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Update on changes made to the ProZ.com job posting system, 16 April, 2010
Thread poster: Jared Tabor

Jared Tabor
Local time: 06:20
SITE STAFF
Apr 16, 2010

Dear members,

Here is the second update posted on some of the progress being made in the changes to the ProZ.com job posting system. Last week's update post can be seen at this page.

First, some numbers:

- 26% of jobs posted this week contained budget information.
- Of that 26%, 14% were budgets below rates entered by members.
- 3.6% of all jobs posted this week had budget ranges known to be below the rates charged by at least 80% of ProZ.com members. These jobs now all display a notice of this fact.


A link was added to the job quoting form to the article Determining your rates and fees as a translator. This article is in the ProZ.com Wiki, and all are invited to edit or add to it to improve upon it.
The "Services required" for posted jobs is now a required field.
You can now see the budget of a job in your preferred currency. Just update your preferred currency here: http://www.proz.com/settings/freelancer/financial
When a job carries budget information, a notice is displayed: "Note: There is no obligation for service providers to quote within the given budget range." This message was added to help address a misconception expressed by some that upon submitting a quote for a job one was accepting a rate within the budget range.
Some job posts will now show translators when the budget offered is below minimum average member rates (for example, "The budget entered for this job is below the rates charged by at least 80% of ProZ.com members for this pair and currency."). This rate information is taken from community rates reported by members, and the message is:

1. only shown to those who meet the criteria to quote on the job (the same as with budget information in general)
2. shown, for now, for jobs that specify "Translation" or "Checking/editing" as the service required;
3. shown when 80% or more of the rates entered by members are higher than the budget entered by the job poster (in the currency of the budget - there is no currency conversion happening in this case).

Details on the changes to the job posting system, staff reaction, and member involvement and input can all be seen at http://www.proz.com/about/ipetition/

If you have not done so already, you may subscribe to the above pages to receive email notification when updates are made or new information is added.

Once again, thanks to site members for your continued support and feedback, which is what makes improvements like these possible.

Regards,

Jared
Member services
ProZ.com


 

Antony Price  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:20
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
Congratulations Apr 16, 2010

My full support for these initiatives to heighten awareness of rates and to ensure that outsourcers are aware when their rates fall below average rates as defined by 80% of ProZ members.

ProZ should be commended for reacting sensibly and swiftly to the concerns expressed by members over job offers linked to low rates.


 

Krzysztof Kajetanowicz (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:20
English to Polish
+ ...
good Apr 16, 2010

I like the way this has been done.

 

Andrea Quintana  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 06:20
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Reported rates vs. charged rates Apr 16, 2010

First of all, congratulations to Proz for these changes. They are great help.

Jared wrote:

Some job posts will now show translators when the budget offered is below minimum average member rates (for example, "The budget entered for this job is below the rates charged by at least 80% of ProZ.com members for this pair and currency."). This rate information is taken from community rates reported by members...



3. shown when 80% or more of the rates entered by members are higher than the budget entered by the job poster (in the currency of the budget - there is no currency conversion happening in this case).


Just wondering how entered (i.e. reported) rates compare to actually charged rates. For a long time, I had my minimum and target rates in my profile, but I could barely charge them. I had to choose between working for lower rates or not working at all. Perhaps my rates were too high? I don't think so.

I don't know to what extent Proz can use our invoicing system information, but I have the feeling that a comparison of per-word rates charged through Proz invoicing system and our reported rates would surprise us. A gap between these 2 data sets would make the 80% mentioned above inaccurate. I may be wrong, of course. What do you think, colleagues?


 

José Carlos Ribeiro  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:20
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My opinion on the changes... Apr 16, 2010

First, the numbers:
- What does "Of that 26%, 14%" mean?
1.- 26% had rates and 14% were below;
2.- 14% of the 26% were below - 3.64% were below. Which is the same as the next item!

- "were budgets below rates entered by members."
1.- Which rates are these?
2.- According to experience, 3.64% sounds VERY WRONG!

Next, other issues:
ProZ is trying hard to ammend the posting system, but I believe the basic reasoning is not the best.
ProZ is trying to "think" for the professionals and to "direct" things so that "the best" solution for translators will be achieved.

I disagree that ProZ knows what the best is for me, personally.
I want to decide what job requests I will receive, based on choices I make, not on choices ProZ thinks is best for me - like those 80% for instance.

I want outsourcer to specify a range of job qualities - maximum rate is one of them - and I will decide, in my profile, for each criterium, if I wish to receive quotes or not, depending on the chosen criteria.
Mind you ... I may decide that I need MORE, or LESS, work or money, or both, and I may change my preferences accordingly.

Also, It seems that ProZ's database has all the competence to warn the outsourcer - BEFORE HE POSTS HIS/HER REQUEST - what percentage of ProZ members - Pro, Platinum or not - that request will reach. This alone will separate requests for professional or cheap translators.

