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Poll: Have you ever been asked for a discount because the text was "easy"?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:58
SITE STAFF
Oct 26, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever been asked for a discount because the text was "easy"?".

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Marc Cordes  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:58
English to German
+ ...
Ridiculous! Oct 26, 2011

IMHO this is another way for a few bad apples to cut costs and push down rates. It is similar to the "your rates will depend on the quality of the sample you send in" approach which is as unfortunate as the one in question. I got the later one a few days ago from a chinese agency. I told them that I might consider doing such a "sample" in the future but I strongly doubt that this "potential" new customer will catch me off guard in a situation where my brain is not functioning.

Fact is:

- You are translating and you are providing a service.
- You invest time no matter how complex or simple a text is.
- YOU are the service provider and YOU determine the price of YOUR work and time, period!

Stay away from customers who:

- Try to tell you what your work is worth
- Offer ridiculously long payment time frames (Max. 2 months and only if you have a financial backup to cover that time frame)

My 2 cents...


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Samantha Payn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:58
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Quick work Oct 26, 2011

I have been told by an agency, when I had said to them that my time was fully booked up to their desired deadline for some work, that it was "easy and surely I'd be able to fit it in as it wouldn't take long".

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Sandra Petch
Local time: 10:58
French to English
+ ...
"Easy" Oct 26, 2011

The now retired head of translation at a global car manufacturer told me that when colleagues in other departments sent in translations saying "it's easy, it won't take long" he always replied, "I'll be the judge of that."

The one thing that makes me want to scream is clients who say "It's easy, I would have done it myself but I don't have time."

Seems everyone is a translator these days....


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
No but... Oct 26, 2011

I haven't been asked for a discount, but I take it with a grain of salt when others describe the work involved with a text.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:58
English to German
+ ...
Other Oct 26, 2011

I have never been asked to lower my rates but I would like to provide an anecdote in this regard - about what some PMs consider "easy texts", that is.

A few years ago a PM from a British agency sent a text with the following comment attached:
"I can see that this is a very easy text. It does not contain any Latin words!"
The text turned out to be a highly technical description of material testing by means of pendulum impact tests.


Edited for typo

[Edited at 2011-10-26 09:45 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:58
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What does "easy" mean? Oct 26, 2011

For me, something "easy" to translate would be management training courseware, as it's second-nature to me. I've led such training courses in Portuguese with little time to rehearse, and using all the trainer material in English. Ad-lib sight translation throughout, and nobody noticed it.

Meanwhile one of my favorite medical translation specialists - when she gets this kind of material to translate from a few pharma companies she works for - is puzzled all the time.

If the 'easy' translation was originally written by a half-literate nitwit, it may be harder to translate than a corporation's policies manual.

When clients fight for a discount, they often cling to unreasonable reasons. The most preposterous one ever I saw was a request for a discount after my invoice had been almost two months overdue... because I don't have Trados! (... which I never told anyone I have, as I don't.)


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
They do do that, don't they though Oct 26, 2011

Samantha Payn wrote:

I have been told by an agency... that it was "easy and surely I'd be able to fit it in as it wouldn't take long".


In my experience the majority of clients haven't got a clue about what goes into translation. In fact many can barely cobble together a semi-coherent text in their native language.

If I am presented with a text that I do find easy, which is quite often, I call them "autopilot texts" because I can do them without having to rack my brains for synonyms or do a lot of time-consuming research, and am quite likely to offer a small discount, especially if the job also has a flexible or comfortable deadline.

The same goes for repetitions. I decide if I want to apply a discount for them, as they don't always mean you save a lot of time. The problem is getting clients to accept this, especially agencies, who tend to stick to their own guns where rates are concerned.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
I often wish they did! Oct 26, 2011

Nicole Schnell wrote:

A few years ago a PM from a British agency sent a text with the following comment attached:
"I can see that this is a very easy text. It does not contain any Latin words!"
The text turned out to be a highly technical description ...


Edited for typo

[Edited at 2011-10-26 09:45 GMT]


Sounds like the kind of PM who makes me wish I had a big Green Lantern-type fist to fire down the phone lines...

On a more serious note, Latin words, for example plant names, often save the day in bio/agricultural/general science texts.


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:58
Member (2008)
English to Italian
quite often Oct 26, 2011

and everybody got the same answer:
no discounts offered.


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 06:58
Not directly, but Oct 26, 2011

when asking for a quote, some clients, especially new agencies which found me through Pro.com, would describe their texts as very easy, non-technical, etc…

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not as easy as it seems Oct 26, 2011

I seldom get requests for lowering my rates if the PM or agency says the text is easy. Some customers use expressions such as "it's a simple marketing poll" or "it's about a banking application" or some other statement to imply that it is easy, keyword for "it shouldn't take long and it shouldn't cost me the usual.

I like the anecdote about "I'll be the judge of that". What's important is to ask for a sample text to gauge the difficulty. Of course, the downside is that we may be given the "easy" sample to analyze and the client deliberately excludes a parts list, for example, which is more time consuming to translate.

This poll could be followed up by a related question. I propose this: How many of you really spend time reading the reference material sent by the customer?

A follow-up of this question would be: How many of you talk with the customer about the value/lack of value of reference materials?


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Sonia Maria Parise  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:58
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Likewise! and I just do not apply for the job. Oct 26, 2011

Bin Tiede wrote:

when asking for a quote, some clients, especially new agencies which found me through Pro.com, would describe their texts as very easy, non-technical, etc…


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:58
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
No Latin does not mean easy... Oct 26, 2011

Nicole Schnell wrote:

I have never been asked to lower my rates but I would like to provide an anecdote in this regard - about what some PMs consider "easy texts", that is.

A few years ago a PM from a British agency sent a text with the following comment attached:
"I can see that this is a very easy text. It does not contain any Latin words!"
The text turned out to be a highly technical description of material testing by means of pendulum impact tests.



Yesterday I read a newspaper review of a book (for academics) that was peppered with expressions like 'contekstuale specificitet' and a lot more slightly disguised Latin. Google could probably have translated it quite well into Latin-English. I am not sure who would understand it, but the people the book was written for might have a chance.

Just for fun, I translated this into normal Danish, which was not too difficult for me, but without four years of Latin at school, many Danes might struggle with it.

The result sounded like Newton saying that an apple fell off his tree. It happens at this time of year... Of course the discussion about WHY that particular apple fell just there might have been a little more complicated. No doubt depending on the contextual specificity among other things.

***** ***** *****
Back on topic, the agencies I work for do not pay me extra when the text is difficult, so they would get short shrift if they asked for reductions. You win some, you lose some.

If a text is too difficult for me, I refuse the job and tell them why. (It's Swedish is a common one, or it calls for someone who really understands the engineering, whatever.)
They can then look for someone with the right special knowledge, who might even find it easy, but at least can do it properly.

I have once or twice given reductions to private clients for large, easy jobs with tolerant deadlines. These are typically good causes and/or friends of friends who don't have much money and never will. But don't take it for granted!


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Marieschen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:58
English to French
+ ...
Not always "lower the rate", but Oct 26, 2011

"it's really easy, so I guess you should be able to translate 10K a day"... often with a "low quality requirement" which supposedly justifies low rates.

However, what's good with this kind of requirements is that it makes me even happier when I am working with someone who respects my work (they are not all that bad!!)


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