The better my BB looks the LESS translators quote
Thread poster: Maxime Bujakov

Maxime Bujakov  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:53
French to English
+ ...
May 3, 2010

This is my outcry at the unexplicable situation, and there seems no one I can blame...
N.B. I am a dual-status outsourcer/service-provider.

This post relates to:
- The recent 'Petition',
in particular, to whether posting rates is necessarily bad or otherwise;
- The worsening translators' market,
as, in particular, from the proz bidding competition point;
- And to outsourcer nationality/country image.

- -
Please read on, but, chronologically, at the last moment of creating this post I got an important proposal to PROZ which I copy here:

It could be much more useful for Proz to REQUIRE a sample of say 60 characters MINIMUM from outsourcer rather than banning the rates field (or in addition thereto).
Basically, Proz now seems flooded with both junk outsourcers and matching translators, and this measure could work quite effectively, as appears from my experience.

- -

So, how can the following co-exist:

(a)
Lately I see mostly 'junky' job posts in my area of competence which is certan common fields in the Russian-English pair.
When I say 'Junky' I mean they are such in all respects. It starts with the description (e.g. 'English Russian Translation' - exactly what is NOT recommended by Proz right there next to the input box for job posters).
Most jobs - I mean - more than 50% (check it!) do not require a sample translation.
And, finally, what they do require is 'give us your best rate quote'. Ok, now it's harder to see what exactly they mean, but they used to post shamelessly USD 0.03 per word ... USD 0.015 per word etc.

And these jobs have been honored with quotes!!! Many quotes. Out of the top of head I'd say, from about 7 quotes on most worthless jobs to 67 (just in one 'English Russian' pair) (a recent figure I remember).

(b)
Now, how does it look from the other side of barricades?
I am a long-time outsourcer with a pure 5-star rating based on a fair number of entries including last 12 months. I pay fair rates. By 'fair' I mean reciprocally equal or higher rates compared to what I am myself paid by outsourcers from the respective countries (e.g. USA). In the English-Russian pair, I know the end-customer market well and I know that I charge customers what is really possible, and then transmit fair payment to the sp's. I believe I am within top 10% outsourcers rate-wise in En-Ru.
And - it is harder and harder for me to get ANY responses to my proz job posts lately.
It was just 3 quotes when I looked for a rush legal translator lately (I did require to translate a small sample).
Same picture was observed with a French-English job I managed this year.
By the way, I used to favor rates indication (before the recent developments) both on my part as an outsourcer and on the part of Job posts I would pursue.
In part, that helped me to fight the 'Russian profiling' as Russian translators may be reluctant to work for their domestic employers (often rightfully, but that is another large topic), and so are foreign fellows for the same reason. On the other hand, on some occasions in certain language pairs I did experience a flood of quotes, and - some translators were practising rates dumping by quoting below my post's offered rate (whom I would likely reject as 'self-proclaimed underqualified').

- -
By this point where almost finished the monologue, a proposal is suddenly born to PROZ:
It could be much more useful for Proz to REQUIRE a sample of say 60 characters MINIMUM from outsourcer rather than banning the rates field (or in addition thereto).
Basically, Proz now seems flooded with both junk outsourcers and matching translators, and this measure could work quite effectively, as appears from my experience

[Edited at 2010-05-03 08:18 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-05-03 08:22 GMT]


 

Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:53
German to Spanish
Disagree May 3, 2010

Maxime Bujakov wrote:


By this point where almost finished the monologue, a proposal is suddenly born to PROZ:
It could be much more useful for Proz to REQUIRE a sample of say 60 characters MINIMUM from outsourcer rather than banning the rates field


After the customer accept my rates... Maybe.

By 100 jobs "possibilities" would be 6.000 words for "surely" nothing.

I don't think a job should be posted as a auction. This is almost humiliating for the translators to be forced to compete for the cheapest offer like a inverse compulsory auction.

In Proz.com there are list with all specializations where the customer could select the adequate translator for each project. In 3 minutes he could make a short list of possible translators and write to then direct. No needs for chickens fighting for the last corn.

Regards


 

Edwin den Boer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:53
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
More competition at the bottom of the market May 3, 2010

Dear Maxime,

That's an interesting analysis. This confirms what I learned from a well-known Proz.com member: there is more competition at the bottom of the market than at the top of the market.

I'm not sure whether this is actually such a bad thing. Apparently, low quality translators refrain from quoting on difficult jobs such as rush legal translations. This seems preferable to the situation others are complaining about, namely that unprofessional translators accept jobs that are 'above their pay grade' and subsequently ask numerous KudoZ questions about basic jargon.

Your proposal would apply to both situations, but I'm not sure whether it's feasible. I wonder whether a short sample translation really will give enough information, in addition to experience and qualifications, to justify the effort, given that there are about 12 quotes per job on average (just counting replies through the job posting system).


 

Rifraf
Local time: 06:53
no jobs available at the top segment May 3, 2010

Edwin den Boer wrote:
That's an interesting analysis. This confirms what I learned from a well-known Proz.com member: there is more competition at the bottom of the market than at the top of the market.


That could be right, however, at the top of the market there are hardly any jobs available!

Clients want the same quality but at a lower rate and at a faster turnaround date; it's the world upside down at the moment I'm afraid icon_frown.gif


 

Maxime Bujakov  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:53
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Dear Fernando, I said '60 characters', not words May 3, 2010

Fernando Toledo wrote:
After the customer accept my rates... Maybe.


Well, as I wrote, my preferred style used to be post the rate and post the sample. If I can't post the rate then, of course, you should ask me first about the rate.


Fernando Toledo wrote:
By 100 jobs "possibilities" would be 6.000 words for "surely" nothing.


Please see above: It's 6,000 chars not words.
And it's "surely" nothing because, in my view, no test was given. Some junk translators would not bother to quote when a test is required.

Fernando Toledo wrote:
I don't think a job should be posted as a auction. This is almost humiliating for the translators to be forced to compete for the cheapest offer like a inverse compulsory auction.


Agree. Read my original post. I said, I despised translators who engage in rate dumping.

Fernando Toledo wrote:
In Proz.com there are list with all specializations where the customer could select the adequate translator for each project. In 3 minutes he could make a short list of possible translators and write to then direct. No needs for chickens fighting for the last corn.


Sorry, but this time must disagree. Directly contacted translators may be busy, out of office, unmotivated etc. It takes much more than 3 minutes to contact a group with an expectation to get a prompt response from a qualified person.


 

Maxime Bujakov  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:53
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
today's example of what happens when test is not required May 6, 2010

Here is a crying example:

dozens of pages, business/legal translation
Russian to English: 29 Quotes

(And NO test required!)

This is surreal. If a test would have been given, there would have been 10 quotes at most I bet. Plus, the test would have revealed unqualified translators right away.

I could be an outsourcer posting a similar job. And I think there aren't more than 10-20 qualified prozians altogether, not to mention such factors as busy, on vacation, etc.

[Edited at 2010-05-06 11:10 GMT]


 


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