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Asked to reduce rates for shorter payment times
Thread poster: Leah Morano

Leah Morano  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:37
Member (2016)
English
+ ...
Apr 3

Hi everyone,

I just received a group email from an agency that I work with quite often offering shorter payment times for a slightly reduced rate.

They are claiming that due to a merger they can now offer shorter payment times, but request a small reduction in rates as compensation. I am not entirely sure how much choice I have in the matter - will I get less work if I say no? - but it doesn't feel right to me.

Almost everything about working with this agency has been very positive to this point.
I suppose I am wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience, I'd be happy to hear.

Thanks.


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Eric S.
Taiwan
Local time: 04:37
Chinese to English
Well, Apr 3

For me, this would depend on two factors:

1. Do you feel comfortable working at that rate?
2. How important of a client is the agency?

If the rate is so low that accepting it makes you feel cheap or demoralized, I would advise you just say no - unless so much of your work comes from this one agency that you feel it will cripple your income.

After all, there is always the chance that they are just trying to get a lower rate out of you due to the new shorter payment policy - like they have to give you shorter payments either way so they're just trying to get an upside out of it.


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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Dutch to French
+ ...
what %? Apr 3

Leah Morano wrote:

slightly reduced rate.



What's the percentage? 1%, 5% or more?


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
They're taking the mickey Apr 3

What are interest rates? 2%?

So bringing payment down from 60 days to 30 days equates to a discount of less than 0.2%.

You may lose work if you say no, you may not; it depends on whether other translators stand firm.

I'd tell them to sling their hook, but that's not necessarily my advice.


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Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:37
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
My experience Apr 3

I was approached with the same question some years ago by an agency I work with on a regular basis. I politely declined and there has been no change what so ever in the amount of work or in their payment practices (they always pay on time like clockwork).

[Edited at 2017-04-03 08:59 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 22:37
English to Croatian
+ ...
Tricky. Apr 3

The problem is when someone asks for a discount, it is highly likely they will ask again.

It will much depend on how big a discount they are looking for. In my experience, it was always the agencies that already pay rates at the low end that looked for discounts.

Why don't you ask them that question - will you get less work if you say no? Your review of this agency was mostly a positive one, so I take you can ask them basic and logical questions freely?


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:37
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
I would maintain my rates Apr 3

Leah Morano wrote:
I am not entirely sure how much choice I have in the matter - will I get less work if I say no? - but it doesn't feel right to me.

You are the one with a choice choice in this matter.

I would not start giving discounts; it is a slippery slope. Provided you have no difficulties with cash flow (i.e. you are not short of money every month and struggling to make ends meet), you should not accede to requests like this.

As Chris says, the size of the discount they request from you is likely to be disproportionately larger than any benefit you gain from interest earned by that money being in your bank account.

Dan


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:37
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Apr 3

As our colleagues have already stated, it depends on your work load and how important this client is for you.

I looked at your rates, and am wondering how much reduction of your average rates you can afford. So you should ask whether you'd receive less work in case you refuse. Would this reduced work amount to what you will lose should you agree to the reduced rate? If the answer is yes, then why would you want to work more for less pay?


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:37
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Tell them same rate, and you can wait as before Apr 3

I would not put my rate down.
If you have been happy with their payment times up to now, then simply say you do not want to change.
I have been asked on several occasions to put my rates down, on various pretexts. I say no, regardless.

The only exception to this was when a very good agency client decided to sponsor a non-profit organisation. I was happy to help, as it is an organisation I support anyway. Otherwise no way.

When everyone else gets payRISES, I think it is perfectly reasonable at least to maintain our rates. End of story.


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Mona El-Shazly  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 22:37
Member (2016)
Arabic to English
+ ...
I don't know what will happen Apr 3

I don't know what will happen in your case, but I will tell you about what we face in similar cases in Egypt:
When we agree upon a specific rate at the beginning, and then ask for an increase after a period of time and gaining the confidence of the client, we face two possibilities:
1- The client will say Ok but in the meantime he will search for another translator at a less price, keeping my name for clients seeking for quality. In this case, the client says to himself: "why do I have to pay more as long as the work of the other translator is good for the end client?"
2- The client will say no and search for another translator at a lesser price .

In your case, I think if you say no, you will not get the quantity of projects you are used to, if you say yes the total price of every invoice will be unfair for you and this is proven.

So, I suggest that you accept their offer and search in the meantime for a client at your rates or higher.


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:37
French to German
+ ...
I am fine with your old payment terms! :) Apr 3

I'd tell them:

"I was always fine with your payment terms. No need to change that."

and stick with my regular rate.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 22:37
English to Croatian
+ ...
Yes, and also... Apr 3

Andrea Halbritter wrote:

I'd tell them:

"I was always fine with your payment terms. No need to change that."

and stick with my regular rate.


if they were a great client up to now, why does the OP have issues discussing this with them directly and openly? I'm sure they will have more information to provide on "will I be getting less jobs if this and that" than we do on this board. IMO, the only service provider not willing to discuss this directly with a client is an intimidated service provider.

I would also get requests such as "our client asked us to provide further discount on repetitions, bla bla, can you please confirm whether you agree?", to which I would reply "if you and your client already decided this for me, am I really in a position to choose and agree to anything"?


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:37
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I hope the takeover is not bad news Apr 3

I have seen good clients aken over by bigger groups, and the changes are not always improvements. I hope your client will still be the good client you know and enjoy working with - it is not always bad.

But watch out! Suddenly the friendly, cooperative little agency may want you to sign a huge NDA with punitive indemnity clauses attached. (Don't sign anything you are not happy with, and consult your own insurers about any unreasonable terms.)
They may insist that you use their online CAT or a different CAT from the one you normally use. (Check their CAT out and consider carefully before you agree.)

I get away with refusing, because there is always enough work - either other clients keep me busy or the original client goes along with my terms, at least for a while.

It is up to you to decide how much inconvenience you will put up with and how far you will accept the client's terms instead of your own. But don't give in without protesting. Translators are not employees, and we do NOT just have to let clients dictate how we work and what rates they will pay.

You may have to send a mail to one of the decision-makers higher up the system - the PMs cannot always do anything about terms and conditions, but don't let them start pushing you down a slope. Find better clients if all else fails!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
"Happy with old payment times!" Apr 3

I think that, in your situation, I would tell them that you are happy with the old payment terms at the usual rate. Their response would tell you whether paying faster was an excuse to pay less.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
My heart would sink, I have to say Apr 3

Christine Andersen wrote:
I have seen good clients aken over by bigger groups, and the changes are not always improvements. I hope your client will still be the good client you know and enjoy working with - it is not always bad.

But watch out! Suddenly the friendly, cooperative little agency may want you to sign a huge NDA with punitive indemnity clauses attached. (Don't sign anything you are not happy with, and consult your own insurers about any unreasonable terms.)
They may insist that you use their online CAT or a different CAT from the one you normally use. (Check their CAT out and consider carefully before you agree.)

It does sound quite possible that they're going over to "automated everything". One common consequence is that "Our valued translator, Leah" becomes "Resource N61/B" and you get to speak to a different PM for every job. And that is presumably a stepping stone to their "Resources" doing PEMT only, in the hope that one day they'll be able to dispense with these tiresome "Resources".

Translators are not employees, and we do NOT just have to let clients dictate how we work and what rates they will pay.

It simply cannot be stated too often.


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