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How to improve Proz blue board and rates problem at the same time
Thread poster: Radovan Pletka
Radovan Pletka  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:32
English to Czech
+ ...
Apr 2, 2010

Proz should allow paying translators to add additional categorization in a blue board - dividing translation companies into 3 major groups.

0-6 cents - Low end bottom feeders
7-12 cents - Medium end TAs
13 and up - Upscale TAs

It will help very quickly to divide good and bad companies.

R. Pletka


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Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:32
English to French
+ ...
Great idea ! But ... Apr 2, 2010

Yes, indeed, Radovan.
But are you speaking of Euro cents or US dollar cents ?

Because if these are dollar cents, your classification is as follows for European translators:
0 to 0.06 USD = 0 to 0.04 Euro
0.07 to 0.12 USD = 0.05 to 0.088 Euro
The above rates are all very low for Europe

0.13 USD = 0.096 Euro
This is medium rate.
Acceptable in some circumstances, maybe.

But an European translator cannot make a (low) living under Euro 0.10.

The medium acceptable rates would be:
Euro 0.10 to 0.13 = USD 0.135 to 0.175


Upscale would be above Eur 0.14 = USD 0.19 !


My 2 cents
Catherine

Source of conversion : Oanda http://www.oanda.com/lang/fr/currency/converter/


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Radovan Pletka  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:32
English to Czech
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TOPIC STARTER
More money is better Apr 2, 2010

I posted this to start discussion and to convince Proz to decide, who is the main customer for them, if the translation agencies or individual translators.
So far I think they are trying to be dual agent, that is to make money on both sides of the fence (smile), and as we can see from their reaction, the petition of nearly 1000 translators got their attention.

So this is a proposal to allow translators to brand agencies as low, medium or upscale.

We can also evaluate them as restaurants in five categories,
from $, $$, $$$, $$$$, and $$$$$.

$ =


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Dawn Montague  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:32
German to English
+ ...
Agree with Catherine Apr 2, 2010

I agree with you Catherine - which is why it is easier to get the rates I ask in Europe than in the US. If I calculate my rates based on what I need hourly, and then give myself time for proper editing and proofreading plus continuing education, computer equipment and software, etc., my "translation only" prices for agencies (not T.E.P. - when an agency takes care of the editing and proofreading) have to be at least USD 0.12 (for super easy texts with lots of repetitions, which is rarely the case) to USD 0.20 and more (for the more difficult texts), with surcharges for complex formatting and handwriting. If I am responsible for the complete T.E.P. process, I have to add the charges of a separate editor.

Even if Radek's suggestion is never implemented, we need to educate prospective clients about the process and what it takes for a translator to have adequate time and energy to deliver top quality.

[Edited at 2010-04-02 17:27 GMT]


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Bright Bridge  Identity Verified
Morocco
Local time: 21:32
English to Arabic
+ ...
Rates vs living standard Apr 2, 2010

I agree that rates are falling down and the reason is "the economic crisis"!!
However, the evaluation scale needs to take into consideration big differences in living standards between north and south, east and west.
I don't know! May be it should be calculated according to Global living standard average.
If some are taking translation as a source for living others are just filling their free time and wouldn't mind accept projects for few cents..

[Edited at 2010-04-02 17:59 GMT]


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:32
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
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I like this idea Apr 2, 2010

The details can always be worked out but the general idea is good. Why not assign a background colour to each rate level and just add this colour to the job posting, for example. If the basic explanation of what each colour means would be permanently displayed on the jobs board it would be obvious straight away that the agency is, for example, a bottom feeder. Even young and inexperienced translators would immediately see that the rates the company is paying are low. This would educate the job posters and young translators equally well.

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Radovan Pletka  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:32
English to Czech
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TOPIC STARTER
We have to decide what we can fix Apr 2, 2010

We can't fix economic crisis and the fact that some places are cheaper than others. I don't think we should deal with that.
What we can do is to use our collective power and evaluate translation agencies according to prices they are willing to pay to us.

Because we do not want to fix the above, we can use one scale to rate how much the translation agencies are paying per word.
We have to agree on how to count it (some European agencies are doing per line or per character or per standard page pricing, but this can be solved by making conversion tables.
We have to also count apples to apples, that is straight translation only, and turn key product would have quite different pricing.

But all this are details only.
As long as Proz will agree to the basic principle of giving translators the power to rate how much agency pay to them, and it will be visible on all posting of the agency, I am quite sure a lot of bottom feeding agencies will try to figure out how to get out of that rating.
And here the advantage of Proz being 800 pound gorilla on translation market comes handy. But it is connected to their business model and decision, which Proz have to make quite soon.
Who is Proz bread and butter customer. Translator or TA?

I don't know and this is why I started this discussion.
But I am quite sure, if translators are not the bread and butter Proz customers, they will realize it soon, they are the smartest bunch of people I ever had the honor to meet.


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Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:32
English to French
+ ...
And I like your idea Apr 2, 2010

Burrell wrote:

The details can always be worked out but the general idea is good. Why not assign a background colour to each rate level and just add this colour to the job posting, for example. If the basic explanation of what each colour means would be permanently displayed on the jobs board it would be obvious straight away that the agency is, for example, a bottom feeder. Even young and inexperienced translators would immediately see that the rates the company is paying are low. This would educate the job posters and young translators equally well.


