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"Platinum" Clients [Mod: How to raise market standards]
Thread poster: Lisa Carter
Lisa Carter  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:59
Spanish to English
Dec 22, 2005

I understand that ProZ.com is moving towards a more Platinum-based approach for translators, meaning that those who pay will have more benefits, access to jobs etc. I think that this is an important move in order to maintain and promote professionalism in translation.

My question, then, is whether something similar will or could be done on the client side of things, in order to educate many of them that we are professionals working to make a decent living. I wonder whether encouraging clients to pay or in some way be restricted with respect to their posting of jobs would help us as translators find jobs that pay better.

I became a Platinum member only a short while ago in the hopes that the jobs restricted to those members would be of a higher calibre (as regards pay). However, I have not found this to be the case. It seems that the majority of jobs posted overall (not just for Platinum members) simply do not allow me to make a living.

One of the most recent job postings said "We have received quotes from translators for as low as $0.03 a word so we are looking to see if anyone can beat this offer." While I do understand that we live in a globalized world and that this may suffice for those who live in other economies, living in North America I found this posting to be insulting.

I would therefore like to see whether we as members and ProZ.com can find a way to encourage clients to see the value of our work and allow us to earn what we need to survive. Suggestions or thoughts from the moderators would be most appreciated!

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2006-01-02 20:33]


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Low rates Dec 22, 2005

In my case, I have simply stopped answering to Proz.com jobs because rates are appalling, in general. If this goes on we may even start losing serious agencies from posting jobs, since they know that at Proz.com they only get quotes from 'low raters'. Also, many good translators get eventually fed up and usually have better sources to get jobs. This doesn't look very promising.

Many discussions have already proved that a minimum rate is unwise.

But, I believe being Platinum is one of the factors agencies take into consideration to hire a translator registered at Proz.com. What if there was some kind of 'tag' for agencies who post jobs above, say US$0.06 (we can vote). And what if these jobs where only sent for translators showing rates on their profile above this limit, wouldn't that be fair? 'Low raters' wouldn't even see these postings. Of course this should be a Platinum-only feature, haha!

Maybe, I am not being very clear but I believe that we could develop such a system to make everyone happy.

[Edited at 2005-12-22 16:15]


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Lisa Carter  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:59
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
exactly! Dec 22, 2005

quote]Fred Neild wrote:

What if there was some kind of 'tag' for agencies who post jobs above, say US$0.06 (we can vote). And what if these jobs where only sent for translators showing rates on their profile above this limit, wouldn't that be fair? 'Low raters' wouldn't even see these postings. Of course this should be a Platinum-only feature, haha![/quote]

Thanks for the good suggestion, Fred! That's exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of. Hopefully these and other suggestions can be thought about and refined, and a ProZ.com moderator will take an interest in them.


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overseas
Local time: 10:59
English to Korean
+ ...
Yes, low rates... Dec 22, 2005

Like Fred, I stopped responding to Proz.com job postings because of those insulting low rates. I have been a platinum member for two years. When the very first day I learned about Proz.com and visited the website, I became a platinum member. I liked many features it provided, and was thinking that I might get some jobs from job posters. Well....
I renewed my platinum membership this year even though I did not get any jobs because I thought many of the features (I like Translator's Forum very much, and KudoZ Term, too) were only available to platinum members. If it's not the case, I don't think I will renew my membership in 2006. A couple of jobs that got through without outrageously low rates were from clients who saw my profile on another similar website that does not require a membership fee!


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 10:59
SITE FOUNDER
It works something like that now Dec 22, 2005

Fred Neild wrote:

But, I believe being Platinum is one of the factors agencies take into consideration to hire a translator registered at Proz.com. What if there was some kind of 'tag' for agencies who post jobs above, say US$0.06 (we can vote). And what if these jobs where only sent for translators showing rates on their profile above this limit, wouldn't that be fair? 'Low raters' wouldn't even see these postings. Of course this should be a Platinum-only feature, haha!

The way the system works now is that if you enter a rates range in your profile, you will not receive notification of jobs posted with rates entered below your minimum. (Note that entering rates is not mandatory for posters.)

We could add some indication on the posting itself - but the level used would be your own personal level.


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Lisa Carter  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:59
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
What about from the poster's side? Dec 22, 2005

Henry wrote:

The way the system works now is that if you enter a rates range in your profile, you will not receive notification of jobs posted with rates entered below your minimum. (Note that entering rates is not mandatory for posters.)

