What's up with these pushy outsourcers?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:34
English to French
+ ...
Jan 28, 2009

I usually don't post about particular job posts because I find it counterproductive, but I just had to in this case.

The following job was posted today:

We have a very big project to be translated from English to Canadian French.

If you can work with Trados and you are interested, please submit the following information:

- rates in USD per source word and Trados discount structure
- amount of words you can translate daily
- résumé

Applications with no indication of rate in USD/word will not be considered.


This outsourcer is being a bit too pushy. On the one hand, there is absolutely no detail whatsoever about the job, and on the other hand, they don't want anybody contacting them without a rate mentioned (in USD, to top it off). Reading their post is a total waste of time.

Excuse me, highly esteemed outsourcer, but don't you think you are going a little too far?!?

This, to me, equals squeezing translators like one would squeeze a lemon. That they absolutely want to know my rate - fair enough. That they want Trados discounts - I can take that. But that they want me to quote a rate on a job I have no idea about - they surely can do better than that!

Could ProZ please put some means in place to ensure that such lame job posts are not posted? Or if they are, have the outsourcer add the string PROVIDE YOUR RATE - NOTHING ELSE MATTERS to the title, so I don't waste time by reading job posts that are clearly not for me.

P. S.: This is so ridiculous that I wonder if these people are not simply checking "going rates" and that this is only a carrot at the end of a stick, with no actual work behind it.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
They are selling Trados Jan 29, 2009

Note that they don't require any skill, any experience, any specialization.
All they want is Trados and discounts on matches.

Possibilities:

1. They are gullible enough to have believed SDL ads that translation with Trados is a cheap no-brainer, where minimum language and writing skills are required, if any.

2. They want translators - and non-translators alike - to belive this, and buy Trados.

3. They are Trados distributors in Quebec.


I can't remember where I saw it. Someone wrote on a forum: "I've installed WordFast. Opened the file, selected the languages, now where do I click for it to translate?"

This is the kind of people they are trying to sell Trados to.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
French to English
Medical Jan 29, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

On the one hand, there is absolutely no detail whatsoever about the job,

It does say "Medical", does it not?

Not a massive amount of detail, sure, but enough in the first instance, IMHO. Even if the poster said it was specifically about kidney dialysis for female adolescents in Bolivia in the 1980s, people would still want to see the text before giving a final yay or nay.

They've given the subject and they are not laying down the law about how much they want to pay although they have indicated some discount for repetitions might be appreciated - sounds quite a decent job post to me, compared to some.

Edit to add I also do not find it too outrageous that a company based in Illinois would prefer quotes in USD.
Am I looking at the same job??


[Edited at 2009-01-29 01:15 GMT]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Charlie, you probably are looking at the same job Jan 29, 2009

You probably are looking at the same job post. However, I think you misunderstood what my problem was.

I simply find that telling potential quoters up front that if they don't include a rate in their quote, they will not get a reply, in this case, is pretty lame. If they want people to quote a rate, they would have to give us a bit more detail than "Medical (General)".

As you say, people like to see at least a sample of a text before quoting a rate. Clearly, in this specific case, that possibility has already been excluded by the job poster.

Like I said, a total waste of time.


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 13:34
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Please tell me you made this up :( Jan 29, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
I can't remember where I saw it. Someone wrote on a forum: "I've installed WordFast. Opened the file, selected the languages, now where do I click for it to translate?"

This is the kind of people they are trying to sell Trados to.


I think they are buying it too. Especially if they didn't get WF to translate.


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Andrea Kowalenko  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:34
Member (2006)
Spanish to German
+ ...
I remember that post, too Jan 29, 2009

Taija Salo wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
I can't remember where I saw it. Someone wrote on a forum: "I've installed WordFast. Opened the file, selected the languages, now where do I click for it to translate?"

This is the kind of people they are trying to sell Trados to.


I think they are buying it too. Especially if they didn't get WF to translate.


And no, he didn't make it up, I do remember this post, too ...


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
That's for real Jan 29, 2009

I saw it also...

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
I can't remember where I saw it. Someone wrote on a forum: "I've installed WordFast. Opened the file, selected the languages, now where do I click for it to translate?"

This is the kind of people they are trying to sell Trados to.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:34
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I am sure I have seen similar posts more than once over the years Jan 29, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I can't remember where I saw it. Someone wrote on a forum: "I've installed WordFast. Opened the file, selected the languages, now where do I click for it to translate?"

This is the kind of people they are trying to sell Trados to.


In my sporadic outsourcing career to date, I also from time to time come across "translators" who demand that I send them a project TM - preferably complete with all the source segments to be found in it as 100% matches - before they will translate for me. Unfortunately, the idea (from my perspective) is that they actually carry out the - slightly more academic - task of creating a new translation for the money that I pay them. I do not need to employ machine operators. If I need them in the future, I will advertise for them - by that name.

Astrid


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
French to English
Ah. Point of interpretation Jan 29, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

I simply find that telling potential quoters up front that if they don't include a rate in their quote, they will not get a reply, in this case, is pretty lame. If they want people to quote a rate, they would have to give us a bit more detail than "Medical (General)".


Ah. I see. Now, the reason it all seemed fair enough to me was that:
a) in the first instance, it says "rates". Not "a rate". I see that as a significant choice. This to me is an invitation to let them know my pricing schedule, in very general terms, the range of prices I would be likely to apply to a medical text.
b) it then says "indication" - again, this to me implies ball-park, approximate. I actually read the emphais of that particular line as "we asked for your rates - please make sure you give them in USD (not whatever your local currency mght be)".

