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Low rates and LWAs
Thread poster: Josephine Cassar

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:18
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Apr 4, 2013

How is it that translation companies with a WWA of 5 offers low rates but still praised? Rates of $0.03 or $0.037? I cannot imagine how these companies have WWAs and even in recent year? Thank you

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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:18
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
I think that you meant LWA Apr 4, 2013

Which is used for outsourcers. From my experience it is not so much about rates as about predictability of payment. After all the rate is known upfront, if someone doesn't want to work for any given rate than there is no obligation to do so and no opportunity to issue LWA at all.

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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:18
Italian to English
Rates offered Apr 4, 2013

In my experience, the key issue here is who is doing the offering!
It should be the vendor, i.e. the translator, not the customer.

The rate I quote some of my agency customers bears no relation to what they may offer or suggest but this appears to have no effect on my workload!

Maybe the Blue Board contributors have had the same experience.


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Victor Santos  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:18
English to French
+ ...
mistery Apr 4, 2013

This is quite surprising, indeed. When I see that kind of proposal with such a low rate, I just skip to another. Getting paid 0.03 USD/word is just good for people living in low-price/low-income countries. Even if I worked 60 hours a week at that rate, I would hardly earn the minimum wage here in France.

It may be possible that people who accept such a low rate are desperately looking for work and/or experience and feel grateful for it. Or else, could it be that these agencies create fake translator's accounts? I am joking...


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:18
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Exactly Apr 4, 2013

Stanislaw Czech, MCIL wrote:

Which is used for outsourcers. From my experience it is not so much about rates as about predictability of payment. After all the rate is known upfront, if someone doesn't want to work for any given rate than there is no obligation to do so and no opportunity to issue LWA at all.



I agree wholeheartedly with Stanislaw. The rate is a business agreement made between two parties. There is no point accepting a rate and then complaining about it afterwards since you were not obliged to accept it in the first place. There is equally no point commenting about a company you haven't worked with since that would not be helpful to colleagues.
The blue board is for making comments on the overall professionalism you have experienced in your working relationship with the company in question and to inform other translators accurately about this, either to encourage them, or to warn them about unprofessional behaviour (usually involving slow payment or lack of payment).

Remember also that translation is global and we all live in countries with different costs of living so what may seem a shockingly low rate to you, may be considered a reasonable rate by someone who lives in a country where say, property prices are five times lower than in the country you live in.

And after all, if you have accepted to work with an agency, the only responsibility it has towards you is to act professionally in its dealings with you and above all, to pay you on time and without the need for chasing.

If the agency has met these obligations, then it deserves a 5.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:18
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
The BB isn't about rates Apr 4, 2013

The BB reflects whether translators would be likely to work with the client again. If they fulfil their side of the agreement by providing support during the translation and then paying the agreed amount on or before the agreed date, then a translator would no doubt be very happy and would wish to continue the relationship. Hence a 5. I think that's a useful gauge to have. As Stanislaw says, the translator knew the rate so was presumably prepared to work for it, even if not over the moon.

But I think it would also be extremely useful if agencies were encouraged to post their average rates, or maximum rates, in their profiles. That could save a lot of wasted time. Particularly as the lower payers in general seem also to be those who demand tests and references, certificates and signatures, etc. But as Russell says, those rates would just be an idea of their normal ones. Like ours. I know that I personally have a range that's a little wider than the one quoted in my profile, and I don't just mean that I often accept lower; 0.15 € per word isn't at all an uncommon quote. And I too have had experience of agencies who have consented to pay more than the budget stated in their offer, although an agency that habitually pays its translators 0.02 € is not likely to get any sort of BB entry from me.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:18
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Give them a 3 or 4 Apr 4, 2013

I suggested on another forum that these outsourcers should NOT be given a 5.

There is a reason for a scale from 1 to 5, not just a simple Yes or No.

Where the answer is 'yes, when there is no better offer', then why give the outsourcer full marks?

Strictly, the 5 should be saved for the very best, but that is not how it works in practice.

You can always add comments like 'Great PMs, prompt payment but low rates' as an explanation for not awarding full marks...


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Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 17:18
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
I agree with Christine Apr 4, 2013

I am astonished that the simple fact that an agency pays a translator at all deserves a 5 point rating.

I recently gave a lower mark to an agency and they seemed rather shocked about it. I had worked for them before, but as the rates they are willing to pay are too low for my current standards, I am not as likely to work for them as I was before. The question that I see when making a BB entry is "Would you consider working for this outsourcer again?" and I answered that question.

Of course it is not just about the rates - very short deadlines and uncommunicative PMs will enter into my considerations, amongst others.

