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Reminder to all members: Don't undervalue yourself when quoting!
Thread poster: Dylan Jan Hartmann

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
May 10

Professional Solidarity - One of the general principles of the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT).

Today all members received an email reminding them that they are "highly skilled and educated professionals", and to take care in not undervaluing the services they provide.

This is the kind of reminder that EVERYONE in our industry needs! And I thought worth sharing here.

The email goes on to say that recently extremely low rates had been given for services and that providing low rates undervalues and undermines the profession as a whole! #AGREE

The AUSIT principle of professional solidarity states:

"Interpreters and translators respect and support their fellow professionals and they uphold the reputation and trustworthiness of the profession of interpreting and translating."

and that Practitioners have a loyalty to the profession that extends beyond their individual interest. They support and further the interests of the profession and their colleagues and offer each other assistance.

It's great to be a member of professional associations like these, when all too often our working independence may feel overwhelming. There are many professional associations around the world, have a look around!

When the translators and interpreters association has our back like this, I feel it's worth being a part of it.

Code of Ethics here: https://ausit.org/AUSIT/Documents/Code_Of_Ethics_Full.pdf


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:30
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Also May 10

I would also advise all translators to remember that without us the world would come to a stop. The service we provide is a vital component of international supply chains. Translations make it possible for goods and services to be traded worldwide. Without translations, those exchanges would be impossible. We should be aiming for the highest rates of pay, commensurate with those who work at the highest levels in international business.

 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
meden agan May 10

If it's not another 'chosen keymen with righteous codices and good intentions praying and altruistically saving the world', then it must be just a matter of common sense--a sanity, if you wish...
However, without which profession the world wouldn't come to a stop, not to mention who and why agrees to low rates, I wonder? But lame excuse.

Indeed, most translators are neither trend-makers, nor market-makers; they are not indispensable--just poor businessmen, accepting the will of the middlemen and others' views.


 

Natasha Ziada  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 01:30
English to Dutch
+ ...
Like x 2 May 10

I would like to like both commentsicon_smile.gif

 

The Misha
Local time: 11:30
Russian to English
+ ...
One man's solidarity... May 10

... is another man's illegal price collusion in violation of applicable antitrust law. What is even worse, it is not a very efficient way of promoting and growing one's business. Why? Because this is a market, or rather an infinite number of different markets for what in most cases amounts to unrelated products at different quality levels serving vastly different needs in different geographical areas. Would I like to be able to charge more for my services? Absolutely, but the market always puts the kibosh on what it is willing to bear at any particular moment in time and place. There is also the "inconvenient" issue of how good I am at doing my legwork to find very specific clients to whom the value of my particular set of very specific skills would be higher than to, say, those who mostly handle translations of birth certificates and vacuum cleaner manuals.

As to making the gears of international supply chains turn and preventing the world from stopping in its tracks, I think a little humility would be in order here. Whether we like it or not, I am sure the world would manage somehow, even if all of us disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow. In my particular case, Russian oligarchs would find it harder to sue each other in London. Heck, maybe some of them would even think twice before filing. Oh, the horror!


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:30
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Howling at the moon May 10

The Misha wrote:

... is another man's illegal price collusion in violation of applicable antitrust law. What is even worse, it is not a very efficient way of promoting and growing one's business. Why? Because this is a market, or rather an infinite number of different markets for what in most cases amounts to unrelated products at different quality levels serving vastly different needs in different geographical areas. Would I like to be able to charge more for my services? Absolutely, but the market always puts the kibosh on what it is willing to bear at any particular moment in time and place. There is also the "inconvenient" issue of how good I am at doing my legwork to find very specific clients to whom the value of my particular set of very specific skills would be higher than to, say, those who mostly handle translations of birth certificates and vacuum cleaner manuals.

As to making the gears of international supply chains turn and preventing the world from stopping in its tracks, I think a little humility would be in order here. Whether we like it or not, I am sure the world would manage somehow, even if all of us disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow. In my particular case, Russian oligarchs would find it harder to sue each other in London. Heck, maybe some of them would even think twice before filing. Oh, the horror!


While I am absolutely in sympathy with DJ and the Australian statement, I think that Misha's comments are a necessary corrective here. Currently, there are just too many translators willing to offer their services for low rates, too many clients who are mainly interested above all else in saving money, and too many agencies requiring low-rate translators in order to turn a maximum profit.

