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Should this kind of message (asking for low rates) be reported somewhere?
Thread poster: Luca Tutino

Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:16
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
May 20

I do not understand why I am supposedly not allowed to write in a forum that I consider that one should not work for less than "e.g." €0,10/sw for the EN>IT Italian combination, but then I can receive messages from clients like the following:

"We are currently in the process of reaching out to linguists regarding certain Translation rates on their profile. This is in regards to your English to Italian Automotive & Transport specialism only

We would l
... See more
I do not understand why I am supposedly not allowed to write in a forum that I consider that one should not work for less than "e.g." €0,10/sw for the EN>IT Italian combination, but then I can receive messages from clients like the following:

"We are currently in the process of reaching out to linguists regarding certain Translation rates on their profile. This is in regards to your English to Italian Automotive & Transport specialism only

We would like to see whether you would contemplate lowering your rates in this area to maximise your work volume?

We are extremely happy with the work you provide and we would like to know if you are interested in receiving a higher volume of work? More and more linguists are joining xxx in this language combination with lower rate demands so your rates are less competitive.

How would you feel about lowering your rate to 43GBP per 1000 words to remain competitive?"

Should I report this message to some authority?

Proposing a low fee is acceptable to me. Saying that I should accept a specific rate if I want to "remain competitive" indipendently from the quality of my work sounds rather like price fixing to me.
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Gloria Teixeira
 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:16
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I don't think it is price fixing May 20

Luca Tutino wrote:

"How would you feel about lowering your rate to 43GBP per 1000 words to remain competitive?"

Should I report this message to some authority?

Proposing a low fee is acceptable to me. Saying that I should accept a specific rate if I want to "remain competitive" indipendently from the quality of my work sounds rather like price fixing to me.



I am not an expert, but I think price fixing would be if you got together with your colleagues who work for this agency and collectively decided that you would not work for a rate less than X, so the agency would have no choice but paying that rate. (You would need all of you to cooperate, and the chances of that happening - I suspect - are rather slim.)
The agency here is proposing a new rate for you, and you can accept or reject. It is negotiation, IMHO, not price fixing.


Josephine Cassar
Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
Dennis Capstick
Teresa Borges
Gareth Callagy
Khalid Sabili
Vanda Nissen
 

Eva Stoppa  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:16
Member
English to German
+ ...
Are you being forced to work with this agency? May 20

All joking aside. You can reply with "no" and explain that you are not willing to go beyond a rate of xxx.xx whichever currency. Where is the Problem? Can they give you a guarantee that you will receive a certain amount of Translation Jobs for this lower rate? Even if they can, do you want to work for less Money? You can just answer politely what your lowest rate is and then the agency can decide whether they accept it or stick to the growing number of translators who are willing to work for les... See more
All joking aside. You can reply with "no" and explain that you are not willing to go beyond a rate of xxx.xx whichever currency. Where is the Problem? Can they give you a guarantee that you will receive a certain amount of Translation Jobs for this lower rate? Even if they can, do you want to work for less Money? You can just answer politely what your lowest rate is and then the agency can decide whether they accept it or stick to the growing number of translators who are willing to work for less.Collapse


Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
Dennis Capstick
Teresa Borges
Sandra Bertolini
Gloria Teixeira
Olavo Nogueira
 

finnword1
United States
Local time: 17:16
English to Finnish
+ ...
No May 20

I don't think it is professional of you to report it to any "authority".

Dennis Capstick
Teresa Borges
Gloria Teixeira
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:16
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Why? May 20

There's no reason to report the agency's attempt to get more work done for less money, that is, to increase their profits.

Their mentioning of being "extremely happy" with your work is only to sugar-coat the bitter pill which they're hoping you will swallow. That is there prerogative. Therefore, you either accept their proposed, and I'd say in their mind fixed, rate, or you let them go so they can find cheaper translators.

[Edited at 2019-05-20 15:04 GMT]


Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
Robert Forstag
Teresa Borges
Christel Zipfel
Gareth Callagy
Christophe Delaunay
 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 15:16
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
No reason to report May 20

Luca Tutino wrote:


Should I report this message to some authority?

Proposing a low fee is acceptable to me. Saying that I should accept a specific rate if I want to "remain competitive" independently from the quality of my work sounds rather like price fixing to me.


I see no reason to report this. They are simply suggesting that a lower rate would make you more competitive, just like any other business. They are asking that you lower your rates or alternatively, accept more work for lower rates. If you want, you could make a counter proposal to meet them somewhere in the middle. But if you want to keep your current rate, it looks like you may lose this client.


Teresa Borges
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:16
Member (2018)
French to English
No May 20

Don't get me wrong, these people are bullying you and it's extremely unpleasant to be told you're good at your job so you can have the privilege of doing more work for less money. It's disheartening and it saps your motivation. But there's nothing illegal about it. In France it's illegal to reduce an employee's pay, but the freelancer has no such protection.

