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We get paid 170 Euros, but we pay you 16,50 Euros
Thread poster: Helga Lemiere

Helga Lemiere  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:47
Member (2009)
German to French
Feb 22, 2017

Dear colleagues,

I would like to know how you would react in a situation I was confronted this morning !

A tanslation agency in London (I work for them since 2010, last year they started to try to lower my tarifs) sent me a translation request with a screenshot of a Trados word count analysis, 0 new word, 431 words (50 - 74% Matches), 38 words (85 - 94% Matches) and 899 words (95 - 99% Matches), so a total word count of 1368 words. They attached another screenshot which should give me an idea of the content but, surprise, the screen-shot was the quotation for their customer in order to translate the document in several languages ! I saw several language pairs and the tarif varies between 147 and 170 Euros !

The project manager offers me 16,50 Euros since there are only repetitions and she was arguing that this is their flat rate !

Of course I didn't accept, but I am a little dissapointed they way I declined this offer (much too friendly) ! In fact I felt so offended that I was unable to react correctly (more sarcastic maybe ?), since for me this kind of tarif-dumping attitude is simply impossible to understand !

I would like to know how you would have reacted !


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 18:47
English to Croatian
+ ...
Mistake? Feb 22, 2017

Have they mistakenly sent you their quote to the direct client?

Yes, the margin seems big.

Then again, think how much you pay for 1 L of milk in your local store and think about the dairy farmer's price for this milk. Then calculate the difference and see how much you may be overpaying this milk.

You may also take a look from the direct client's perspective. They are overpaying this translation as I'm almost sure that it will be of poor quality for that money (16,50 Euros).


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:47
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Would you have accepted the flat rate of 16,50 Euros Feb 22, 2017

if you hadn't seen how much the agent charged its client?


[Edited at 2017-02-22 18:58 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Oh well, at least the rot has been stopped Feb 22, 2017

Helga Lemiere wrote:
Trados word count analysis, 0 new word, 431 words (50 - 74% Matches), 38 words (85 - 94% Matches) and 899 words (95 - 99% Matches), so a total word count of 1368 words.


The project manager offers me 16,50 Euros since there are only repetitions and she was arguing that this is their flat rate !

Hang on! How do they work that out? 431 words less than 75% - most of us wouldn't allow any discount at all for those. And none of the other 937 words are 100% matches so there will be some work to do on every segment, maybe lots. You should be getting, I don't know, at least EUR 25-50 for the low-fuzzies plus something for the high-fuzzies.

You're in France; they're in London; you translate from German to French: we aren't talking massive volumes of hobby translators slaving away for third-world rates. Well, we shouldn't be!

Of course I didn't accept, but I am a little dissapointed they way I declined this offer (much too friendly) ! In fact I felt so offended that I was unable to react correctly (more sarcastic maybe ?)

I'm not surprised you're disappointed at yourself, but to be honest it probably wouldn't have made any difference. They must be doing very nicely from those mark-ups; well enough to take any sarcasm and even direct insults on the chin. What would be very, very disappointing is if you were to ever accept another job from them, knowing what you do. Now you know a bit more about the market - or markets, as there are many - and are much more able to position yourself where you want to be. Maybe you ought to have thanked them for opening your eyes.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 18:47
English to Croatian
+ ...
I wouldn't. Feb 22, 2017

jyuan_us wrote:

if you hadn't seen how much the agent charged its client?


[Edited at 2017-02-22 18:58 GMT]


My minimum project fee is €50, therefore I wouldn't even consider it.


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Helga Lemiere  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:47
Member (2009)
German to French
TOPIC STARTER
Flat rates Feb 22, 2017

Dear jyuan_us

I would not have accepted this flat rate ! It's now a year I decline all of their requests whenever they try to low the tarif, but this 'mistake' was the drop that made the cup run over...I tried to make them realize several times that their way to handle tarifs does not value the translator who works for them. Also I found a forum on Internet where ancient project managers speak about the experiences they made in this agency, their working conditions and off-the-stage price politics !


