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"Premium"(?) jobs do not necessarily pay above-market rates
Thread poster: Mirko Mainardi

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 05:40
Member (2009)
German to Serbian
+ ...
The high-end chefs. Aug 2, 2017

Michael Wetzel wrote:

I guess there is a third question: I assumed you were just being facetious and politically correct with the whole housewives and cooks bit, but who knows, it's 2017. You do understand that people train or learn on the job for years to become chefs and restauranteurs, don't you? In the process, they learn a language that neither of us know and they can immediately recognize whether someone is a fluent speaker of culinese.



You are talking about high-profile chefs? Their recipes and ingredients are a secret, they are shared with a very little group of people, if any. I don't think they will become "translation files" really.

I definitely agree there's a lot of knowledge and nuanced meanings involved in culinary translation and it can't be done by anyone. Only in my country, regionally, there are so many dialectical and regional differences in culinary terms, probably much more than in any other field.


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
Dutch to French
+ ...
Cooking recipes+user's manuals Aug 2, 2017

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I'm quite active in the English-speaking online communities of expats, mainly from the EU member states. Obviously, Brexit is the chief topic being discussed at the moment, even surpassing the usual "Where can I buy...?" pleas.

We're hearing so much belittlement of others, simply because they aren't "one of us". Someone might for example have a different skin colour, and/or speak with a strange accent. Maybe they went to the right school and studied hard, and now play an important role in our society, but they can't today be considered "one of us". Or they might indeed be of the right race and colour but be from the arts side rather than sciences, so to those with a science background, they aren't qualified to be "one of us". Or, worst of all, they might, regardless of race or skin colour, be prepared to work their as**s off doing the menial jobs that those super-qualified sciences guys wouldn't stoop to. Those are regarded as the lowest of the low and yet where would we be without them? Where, in fact, will the UK farms, factories and hospitals be without them?

This is what Brexit is about. This is what Trump is about, for all his appeal to the rednecks. Please, please let's not make it what ProZ.com is about. This world of ours seems to be tearing itself apart at the moment. Why can't we all accept that others are different yet equal? Including translators.


Unfortunately, MT is going to do the job for these kinds of translations, whether you want it or not.


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:40
German to English
The disagreement Aug 2, 2017

David GAY wrote:

Michael Wetzel wrote:


Would you agree that a highly qualified translator specifically sought out by a bed-and-breakfast to translate their website will earn a much higher rate than a translator dealing with complex brain surgery on a project outsourced through a large translation agency? That seems like basic economics to me, but maybe I'm missing something.


Are you sure you know anything about economics? I guess a highly qualified translator wouldn't waste time on the translation of the site of a Bed and Breakfast. What you probably mean is that a translator would pick a direct client instead of an agency. But as you probably know, it's quite hard and time consuming to find direct clients. I don't see why in your example a bed and breakfast would choose a very expensive translator to translate sthg that is very basic.

[Modifié le 2017-08-01 21:40 GMT]


I think this really gets at the point of contention: My clients don't believe there is such a thing as a "highly qualified translator" unless you add another adjective in front of the word translator. For a very large number of translation outsiders, the idea of a highly skilled generalist is more or less absurd. They believe in highly qualified medical translators and legal translators and art translators and hospitality translators. Most of these clients are even reasonable enough to understand that those are ridiculously broad categories.
And if someone held a gun to my head and said I had to translate the new T&C for a mobile-service provider well enough that the client would pay without complaining or translate a bed-and-breakfast's website well enough to convince the owners that they were probably going to sell more stays because they had chosen a better translator, then I would choose the T&C.

I would guess that established translators doing bed-and-breakfast copy for quality-conscious direct clients who value those translators' so-called USPs (my USP is shared by dozens and dozens of translators, but the quality-conscious demand is still so high that it remains a buyer's market) will probably earn around 0.15 to 0.25 cents per word. A medical translator might make 0.20 to 0.30 cents per word in the same situation, but the big gap is between those rates and 0.05 to 0.12 cents for agencies. Big agencies are founded on the concept of the "highly qualified generalist" and there is an endless supply of people more or less convincingly claiming to be that.

