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Another ridiculous rate story - why do they even bother?
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:20
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 11, 2016

I completed a typical online application for a translation company based in Florida, U.S.A.

I received a response today. Note: It turns out that they also have an office in Spain.

Unfortunately, I had to inform them that I would starve to death and could not even afford electricity or a "fast" internet connection at the rates they offer. But the question is, who can? They supposedly have an office (or at least a home) in Florida and they know where I live based on my application, so I don't understand why they even bother offering a rate that is impossible to accept.

In addition, you 1) have to pass a test, 2) you must use special software and 3) they want you to be available all day just in case a job comes in.

This is ridiculous especially in the United States where fast food workers and cashiers will soon be receiving $15.00 an hour.

"Hello!

Thank you for your email. We are using special software, which is a communication program between the project management and our translators. Without this software, you will not be able to work for us. Please note that you need to have a fast internet connection in order to use the program.

1. If you have applied as a translator, please download the software and register. You will get the possibility to download a test translation. Please upload this test translation again into [project management system] so we can analyse it. As soon as your test translation has been approved, you can log in with the username and password you have registered and receive all the job announcements in your language combination.

Please note that we offer a fixed rate for translations which is 0.03Euro per word and for proofreading 0.005 Euro per word.

Please note that you need to have a stable internet connection and if possible be online all day in order to receive the job announcements.

Kind regards"

[Edited at 2016-05-11 16:19 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 22:20
English to Croatian
+ ...
So typical. May 11, 2016

It is very common for agencies offering low rates to be unfavorable in other aspects too, so with low rates, there are other typical things coming along:

- complicated software they will force you to use
- complicated admin procedures (that they will ask you to do on their behalf)
- test translations
- source texts written in bad non-native English (to the point of misleading meanings)
- delayed payments terms (60, 90, 120 days)
- PMs who speak very bad English/rude or unprofessional PMs
- complicated online systems (for work or payment)
- typically they will ask you for further reductions or discounts (eg. CAT or other)
- unfavorable file types (eg. Excel strings with scattered context)

It all comes in a package, never expect the trouble to end with just a low rate if you are offered one.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:20
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
True May 11, 2016

I have also found this to be true:

- inability to communicate effectively with clients and/or understand language nuances/typical translation issues, such that in the event of a problem or customer complaint, all of the blame is placed on the translator.

Lingua 5B wrote:

It all comes in a package, never expect the trouble to end with just a low rate if you are offered one.


[Edited at 2016-05-11 12:37 GMT]


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Bruno Depascale  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:20
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
they want to grab the easy money May 11, 2016

I hope they will go bankruptcy soon

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:20
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Are they actually targeting professionals? May 11, 2016

LegalTransform wrote:
Please note that we offer a fixed rate for translations which is 0.03Euro per word and for proofreading 0.005 Euro per word.

Please note that you need to have a stable internet connection and if possible be online all day in order to receive the job announcements.

There are so many of these sites nowadays that take absolutely no interest in the subject area, pay peanuts, and offer nothing for their 50% or so apart from the provision of the platform. Surely no client with a serious need other than one of understanding a text in a foreign language would ever use one, would they? This must be for private individuals who fancy having their blog translated into some language "just for fun". Or expats who need to have some vague idea of what's going on around them.

On the odd occasion when I've been in direct communication with these platform owners, I've suggested they target students etc - people who would welcome a little pocket money - and avoid wasting the time of the professionals.


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philgoddard
United States
German to English
+ ...
I think... May 11, 2016

... the decimal point must be in the wrong place for that proofreading rate. EUR5 for 1,000 words?

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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:20
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You would never know this from their professional website. May 11, 2016

and they have very good reviews from clients on Google, etc.

I imagine some clients don't know what they are buying. At least until it's too late.

But how are customers (especially casual customers who don't need translations all the time) supposed to know what to do:
1) You can't tell a good company from a bad one by their store front (website).
2) You can't tell a company's real location anymore.
3) Online reviews can be faked.
4) You can't tell a good company by what they charge (how much is getting to the end translator).

These companies do great harm because they set an unrealistic price point in the minds of consumers. 500 sites offer translation for .05, why should I pay .30?