Given such an existing dynamic, appeals to translators to maintain high rates and uphold the dignity of the profession are like howling at the moon. But it is even worse than that: The fact of the matter is that many translators do not deserve high rates for the work they do, and many agencies do not deserve their big chunk of an ever-shrinking pie for acting as nothing more than middlemen.

What really needs to happen is a drastic reduction in the bloated number of translators and agencies. Once this great winnowing takes place, those translators who are left might well be able to realistically take the kind of stand reflected in the Australian statement.

Of course, reducing the number of translators and agencies is hardly in the interest of some of the powerful players in the translation world today.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:30
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Not going to happen May 10

Robert Forstag wrote:

What really needs to happen is a drastic reduction in the bloated number of translators and agencies. Once this great winnowing takes place


Yes, but that isn't going to happen. Another approach is necessary, and possible.


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 17:30
Member (2016)
English to German
Shrinking pie? May 10

Robert Forstag wrote:
... But it is even worse than that: The fact of the matter is that many translators do not deserve high rates for the work they do, and many agencies do not deserve their big chunk of an ever-shrinking pie for acting as nothing more than middlemen. ...


An ever-shrinking pie? My impression is that the translation market, as a whole, is growing. Since the amount of content is growing (strongly) every year, the translation demand is supposedly growing as well. Are there any numbers to be had for this? Where do you take your shrinking pie from?


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:30
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lower and lower market rates = Ever-shrinking pie May 10

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

Robert Forstag wrote:
... But it is even worse than that: The fact of the matter is that many translators do not deserve high rates for the work they do, and many agencies do not deserve their big chunk of an ever-shrinking pie for acting as nothing more than middlemen. ...


An ever-shrinking pie? My impression is that the translation market, as a whole, is growing. Since the amount of content is growing (strongly) every year, the translation demand is supposedly growing as well. Are there any numbers to be had for this? Where do you take your shrinking pie from?


Yes, the market for translation services is growing, but that market - or at least large segments of it - has become so competitive that the rates paid for those services have in many cases decreased over time, in both real and absolute terms.

What is left for the translator after agencies take their cut is often meager gruel indeed....


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:30
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Market May 10

Unlike some, I don't necessarily believe that markets always look for the lowest price.

If they did, nobody would buy a Porsche; everybody would buy the cheapest car available.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 17:30
German to Serbian
+ ...
Duh, the analogy to be revised. May 10

Tom in London wrote:

Unlike some, I don't necessarily believe that markets always look for the lowest price.

If they did, nobody would buy a Porsche; everybody would buy the cheapest car available.


How many people do you know who can afford a Porsche vs. a cheap car? There are many translators out there, and just a few clients who are looking to buy "Porsche". Besides, buying a Porsche is usually an emotionally driven purchasing decision which buying a translation is not.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:30
Member (2008)
Italian to English
OK it was a bad analogy May 10

Lingua 5B wrote:

... just a few clients who are looking to buy "Porsche"


Those are the clients I'm after.


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 17:30
Member (2016)
English to German
If the total market is growing, translators have negotiating power May 10

Robert Forstag wrote:

Yes, the market for translation services is growing, but that market - or at least large segments of it - has become so competitive that the rates paid for those services have in many cases decreased over time, in both real and absolute terms.

What is left for the translator after agencies take their cut is often meager gruel indeed....


There is a contradiction in there. When the market (demand) for translation services is growing, and the supply (translators) is not, translators should have enough negotiating power to keep rates up or even increase rates. And I believe that there are at least some market segments where this does happen too.

I think the Porsche analogy does not really work here. The upper market segment is not a luxury segment, it is a quality segment. There are clients out there who demand quality. Simply because they need quality for their own economic purposes, like selling products. And I also think that the quality market segment is growing overall.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:30
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Quality May 10

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

....they need quality for their own economic purposes, like selling products. And I also think that the quality market segment is growing overall.


When we laugh at very bad translations, such as this one:

uh0qu836owbqkkhijje1.jpg

- we're laughing at a cheap, poor-quality translation of the instructions for what is probably a cheap, poor-quality product.

There will always be cheap translators for poor-quality products. They're probably becoming cheaper and cheaper.

But not all products are cheap and poor quality. There are high quality products that require translations of the very highest quality.


 

Ingrid von den Driesch
Germany
Local time: 17:30
Member (May 2018)
English to German
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


I agree May 10

But colleages, I have great difficulties in finding only one job to start with...
All offers I have received so far were absolutely undervalued....I am graduated and have work experience....but nobody seams zu be interested in quality....


 
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