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How come Blue Board 5, rate USD 0.024
Thread poster: Merab Dekano

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 27, 2015

Nothing new, I know. And the word “peanuts” has already been worn out by many. Call it coconuts this time.

My question is very simple. How come that an agency who offered me a rate of USD 0.024/source word has a Blue Board rating of 5 in the last 12 months (and 4.8 overall)?

Comments like: “very nice PM”, “interesting projects”. And there are lots and lots of those “kind” comments. Are those comments all from volunteers? Do they all live in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, actually sharing sandwiches with penguins? Or eating the very penguins when hunger kicks in?

I find it very sad. Truly do not know the answer, though.


[Edited at 2015-10-27 18:03 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:59
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Because the Blueboard is not about rates Oct 27, 2015

The Blueboard is about wishing to work again with the agency which, in most cases, relates to the translator's perception of whether the agency is a reliable business partner or not.

To me, a high or low rate does not make you a good or bad business partner. If a translator accepts a low rate and the deal works out well in all respects (good communication, sensible requirements, payment on time...), the agency is perfectly respectable and honours its commitments.

A measure or hint of an agency's reliability as a business partner, and not their rates, is what I need to know when I deal with a new customer and that is the purpose of the Blueboard if you ask me.


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting Oct 27, 2015

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

The Blueboard is about wishing to work again with the agency which, in most cases, relates to the translator's perception of whether the agency is a reliable business partner or not.

To me, a high or low rate does not make you a good or bad business partner. If a translator accepts a low rate and the deal works out well in all respects (good communication, sensible requirements, payment on time...), the agency is perfectly respectable and honours its commitments.

A measure or hint of an agency's reliability as a business partner, and not their rates, is what I need to know when I deal with a new customer and that is the purpose of the Blueboard if you ask me.


Interesting opinion. And makes perfect sense. However, I was once told by a “fancy” consultant that salary/rates/money are “hygienic” factors. I opened my mouth wide and he realized I did not get it. Then he explained.

Imagine, you did not shower for three days in the row. Will you feel uncomfortable? I said yes. Will it matter to you what clothing you are wearing? I said no. Will it matter to you how nice people are to you or how nice the weather is to make you feel less uncomfortable on the part of not showering for three days? I said no. Well, that’s what hygienic factor is. If you shower ten times a day, it will not make you cleaner or more comfortable. If you do not shower for days, it will make you uncomfortable no matter what.

So, the point he was making is that even though the money is not the decisive factor and that it’s not like “the more, the better”, it has to be there, reasonably there, “there enough”, if you will. Otherwise, we feel uncomfortable. And I share that idea.

For me Blue Board should be the whole thing, rates included, to gauge the “fitness” of a prospective customer. Otherwise, it makes little sense, really.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:59
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Me too Oct 27, 2015

Merab Dekano wrote:

......I find it very sad. Truly do not know the answer, though.


Whatever the answer, and there are many possibilities, you should not take BlueBoard ratings at their face value. In case of doubt you can always contact some of the users in private and ask them why they gave those ratings.


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Should try Oct 27, 2015

Tom in London wrote:
In case of doubt you can always contact some of the users in private and ask them why they gave those ratings.


Thank you, Tom. makes perfect sense. I have not tried it yet, but for sure it will not harm.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:59
English to German
+ ...
When an agency is listed on the blueboard and other things Oct 28, 2015

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

The Blueboard is about wishing to work again with the agency which, in most cases, relates to the translator's perception of whether the agency is a reliable business partner or not.

To me, a high or low rate does not make you a good or bad business partner. If a translator accepts a low rate and the deal works out well in all respects (good communication, sensible requirements, payment on time...), the agency is perfectly respectable and honours its commitments.

A measure or hint of an agency's reliability as a business partner, and not their rates, is what I need to know when I deal with a new customer and that is the purpose of the Blueboard if you ask me.



When an agency is listed on the blueboard, it should have an excellent record. If not, anything bad you can imagine can and often will happen, including dismal rates.

If an agency that contacts me via email has a rating of 5s only and if we negotiate a professional rate (I consider anything lower than the standard rate on Proz.com's translation rate page as inadequate rates for agency clients!) I might ask them to pay after they receive the translation and invoice; but in most cases, new agencies pay up front. Once trust is established, I still expect payment upon delivery of translation and invoice. Any flexibility on my part (and it does happen) must be based on established trust.

If the rating on the blueboard is less than 5 (average rating), I will ask for payment in advance (total payment before I commence my work), but I usually don't have to worry about it because these agencies won't pay my rate anyway.

