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Poll: When offered a large volume of work at a low rate, I
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:15
SITE STAFF
Aug 3, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When offered a large volume of work at a low rate, I".

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 08:15
English to French
+ ...
Other Aug 3, 2010

Never happens - my customers know my rates and I hardly ever take on new clients.

It often sounds like we are not all living in the same world...


 

Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 00:15
English to Dutch
+ ...
reject it Aug 3, 2010

Just like Interlangue said. It rarely happens as I'm not looking for new customers and my existing customers pay the rate that I charge. If a new customer doesn't want to pay the rate, he or she is free to find someone else who can and will do it for less. And this is not just for large volumes. My rate is my rate and I stick to that (well, for new customers, I tend to raise it).

Large volumes don't mean less work, on the contrary even. I think it's absolutely ridiculous to offer special discounts for large volumes.

[Edited at 2010-08-03 09:15 GMT]


 

Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 08:15
English to German
+ ...
Other Aug 3, 2010

I accept it, if delay is very convenient, so I can do the work when no better paid work is on hand. Otherwise, I reject.

 

Anhilgen  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:15
Member
English to German
+ ...
Couldn't agree more Aug 3, 2010

Michaël Temmerman wrote:

...
Large volumes don't mean less work, on the contrary even. I think it's absolutely ridiculous to offer special discounts for large volumes.

[Edited at 2010-08-03 09:15 GMT]



I completely agree with you, Michaël. If ever, I'd agree on a lower rate - e.g. as a favour for a colleague - for a small job that can be done in a couple of hours, but never for a large assignment that will bind my working capacity for quite a while and prevent me from accepting other job offers.


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:15
Member (2006)
German to English
reject it Aug 3, 2010

but I have nothing about giving the usual Trados analysis discounts seeing as they are fair for all parties, espcially in the technical branch.

 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 07:15
Dutch to English
+ ...
Reject it ... Aug 3, 2010

Simply because I'm able to, although I recognise not everyone is in the same fortunate position as I am, having one very strong language pair (NL>EN), a fallback position (PT>EN) and a specialisation (legal) that is always in demand.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Accept it willingly Aug 3, 2010

- especially if I need the money!
I usually offer discounts for large volume jobs anyway (I thought this was common practice, not just desperately grubbing for scraps as some other posters appear to think) - for example I'm now working on a 3-month project at about half my usual rate because:
a) it's a field I quite enjoy and can do easily;
b) I can fit it around any other work that comes in from my regular clients, who usually have less activity in the summer months;
c) the (new to me) agency that sent me it also sends me other, higher paying work, so I consider it a worthwhile sacrifice.

I think some of the claims that people make about their rates tend to over-egg the pudding - I struggle with the notion that someone can be charging twice my normal rate for what is basically the same service - and I do consider myself a (insert previously "moderated" Elizabethan epithet which rhymes with "muddy") good translator.
We are obviously not all divas.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:15
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Large volume not a reason to lower the rate Aug 3, 2010

I may have reasons for lowering my rates (interesting material, a cause I believe in, etc.), but volume isn't one of them.

By and large, the amount of effort doesn't change whether it's 50,000 words in one job or 5,000 words in 10 jobs - assuming that the 10 jobs are all at approximately the same level of difficulty. For me, quality control can take as long as the actual translation work, and that part doesn't change.

I don't particularly like large jobs: they are always lurking in the back of my mind and I have to plan carefully to make sure I have allowed enough time to finish them, since a burst of intense last-minute effort isn't an option.


 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 07:15
Dutch to English
+ ...
Nothing to do with being a diva (at least not here) Aug 3, 2010

neilmac wrote:

I think some of the claims that people make about their rates tend to over-egg the pudding - I struggle with the notion that someone can be charging twice my normal rate for what is basically the same service - and I do consider myself a (insert previously "moderated" Elizabethan epithet which rhymes with "muddy") good translator.
We are obviously not all divas.


I can't comment on what is twice your normal rate, neilmac, as you don't state it, but having dealt with many Portuguese and Spanish agencies for PT>EN jobs -- and having rejected most of their offers -- I can assure you that many Dutch and German agencies pay at least double for NL>EN jobs (and PT>EN, on the rare occasions they request it).

I don't struggle with the notion, because I'm faced with the reality of it, which probably explains why PT>EN accounts for less than 10% of my income.

Most of the posters so far work at Northern European rates, it's as simple as that.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:15
English to Portuguese
+ ...
... suggest they use free online machine translation Aug 3, 2010

Considering the jobs that I've been hired to fix/redo after they had been bluntly rejected by the end-client, I see that a translation agency going overboard on the cheap side is wasting money. Translation work done for half of the market average rate or less is generally just as bad as machine translation, or worse. At least MT assures errors consistency throughout the text. (The database doesn't 'learn' the right translation on the way, nor 'forgets' it afterwards, while some humans do it.)

If the end-client will accept either kind of 'junk' (MT or amateur work) and MT is free, all the money spent with the amateur will have been wasted. In case the end-client will not take that junk, and demands the translation to be entirely redone by a competent pro, the money paid to the amateur will have been equally wasted.

Consequently paying low rates for translation work is a stupid solution either way. Smart people should either pay what it's worth, or get it done for free with MT.


 

Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:15
German to English
+ ...
Why accept? Aug 3, 2010

I clicked 'Try to renegogiate...' meaning 'definitely renegotiate'.

If I manufactured - say - oil pumps for Ford, then the price would be negotiable, depending upon the volume. My costs would of course also be negotiable with my parts suppliers.

Benefits of scale, they call it.

However, I am a translator. If anything, I would consider suggesting a surcharge to cover for the eventuality of other regular customers going elsewhere. "You order is welcome, but could possibly cost me money! In business, they call that risk management.

"More business could follow", is another one they like to mention. Big deal.

We sell words, not pumps.


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:15
Flemish to English
+ ...
Reject it. Aug 3, 2010

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

Simply because I'm able to, although I recognise not everyone is in the same fortunate position as I am, having one very strong language pair (NL>EN), a fallback position (PT>EN) and a specialisation (legal) that is always in demand.




For the second time, we agreeicon_smile.gif.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other Aug 3, 2010

It depends on a lot of things.

In the spring I did a medium-large job free for someone I knew had no money and would not make a profit on the translation. He was not too fussy about the deadline and I had a quiet period. Besides, it was a very interesting subject area...
If it is a ´normal´outsourcer I try to negotiate a better rate. I rarely succeed, but it gives them something to think over and tell the end client about the costs of translation.

When agencies ask for a long-term agreement about high volumes of work at a rate that barely covers my tax and expenses, I say no. Normally I have plenty to do at reasonable rates and can spend any spare time on other things.

But it depends who the client is, how flexible the deadline is and how busy I am. Large volumes do NOT mean less work, so low rates just mean I earn less.


 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:15
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
It's worth doing in some extreme cases Aug 3, 2010

Four years ago I accepted a reduced rate for an ongoing project which I am still doing today. However, I did negotiate a higher rate than was initially offered. It was definitely worth doing: 30 to 60 thousand words per month since 2006 in my favourite field, and I have got so used to the material and have built up such a good TM that it works out better by the hour than working at my top rate on other projects.

On the whole though, I reject requests for volume discounts.

[Edited at 2010-08-03 12:02 GMT]


 
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