Now, my understanding of supply and demand is based on playing a lot of Monopoly when I was a kid and quickly reading through an introduction to microeconomics when I started my business, but basic economics is hardly rocket science.


"It is hard and time consuming to find direct clients" is a myth when it gets universalized. It certainly seems true that it is harder and more time consuming for many translators to find direct clients, but it would be harder for me to find agency clients. It also seems like a lot of other people here struggle to do so.

"Transcreation is a myth" is a patently ridiculous statement. That clients do not go to big translation agencies to buy transcreation services is a reasonable statement. That you have never been asked for translation services is a reasonable statement.

I've never personally marketed myself as a transcreator and I dislike the term, but - aside from transcreation - there is certainly a significant market for well-written, intelligent translations.


P.S.:
David GAY wrote:

2) Proz community rates are not updated. I see a lot of profiles with rates as low as 0.05-0.06 euro in pairs like English or Spanish into French. So the minimum rates on these pairs should be 0.05. But it isn't the case.


I'd have to look again, but I think the figure is actually for average minimum rates, so if the lowest rates listed in profiles in those pairs ar 0.05 cents, the average minimum rate ought to be higher than that. However, you and José have presented convincing arguments indicating that translators might be consistently inflating their statements about their lowest rates.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Thoroughly disappointed with MT Aug 2, 2017

David GAY wrote:

Unfortunately, MT is going to do the job for these kinds of translations, whether you want it or not.


Some people drink water as it's found in nature. Others drink the water from a tap, connected to the public utility service, either filtered or not. And many drink bottled mineral water.

Here in Brazil we have plenty of all three. It was long ago, but I read somewhere that we were exported shiploads of bottled mineral water to the Middle East, something like that.

However here in Sao Paulo I see, in supermarkets, bottles of imported Perrier from France, as well as San Pellegrino from Italy. Prices are at least 5x higher than the local stuff. I'm sure that no business would waste valuable shelf space if nobody bought these.

I've learned that in North American urban areas it is considered 100% safe to drink tap water, and yet I saw many local brands of bottled mineral water on sale, being bought, and being drunk there. Some imported ones from across the Atlantic too.

Bottom line is that there are options along the entire price range, which starts from zero.

So I hoped that free online machine translation - in this analogy being equated to public water springs - would absorb most of the demand where the cost doesn't justify investing in professional translation. A couple of typical cases are to understand the instructions for some gimmick or device bought overseas, or foreign material one must read for school/academic purposes. I often get queried about these and other translations.

My expectation was that MT would wipe away the raison d'être of bilingual and sesquilingual people posing as translators from the marketplace. It didn't.

When someone approaches me with a single-beneficiary one-off translation request, which would itself cost more than a basic foreign language course, I think of MT. Now and then I try shooting their sample through GT, and get cryptic garbage. The content is often specialized and/or complex, so a cheap wannabe's translation won't be much better.

So in translation we are still in the days when one must pay what it costs to drink treated water from a reliable source, or face consequences. Hence cheap vendors still abound and, at first sight, before the first sip, their water looks as potable as any other.


 

dropinka  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
Excuse me? Aug 20, 2017

David GAY wrote:

Do you think the outsourcer will agree to pay more just because you're going to spend hours trying to transcreate/rephrase those 6 word sentences? Transcreation is not part of the offering of translation agencies> Have a look on their sites! I have never met a translation agency asking for transcreation. Transcreation is a myth. There is no market for transcreation. it's not because you've paid for a course on transcreation on PROZ that there is a market for transcreation!


Apart from the fact that agencies only (or mostly) offering transcreation services DO exist... what do you mean by "there is no market for transcreation"?

One ought to refrain from making sweeping statements based on one's own personal (and limited) experience, IMHO.


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
Dutch to French
+ ...
it's not my personal opinion Aug 21, 2017

dropinka wrote:

David GAY wrote:

Do you think the outsourcer will agree to pay more just because you're going to spend hours trying to transcreate/rephrase those 6 word sentences? Transcreation is not part of the offering of translation agencies> Have a look on their sites! I have never met a translation agency asking for transcreation. Transcreation is a myth. There is no market for transcreation. it's not because you've paid for a course on transcreation on PROZ that there is a market for transcreation!


