how much business sense does this make?
Thread poster: Konstantin Kisin

Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:53
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
Jun 14, 2005

I received an email this morning (which was sent to other people as well) with the following offer:

Dear XXX,

We have a new client who is a huge international organization working in the field of YYY.

We expect a large amount of work in the coming months from Russian into English and have identified you as a potential candidate blablabla.

According to the volume of translation and revision work
expected, rates have been set as follow:

Translation: 0.055 ˆ/source word

Revision: 0.030 ˆ/source word

We are gathering a team of translators and reviewers
specially selected to work with us throughout this
long-lasting project until June 2006.


I responded saying that I am interested in the project and that I have actually been working for an agency who works with this international organisation, however I do not work for less than E0.09-0.10.

They replied saying that "unfortunately the rate you propose is almost what the end-client is paying us so we cannot increase it".

Now, having thought about it, they're gathering "a team of reviewers" - it's hardly to ensure consistency (to do that, you need only 1 person or maybe 2, preferably inhouse, not a horde of editors) but rather to correct the English.

I replied:

"Dear ZZZ,

I appreciate your situation, however you are prepared to pay a combined E0.09 for translation+editing. The only people who will work for 0.05 are non-native English speakers and therefore you will actually need a lot of editing and the quality will still be mediocre. Why not just pay a professional native English speaker the E0.09 for translation safe in the knowledge that your reputation will not be compromised? Seems like good business-sense to me."

Am I missing something or are they being outright stupid? I mean, if you're going to pay someone 0.055 to poorly translate a text and pay someone else 0.03 to edit it wouldn't it be a much better idea to pay someone 0.09 a get a high-quality product? The style of the poorly translated work will still be poor, unless the editor retranslates it.

I'm very interested in hearing your opinions on this.

[Edited at 2005-06-14 11:16]

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Local time: 14:53
Italian to English
+ ...
I hear you! Jun 14, 2005

I think we have all received e-mails of this type and we have all responded more or less in the same way!

What comes of it?
The Agencies go to the cheaper services every time! Well almost!

I have yet to get a "You're right, we'll pay you Eur X"
The day that occurs I'll be out buying up the Lotto tickets as I figure my luck will have changed forever!

It's a long time gripe and although we are right we are rarely the chosen translator for the job!

Stick with the agencies who know a good translation, not those that require outsourced skills to know if the work is professional or crappola!

Onwards and upwards!


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Kurt Porter  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:53
Russian to English
+ ...
Into Native Tounge Jun 14, 2005


This has been tossed around quite a bit here. I concur with your logic. Why have the work done by a non-native speaker? Are the editors going to be native speakers?

It's always about trying to make a buck, but we know they're sacrificing quality to do this, and that's a shame for the end client.

Bad ju-ju.

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PRAKAASH  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:23
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
That's what you are paid i.e. 0.05 US$ and here it goes................ Jun 14, 2005

Dear Prozian fellow,
As per a job advertisment on proz, I found a job paying off only 1 US$ per page..............!!!!
It's too low.......... to work out even! Besides that, he has asked translators to state their own rates.

+977 56 530738

Added part:

Thanks Mr. Ralf for reminding me about a proz rule, which got off my mind for a while. THANKS A LOT!

[Edited at 2005-06-14 14:56]

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:53
English to German
+ ...
Read the full text of the job posting... Jun 14, 2005

I found a job paying off only 1 US$ per page..............!!!!

The job posting asks providers to state their price.

Also, would you please edit your posting by taking out the explicit job reference - may I remind you that discussions of specific outsourcers are not permitted in the forum.

Thank you.

Best regards,

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Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 21:53
It's not worth it for the reviewers either! Jun 15, 2005

Yes, it sounds like they plan to make up for poor translations by having a editors and reviewers fix the problems.

However, committing to accept E.03 per word to review and edit text of unknown quality is far too little! Unless I'm on salary, I charge a variable page rate only after seeing the text I'm supposed to clean up. If it's clean and flows nicely, with minor errors in the English and maybe some typos, I charge a lot less than I do for badly written text.

Bad English (source or translation) requires intensive editing to make it coherent, and it's neither easy nor fast. As an example, I edited a 20-page engineering paper written by an exellent writer in about 2 hours ... similar documents written by less skilled writers could take 20 hours (native speakers or not, they couldn't write well).

It would make far more business sense to hire a couple of skilled editors and the best translators they could find ... it gets done faster and better, and perhaps costs less.

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how much business sense does this make?

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