I guess it all depends on which bits the reader interprets as appearing to be most important. As i said, I read it as an invitation to reply including a ball-park or range, and please remember to put these figaures in USD if you would be so kind.
(And potential subtle subtext - 'if you fail to follow this simple instruction re: currency then we will draw our own conclusions about your attention to detail'. I don't know if you have ever posted a job on here but by God, if you had, you would view these things in a different light, I feel sure. You should see some of the replies ).

Interesting how a few words can lead to entirely different interpretations of intention...


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:34
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
What's the problem? Jan 29, 2009

I see nothing offensive there. I generally don't bother to quote anything with a new customer these days unless the rate is at the top of my scale (why bother otherwise when I can be sure that I'll always be booked to capacity at my current rates - the only exceptions are some colleagues and the rare text I simply find fascinating).

So I would reply briefly with a quotation at the top of my current scale or higher (this is how we increase prices) and note that the rate is subject to confirmation after reviewing the material for content and format. As for the Trados scale, just tell them none or offer a discount for repetitions only. If the matches aren't your work in the first place, fixing them would probably take longer than retranslating, so cutting the rates would really be silly.

Copy and paste a standard blurb describing your work processes, emphasizing how these result in particularly good quality worth a premium price. That's it. Then move on. This approach takes just a few minutes and may result in a better start to the relationship that one would have agonizing over the damned rates and discounts. If those are the critical factors, then the client isn't worth getting.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interpretation problem - damn right! Jan 29, 2009

If I followed your logic, Charlie, I would send a polite quote asking for anywhere between 3 cents and 25 cents. If I stopped right there, I wonder if I would get any kind of reply (even though I did mention rates)...

But let's carry on. Let's assume I am willing to be really helpful. So, I would describe each and every aspect of my work and attach a price tag to them. If you want me to implement 100% matches and simply make sure that those 100% matches comply with the termbase, then it is 3 cents per word. If you want the same, but also checking the punctuation, then it is 4 cents. If the source files are PowerPoint files, I charge 20 cents. If there is a termbase, then it is 3 cents less. If the source files are PDFs, then it is 20 cents. If the text is very easy with almost no technical terms, then it is 14 cents. If the text contains lots of technical terms and extensive research is required, then it is 18 cents. If the text contains lots of technical terms and extensive research is required AND the source files are in PowerPoint format, then it is 22 cents. If the text consists of a list of names of obscure diseases as an Excel table, then I may charge more than 25 cents. Oh, and my hourly rate is 40 bucks, and I spent an hour preparing this quote, so you already owe me 40 bucks...

This is just ridiculous.

If you went to a mechanic and asked for a quote to repair a car, do you think the mechanic would give you even an indication of his prices before you tell them that you need to get the engine replaced in a 1964 Rolls Royce?

I sympathize with outsourcers who get kooky quotes, especially those who get the variety Astrid is talking about. I really do. But I also sympathize with translators wasting time quoting on job posts that turn out to be jobs that they otherwise wouldn't have touched with a 39.5-foot pole. And I think that, in this specific case, the outsourcer will get more kooky quotes than she bargained for...

Again, a waste of time.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
French to English
Are you sure you didn't miss anything? Jan 29, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
But let's carry on. Let's assume I am willing to be really helpful. So, I would describe each and every aspect of my work and attach a price tag to them. If you want me to implement 100% matches and simply make sure that those 100% matches comply with the termbase, then it is 3 cents per word. If you want the same, but also checking the punctuation, then it is 4 cents. If the source files are PowerPoint files, I charge 20 cents. If there is a termbase, then it is 3 cents less. If the source files are PDFs, then it is 20 cents. If the text is very easy with almost no technical terms, then it is 14 cents. If the text contains lots of technical terms and extensive research is required, then it is 18 cents. If the text contains lots of technical terms and extensive research is required AND the source files are in PowerPoint format, then it is 22 cents. If the text consists of a list of names of obscure diseases as an Excel table, then I may charge more than 25 cents. Oh, and my hourly rate is 40 bucks, and I spent an hour preparing this quote, so you already owe me 40 bucks...

This is just ridiculous.

You said it.
That really is the clearest way you can find to describe your pricing structure?
Oh dear. And we're in the communication business here.
It's difficult to tease out, but you appear to be saying, as far as I can tell:
Baseline rate ranges from:
Basic text - 14c
Highly technical text with high research requirement - 18c
Supplements:
PDF - 3 or 4c
Powerpoint - from 2c to 6c, whatever is needed to bring the rate up to 20c (?!?)
Deductions:
...etc
Special rates for terminology lists:
price on seeing the job, but may range over 25c
Above for guidance only. Actual rate to be applied will be determined on seeing the files to be translated.

That's what I would do. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. If you prefer the solid paragraph, that is entirely your prerogative. But don't criticise outsourcers for having the temerity to ask, simply because you apply a pricing structure that requires a NASA supercomputer to calculate the rate.
Not everyone charges more for PDF or Powerpoint, for example.
Not everyone varies rates according to perceived difficulty of the text.
In short , it's not as if they are asking for the moon on a stick from everyone who responds. It's a lot of work for you because you factor in a lot of variables.

If you went to a mechanic and asked for a quote to repair a car, do you think the mechanic would give you even an indication of his prices before you tell them that you need to get the engine replaced in a 1964 Rolls Royce?

As so often, it is truly hard to find analogies with other professions that really work.
Both mechanics and translators need to see the actual job in their hands before they can quote accurately.
At the other end of the scale, I would agree that "how much does it cost to translate a document?" is probably on a par with "how much does it cost to fix a car?".
At all stages in between, I would suggest analogies are tenuous at best.


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