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Would you pay a percentage of earnings for jobs from direct clients?
Thread poster: aabri

aabri
Local time: 15:33
Italian to English
Aug 27, 2018

I have the opportunity to work through a future platform that connects you to direct clients. Would you pay a percentage of what you earn through the platform to use it? What would you say is an acceptable amount if so?

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:33
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No Aug 27, 2018

There are dozens of such platforms who promise you the stars, rather lots of direct clients, or anything you might want to see on their homepages.

These platforms are like agencies, claiming a percentage for passing jobs on to translators, usually between 1/3 to 50% of the rate they charge their clients.

So you pay them for what? A vague chance to meet direct clients? To find work through them? Or, which is more likely, to fill their pouches with your money.

... See more
There are dozens of such platforms who promise you the stars, rather lots of direct clients, or anything you might want to see on their homepages.

These platforms are like agencies, claiming a percentage for passing jobs on to translators, usually between 1/3 to 50% of the rate they charge their clients.

So you pay them for what? A vague chance to meet direct clients? To find work through them? Or, which is more likely, to fill their pouches with your money.

So I assume that they have contacted you to see if they can get money from you for their future platform. Did they tell you when the platform will go live? Did they give you any information in regards to how well your business will flourish once you've signed up with them? Any information about established clients they might have? Or how they want you to pay for their "services"?

If they provided you with detailed and backed up information about your future business opportunities, then the question remains, do you have to pay them first in order to get jobs/meet direct clients through them, or do they take a percentage out of your rate/total amount (and probably also a percentage from their client) once their client pays them, that is, before they pay you, having secured their "commission" first? This sounds more like they intend to become your client, in a best case scenario.

[Edited at 2018-08-27 16:04 GMT]
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Josephine Cassar
Teresa Borges
Katalin Szilárd
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Natasha Ziada
Adam Jarczyk
Sheila Wilson
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
depends on %% Aug 27, 2018

There're rather many pay-per-use platforms, yet not so many pay-per-being-paid.

Frankly, I've never seen a real mediator--with legal and financial assistance (working as an escrow), where all participants are not only verified members, but also with references (guarantors) and proven records of success.

A few "free" platforms provide "free" tools (including
... See more
There're rather many pay-per-use platforms, yet not so many pay-per-being-paid.

Frankly, I've never seen a real mediator--with legal and financial assistance (working as an escrow), where all participants are not only verified members, but also with references (guarantors) and proven records of success.

A few "free" platforms provide "free" tools (including CAT), asking some 10% in return. Not much? Once I quickly counted up that at my usual rate for a year it would cost me more than the most expensive Trados license!

That's why the only very first and the most important question is: How are you different?--for translators. If you can guarantee decent rates, quality, and workload, then I would definitely consider such a proposal. However, the question #2: Why hasn't anybody done it before? and #3: Why would other refrain from copycating the know-how?
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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:33
Member (2018)
French to English
No Aug 27, 2018

I have seven direct clients out of 12, none of which were gained through such a website. I suggest leveraging your contacts on LinkedIn to find direct clients, and networking the old-fashioned way too. One of those direct clients I met at a party, so you see it can work.

Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Valérie Ourset
 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:33
German to English
Don't do it Aug 27, 2018

I suspect that such a broker would offer ridiculously low rates in its search for end clients. The net effect would be supporting the lowering of rates, a trend well underway in this industry. The other effect would be to constrain your ability to negotiate a rate with the direct client. You would do well establishing relationships with direct clients on your own.

There are a number of agencies that pay translators a reasonable rate. You're better off working for them rather than ge
... See more
I suspect that such a broker would offer ridiculously low rates in its search for end clients. The net effect would be supporting the lowering of rates, a trend well underway in this industry. The other effect would be to constrain your ability to negotiate a rate with the direct client. You would do well establishing relationships with direct clients on your own.

There are a number of agencies that pay translators a reasonable rate. You're better off working for them rather than getting into the situation you describe.
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Teresa Borges
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Thayenga
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IanDhu
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
10%, why not? Aug 27, 2018

aabri wrote:
I have the opportunity to work through a future platform that connects you to direct clients. Would you pay a percentage of what you earn through the platform to use it? What would you say is an acceptable amount if so?


Well, this wouldn't be much different from what happens when you work for an agency, except that agencies are a bit more flexible with their percentages. If an agency pays you 10c per word, then you can be certain that the end-client pays the agency 15c, 25c or even 35c. So, you're already "giving away" 30%, 50% or even 75% of what the end-client is paying.

In that light, paying 10% would be a bargain.


aabri
Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT
 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 16:33
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
It would be silly not to do it Aug 27, 2018

In fact, as Samuel pointed out, we are already doing it, automatically and without realizing it, whenever we work for an agency.

I wouldn't mind paying a 15% commission to whoever finds me a direct client, assuming that I negotiate directly with the client and send my invoices to them. Anybody wants to work for me as a sales agent, I am listening.