I also do not want ProZ to perform currency exchange computations for me. I prefer to have the client's rate to be in the client's currency. The only exchange I deem fit for ProZ to perform is when comparing MAX (client) and MIN (my) rates in order to send me the request or not.

I don't really care if the offered rate is over or below an "average" rate, so that information is useless for me. It would be more useful if it showed what percentage of jobs my MIN rate is capable of attracting, for each language pair - this info in my profile, please! Weekly, if possible.

I hope the final changes work the best for all involved - translators, outsourcers and Proz.


 

Radovan Pletka  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:20
English to Czech
+ ...
Rating of TA by rates they pay Apr 16, 2010

As Proz seems not to be willing to allow Proz members to rate TA like restaurants, by one to five $ depending on rates TA pays, I am quite sure that some other entity will take this idea and make it work for translators, who would like to have this information.
I have a good feeling it will be available very soon (smile)

R. Pletka
Czech and Slovak Services


 

Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 06:20
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good! Apr 16, 2010

All in all, changes in the job posting system seem to have been for the best, good improvements so far.

CongraZ.


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 06:20
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Some tools available regarding rates Apr 16, 2010

Thanks everyone for your feedback so far.


Andrea Quintana wrote:
Just wondering how entered (i.e. reported) rates compare to actually charged rates. For a long time, I had my minimum and target rates in my profile, but I could barely charge them. I had to choose between working for lower rates or not working at all. Perhaps my rates were too high? I don't think so.icon_frown.gif


You can see community rates for your pairs here: http://www.proz.com/?sp=rates_view

Another tool available is the rates calculator: http://www.proz.com/translator-rates-calculator/

And the article being built in the ProZ.com Wiki by translators, which may also be of use, is here: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Determining_your_rates_and_fees_as_a_translator

Regards,

Jared


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 06:20
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Some clarification on numbers Apr 16, 2010

Hello José,

José Carlos Ribeiro wrote:

First, the numbers:
- What does "Of that 26%, 14%" mean?


This means that of the jobs that contained budget information from the outsourcer which were posted this week (26% of all jobs posted), 14% were below the minimum rates entered by 80% of ProZ.com members.


2.- According to experience, 3.64% sounds VERY WRONG!


It may sound "wrong", but it is accurate. Feel free, of course, to share any numbers you may have. A possible explanation for why it may sound "wrong" to some could be that the impression and the "press" that small percentage of jobs generates tends to, at least on the surface, drown out the jobs involving higher rates. I don't recall seeing forum threads discussing a great job (rate-wise) in recent history-- and that is not because those jobs are not out there.

Regards,

Jared


 

Pavel Kozlov  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:20
English to Russian
+ ...
It seems to be a smart practical idea. Like all of the Radovan's years-long efforts Apr 17, 2010

Radovan Pletka wrote:

As Proz seems not to be willing to allow Proz members to rate TA like restaurants, by one to five $ depending on rates TA pays, I am quite sure that some other entity will take this idea and make it work for translators, who would like to have this information.
I have a good feeling it will be available very soon (smile)

R. Pletka
Czech and Slovak Services


 

David Moore  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:20
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Geographical rates Apr 17, 2010

Hi Jared,

First of all, many thanks for all your efforts.

One factor appears not to have been addressed up to this point. In these days of e-correspondence, it is so easy for a customer in Germany to contact TA's in India, China, and other "threshold countries", where translation rates are generally much lower than here, for cheaper translations than are available locally. This also applies to a certain extent to the Americas, from where I have feedback that my rates are "far too high to be considered for translation work" there. Okay, that's my privilege, and if I have so much work already that I can't accept their lower rates, then I don't accept it anyway.

The point I am making is that if an Indian or Chinese (or American!) TA approaches me with a project in a speciality field of mine, I may well shave my rates notwithstanding the fact that bank charges may be incurred and so on. Am I then excluded from receiving job notifications in similar cases, based on the rates offered? And if so, is there anything which can be done about this without undue complications?

If not, I'm quite happy to continue as at present - most of my approaches come via the profile page anyway - though I often have to say "I cannot accept your (Chinese, Indian, American) rates, because I am living in Germany".

Best


 

Frauke Joris (X)
Italy
Local time: 11:20
Italian to Dutch
+ ...
holes in a gardenhose Apr 17, 2010

That very long list of "changes" and numbers is as impressive an image as would be the one of someone desperatly attempting to stick patches on the many little holes in an old gardenhose. As soon as one hole has been fixed, another, new one, appears elsewhere.

That hose has become simply old and useless. It has showed to do exactly the opposite of what it should have done. It has to be completely renewed.

The whole list of your patches is intended to "educate" freelancers, as if it were them and only them to make the basic mistake made by the gardenhose - loosing water instead of delivering it.