We could add some indication on the posting itself - but the level used would be your own personal level.


Thanks for the clarification, Henry. I do now see that as a member you won't get notified unless a job is within your rate.

But what comments or suggestions might you have with respect to raising the standards not only for translators on the site, but for job posters? I think that is the crux of what I'm really trying to find a solution to here. Rather than attracting only top-quality translators who are willing to invest in their skills and profession by investing in ProZ, is there a way to also attract and top-quality posters and thereby elevate the status of translation as a whole?


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Premium Groups Dec 22, 2005

I actually don't receive quotes below my rate. This is great and already filters many jobs but in practice I know I still get many undesirable jobs. One of the reasons for this is that establishing a rate is not compulsory for agencies (as you pointed out), and the second reason is that maybe interesting postings receive many cannibalized rates from 'low raters'.

What I suggest is some kind of premium postings. I wouldn't care to receive 1 job posting per month, but I would really make a big effort to get it. Also by forcing members of this premium group to show rates above this minimum in their profile, 'low raters' wouldn't have access to these jobs. Of course, agencies posting for this group would have to establish this 'minimum rate' in the posting.

This group would be opt-in, so agencies looking for slave rates and translators offering whatever could continue doing business, while full time translators could also get some financial return from Proz.com, or at least answer interesting postings.

Of course it would be possible to have other groups (if this works) with a minimum of say US$0.20.


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:59
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
And what about this direct clients? Dec 22, 2005

overseas wrote:

Like Fred, I stopped responding to Proz.com job postings because of those insulting low rates. I have been a platinum member for two years. When the very first day I learned about Proz.com and visited the website, I became a platinum member. I liked many features it provided, and was thinking that I might get some jobs from job posters. Well....
I renewed my platinum membership this year even though I did not get any jobs because I thought many of the features (I like Translator's Forum very much, and KudoZ Term, too) were only available to platinum members. If it's not the case, I don't think I will renew my membership in 2006. A couple of jobs that got through without outrageously low rates were from clients who saw my profile on another similar website that does not require a membership fee!


In my case this is the core value of my Paltinum membership here. Direct querries via my profile are much more and come more often that jobs published.
You state another free sites, where customers can find you too. This is true, but do not forget, that if you are looking for translators on the Internet, the first ressource which will be googled, is ProZ.com, not any other translator sites. If you know the Google tool bar, you will surely have noticed the PageRank bar there. Look at the ranking of ProZ and compare it with the other translator sites - we are at least one point better. So if you want to get more jobs, present yourself here, be active, show up - and the world will notice you. Don´t care about the "low rates", charge your own.

We live in an open market, where the prices are free, either for customers as for the deliverers. We cannot stop that - but whe can is to encourage other fellow translator not to go so far down. If a customer is going to look if someone is able to "beat 0,03 cent per word" he must learn that there is no one who will do so. He should learn, that there are not many - if any - tranlator, who charge as few as 0,03... You cannot prohibt charging any rate or enforce charging or paying a particular higher rate, because this is against the rules of the free market (as far I can tell that - maybe this is to simplified, but for sure this is the way it goes).

Have a merry X-Mas everybody
Jerzy


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Live and let live Dec 22, 2005

Jerzy Czopik wrote:
You cannot prohibt charging any rate or enforce charging or paying a particular higher rate, because this is against the rules of the free market (as far I can tell that - maybe this is to simplified, but for sure this is the way it goes).


If you look at other postings I have made in other threads you will see that I am one of the most fierce defenders of 'low raters' (I think!). Of course they have the right to charge whatever they want to.

But, it does not mean we need to share the same bed. Live and let live. Why not have a group for translators that feel it is unfair to compete with such low rates, and let agencies decide where they want to offer their jobs. : )


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:59
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The job postings is one of the weakest areas of the site Dec 23, 2005

I would echo previous comments in this thread that the real value of Platinum membership lies not in being able to bid on jobs that offer Burger King wages, but in other features: most of all, the incomparably wonderful Kudoz system that allows the translator to not only give and receive help, but to showcase his or her talents to an international audience. Systematic participation in Kudoz does attract attention and, eventually, job proposals that offer the equivalent of an hourly rate somewhere above that of the teenage girl who pours coffee at Cinnabons.