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Repetitions and fuzzy matches Feb 22, 2017

Helga Lemiere wrote:
0 new words
431 words (50 - 74% Matches)
38 words (85 - 94% Matches)
899 words (95 - 99% Matches)
total 1368 words.

...since there are only repetitions.


Yes, I've noticed this shift in the industry terminology -- fuzzy matches are now called "repetitions" (sometimes also "fuzzy repetitions").


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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:47
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Do what I do Feb 22, 2017

Have your prices straight. I don't care how much an agency asks its client, as long as they pay me MY price. Although, with these price differences, it makes you wonder how much more (financial wise spoken) is out there for us.

[Edited at 2017-02-23 08:29 GMT]


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:47
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I'm glad you don't work for peanuts Feb 22, 2017

Helga Lemiere wrote:

Dear jyuan_us

I would not have accepted this flat rate ! It's now a year I decline all of their requests whenever they try to low the tarif, but this 'mistake' was the drop that made the cup run over...I tried to make them realize several times that their way to handle tarifs does not value the translator who works for them. Also I found a forum on Internet where ancient project managers speak about the experiences they made in this agency, their working conditions and off-the-stage price politics !


You may let the PM know your minimum charge (if any). You may just reject the job if an agreement cannot be made. It doesn't make much sense for you to be so annoyed at the difference between how much they had offered you and how much they had got paid by their client.


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Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:47
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
16,50 euros Feb 22, 2017

Au voleur!

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Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:47
Member (2008)
English to French
They're already low cost... Feb 23, 2017

At my regular rate, we're talking around 110EUR for the translation (including memory pricing - I do offer it, though not under 75% match - those are rubbish - I like high match projects I find them quite zen - they usually imply little to no research), add an hour of editing at 45EUR and then a 20minute QC at 15EUR and there's no room left for the agency's overhead, let alone profit. They're simply not operating in a high cost/high value environment. Their margins might be huge, but I'm guessing their turnover is too, both in terms of freelancers and clients... penny wise, pound foolish

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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 18:47
Member (2005)
English to German
"Fuzzy repetitions" Feb 23, 2017

I've noticed that until about two years ago, the industry default was to NOT check the option that applied CAT rates to "internal fuzzies", and this was not even discussed in rate agreements.

At some point in around 2015, it became the default to check this option, but NOT mention it to the translator, even if the same translator and the same agency had worked with the "earlier model" before. I took many translators months or years to notice this - even if you analyze your files to see if the agency's value is roughly correct, how often do you navigate to a different settings dialog to check if the parameters are the same as with previous projects for the same client?

As it is now, this point ("will the option for internal fuzzies be checked in analysis") needs to be included in every rate negotiation.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Jealous Feb 23, 2017

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I can be pretty mercenary in my pricing but I can only dream of that kind of mark-up. So, on the one hand, good on them. If you can find enough mugs and get away with it, why not?

On the other, these agencies are slowly but surely ****ing up the entire business for all of us, so given the chance I would happily line them all up and shoot them.

My advisers tell me that might backfire on me, so my solution, for now, is to work directly with customers who need/appreciate quality, but I do miss having an agency as a buffer. Just because I translated your financial statements doesn't mean I want to translate your stupid internal memos and software manuals!


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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
the PM is right Feb 23, 2017

Yes, it's a flat rate indeed

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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:47
English to German
+ ...
There's lots of crazy stuff going on in the translation world, so what to do? Feb 23, 2017

Helga Lemiere wrote:


I would like to know how you would have reacted !



Hello Helga,

I understand your outrage. It's simply sickening. So are many other aspects of this business. I have a few threads in the forum on some of the ridiculous attitudes in our business. But I came to the conclusion it's always better to strive to improve one's own situation, even if it means leaving the industry or complement one's income with other work, than to get mad about the laughable and unprofessional trends and people in the translation sector, including translators. I do express my opinion to unscrupulous or plain thick outsourcers sometimes when I feel like it. And there's nothing wrong with spreading the word about these exploitative practices.

So thank you for posting.

Take care!
Bernhard


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