much to ask? If my rates are too high, please refrain from spamming my inbox, thank you. I don't care how many times the PMs repeat their "tight budget" mantra. It won't change the fact that I am not interested. It is just a waste of time.

It is probably a cultural difference, Dan, but I find such behavior very annoying and, frankly, not very professional. Although I do understand that it's "just business" for some, I choose to work with agencies that don't waste my time like this.

I am guessing that you have not worked with any of the worst offenders - good for you! Once you are in their database, they pretty much keep bombarding you with their messages, so when you start to haggle you do just that all day long. You download hundreds of files, analyze them, negotiate, then you realize that your offer was declined. You spend all day doing this while earning nothing, unless you accept a lower rate. This is why many translators cave in. They end up accepting lower rates because they don't want to spend all day writing emails and downloading files. By the end of the day they are frustrated and ready to accept pretty much anything. And if they aren't very experienced, they start thinking "Someone is accepting all these jobs at such measly rates. This can only mean one thing: I am too expensive. I'd better slash my rates if I want to make any money"

[Edited at 2015-10-26 05:29 GMT]


 
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