Apart from the fact that agencies only (or mostly) offering transcreation services DO exist... what do you mean by "there is no market for transcreation"?

One ought to refrain from making sweeping statements based on one's own personal (and limited) experience, IMHO.

It's not my personal opinion: I'm checking on the sites of LSPs whether transcreation is part of the services offered. Most of the time, the services offered are translation, proofreading, interpreting, writing (not transcreation), DTP, sometimes copywriting
I've only noticed quite recently that a LSP based in the UK mention transcreation in their offering on their site, but it's quite rare. But the transcreation market must be quite small compared to the translation market anyway

[Modifié le 2017-08-21 00:36 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-08-21 00:39 GMT]


 

dropinka  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
Well, check again... Aug 21, 2017

David GAY wrote:

dropinka wrote:

David GAY wrote:

Do you think the outsourcer will agree to pay more just because you're going to spend hours trying to transcreate/rephrase those 6 word sentences? Transcreation is not part of the offering of translation agencies> Have a look on their sites! I have never met a translation agency asking for transcreation. Transcreation is a myth. There is no market for transcreation. it's not because you've paid for a course on transcreation on PROZ that there is a market for transcreation!


Apart from the fact that agencies only (or mostly) offering transcreation services DO exist... what do you mean by "there is no market for transcreation"?

One ought to refrain from making sweeping statements based on one's own personal (and limited) experience, IMHO.

It's not my personal opinion: I'm checking on the sites of LSPs whether transcreation is part of the services offered. Most of the time, the services offered are translation, proofreading, interpreting, writing (not transcreation), DTP, sometimes copywriting
I've only noticed quite recently that a LSP based in the UK mention transcreation in their offering on their site, but it's quite rare. But the transcreation market must be quite small compared to the translation market anyway


I've only checked the 10 largest LSPs (based on Common Sense Advisory's "The Top 100 Language Service Providers: 2016" survey), but it seems like half of them either offer transcreation as a service or write blog posts to explain what transcreation is (if they do provide transcreation but call it, say, global marketing, localization or other names).

And the CSA survey obviously only considers LSPs, not companies, advertising agencies and all the other buyers of transcreation services.

For this reason, I would think twice before stating that "there is no market for transcreation".
YOU may have only come across ONE "LSP based in the UK mention transcreation in their offering on their site", but trust me, there IS definitely a market for transcreation.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Is there a SIGNIFICANT market for transcreation? Aug 21, 2017

dropinka wrote:

I've only checked the 10 largest LSPs (based on Common Sense Advisory's "The Top 100 Language Service Providers: 2016" survey), but it seems like half of them either offer transcreation as a service or write blog posts to explain what transcreation is (if they do provide transcreation but call it, say, global marketing, localization or other names).

And the CSA survey obviously only considers LSPs, not companies, advertising agencies and all the other buyers of transcreation services.

For this reason, I would think twice before stating that "there is no market for transcreation".
YOU may have only come across ONE "LSP based in the UK mention transcreation in their offering on their site", but trust me, there IS definitely a market for transcreation.


Long before the term was coined, viz. in the 1970s, I spent several years doing "technical" transcreation... however as a full-time employee of what would be the end-client in the setup at hand. Of course, we'd outsource the "menial" part of the job, such as artwork and printing. However I can't envision the three companies I worked for (one at a time) in this period outsourcing my tasks as what they called "Marketing Services" to a translation or transcreation agency, as my work required frequent contact with various departments in the company.

Later, as a freelancer, I spent two decades doing transcreation for a packaged foreign training programs distributor. As I mastered the way they wanted things, we discussed the options to do things directly, made decisions together, and for most of the time I had carte blanche to decide how their products would come out locally. What would be the point of having an agency in-between:

I do a lot of corporate video localization work. Corporate video means institutional, training, and product launch video for/from companies where video production is outside their core business. Companies often have translation agencies taking care of translating their agreements, bids, web site, product literature, etc., so it's normal for them to ask their agency if they can localize videos or DVDs they received from their WHQ.