[Edited at 2018-08-28 09:08 GMT]


aabri
Robert Forstag
 

Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 11:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Speak for yourself! Aug 28, 2018

Daniel Frisano wrote:

In fact, ... we are already doing it.


I'm not (already selling myself short) - and I never will!


IanDhu
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:33
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Your points are seconded Aug 28, 2018

Kevin Fulton wrote:

I suspect that such a broker would offer ridiculously low rates in its search for end clients. The net effect would be supporting the lowering of rates, a trend well underway in this industry. The other effect would be to constrain your ability to negotiate a rate with the direct client. You would do well establishing relationships with direct clients on your own.

There are a number of agencies that pay translators a reasonable rate. You're better off working for them rather than getting into the situation you describe.


Not a lot of serious end clients would sign up with those platforms.

A question to ask yourself: would you use those platforms if you are an end client?


Josephine Cassar
Natasha Ziada
aabri
IanDhu
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:33
Member (2008)
Italian to English
No... Aug 28, 2018

Q. Would you pay a percentage of earnings for jobs from direct clients?
A. No.


B D Finch
 

Natasha Ziada  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 00:33
English to Dutch
+ ...
End client rates Aug 28, 2018

Samuel Murray wrote:



Well, this wouldn't be much different from what happens when you work for an agency, except that agencies are a bit more flexible with their percentages. If an agency pays you 10c per word, then you can be certain that the end-client pays the agency 15c, 25c or even 35c. So, you're already "giving away" 30%, 50% or even 75% of what the end-client is paying.

In that light, paying 10% would be a bargain.


Except that those clients wouldn't be paying 15c/word, let alone more. Clients are lured in with the promise of avoiding agency overhead costs so they expect to pay the 'net translator rate' of 10c/word (max). You'd lose out on two fronts - not having the benefits of working with an agency (yes, the good ones do offer benefits) but not getting direct client rates either.


 

Epameinondas Soufleros  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 17:33
Member (2008)
English to Greek
+ ...
Enough middle persons already Aug 28, 2018

Why shall we tolerate even more parasites in the translation supply chain? As if translation agencies with their ignorant* business persons were not enough… They are so reluctant to discuss quality issues with the end client; they just want to receive ‘something’; they only stare at Excel spreadsheets with charts or fancy intranet dashboards with all sorts of ‘analytics’. They are there only to take a piece of the pie. A piece that they do not deserve, because they are not experts in o... See more
Why shall we tolerate even more parasites in the translation supply chain? As if translation agencies with their ignorant* business persons were not enough… They are so reluctant to discuss quality issues with the end client; they just want to receive ‘something’; they only stare at Excel spreadsheets with charts or fancy intranet dashboards with all sorts of ‘analytics’. They are there only to take a piece of the pie. A piece that they do not deserve, because they are not experts in our profession, in our science, in our industry.

* ‘Ignorant’ here means a person without a degree in languages, linguistics, or translation.

PS: Of course there are exceptions to the rule, and I am lucky to work with some brilliant project managers, who are both focused on quality and knowledgeable about language and translation.

[Edited at 2018-08-28 10:28 GMT]
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Tina Colquhoun
 

Dominique Durand  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:33
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
commercial prospecting = yes, use of platform = no Aug 28, 2018

aabri wrote:
... Would you pay a percentage of what you earn through the platform to use it?


No, I would not pay anything to USE any platform.

If a sales person can find real clienst for me - I mean clients who are willing to pay for my translations services in my langages pairs and domains of expertise - then I would certainly consider paying a % to the agent when the job is secured.
This sort of thing exist in many businesses but rather based on personal contact between sales person and potential client. The sales agent has to be proactiv in looking for clients, this is called commercial prospecting.


SusieSmith
 

aabri
Local time: 15:33
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
That is essentially what it is Aug 28, 2018

nordiste wrote:

aabri wrote:
... Would you pay a percentage of what you earn through the platform to use it?


No, I would not pay anything to USE any platform.

If a sales person can find real clienst for me - I mean clients who are willing to pay for my translations services in my langages pairs and domains of expertise - then I would certainly consider paying a % to the agent when the job is secured.
This sort of thing exist in many businesses but rather based on personal contact between sales person and potential client. The sales agent has to be proactiv in looking for clients, this is called commercial prospecting.


That is essentially the proposal. You get jobs, you get paid and the platform takes a % of that money.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, but... Aug 28, 2018

aabri wrote:
Would you pay a percentage of what you earn through the platform to use it?

Yes, I agree: once I have earned my money, I would be willing to pay a small percentage as a fee to the platform.

(Having said that, in most platforms you pay to have the **chance** of getting work which ultimately never comes, and there is the trick: you pay even if you make no money at all.)


Thayenga
Robert Forstag
 
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