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Could ProZ please distinguish between translation agencies and direct customers?
Thread poster: Christel Zipfel

Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Dec 4, 2014

Whilst some translators apply the same prices to both, many others don't, and it would be helpful for those to discover it other than by checking the website (if there is any). Other translator portals have offered this information long ago.

I guess this could be easily implemented by having the outsourcer tick off a box when posting his job.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:56
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Not easy Dec 4, 2014

Not easy to do; I've noticed that many agencies register as individual users.

[Edited at 2014-12-04 10:17 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Very good idea, IMO Dec 4, 2014

I think that would be very useful.

(@Tom: you're referring to the confusion between translator and outsourcer, I believe. Certainly, one person can be both.) In fact, agencies can be direct clients for some of us, e.g. for me as I sometimes edit their own websites etc. But I don't think that's a problem as this suggestion is to label each job with the poster's role.


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:56
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
I agree Dec 4, 2014

Christel Zipfel wrote:

Whilst some translators apply the same prices to both, many others don't, and it would be helpful for those to discover it other than by checking the website (if there is any). Other translator portals have offered this information long ago.

I guess this could be easily implemented by having the outsourcer tick off a box when posting his job.


Very good idea, I hope it will be implemented.


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xxxnrichy
France
Local time: 19:56
French to Dutch
+ ...
Agree Dec 4, 2014

But I agree too that this is not easy to do. I have several relationships (direct customers, not my own clients but other relationships) who come here because the search function is well designed and, especially, because in real life they pay 0.15 and can have it here for 0.05, they just have to insist and say that other translators do not ask more. This is already a well-known fact in some companies, it just hasn't become viral yet, but it will.

Sorry to say this.


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:56
French to German
+ ...
I don't see the problem Dec 4, 2014

I don't really understand what the problem is. With a bit of research everyone should know if a job is proposed by an agency, the company of a direct customer or another translator who has to deal with a multilingual project.

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Peoplesartist  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 23:26
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
It's time to realize the problem Dec 4, 2014

Friends, in our business there are so many middleman who spoils our prospects to get proper remuneration and they do nothing important. We have to work out to solve the problem.

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Marija Tufekčić  Identity Verified
Croatia
Croatian to English
+ ...
Couldn't agree more Dec 4, 2014

I think this is a great idea! Also, isn't there something we could do to make sure that you can't go below a certain minimum amount? I mean most countries do have something called minimum wage, why doesn't ProZ?

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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
It matters Dec 4, 2014

When working for a direct client, after doing my own proofreading, I pay someone else to proofread one last time. When working for an agency, I do my own proofreading and assume (sometimes incorrectly) that they will have it proofread. Naturally the rate I ask will differ, and so I need to know who is who.

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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:56
French to German
+ ...
Still don't really understand Dec 4, 2014

There surely is a difference in price. But I never took a direct client on ProZ for an agency nor an agency for a direct client. That's why I don't understand the problem. For me the who is who is obvious.

But maybe I don't understand the sense of this post?

I think Marija's idea of a minimum amount is not bad though and agree that some offers just should not appear here. Just as some agencies with a very bad blue board should not be admitted to offer jobs. And I also wonder about some certified members (with their red badge) who offer ridiculous rates which I think are against the rules of fairness etc.


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Ben Senior  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:56
German to English
Different prices for the same work? Dec 4, 2014

I don't understand the difference at all. What I pay for my office, my utilities, my software, my hardware,etc. does not change when I'm working for a direct client or an agency. Therefore I have one set of prices that apply equally to both direct clients and agencies.

I deliver a quality product I and will be paid for it. I believe my work should be proof read and checked before it's delivered and it is regardless if it's an agency or direct client. I work for both direct clients and agencies and I charge the same rates. I still have to turn jobs down because I just don't have the time to do them. They all seem to be very satisfied with my work and they all come back on a very regular basis. I do not go looking for work, I have more than enough to do as it is. I must say that I work in a very specialised field and may not be a good example of an average translator. But in my opinion it still remains that clients should pay for my work exactly what it costs. Why on earth should some clients have a right to demand my work for a significantly lower price, would they be prepared to accept a lower level of quality for what they pay? I say that the people who do it are just exacerbating the problem and are their own worst enemy. If everybody said no to the agencies then they would soon not be able to find a translator to do their work and that would mean they would have to adjust their prices to meet their costs.

That's just my principles, but I stick to them.

Ben

[Edited at 2014-12-05 08:27 GMT]


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xxxnrichy
France
Local time: 19:56
French to Dutch
+ ...
Tyke is right Dec 5, 2014

And that is how it should be. One should charge the real price, regardless of the client, maybe a bit less for agencies, which do advertisement and prepare the jobs. But in practice this means that the translators who are here offer the same price for direct clients as the prices they invoice to agencies. This is one of the consequences of the reverse auction bidding system. (by the way, tenders have the same effect)

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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:56
French to German
+ ...
Not the same work Dec 7, 2014

@ Tyke: It's not really the same work.

If you want to find direct clients you have to do a lot of marketing, phone calls, meet them, be present on social networks etc. This costs money and takes a lot of time which the agency does for you...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:56
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I agree with Andrea, but... Dec 7, 2014

Andrea Halbritter wrote:
If you want to find direct clients you have to do a lot of marketing, phone calls, meet them, be present on social networks etc. This costs money and takes a lot of time which the agency does for you...


Yes, and that is one reason why one might consider having a lower rate for agencies. I also expect agencies to check the work before sending it to me, to ensure that the job is doable, that it conforms to the description, or that only the relevant files (and the correct files) are sent to me. For that, I'm willing to charge a lower rate, because it saves time and lends regularity to the job.

However, some of these middle-men agencies simply pass on the work to you, by forwarding the client's e-mail, with only the confidential bits trimmed, and then the translator is left with trying to figure out what the client wants, which files are relevant to the job, whether the files are actually the correct files, etc. The rates paid by such agencies are also quite low, but the translator ends up spending a lot more time on them. Unfortunately I don't know how to identify such middlemen reliably (in advance), except by flags such as low rates, small jobs, quick turnarounds, no minimum fees, and gigantic attachments with 90% irrelevant files.


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Ben Senior  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:56
German to English
It all depends where the baseline is Dec 7, 2014

You are correct in the principle of what you are saying Andrea, but we all know the prices some of the agencies want to pay are below even a dumping price level and as Samuel said some agencies do not do any preparation of the jobs or offer help. I personally do not do a lot of marketing, telephone calls or meetings and therefore do not have any of these 'additional costs', but I reflect that in my price that I charge, it is lower than it would be if I had these costs. One agency that I have been working with for many years and for whom I do a lot of work, do a significant amount of pre and post translation work on the files and are very supportive when I have questions, but the project manager has said that she adds these costs to my charges when charging her client. I check my pricing on regular basis by establishing what I have received from the invoices paid and then subtracting all of my costs, including my time costs. If the result is negative then my prices are too low, but if the result is positive then I'm making more money than I anticipated. I can either accept that or reduce my prices.

Ben


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