To some extent, the "low rate" issue is a function of the particular language pair. Someone living in the US who works in English-to-Spanish is up against hundreds of thousands of well-educated Latin Americans whose passive command of English is sufficient to enable them to do a good job on translations within their fields of competence, and who will happily work for three cents a word. However, it will be rather more difficult to find someone in the same market who can do a competent job of translating *into* English from Spanish, and willing to work for the three cents.

It is tempting to conclude that the type of system that Fred is referring to would require the creation of a separate guild of translators who meet particularly rigorous professional standards and whose terms of contracting would include set minimum rates. While I don't want to dismiss such an idea out of hand, it seems that a website like proz.com offers good translators the opportunity to advertise their services and showcase their talents in a way that can and does attract decent-paying clients.

[Edited at 2005-12-23 02:39]


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 21:59
English to Indonesian
+ ...
It is a free market Dec 23, 2005

We translators should not bother about low rates. Top quality should be the most important point. A low rater may benefit from his competitive rate as long as his quality is maintained. But if an agency learns that the quality of the low rater does not worth what they have paid for the translator, they will not assign him again.
However, the problem here is that the living cost is greatly different from country to country. Thus, it may be the case that a top quality translator in an Asian country offer a much lower rate than that offered by a translator from a Western European country of the same calibre. Of course, the agency will assign their job to the Asian translator rather than his European counterpart. This is relevant to the economic principle - gaining the greatest profit through the lowest cost.


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
High rates for everybody in The Premium Group! Dec 23, 2005

Robert Forstag wrote:

I would echo previous comments in this thread that the real value of Platinum membership lies not in being able to bid on jobs that offer Burger King wages, but in other features: most of all, the incomparably wonderful Kudoz system that allows the translator to not only give and receive help, but to showcase his or her talents to an international audience.


I couldn't agree more Robert. But.

Since I recently joined Proz.com I have been listening to many colleagues complaining about low rates and I believed there was nothing we could do about it, and trying to convince 'low raters' (on a one to one basis) to raise their rates was a waste of time. The problem is that many of these colleagues are extremely participatory and essential for the life of Proz.com, they are as important for the site as Platinum contributions.

Recently an American colleague who had been systematically complaining about KudoZ system left the site. I think we all know who she is. It was a huge loss (I believe Proz.com people should go after her, a special effort has to be made for these members) I don't know if there is anything that we could do about it, but we could have tried (I didn't).

I am really trying now because I believe this could happen again, so we should at least try. There has to be a solution.


Robert Forstag wrote:
It is tempting to conclude that the type of system that Fred is referring to would require the creation of a separate guild of translators who meet particularly rigorous professional standards and whose terms of contracting would include set minimum rates.



I don't think standards should be met. I believe that if the translator is forced to display these rates in his/her profile the 'free market' will do the rest. And what would be the problem if unexperienced and low quality translators entered this group by displaying such rates.

*** This is what we have been trying to do all this time!! (this is in capital letters, but to maintain etiquette...) ***


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Levan Namoradze  Identity Verified
Georgia
Local time: 18:59
Member (2005)
English to Georgian
+ ...
I hesitated whether to say that Dec 23, 2005

I hesitated whether to say that, but... I'm the native Georgian speaker living in Georgia. And can someone explain me, why an Indian agency may get let's say English into Georgian translation from all over the world? Please note that further such agency use to apply back to us, the native Georgians, however, with their lower (even ridiculous) rates.

I got a feeling that setting a minimal rate may reduce the number of announcements and that is unacceptable for Proz staff in whole. However, on the other hand, further reduction of rates will cause reduction of the number of Proz members for sure (to me, that is for sure).

Dear Proz team, please think about that.

Regards,
Levan


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Errata Dec 23, 2005

Fred Neild wrote:
Recently an American colleague who had been systematically complaining about KudoZ system left the site.


Sorry, I was misinformed. This comment is not precise.

I still think it was a big loss.


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Marcela García  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
Platinum and jobs Dec 25, 2005

I have been a Platinum member since 2002.

This year I noticed that there are so many answers to each job in my language pairs (English and French into Spanish) that it is not worthwhile answering.

If over 200 translators apply to each translation job, it quite difficult to obtain any jobs unless a very low rate is offered.

Consequently, I am not sure if I will renew my membership in 2006.

It is a free market of course, but I believe it would be better for me if Proz had rates (i.e. USD 0,06 or whatever is a fair average).

It would also be interesting to know about the rates that the agencies charge, there must be surveys that can help translators set their rates, sometimes people charge very little because they do not have enough information about rates outside their countries.

Marcela


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