Anyone from the ATA care to comment on what the ATA is doing about this? Cricket..cricket..cricket.

We have mobs in the street, protesting, publicly demonstrating and striking for double wages to bag groceries, flip hamburgers and stock store shelves, but the organization that represents translators forbids us to even discuss what we charge or the rates we are offered.


[Edited at 2016-05-11 16:21 GMT]


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casey
United States
Local time: 16:20
Member
Japanese to English
Rates before tests May 11, 2016

Always confirm rates before taking tests. Whenever an agency contacts me, I always give them my rates up front and confirm that they are willing to pay them before I waste our time doing a test.

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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:20
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not uncommon May 11, 2016

A well-known agency, with offices worldwide, sometimes offers similar rates.

philgoddard wrote:

... the decimal point must be in the wrong place for that proofreading rate. EUR5 for 1,000 words?


[Edited at 2016-05-11 13:25 GMT]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:20
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well, they did confirm their rate before asking for a test. May 11, 2016

My issue is that they are clearly targeting the uninitiated - the person just starting out in the translation field or the person looking for some side money - who doesn't know that this rate is beyond insane and who doesn't understand the depth of the work they will have to do for this money.

Yet, when I told them that I have 23 years of experience, they still offered this rate to me.

I am clearly not the kind of translator they are seeking and silence would have been a more appropriate response. Or even better, just a kind note: sorry you have too much experience and knowledge for us, we are looking for people who don't know how hard translation can be and how much they could/should be earning.

casey wrote:

Always confirm rates before taking tests. Whenever an agency contacts me, I always give them my rates up front and confirm that they are willing to pay them before I waste our time doing a test.


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Bruno Depascale  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:20
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
confirming rates upfront is not enough May 11, 2016

casey wrote:

Always confirm rates before taking tests. Whenever an agency contacts me, I always give them my rates up front and confirm that they are willing to pay them before I waste our time doing a test.


Unfortunately, another big USA agency, (named Tr..Per..ct) confirmed my rates upfront, and then started sending me only job offers at ridiculous rates..
translators are the weak point in this business

see my post: http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/301160-huge_translation_company-page3.html#2548423

[Edited at 2016-05-11 13:43 GMT]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:20
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
May 11, 2016



[Edited at 2016-05-11 14:28 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:20
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
(Mass) Applications May 11, 2016

Paying any fixed rate for all types of translations is standing on shaky grounds anyway. The actual/final rate should be based on the subject field, quality of the source text, level of diffulty, etc. In any case, it should not be EUR 0.03 at all, especially sinde they will pay (if you're lucky) via PayPal, or to increase your loss, send you a USD check.

As an entrepreneur you place your bid or submit your quote, but applying for thus far non-existent jobs is what someone should do who seeks (in-house) employment. Usually, these mass applications (you don't know how many translators have already submitted their partially sensitive information) result in 1. an automated confirmation email of your registration, and 2. prolonged silence/inactivity, or 3. after you've completed the free test translation... see 2.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:20
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
They don't pay living rates because May 11, 2016

that's how they are now (allegedly) worth $600,000,000.00 dollars. And yet there are still people (brain damaged perhaps?) who continue to accept work from them at single-digit rates.


Bruno Depascale wrote:

casey wrote:

Always confirm rates before taking tests. Whenever an agency contacts me, I always give them my rates up front and confirm that they are willing to pay them before I waste our time doing a test.


Unfortunately, another big USA agency, (named Tr..Per..ct) confirmed my rates upfront, and then started sending me only job offers at ridiculous rates..
translators are the weak point in this business

see my post: http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/301160-huge_translation_company-page3.html#2548423


[Edited at 2016-05-11 17:22 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-05-11 17:22 GMT]


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Bruno Depascale  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:20
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
really?! May 11, 2016

LegalTransform wrote:

that's how they are now (allegedly) worth $600,000,000.00 dollars. And yet there are still people (brain damaged perhaps?) who continue to accept work from them at single-digit rates.


$600,000,000.00?? And they offered me 0,07 usd per source word in the pharmaceutical domain? Why the vast majority of USA company behave like this??!
In many years of work I have managed to find just 1 professional USA translation agency.
All the others offer peanuts.


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