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Are these agencies joking?
Thread poster: Helena Grahn

Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:36
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Dec 11, 2015

Have been doing this for 10 years and never increased my fees. Lately, I have noticed that they keep on asking for discounts. What is going on?

 

Marina Diaponon
Cote D'ivoire
Local time: 01:36
English to French
Profit Dec 11, 2015

I tnink they just want use you to max before leaving you or they just want to make you leave...but this is just my opinion!

 

TranslateThis  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
no Dec 11, 2015

They are determined to increase profits and they know it is not too difficult to achieve. They just need to squeeze us like a lemon.

BTW, some of our colleagues claim that anyone with decent skills should be able to translate 2,000 words per hour. I am afraid such claims only make things worse.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:36
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Discounts & Co. Dec 11, 2015

The problem seems to be that many agencies demand CAT tool discounts for any type of "matches". The other reason is that there are still many translators who sell themselves short, e. g. accepting jobs for a per word rate of 0.01 of any curreny.

Whether you yield to their "request" for discounts or not is solely your decesion. After all, you are the vendor, not the buyer.icon_smile.gif


 

Marina Diaponon
Cote D'ivoire
Local time: 01:36
English to French
Really?! Dec 11, 2015

TranslateThis wrote:

They are determined to increase profits and they know it is not too difficult to achieve. They just need to squeeze us like a lemon.

BTW, some of our colleagues claim that anyone with decent skills should be able to translate 2,000 words per hour. I am afraid such claims only make things worse.

Are you sure 2000 words per hour is human? because i think it is not!


 

Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:36
Member
French to English
+ ...
Incentives for PMs to renegotiate our rates? Dec 11, 2015

In case you didn't see this fairly recent thread, one possible explanation may be that agencies are encouraging PMs to haggle with translators by offering them incentives/bonuses of some kind:

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/293728-bonuses_paid_to_pms_who_can_get_translators_to_accept_lower_rates.html


 

Akhil Kumar
India
Local time: 07:06
English to Panjabi
+ ...
They consider us as machines Dec 11, 2015

They consider us as machines. Work on their terms or get thrown out. These agencies will always focus on increasing their profit in whatever way it is possible. These are no different than contractors or corporates of other markets. Main problem is that our translator colleagues often agree to their terms, this only boosts agencies' confidence. If we all adhere to fair terms then they will not be able to treat us like a hornless cow.

 

Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:36
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That would explain Dec 11, 2015

Peter Shortall wrote:

In case you didn't see this fairly recent thread, one possible explanation may be that agencies are encouraging PMs to haggle with translators by offering them incentives/bonuses of some kind:

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/293728-bonuses_paid_to_pms_who_can_get_translators_to_accept_lower_rates.html


 

Natalie Soper  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:36
French to English
+ ...
Standard agency practice? Dec 11, 2015

When I worked in a training company it was standard practice for us to ask suppliers for a discount, because then we could show the client what a great deal they were getting by going through us.

Of course, just because the question is asked, doesn't meant that you should feel obligated to give one. I never felt offended when suppliers didn't offer a discount, and so I don't feel harsh now, as a translator, answering with a "sorry, no."


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:36
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Other suppliers are your worst enemy (in some cases) Dec 11, 2015

Thayenga wrote:
The problem seems to be that many agencies demand CAT tool discounts for any type of "matches". The other reason is that there are still many translators who sell themselves short, e. g. accepting jobs for a per word rate of 0.01 of any curreny.

AFAIC nowadays, other suppliers are our worst enemy:

1. "Desperate translators" who translate full-time, often longer hours than normal full-time, who are caught in the trap of trying to translate (or rather PEMT) more and more words each day, for rates that their "client" (aka employer who pays no sick leave, holidays, or anything else) is continually reducing, just to put food in front of their kids. They can't look for anything better as they simply don't have the time. They certainly don't produce quality work, but they are cheap as chips.
We need to carve a very deep wedge between them and the clients they serve on the one side (what I like to think of as the translation "industry"), and the translation "profession" on the other. There's no sitting astride those two markets.