To outsiders, such video projects are unusually complex. They call for a number of decisions, somewhat "minor" from my standpoint, but often quite puzzling for the end-client (viz. "I never thought about it!"), and totally baffling for translation agency PMs, used to handle quite different assignments.

Some agencies have had the opportunity learn to trust my ethics. While I can directly guide the end-client through a quick successive decision-making process, a PM mediating such Q&A shuttle may get confused. Now and then a PM decides it's time to step out, and establish a direct connection so we can sort out that project. I am very careful to introduce myself as being "with the XXX agency" and never discuss pecuniary matters beyond some choice being cheaper or costlier than another, talking in terms of percentages, not cash figures.

While many translation agencies offer all kinds of services, I'd take a rather dim view of an employee who sent is/her company's transcreation work to a general translation agency. Of course, there may be specialist transcreation firms, but I think it's quite unlikely that they will adopt the markup-on-the-per-word-translation-rate business model. Furthermore, direct involvement of the transcreation crew with the end-client will be required.

IMHO the most likely setup will be either internal staff taking care of transcreation, or outsourcing it directly to local service providers who will personally come to the client premises to be in the loop.


 

dropinka  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
Marketing implementation agencies Aug 21, 2017

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:


IMHO the most likely setup will be either internal staff taking care of transcreation, or outsourcing it directly to local service providers who will personally come to the client premises to be in the loop.


As far as I know, most global brands work with marketing implementation agencies which outsource the actual transcreation of their advertisements to freelance in-market copywriters-translators. However, companies may also work with advertising agencies, 'traditional' LSPs, or even do transcreation internally, for that matter. There's all sorts of scenarios. The first I describe is the most common for global brands, though.

[Edited at 2017-08-21 12:59 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:40
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Transcreation most certainly exists Aug 21, 2017

David GAY wrote:
I've only noticed quite recently that a LSP based in the UK mention transcreation in their offering on their site, but it's quite rare. But the transcreation market must be quite small compared to the translation market anyway

It isn't rare at all, and there are boutique agencies that specialise in transcreation. But it is a niche - and as such its suppliers are valued and paid well. So there's no call to be dismissive.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
You got my point Aug 21, 2017

dropinka wrote:

As far as I know, most global brands work with marketing implementation agencies which outsource the actual transcreation of their advertisements to freelance in-market copywriters-translators. However, companies may also work with 'traditional' LSPs or even do transcreation internally, for that matter. There's all sorts of scenarios. The first I describe is the most common for global brands, though.


These companies use marketing services agencies - not translation agencies - for transcreation. Being agencies (i.e. outsourcers) already, these marketing guys will seek individual language services providers, not companies. No point in reoutsourcing the 'agenting' operation. In doing so, while they may search on the Proz translators database, it would be VERY unlikely for them to actually post premium or standard jobs.

This tends to confirm the frequent assertion that most jobs on Proz get assigned by direct contact via the translators database, and NOT the jobs board or other means available here for contacting a large number of translators at once.

Transcreation requirements are usually quite specific, and a marketing services agency will only hire a translation agency when the former is unable to find suitable freelancers.


 

dropinka  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
Not sure what you mean Aug 21, 2017

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

In doing so, while they may search on the Proz translators database, it would be VERY unlikely for them to actually post premium or standard jobs.


Can you please expand on this? Not sure I understand what you mean.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Clarification Aug 21, 2017

dropinka wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

In doing so, while they may search on the Proz translators database, it would be VERY unlikely for them to actually post premium or standard jobs.


Can you please expand on this? Not sure I understand what you mean.


The marketing services agency needing a translator/localizer goes to http://www.proz.com/translator-directory/, fills in the blanks, and progressively shortens the list. Then they check the remaining individual profiles, and contact them directly.

According to Proz staff, this is how MOST of the jobs get assigned on Proz. That's why they emphasize the need to hone one's profile here.


 
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