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never accept ridiculous offers!
Thread poster: sabine de vos
Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:12
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Ridiculous rates May 18

Before considering a job, I usually perform due diligence by filtering out agencies from certain countries. For example, given the economic situation in Greece, would any translator in their right mind do business with an agency in this country? Nevertheless, I increasingly find that many of the agencies in Europe and North America (which I thought to be "safe") are managed by people from these same countries. Proz.com provides names of management of these agencies which I find to be invaluable and which helps me in the filtering process. It turns out that these same North-American and European-based agencies are trying to peddle their translations at the same ridiculous Third-World rates.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:12
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Putting in a good word for Greece May 19

Michael, I think it's a bit sweeping to deem all agencies in Greece to be unreliable. In recent years I've worked with two agencies in Greece. Both have been entirely pleasant to deal with and have always paid promptly.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:12
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Economics May 19

Whenever I receive a job offer and the client demands (?? who's the vendor?) that I accept a bottom-feeder rate of, let's say, EUR 0.05 - 0,07, I (sometimes) reply that I'm honored that they thought of me and my services, but that hopefully will be able to understand that I cannot possible afford to work for such a generous rate. You know, the economic situation and so on.

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Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:12
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
doing business with Greek agencies May 19

I usually get to Greece at least once a year (for Orthodox Easter). Greece is being subjected to tectonic changes. Respected newspapers
To Vima and Ta Nea stopped printing several months ago as they cannot afford to pay their workers. Eleftherotypia closed down several years ago. The mammoth Eleftheroudakis bookstore in central Athens lies empty: no one can afford to buy books. People are bartering their special talents/trades/crafts as they cannot buy things with euros that they do not have. Hospitals are begging for medical supplies from abroad as their traditional suppliers will not grant them credit. Thousands of Greek physicians and other professionals have emigrated to Germany and elsewhere as they cannot make a living in their native country. Unusually, several hundred young Greeks have moved to Istanbul as the prospects there are better. People in rural areas are making "soup" and "tea" from leaves and tree bark. And Greece is subjected to ever crueler austerity measures by Brussels. Life is Greece is no longer normal. The Greeks have lost their businesses, their livelihoods, their pensions and their homes and the streets are full of beggars. (it used to be that only Gypsies begged on the streets). Of course these are all anecdotal, but the anecdotes are many.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Burgers May 19

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Flipping burgers


I can't help thinking you're overlooking the independent burger-flipping segment here.

Any old van from the scrapyard and a hotplate off a skip, and Merv's Burger's is good to go.

Pop some avocado in the bun and you're talking plumber money.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:12
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Greece May 19

Michael,

I don't deny (or doubt) that Greece is suffering mightily as the result of the sanctions imposed on it by the EU. The situation for its ordinary citizens must be dire indeed. Probably, the EU should never have allowed Greece to join in the first place because its economy at the time did not really fulfil the Union's requirements.

I don't want to get into a political spat with you (or anyone!). I just wanted to put in a good word for the two Greek agencies I've recently worked with, which - initially to my own surprise - have been entirely businesslike and pleasant and have always paid me promptly as agreed.

Making sweeping statements suggesting that all Greek businesses are unreliable and to be avoided will surely only worsen that country's lamentable situation.


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Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:12
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
ridiculous offer May 19

Jenny, ennoia sou!

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Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:12
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
ridiculous offers May 19

Jenny, ennoia sou!

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:12
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I couldn't agree more! May 19

Jenny Forbes wrote:

Michael, I think it's a bit sweeping to deem all agencies in Greece to be unreliable. In recent years I've worked with two agencies in Greece. Both have been entirely pleasant to deal with and have always paid promptly.


I have been working with one Greek translation agency since 2011 and all their PMs are extremely pleasant and I always get paid like clockwork! Generalizations are dangerous...


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:12
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Don't worry? May 19

Hello again Michael,
Ennoia sou? I know hardly any Greek but, ever resourceful, I sought its meaning on line. It seems it's the title of a song and means "don't worry". The words of the song are along the lines of those "who's sorry now?" "you'll get what you deserve" type ditties. So I guess you're not offering me comfort (don't worry, it'll be all right) but rather warning me that I'll get my comeuppance one of these days. Yes, probably. Oh dear ...


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Andrejs Gorbunovs  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 06:12
Member (2013)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Cost of living & general economic situation May 19

To keep up with the traditions, I will mention the difference in cost of living and various economic situations in various countries

For example, translator A lives in Germany, translator B lives in Ukraine.
1) Both translators translate from English into German (A is native, B has learned in school/university, etc.);

2) translator A rate psw = 0.15 EUR; translator B rate psw = 0.03 EUR;

3) Average monthly wage in Germany 3745 EUR (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/germany/wages); in Ukraine 230 EUR (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/wages).