The only real thing I take away from the blueboard is that an agency should indeed be listed on it with excellent rating. If it isn't there at all, payment up front is required for the first and probably for all subsequent jobs. I would also think twice about working with them at all. If an agency has had several different blueboard profiles with any bad ratings, it's a no go.

If you say that you couldn't possibly be so restrictive when it comes to working with agencies, then you might however encounter many problems and often work for very low rates. Many of the assessments on the blueboard are most likely related to job postings. It's a Proz.com thing. Jobs posted here, commented here.

When you are as restrictive as I am, you slowly build an excellent clientele, and it's not at all easy. I could instead be busy like a bee and work for a pittance, but I choose not to because it's neither professional nor healthy. It's simply wrong. A mind is a terrible thing to waste! Excellent clients as well as all my professional colleagues know that.

So, if an agency with all 5s on the blueboard demands or proposes a rate of USD 0.024/word or even quite a few dollars higher, it says something about the posters, doesn't it?

All 5s is certainly a must for a professional agency on the blueboard, but it's not necessarily related (and hardly ever) to a decent rate. You can scan the translators who provide the ratings, and you will often understand why such a thing is possible.

I used to get quite upset about all this. But the less some agencies pay and some translators (even many) accept, the more I believe it works for us professionals. It doesn't take much for anyone to realize that they must be crazy to work for such ridiculous rates, no matter what the ratings say. Ergo, the lower the rate, the worse the output, the greater the scare of the end client. The great divide between amateurs and professionals will become ever clearer.

[Edited at 2015-10-28 00:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-10-28 01:14 GMT]


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good point Oct 28, 2015

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

So, if an agency with all 5s on the blueboard demands or proposes a rate of USD 0.024/word or even quite a few dollars higher, it says something about the posters, doesn't it?



Must be that; good point. I do not think the agency oferes 0.024 to some and 0.09 to others.

It’s a pity that you can find shabby translators for 0.024 and cannot find, say, a mechanic who can fix my car roof for, say, 10. No matter how hard I tried to shop around, they all ask for more than 300 (and subject to no deadlines). I was looking for an accountant; the same story, no accountants for 20 or 50 or even 100. There are professions and professions. We are, people, into an unlucky profession, I tell you (love it, though).

I am not complaining. Got my client base and will be enhancing it constantly. It’s just not fair. And I’m not saying “not fair” in a universal sense of natural law or anything; it’s not fair compared to other “metiers”. I wish we could stop it. But how? To defend someone in a court I need to be a member of a bar (which means I have to be a lawyer and pay fees to be member of that bar). What does it take to translate a text? No entry barriers, right? Well, a test may be indicative of the level, but beleive me or not some agencies do not even ask for the test, register and you're good to go to earn your 0.024.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:59
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
A few points Oct 28, 2015

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

The Blueboard is about wishing to work again with the agency which, in most cases, relates to the translator's perception of whether the agency is a reliable business partner or not.



If they pay peanuts, what is the use for them to be reliable?

Also I would never give a 5 to an agency who pays $0.024 per word, no matter how reliable it seems.

I guess many blue board entries are made by the linguists because the agency have requested them to do so. And some agencies are addicted or obsessed to ask for blue board entries.

If a small agency has 500 5 entries, I have a sufficient ground to conclude that this is not a right agency to work with. The reasoning is, they will never use you again after you have given a 5 to them, simply because they need to recruit new translators so that they could request new blue board entries. Very annoying.



[Edited at 2015-10-28 00:32 GMT]


 

M Pradeep Kumar  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 14:29
Member (2015)
English to Telugu
+ ...
My take Oct 28, 2015

Is it not paradoxical, that globalization, which is the source for creating so many translation requirements, is also the source for this low price trouble?

I work from India and a rate like 0.024$/word is not abnormal or unusual here. But, asking a rate like 0.09$/word is considered way too much and might be even looked at as a joke.

So, obviously when an agency based in India approaches a translator of European/US background, it will have the Indian price range in the background.

But, such a price will be definitely unfair for the Europe/US based translator as the living standards vary sharply.

So, I guess this has to be kept in mind, while judging agency rates.

And of course, we always have the right to reject a project, which we consider to be low-paying.

I can only, helplessly, empathize with Merab. We live in an unfair world.