I would be very thankful if people could stop giving 5 point ratings to each and every agency that condescends to pay them for their work. Payment should be self evident! But of course, those that give a lower mark should also give a reason for it - is it the rate, the PMs, the quality of source texts? We are all grown ups and can take our own decisions based on the comments in the BB, if these comments are fair and informative.

Unfortunately, people seem to be afraid to leave anything negative about an agency, for fear of getting no more work from them. I guess the constant "financial crisis" brainwashing has made everybody scared to the point of subservience - but that is not how we keep heads and rates up! When there is room in our budget to be bold, be owe to ourselves and to fellow translators to ask for more, not to offer less and still be thankful for it!


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:18
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The best way to protest about an unsuitable rate Apr 4, 2013

is not to accept it in my opinion.

Equally, I don't think an agency should get a 5 just for paying you, but it should for paying you anything from early to on time.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:18
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Meaning of LWA... Apr 4, 2013

well, it means "Likelihood of working again" so, if it's very likely you are going to work for them again, then it's a 5... nothing to do with rates in this case. Of course you can give a lower score if it's not very likely that you will work with them again because of the rates... But it's up to us. Some people, apparently, are happy to work for very low rates. It's better than do nothing, or so I hear...

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SEA-words  Identity Verified
English to Italian
+ ...
anonymous LWA Apr 4, 2013

I think one should be allowed to be anonymous in their LWA.
False grades are worse than no grade because they are misleading.
Some agencies will get back at you to threat you about the feedback you left them, so...

I understand why some people might think that giving a 5/5 is a good idea for *their* business. Well it may be good for them, but not for the other people checking out the outsourcer, which is the whole point of a public grading system.


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Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:18
English to Spanish
LWA: Many variables, not just timely payment Apr 4, 2013

Marie-Helene Dubois wrote:

The best way to protest about an unsuitable rate

is not to accept it in my opinion.

Equally, I don't think an agency should get a 5 just for paying you, but it should for paying you anything from early to on time.


No, no. There are many variables. Please read this post:

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro wrote:

I agree with Christine

I am astonished that the simple fact that an agency pays a translator at all deserves a 5 point rating.

I recently gave a lower mark to an agency and they seemed rather shocked about it. I had worked for them before, but as the rates they are willing to pay are too low for my current standards, I am not as likely to work for them as I was before. The question that I see when making a BB entry is "Would you consider working for this outsourcer again?" and I answered that question.

Of course it is not just about the rates - very short deadlines and uncommunicative PMs will enter into my considerations, amongst others.

I would be very thankful if people could stop giving 5 point ratings to each and every agency that condescends to pay them for their work. Payment should be self evident! But of course, those that give a lower mark should also give a reason for it - is it the rate, the PMs, the quality of source texts? We are all grown ups and can take our own decisions based on the comments in the BB, if these comments are fair and informative.

Unfortunately, people seem to be afraid to leave anything negative about an agency, for fear of getting no more work from them. I guess the constant "financial crisis" brainwashing has made everybody scared to the point of subservience - but that is not how we keep heads and rates up! When there is room in our budget to be bold, be owe to ourselves and to fellow translators to ask for more, not to offer less and still be thankful for it!


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:18
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Low rates and LWAs Apr 4, 2013

Hi, thanks all for your feedback. It was LWA, not WWA. I was asking as I was surprised to see 45 entries of 5 when rate is so low. I agree that comments should be put, e.g agency paid on time, was helpful when I needed clarification, etc but a small comment about such low rates should either be added or else agency should not be given a straight 5. True, some, I expect accept for experience or lack of work, especially in these hard times. Thank you all, but I think we should pull the same rope and not allow such agencies to take advantage of us either.
Best to all,
Josephine


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Norskpro
Sweden
Local time: 17:18
Member
English to Norwegian
+ ...
I agree with Christine about giving a 3 or 4 Apr 4, 2013

What is the point of having different grades for LWA if these are not used. The points given ought to vary more. The way I understand it is: 1= Never, 2=Probably not, 3=Maybe, it depends, 4=Probably, 5=Yes, absolutely, any time.

If 5 is given even for low rates, it means outsourcers will continue to offer low rates. Just because someone has accepted a rate, Marie-Helene, it does not mean they would love to work for that outsourcer in future. They could have been desperate, and would probably prefer not to work for such a low rate again. Rates should be a main part of the LWA consideration, in my opinion.


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 16:18
Japanese to English
My take Apr 5, 2013

1. LWA = Likely to Work Again. If a translator is happy with $0.03 then of course they'd rate the agency 5, because they're likely to work with them again.

2. Just because they offered you $0.03 doesn't mean that's what they pay the other translators on the list. They might be getting $0.50 a word for all you know. Stick to your rates.


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