The word, the meaning of the word "budget" is wrong, totally wrong in the context between freelancers and AGENCIES. Agencies are the main customers who post on ProZ. The word "budget" reveals the wrong practice - bad practice - of agencies. The wrong practises of translators accepting rates set by their agencies is a consequence of what agencies are doing, not the inverse.
Agencies are the FIRST ones handling and dealing with all our customers. Agencies, and not translators, are accepting rates - budgets - limits set by customers. And those who are not doing so, are consciously and simply "steeling" a part of money they very well know belongs to the freelancers and not to them.

The number of _direct_ (end)customers posting on ProZ, expressed in percentages, is not worth being showed anywhere. But the simple fact that in recent times, here or elsewhere (proz concurrents) postings of end customers have been appearing, pretending to set the price of what they themselves are defining as "excellence", is showing us how WRONG the word budget is, how these systems are turning around, putting upside down, the ethical and economical rules of the relationship between customers and freelancers. These customers are simply imitating the behaviour of agencies.

"Show" is the main verb you are using in all these patches. "Hide" is the opposite verb.

We asked, not to hide, but to eliminate (take away) rates set by customers=agencies. We asked an effort to turn around the growing wrong practices. We were and are aware that the wrong practices of others (agencies) are the same as ours (translators). We were and are not blaming only ONE part in the whole system. We were and are also aware of the fact that this turning around of ethics in economical behaviours is not limited to the world of linguistic service deliverers. (By the way, I see a clever use of that definition: you are speaking about translators whereas that definition is normally used to distinguish translators/freelancers from the bigger business makers, the agencies... you are hiding again the customers here: the agencies. I would say the right verb here is "confusing minds", not "hiding").

You are asking why there are no threads about "good prices" or jobs. Working with a hose that delivers "some good drops", I think very few people could describe the "good overall delivering quality" of that hose.
I can tell you about a drop I received last year. Others can. My drop however, did not come out of the job system, but of the wise use my customer made out of the profile system and the improved use I made of it. Years ago, I still heard telling about customers who changed their mind after they had posted a "price they were willing to pay" and choose to pay much more after they had received much higher prices. "Years ago".

Once again: for years, we, many people, have simply said that "ProZ has it's own market which leaves me/us indifferent, the stupid behaviours of others do not make difference to my/us business". Many of us now see that this is not true anymore. That "ProZ" market (translators and agencies) is affecting our markets and now even the behaviours of end customers. The combination of crisis, internet and globally visible uncontrolled bidding systems, have "unfortunately" permitted to bad practices to gain a visibility wich normally should be deserve for good (business) practices.

Frauke


 

Alexandra Valle Fernandes  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:20
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I agree with José Ribeiro Apr 17, 2010

José Carlos Ribeiro wrote:

I disagree that ProZ knows what the best is for me, personally.
I want to decide what job requests I will receive, based on choices I make, not on choices ProZ thinks is best for me - like those 80% for instance.
...
I don't really care if the offered rate is over or below an "average" rate, so that information is useless for me. It would be more useful if it showed what percentage of jobs my MIN rate is capable of attracting, for each language pair - this info in my profile, please! Weekly, if possible.



I agree with what José Ribeiro said, and I especially agree with these two paragraphs. If it were possible for my profile to show what percentage of jobs my rate is able to atract, that would be great!
Anyway, I appreciate the effort Proz is making and hope to continue seeing improvements in the near future. Well done!



[Edited at 2010-04-17 08:04 GMT]


 

Mette Melchior  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:20
English to Danish
+ ...
Encourage all members to update their rate information Apr 17, 2010

I also really appreciate your efforts on this matter and hope it can help move things in the right direction.

Now this is in focus, I think it would be a good idea to encourage all members to update the rate information they have entered so the statistics available here at ProZ will be closer to the rates people actually charge. This is particularly important if outsourcers start to rely more on this information.

Contrary to what Andrea suggests, I think the aggregate rate data tend to be lower than the rates actually charged and thus doesn't give a fair view of the "normal price range". Some users might have chosen to set the rates lower in order to receive more job offers, and others might only have inserted rate info a long time ago so the data isn't up to date anymore. Apart from that, there might also be a significant number of members who haven't entered any rate information.

Even though many translators prefer not to show their rates publicly, it would help make the statistics more accurate if as many users as possible entered this information (you can always choose not to have it displayed on your profile) and that might in turn help increase the outsourcers' awareness of what a reasonable price is for a given language pair.


 

pnaszalyi  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:20
English to French
+ ...
Agree. It is no use of paying for membership if we are not protected against low prices Apr 17, 2010

Antony Price wrote:

My full support for these initiatives to heighten awareness of rates and to ensure that outsourcers are aware when their rates fall below average rates as defined by 80% of ProZ members.

ProZ should be commended for reacting sensibly and swiftly to the concerns expressed by members over job offers linked to low rates.


 
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