2. "Cheaper translators" who honestly can work professionally for ultra-low rates because the cost of living where they are is so much lower than in the highly-developed economies. They're likely to do just as good a job, for a quarter of the price. I'm afraid that's a problem that we who live in the expensive countries just have to come to terms with.
We have to find ways to convince clients we have some sort of added value, or we have to find clients (normally but not always in our own parts of the world) willing to pay our rates.

3. "Hobby translators" who speak a couple of languages tolerably well - carers stuck at home; students with time on their hands; bored retirees; full-time workers who need a bit extra. They pay no taxes on the money and they're quite happy with just a very few euros per hour. They probably won't do a good job, but it may be just good enough for some clients, particularly the agencies.
Hopefully, the increasing amount of paperwork needed especially across borders (to prove you're not a participant in laundering drugs money, funding terrorism, etc) will dissuade them. But there always seem to be loopholes.


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:36
Member
English to French
An undervalued reply to agencies' demands Dec 11, 2015

Natalie Soper wrote:
..."sorry, no."

Translators don't seem to use it as much as they should.

Philippe


 

Jorgelina Millán  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Machine Translation Dec 11, 2015

MT services are being used by certain individuals who purport to be "professional translators", when in fact they haven't even taken a single course on translation and/or languages and are totally clueless. Hence, they are able to charge those ridiculously low rates mentioned above, but they are basically deceiving clients. The problem with this is that, as we all know, more often than not clients have absolutely no command of the target language and, therefore, they are unable to judge quality. This is simply disloyal competition and price dumping by fake translators (put simply, by impostors). Unfortunately, we can't do much about it. Clients will simply have to know better or suffer the consequences, if any.

On the other hand, some translation agencies are increasingly relying on PEMT in an attempt to keep pushing costs down. Of course their business logic is that if your prices are low, you will get more clients, although perhaps not returning clients because a portion of them will not be satisfied with the result.

And so certain agencies are trying to "impose" this business model on more experienced translators because, well, if they can get professionally trained and experienced translators to work for less money by using MT, they will be able to reduce the risk of losing clients. My impression is that this has triggered a new trend of cost reduction.

Now, you may say (and I agree) that you would take longer editing a machine-translated text than doing it yourself from scratch, but what if you had to take on PEMT jobs for whatever reason (you name it)... don't you think the resulting translation would be of better quality if it were post-edited by you, a savvy translator, than by an impostor?

Well, I guess that’s the reason why agencies are asking for more and more discounts, price reductions, etc. They are trying to implement a model that, for the time being, seems to be working well for them. As for the long run… we’ll see.


 

Álvaro Espantaleón  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:36
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Indeed Dec 11, 2015

TranslateThis wrote:

They are determined to increase profits and they know it is not too difficult to achieve. They just need to squeeze us like a lemon.

BTW, some of our colleagues claim that anyone with decent skills should be able to translate 2,000 words per hour. I am afraid such claims only make things worse.


In a thread I opened some time ago, so-called colleagues were quoting impressive daily outputs. They seemed very proud of it. However, as I see it, they are working more and more for less and less. The idea behind this is: ok, I will accept your low rate but in exchange I will work much faster (with the same quality as before, of course).


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:36
Member (2014)
English to German
Why? Dec 11, 2015

If I had the skill to translate very fast and produce high quality work then I would be aiming to increase my income and/or work fewer hours to spend more time with my family.

I wouldn't go and sell the same quality product for less and work more? This isn't how most businesses work?


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:36
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Good to have some real-world input Dec 11, 2015

Natalie Soper wrote:
When I worked in a training company it was standard practice for us to ask suppliers for a discount

Some translators seem to take this kind of negotiation personally, get offended and imagine that pressure on suppliers is unique to the translation industry. It isn't, it happens in every significant market.

I suspect many translators on ProZ lack the experience of Natalie and others who have worked in different markets. If you want the job badly enough, just say yes and take any old price. If you're not desperate, just say no. Simple enough!

Dan


 
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