 

peninsular  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 14:29
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Rates Oct 28, 2015

In my opinion, USD 0.024/source word is to put it in the Marxist jargon of old, 'exploitation of man by man'.
When the Rouble was quoting 35 to the US Dollar before the recent devaluation, a Russian translation agency was offering rates of 1-2 Roubles per word(Eng-Rus-Eng) around the same as mentioned in the comment.
Today it would be half of that when the rate is USD 1=65 Roubles
I suppose there would still be translators working at that rate. After all, the rates are a mutual arrangement between the agency and the translator dictated by diverse factors, and if the translator feels that the agency is good and he/she should work with them again, what is stopping them(the agencies) from appearing in the Blue list!

[Edited at 2015-10-28 06:13 GMT]


 

mariealpilles  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:59
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
Blue Board rating Oct 28, 2015

I understand the topic. I had a late payment issue (with a lot of silly excuses) from an agency and gave a negative comment on the Blue Board. Much later I received an e-mail from the managing director, not specifically addressed to me, but to all those who have worked with them at one point or another, because they had been banned form posting because of too many such issues. She was asking people to write good comments because she would like to post again and in a matter of minutes quite a number of people had complied. I informed the moderator because it is some sort of corruption in my opinion - give me a good mark, so I give you work... so I am not really surprised when I read your comment. some people are ready to do anything to get a job, not realising that working at such low rates, they can hardly be taken seriously!

 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:59
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Even worse: Oct 28, 2015

jyuan_us wrote:

I guess many blue board entries are made by the linguists because the agency have requested them to do so. And some agencies are addicted or obsessed to ask for blue board entries.

If a small agency has 500 5 entries, I have a sufficient ground to conclude that this is not a right agency to work with. The reasoning is, they will never use you again after you have given a 5 to them, simply because they need to recruit new translators so that they could request new blue board entries. Very annoying.


Even worse:
Some of these outsourcers are trying to bully you when you announce to grant them a lower entry than 5! This recently happened to me (and to another person who contacted me because of my BB entry) when I gave a Belgian agency just 1 (one) point because of constantly needed to be reminded for paying me and for all the uncourteous communication following. As soon as I gave him his 1 point he clearly deserved, he publically responded with false accusations about the allegedly poor quality I delivered. Fortunately his entry was deleted after I proposed so via proz.com, but I had to proof that there were no issues. I assume all other 5-point-posters (more than 10!) showing up in no time during my BB post were not only told to grant 5 points (accompanied by the promise "There is more work to come"), but were also scared to give him less than 5 points (and therefore perhaps didn´t attempt to underrate him or made no entry at all).


[Edited at 2015-10-28 07:08 GMT]


 

Monica Paolillo
Italy
Local time: 10:59
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
India Oct 28, 2015

Pradeep Kumar wrote:

So, obviously when an agency based in India approaches a translator of European/US background, it will have the Indian price range in the background.


Well, fair enough for India to have a different price range. To each their own, as they say. In that case, though, it would make better sense for Indian agencies to trade within their market and handle their own language combinations. They should not venture to approach European translators for the sake of taking on translation projects from and into European languages, don't you think? And that's when things become truly unfair!


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:59
Member (2014)
English to German
Business?! Oct 28, 2015

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

The Blueboard is about wishing to work again with the agency which, in most cases, relates to the translator's perception of whether the agency is a reliable business partner or not.

To me, a high or low rate does not make you a good or bad business partner. If a translator accepts a low rate and the deal works out well in all respects (good communication, sensible requirements, payment on time...), the agency is perfectly respectable and honours its commitments.

A measure or hint of an agency's reliability as a business partner, and not their rates, is what I need to know when I deal with a new customer and that is the purpose of the Blueboard if you ask me.



With all due respect, that kind of rate doesn't suggest that they are a 'business partner' at all. To me one can only run a business if they can make enough money to sustain themselves and the business.

For me such a rate would just about pay for electricity and Proz membership ... and a few potatoes so I don't starve maybe - but I wouldn't call that business, I would call it something very different.


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:59
Member (2014)
English to German
But where do these Indian projects originate from? Oct 28, 2015

Monica Paolillo wrote:

Pradeep Kumar wrote:

So, obviously when an agency based in India approaches a translator of European/US background, it will have the Indian price range in the background.


Well, fair enough for India to have a different price range. To each their own, as they say. In that case, though, it would make better sense for Indian agencies to trade within their market and handle their own language combinations. They should not venture to approach European translators for the sake of taking on translation projects from and into European languages, don't you think? And that's when things become truly unfair!


The question I ask myself would be though, where do those EN-DE, FR, IT ... projects come from. Probably not from within India anyway. So, is there a European client how thinks its cheaper from an Indian agency, and that Indian agency goes and finds cheap translators in Europe ... just to uphold the image?


 
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