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Poll: What do you usually do when you receive a job with a very low rate?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:22
SITE STAFF
Apr 20

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What do you usually do when you receive a job with a very low rate?".

This poll was originally submitted by Konbaz . View the poll results »



 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Apr 20

Depending on how low it is, I might pass it on to someone who is willing to work at the rate proposed....

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 10:22
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
All of the above + other Apr 20

Meaning that it depends on a lot of things, namely how low is low… If the project seems really interesting I might try to negotiate, saying first of all that in any other activity field it’s up to the seller to set the price. This has worked once in a blue moon…

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other - it depends Apr 20

It depends on the seriousness of the inquiry. If it addressed to me personally and seems like a sincere effort to contact me, I will answer the email politely and give them my rates, résumé, and availability (e.g., 2 months from now).

If it's an extremely low rate, I might point out to them that what they're offering is less than what I was charging 30 years ago (it has happened more than once).

But if it's an email blast with no personal touch, I simply delete it.

[Edited at 2018-04-21 04:03 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I advise them to use free Google Translate Apr 20

I tell them my rate and explain that, from samples I've seen, in my language pair (can't tell about others) the overall quality found in Google Translate's raw output is roughly equivalent to what they get from human translation done for half my rates, though the flaws will differ in their nature.

However GT is free, online, and immediate. If what they get is acceptable, there will be some unexpected additional profit. If not, there will be more time and money left in the budget for me to redo it from scratch (at my rate, of course!).

In case they don't want to check on their own, I've made two comparisons for them:

Google Translate doing EN-US > PT-BR:
http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/comparison.html

Amateur human translator doing PT-BR > EN-US:
http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/professional-translation.html


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:22
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Turn it down Apr 20

Thank you, but no, thank you because there is no possible way I could afford working for this rate.icon_wink.gif

 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
spam Apr 20

At first I wanted to get details, find common ground, and explain how it is, but when I started to work as an interpreter, I just marked offers as spam--especially after deleting my profile info and making a notice to not disturb...

P.S.
José, you forgot about the quality of GT disguised as a "post-edit"... compared to the original)


 

Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 11:22
Member (2005)
English to German
It depends Apr 20

The more personal and sincere, the higher the probabilty that I will send a meaningful reply. After all, people might honestly not know the going rates.

The more it reeks of "yo generic linguist, pls work for me, I can offer 1 pittance", the faster it goes to the trash.


 

Gibril Koroma  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:22
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Depends Apr 20

It really depends on how busy I am.

 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:22
Member
English to French
Other Apr 20

What I usually do in such cases doesn't matter, it can vary from ignoring the message to offering a counter-offer multiplied by 2, 3 or 4.
What I never do is to work at low rates (according to my own scale).

Philippe


 

Ivan Videnov  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:22
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
Turn it down... and Other Apr 20

It all depends on the type of job, on how busy I am, etc.

If the rate asked is close to mine, I would politely let them know what my exact rate is (that is, if the job seems to be worth it) and see if there's room for negotiation. Otherwise, I simply decline. I avoid "ignoring" e-mails.

From time to time, I accept a job at a very low rate, either because it's interesting, or because it's my day off and I need something to do. But this backfired on my once. The outsourcer not only took that rate for granted (even after numerous reminders that we agreed upon my actual rate afterwards), but they also took for granted that I am accepting every project they send (usually sent during the night local time).


 

Gibril Koroma  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:22
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


How low Apr 20

It also depends on how low. Rock bottom low is of course off the table. There is always room for negotiations too. Some outsourcers might have a reasonable rate but would test the market with a low rate to see what happens.

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My view on PEMT Apr 20

DZiW wrote:
P.S.
José, you forgot about the quality of GT disguised as a "post-edit"... compared to the original)


My take on PEMT is that, considering that the translator has exactly the same access as any client to free machine translation, why should s/he charge less than translation rates for PEMT? If it were worthwhile, most translators would be MT'ing their jobs and then PEMT, instead of doing it in the traditional way (though with CAT tools).

A lowballer client is seeking scapegoats, not translators. If the translation is bad, they'll want to be able to say that they did their due diligence: they paid (no matter how little) a native Umptian, living in Umptland, to translate it into Umptese. If schools there fail to provide adequate education in their language, it's not the agency's fault. On the other hand, they'd never be entitled to BLAME Google or any other MT contrivance for poor translation quality, especially if they didn't pay a cent for it.

Another problem in PEMT is leniency. The law of least effort takes over and, quite often, what is barely acceptable is left unchanged, as it came out from GT.


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:22
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Usually turn it down, but... Apr 20

There are different situations here:
1. I always check the Blue Board and Payment Practices first. If the records are good, the rate may be negotiable. But agencies that pay low rates rarely ever have good records in the BB.
2. If the agency offers a low rate that is not "peanuts", I'll try to negotiate. It usually does not work.
3. If the rate offered is too low, don't waste your time trying to negotiate. The most you will get is 0.01 or 0.02 above what they offer.
4. If the proposal mentions "post-editing" or discounts for repetitions, forget about it. Just erase the e-mail.
5. If the agency is in China, India or UAE, ditto. Just erase the e-mail.

So, mainly, my answer would be "turn in down", but there are rare exceptions.
Now, accepting jobs more than 0.02 below my regular rate is something I no longer do since 2010. I'd rather watch a movie or read a book. We simply cannot collaborate with the peanut market. We must refuse peanut jobs.


 

IanDhu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:22
Member (2005)
French to English


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Low rates, but also inhuman deadlines Apr 20

I also get offers of work at unrealistic deadlines, including revisions assuming a prohibitively fast working rate. In turning down such work from established clients, I remind them pointedly that they are acquainted with my rates and turnaround times. When agency clients say their principals are on tight budgets, I point out the implausibility of this when their clients are banks, luxury firms, etc.

Accepting low rates, dirty jobs or untenable deadlines deprives a linguist of better opportunities in other quarters.

Resist!

With kind regards,

Adam Warren.


 
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