You could mention them on the Linked In naming and shaming group though.


Robert Forstag
Katalin Szilárd
Mirko Mainardi
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IanDhu
ahartje
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Content of forum posts May 20

Luca Tutino wrote:
I do not understand why I am supposedly not allowed to write in a forum that I consider that one should not work for less than "e.g." €0,10/sw for the EN>IT Italian combination

I don't know of anything that forbids you saying that in a forum. In fact a lot of people say similar things very frequently. But others might have different ideas of an appropriqate minimum. And ProZ.com won't forbid such jobs; they only forbid rates being explicitly set by agencies (although "budgets" can be mentioned in a particular way).

but then I can receive messages from clients like the following:

Well, I don't see that ProZ.com can do much to vet all private messages, and nor would I personally want them to. That would rather defeat the object of "private". However, if you receive a message that contains personal abuse, you can raise a support ticket. I did that once and staff took action.

Others have commented on the content of the message you received. It's sad to see agencies trying to dictate terms to freelancers in that sort of way. It shows a total lack of respect. But all you can do is withdraw from the collaboration -- in a professional and respectful message, or in a thoroughly disrespectful manner if it suits you better .


Teresa Borges
Ph_B
missdutch
Christine Andersen
Philip Lees
Dmytro Nehrii
 

Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:16
English to French
+ ...
Be flattered May 20

Luca Tutino wrote:
"We are extremely happy with the work you provide and we would like to know if you are interested in receiving a higher volume of work? More and more linguists are joining xxx in this language combination with lower rate demands so your rates are less competitive. How would you feel about lowering your rate to 43GBP per 1000 words to remain competitive?"


You have to read between the lines. This "offer" basically says "We love working with you : we don’t have to pay a cent on reviewing/editing and clients are delighted. If only we could make as much on you as we do on others. we would send you more work. How do you feel about helping us increasing our margin?"

So, there is nothing to report to anyone but to yourself: you’re good! It’s time you propect some direct clients. They won’t believe how little you charge compared to their agency! In the mean time, a nice reply will serve you best.

If, for some reason, you’re ready to offer some sort of "incentive", you may think of a regressive discount for fast payment (e.g. 2.5 % for 0-7 days, 2 % for 8-14 days from delivery) or a fixed or progressive discount after certain volumes, for example. This way, the "effort" is not only yours.


Teresa Borges
writeaway
Georgi Kovachev
Christophe Delaunay
Dmytro Nehrii
 

IanDhu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:16
Member (2005)
French to English


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Be flattered, but... May 20

... but not to the point of sacrificing either your margins, or your judgement. If you think it worthwhile cultivating this client, then make some small concessions, but don't unduly depress your own margins. I agree that you should be looking for direct clients as a continuing background activity, and you should avoid becoming economically dependent, particularly on a low-paying client. A warning signal is something like 20 per cent of revenue. High volumes look attractive, but are certain to b... See more
... but not to the point of sacrificing either your margins, or your judgement. If you think it worthwhile cultivating this client, then make some small concessions, but don't unduly depress your own margins. I agree that you should be looking for direct clients as a continuing background activity, and you should avoid becoming economically dependent, particularly on a low-paying client. A warning signal is something like 20 per cent of revenue. High volumes look attractive, but are certain to be laborious at low rates. If the rate a client offers is either uneconomic or ridiculously low, then don't be afraid to stand your ground.

HTH.

With kind regards,

Adam Warren (IanDhu - translator 41189).

[Edited at 2019-05-20 16:58 GMT]
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missdutch
 

Ph_B
France
Local time: 23:16
Member (Jan 2019)
French
+ ...
Don't underrate/undersell yourself. May 20

Germaine wrote:

This "offer" basically says "We love working with you : we don’t have to pay a cent on reviewing/editing and clients are delighted.

So, there is nothing to report to anyone but to yourself: you’re good! It’s time you prospected some direct clients. They won’t believe how little you charge compared to their agency!


Exactly.

If, for some reason, you’re ready to offer some sort of "incentive", you may think of a regressive discount... or a fixed or progressive discount after certain volumes, for example.


Beg to disagree.

In my experience, all that happy clients ask for is that you regularly supply them with good quality work and offer reliable advice if and when necessary. I have on occasion done very short translations or very briefly updated a previous translation for free to help them out, but that's a service, a commercial gesture, which is different from discounts linked to volume as part of our T&Cs. I would also add that computer-assisted translation notwithstanding, large volumes can be hard work in terms of consistency, grammar agreements, etc. Why get paid less?

Edited to say this may look off-topic. Apologies!



[Edited at 2019-05-20 17:23 GMT]


missdutch
Yvonne Gallagher
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:16
Member
English to French
Time to think May 20

Not much to add to colleagues' posts above, it all depends on how badly you need the agency's business. Accept and swallow your pride, negociate, ask sthg in return, stay put...