4) Translation agency requests a translation of 10 000 words:
Translator A quote: 1500 EUR
Translator B quote: 300 EUR

Voila, translator B has earned more than the average monthly salary in Ukraine with just a single assignment.

The translation agency has plenty of funds left (compared to the translator A quote) to hire a competent proofreader to deliver a quality translation to the client.

Everyone is happy in the end


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:12
English to German
+ ...
What about translator A?! May 19

Andrejs Gorbunovs wrote:

To keep up with the traditions, I will mention the difference in cost of living and various economic situations in various countries

For example, translator A lives in Germany, translator B lives in Ukraine.
1) Both translators translate from English into German (A is native, B has learned in school/university, etc.);

2) translator A rate psw = 0.15 EUR; translator B rate psw = 0.03 EUR;

3) Average monthly wage in Germany 3745 EUR (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/germany/wages); in Ukraine 230 EUR (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/wages).

4) Translation agency requests a translation of 10 000 words:
Translator A quote: 1500 EUR
Translator B quote: 300 EUR

Voila, translator B has earned more than the average monthly salary in Ukraine with just a single assignment.

The translation agency has plenty of funds left (compared to the translator A quote) to hire a competent proofreader to deliver a quality translation to the client.

Everyone is happy in the end


Translator A goes on and gets paid his rate somewhere else by professional, serious clients. If she/he can't get her/his rate anymore, she/he will surely move on and do something else. But for now, he/she's still working. If, in the end, only translators in the Ukraine remain, I am sure they'll be undercutting each other even further until they all work for free or are forced to find another job, maybe cleaning houses.

Many "people who translate" don't realize that they are in fact not just working where they are physically located but that they are working internationally, over the Internet, and can be reached from everywhere in the world and thus do business on the international translation services market. Take your blindfolds off and join other professionals or you will be taken advantage of for the rest of your "career."

[Edited at 2017-05-20 00:06 GMT]


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Andrejs Gorbunovs  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 06:12
Member (2013)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Advantages at every step May 19

In time translator B will be undercut either by a machine or a person from even poorer part of the world (lower living expenses, same/higher productivity). The cycle of life.

Besides, imagine, how much more privileged is translator B in his home country (he earned 300 EUR from 10 000 word translation project in a place with 230 EUR monthly average salary) than a person, who has to spend 40+ (commute & lunches included) hours per week in an office setting?

Translator B will never see him/her as "being taken advantage off", and that is something that translator A will never understand

Life is life.

[Edited at 2017-05-19 15:20 GMT]


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:12
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Test drive May 19

I'm in a bar in Bilbao. Never been here before. I gave the barman to understand that today it was only me, but explained that I'd be coming regularly with truckloads of thirsty patrons in the foreseeable future, and that I'd like a few glasses and maybe a pintxo or two in lieu of that at his most bestest price. When he demurred, I mentioned Greece, flipping burgers, cleaners and translators, and he's just told me to get the frig out. Actually, he wasn't even that polite. Voices and baseball bats were raised. What's wrong with these people?

[Edited at 2017-05-19 17:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-05-19 17:50 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 05:12
English to Croatian
+ ...
Adding some more info into your calculation... May 19

Andrejs Gorbunovs wrote:

To keep up with the traditions, I will mention the difference in cost of living and various economic situations in various countries

For example, translator A lives in Germany, translator B lives in Ukraine.
1) Both translators translate from English into German (A is native, B has learned in school/university, etc.);

2) translator A rate psw = 0.15 EUR; translator B rate psw = 0.03 EUR;

3) Average monthly wage in Germany 3745 EUR (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/germany/wages); in Ukraine 230 EUR (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/wages).

4) Translation agency requests a translation of 10 000 words:
Translator A quote: 1500 EUR
Translator B quote: 300 EUR

Voila, translator B has earned more than the average monthly salary in Ukraine with just a single assignment.

The translation agency has plenty of funds left (compared to the translator A quote) to hire a competent proofreader to deliver a quality translation to the client.

Everyone is happy in the end


Translator A Trados license: €600
Translator B Trados license: €100

Translator A ProZ Membership: €150
Translator B ProZ Membership: €50

This is how it should look, based on your average. But is it really?

You are saying translator B is having lower costs of living, but in reality they are paying the same amount for professional memberships, software, various conferences, etc. Paying the same for professional investment, and charging 5x less for their work. Or am I missing something?

[Edited at 2017-05-19 19:21 GMT]


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