This idea of using colour grading is excellent, and an good educational tool.

Catherine


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Dawn Montague  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:32
German to English
+ ...
We need to consider the well-being of the professionals, not the amateurs Apr 2, 2010

nabnet wrote:

I agree that rates are falling down and the reason is "the economic crisis"!!
However, the evaluation scale needs to take into consideration big differences in living standards between north and south, east and west.
I don't know! May be it should be calculated according to Global living standard average.
If some are taking translation as a source for living others are just filling their free time and wouldn't mind accept projects for few cents..

[Edited at 2010-04-02 16:50 GMT]


I am afraid the "economic crisis" is only an excuse for the unscrupulous to attempt to drive rates down. How can rates be driven down when the demand for language translators is up 15% (according to an interview with Jiri Stejskal here: http://www.foxbusiness.com/search-results/m/27178882/demand-for-language-translators-up-15.htm#q=american%20translators%20association )?

Please take a look at this article: http://provenwrite.wordpress.com/about/twelve-step-program-for-self-injuring-translators/
People who are just filling their free time should be translating for free - for well-deserving charitable organizations. Otherwise, it hurts those who must make a living, and who strive to deliver top quality.

Of course there are different needs in different parts of the world. Perhaps we could refrain from name calling and simply provide an *anonymous* way for translators to indicate the rates that a translation agency offers so that translators from different parts of the world can make their own decisions.


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Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:32
English to French
+ ...
My turn to agree, except on one point Apr 2, 2010

Yes, I fully agree with you Dawn.
The "economic crisis" is nothing more than an hypocritical pretext evoked by unscrupulous outsourcers.

Full-time professionals must be both the reference and the target of this rates encoding.

But we must keep the idea of signalling low rates. Our goal must be educational, too, and I even should say, our primary objective.

Catherine

[Edited at 2010-04-02 18:02 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-04-02 18:03 GMT]


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Dawn Montague  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:32
German to English
+ ...
I would not disagree with you on any point Apr 2, 2010

Catherine GUILLIAUMET wrote:

But we must keep the idea of signalling low rates. Our goal must be educational, too, and I even should say, our primary objective.

Catherine

[Edited at 2010-04-02 18:02 GMT]



My point is that the rating should be objective and anonymous. Translators are more likely to be honest when it is anonymous.


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Bright Bridge  Identity Verified
Morocco
Local time: 21:32
English to Arabic
+ ...
One hand doesn't clap! Apr 2, 2010

Dawn Montague wrote:

I am afraid the "economic crisis" is only an excuse for the unscrupulous to attempt to drive rates down. How can rates be driven down when the demand for language translators is up 15% (according to an interview with Jiri Stejskal here: http://www.foxbusiness.com/search-results/m/27178882/demand-for-language-translators-up-15.htm#q=american%20translators%20association )?

Please take a look at this article: http://provenwrite.wordpress.com/about/twelve-step-program-for-self-injuring-translators/
People who are just filling their free time should be translating for free - for well-deserving charitable organizations. Otherwise, it hurts those who must make a living, and who strive to deliver top quality.

Of course there are different needs in different parts of the world. Perhaps we could refrain from name calling and simply provide an *anonymous* way for translators to indicate the rates that a translation agency offers so that translators from different parts of the world can make their own decisions.


I admit I have striven for years to keep my rate in 0.08EUR but I found that I am considered as a "special case" in the translation market with few permanent clients. I even receive mails from long term contractors asking to reduce rate to 0.05EUR, I quote " due to economic crisis we ask you to reduce your rate ..".

I changed my policy accordingly and start accepting jobs for even less than 0.05$US to ensure a minimum income. However, I would prefer average income with self respect rather than endless competition with free time filling amateurs..


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Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:32
English to French
+ ...
OK! I understand now Apr 2, 2010

Dawn Montague wrote:

Catherine GUILLIAUMET wrote:

But we must keep the idea of signalling low rates. Our goal must be educational, too, and I even should say, our primary objective.

Catherine

[Edited at 2010-04-02 18:02 GMT]



My point is that the rating should be objective and anonymous. Translators are more likely to be honest when it is anonymous.


Sorry, Dawn, I read too fast. You meant the source of the rating kept anonymous. Why not ?
OK, if anonymous to public view, but not anonymous to ProZ staff who must check if the sender is a valid member. Otherwise, anybody could enter anything if s/he wants to be harmful to such or such outsourcer.
Catherine


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:32
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
@Radovan Apr 2, 2010

What you have proposed here is very similar to an idea I suggested for modification of the Blue Board some months ago, an idea that in my view would help discourage the low-ball postings far better than the recent modifications announced by proz.com staff.

See:

http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_job_systems/148222-allow_site_members_users_to_rate_each_job_posting.html

Staff response to my suggestions at the time could reasonably be characterized as indifferent, but it is nice to see at least some emerging awareness--however tardy it may be--that there is indeed a problem.


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Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:32
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
why rates are dropping Apr 2, 2010

nabnet wrote:
I agree that rates are falling down and the reason is "the economic crisis"!!


I respectfully disagree with this statement. As it was so rightfully pointed out in a recent article,
translation rates are dropping because translators accept low rates.
I highly recommend reading the full article: "Toxic Translation"
http://provenwrite.wordpress.com/about/twelve-step-program-for-self-injuring-translators/


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