The agency wants a service they can't - or won't - afford. I face the same issue with supercars and use the same tactics. But my attempts to convince dealers to lower prices for me "because otherwise I'll buy a second-hand 2-stroke Trabant (no offence meant) and you will lose a deal" haven't worked yet.
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Not much to add to colleagues' posts above, it all depends on how badly you need the agency's business. Accept and swallow your pride, negociate, ask sthg in return, stay put...

The agency wants a service they can't - or won't - afford. I face the same issue with supercars and use the same tactics. But my attempts to convince dealers to lower prices for me "because otherwise I'll buy a second-hand 2-stroke Trabant (no offence meant) and you will lose a deal" haven't worked yet.

And for the record, I think that GBP43/1000 words is very low (read: it's an effing joke) in my language combination, unless the Brexit doubles or triples the GBP/EUR rate.

Philippe
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Robert Forstag
Darius Sciuka
Dmytro Nehrii
 

Tom Stevens
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:16
Chinese to English
+ ...
They still need you May 20

I'm sorry but this "re-negotiation" is a rather poor attempt on behalf of the translation agency.

If they had found another translator they would have started using them long ago, and probably wouldn't have told you either.

If you found a cheaper dry cleaner with an equivalent or better service, would you go to the old one and try to get a discount from them or just start using the new one?

Large companies who think they are the only show in town always t
... See more
I'm sorry but this "re-negotiation" is a rather poor attempt on behalf of the translation agency.

If they had found another translator they would have started using them long ago, and probably wouldn't have told you either.

If you found a cheaper dry cleaner with an equivalent or better service, would you go to the old one and try to get a discount from them or just start using the new one?

Large companies who think they are the only show in town always try to put downward pressure on their suppliers, be it large accountancy firms/supermarket chains/translation agencies. This is nothing new. Plus they usually pay their suppliers very late too.

Since the agency is the buyer in this instance they can dictate whatever rate they want to their suppliers to accept. The question is, will you accept it?

What is illegal is if translation agencies with significant market shares form a cartel to price fix their services to THEIR buyers.

Don't take it personally, but do have a standard canned response at hand. Just last week I had an agency try the same thing. It needn't be a negative experience. Here is a summary of the conversation:

"Agency: XX client is really happy with your work. Your rate is a bit high though, would you consider giving us a discount so we can continue to win more work from XX client?

Me: Hi XX, Many thanks for your email. Due to increasing client demand, I've actually had to increase my rate to £0.XX for new clients, but I'm happy to continue working at our existing rate of £0.YY.

Agency: Thanks so much for keeping the same rate for us!"

---

Point is, they (probably) still need you but I would start scouting for new clients who respect what you do for them and don't resort to these rather desperate penny-pinching attempts. Focus on small to medium boutique agencies and shy away from agencies who get too big for their boots.
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Michele Fauble
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IanDhu
Marianna de Oliveira
Yolanda Broad
Philippe Etienne
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
$0.05472 May 20

Hello Luca.

It's a free* market, so participants are free to offer, change/negotiate, or decline, if any.

Aren't you far too smart and serious, considering that most* global translators here are happy with $0.03-$0.07/word and "discounts"--what often makes less than $0.0125/w flat?

Don't worry for they will surely find a bunch of eager bottom-feeders from developing countries.


How come middlemen (agencies) happily charge their c
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Hello Luca.

It's a free* market, so participants are free to offer, change/negotiate, or decline, if any.

Aren't you far too smart and serious, considering that most* global translators here are happy with $0.03-$0.07/word and "discounts"--what often makes less than $0.0125/w flat?

Don't worry for they will surely find a bunch of eager bottom-feeders from developing countries.


How come middlemen (agencies) happily charge their clients $0.25-$0.50/word, paying their translators under $0.05/word and... Never mind. I also know my absolute bottom, ignoring unnecessary things.
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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:16
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for this good thread! May 20

Sorry about the clickbait rhetorical "reporting" question, and thanks to our great moderators for making it better! Of course, I am used to this kind of messages coming every now and then from this and a few other companies over the years - I just thought this time I could put this one to some good use. Thank you all very much for your mostly refreshing replies! I probably hoped to get just that. And to get the pulse of the situation here at proz.com.

I am just a little disappointed
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Sorry about the clickbait rhetorical "reporting" question, and thanks to our great moderators for making it better! Of course, I am used to this kind of messages coming every now and then from this and a few other companies over the years - I just thought this time I could put this one to some good use. Thank you all very much for your mostly refreshing replies! I probably hoped to get just that. And to get the pulse of the situation here at proz.com.

I am just a little disappointed that out of 10+ replies, as of now, not even one comes from an Italian colleague - which seems rather significant considering the numbers Italian replies normally make to job bids. But I am particularly happy for the great wording suggested by Tom - I think I am going to use it literally at this time - and will report it to you if there is any particular outcome, which I doubt.

Love you
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Gareth Callagy
Yolanda Broad
Elizabeth Tamblin
Tom Stevens
missdutch
 
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