Not Overly Impressed
Thread poster: James Hodges

James Hodges  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 03:26
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Mar 13

Was contacted through the Proz mail system by a service provider regarding a possible job last week. At that time, they were offering 7 cents a word on a large volume project. On Monday they tried to negotiate with me for 3 cents a word for the job. Not really sure why they changed their mind. Let's just say that I was less than impressed.

Rather disappointed that such practices are allowed under the terms and conditions of the site.


 

Giray Türkmen  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 21:26
Member (2016)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Regular Business Practice Mar 13

Although it's not nice at all that they offered you a different price they initially mentioned, in my opinion, it's not wrong to negotiate the price and not really different than a translator negotiating a higher price than posted on a job. You can always keep your stance and create good reasons to base your negotiations upon.

I think the larger issue here is that the too-free nature of our market creates a sizeable amount of "cheaps" who offer to work half or even less the rate a professional translator of that field work for.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I doubt the ProZ.com T&C cover such things Mar 13

James Hodges wrote:
Was contacted through the Proz mail system by a service provider regarding a possible job last week. At that time, they were offering 7 cents a word on a large volume project. On Monday they tried to negotiate with me for 3 cents a word for the job. Not really sure why they changed their mind. Let's just say that I was less than impressed.

Rather disappointed that such practices are allowed under the terms and conditions of the site.

It is annoying to say the least. But I really don't think it's anything the site can legislate about. In your shoes, I would send a very short and curt response and make a note never to waste time on them again. I'm really surprised you aren't well used to this sort of practice by now.


 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:26
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Presumably ... Mar 13

... you didn't accept?

And, is Japanese-English such a fiercely competitive combination? The 7-cent rate seems pretty low to me, never mind 3.


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:26
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Site cannot be responsible for that Mar 13

James Hodges wrote:
Rather disappointed that such practices are allowed under the terms and conditions of the site.


ProZ.com provides a way for you to meet and communicate with potential customers. It cannot be held responsible for any negotiations practices. That's between you and your would-be customer.


 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:26
Member
English to Italian
"Guidelines" Mar 13

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

James Hodges wrote:
Rather disappointed that such practices are allowed under the terms and conditions of the site.


ProZ.com provides a way for you to meet and communicate with potential customers. It cannot be held responsible for any negotiations practices. That's between you and your would-be customer.


However, it would be nice if those "professional guidelines" actually meant something...


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:26
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Which specific guidelines? Mar 13

Mirko Mainardi wrote:
However, it would be nice if those "professional guidelines" actually meant something...


Which of those guidelines do you think this negotiation process violated?

I can see how "pay subcontractors at levels that make it possible to complete work in line with project requirements on an ongoing basis" is a crucial one. I won't work for low rates even if a customer is the sweetest person in the world (my mother-in-law doesn't count). However, what is a lucrative rate for one freelancer is pittance to another. I do believe it's all between the outsourcer and the translator. Involving ProZ.com in this process, much less blaming the site, is unlikely to do any good.


 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:26
Member
English to Italian
Blame vs. Disappointment Mar 13

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

Mirko Mainardi wrote:
However, it would be nice if those "professional guidelines" actually meant something...


Which of those guidelines do you think this negotiation process violated?

I can see how "pay subcontractors at levels that make it possible to complete work in line with project requirements on an ongoing basis" is a crucial one. I won't work for low rates even if a customer is the sweetest person in the world (my mother-in-law doesn't count). However, what is a lucrative rate for one freelancer is pittance to another.


Actually, even more than that: "reach agreement with counter-parties, before projects start, on terms such as: payment amount(s), currency, method and timing" and also "comply with agreed-upon terms". If a client offers X for a project, and I agree to that, and then they come back offering 1/2X for the same project, then they're not only going back on their word, but also unilaterally trashing that agreement.

Plus, nobody mentioned this yet, but if I'm contacted for a project and agree on rates and time-frame, then I'll obviously make room for that project in my schedule. If the client then comes back and says they want to pay less than half the rate we had agreed, I'll have not only lost that project, but also those I'll have refused in order to reserve time for it.

As for the subjectivity of rates, please let's not go there... Relativizing and trivializing arguments doesn't really help. At any rate, I HIGHLY DOUBT that .03 for JA>EN (and in Japan) is "a lucrative rate"... (BTW, community rates are .09 - .12)

I do believe it's all between the outsourcer and the translator. Involving ProZ.com in this process, much less blaming the site, is unlikely to do any good.


James only wrote he's "disappointed that such practices are allowed" here. That's different from blaming the site for that client's behavior. And I for one think that discussing and denouncing unprofessional practices (on a site that is supposedly aimed at professionals) can't definitely do any harm. Go figure...


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:26
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Not "here" Mar 13

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

James only wrote he's "disappointed that such practices are allowed" here. That's different from blaming the site for that client's behavior. And I for one think that discussing and denouncing unprofessional practices (on a site that is supposedly aimed at professionals) can't definitely do any harm. Go figure...


They're not allowed "here" because negotiations don't happen on ProZ.com. That's my only point, really. I sympathize with James. I also hate having my time wasted by outsourcers like that. I just don't see where ProZ.com comes into the picture (other than as a forum).

I mean, what would you have ProZ.com do? Publicly label such an outsourcer a liar who reneges on posted rates?

[Edited at 2018-03-13 19:08 GMT]


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 20:26
German to Serbian
+ ...
Sharing the story is not possible. Mar 13

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:
I mean, what would you have ProZ.com do? Publicly label such an outsourcer a liar who reneges on posted rates?

[Edited at 2018-03-13 19:08 GMT]


It'd be nice to be able to share the experience on Blue Board, to save others from wasting their time. But it's not allowed. Eg. I had the following experience with this outsourcer: then just brief up what happened. Not supported on ProZ.


 

James Hodges  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 03:26
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for All the Comments Mar 14

I haven't bothered sending a response to the company concerned because I think it would be a waste of time. Nevertheless, I will state again that this sort of "bait advertising" shouldn't be allowed because it both wastes our time and undercuts the importance of what we do as a profession.

 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:26
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
not overly impressed Mar 14

This is a common practice for agencies in India. Bait and switch. Which is why I have no truck with them.

 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Lol Mar 14

Michael Newton wrote:

This is a common practice for agencies in India. Bait and switch.


Chuckling at the idea of 7 cents a word for a premium language pair as "bait".

I'd see it as more of a big ****-off warning sign!


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 20:26
German to Serbian
+ ...
And China. Mar 14

Michael Newton wrote:

This is a common practice for agencies in India. Bait and switch. Which is why I have no truck with them.


Yes, agencies from India and China do this all the time.


 


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