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Professional guidelines updated. Please consider endorsing.
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 16:30
SITE FOUNDER
Apr 6, 2010

Hi all,

The following line has been added to the ProZ.com Professional Guidelines:

"[Professionals] set their rates at levels that allow them to deliver, on an ongoing basis, the quality levels that their clients require"

This addition was made in connection with the planned changes recently announced to the job posting system. (96% approved of this addition to the professional guidelines when surveyed here.)

You are invited to consider endorsing the new version of the guidelines: [Member activities > Professional guidelines]

(If you do not approve of this addition, refrain from endorsing it. The link from your profile will point to the most recent version of the guidelines that you endorse. )


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
What does... Apr 6, 2010

Henry D wrote:
"[Professionals] set their rates at levels that allow them to deliver, on an ongoing basis, the quality levels that their clients require"


What does "on an ongoing basis" mean? I'm trying to think how the meaning of the sentence would have been different if "on an ongoing basis" was not in it:

* [Professionals] set their rates at levels that allow them to deliver the quality levels that their clients require.
* [Professionals] set their rates at levels that allow them to deliver on an ongoing basis the quality levels that their clients require.

I fully agree with the first item above. The second one seems to imply that translators don't vary their rates from job to job. Or how should it be understood?

You are invited to consider endorsing the new version of the guidelines: [Member activities > Professional guidelines]


Since there is now the facility to endorse more than one version of the guidelines, how about having a look at some of the objections made to the first version and creating a third, "minimalist" version that those of us who don't just "endorse" mindlessly can also endorse something here.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
To clarify... Apr 6, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:
Since there is now the facility to endorse more than one version of the guidelines, how about having a look at some of the objections made to the first version and creating a third, "minimalist" version that those of us who don't just "endorse" mindlessly can also endorse something here.


To clarify my posision to those who did not follow my previous thread, the discussion is here: http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/118591.html



[Edited at 2010-04-06 13:36 GMT]


 

Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:30
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Lack of realism Apr 6, 2010

Henry D wrote:
"[Professionals] set their rates at levels that allow them to deliver, on an ongoing basis, the quality levels that their clients require"

What I find depressing about this whole debate is the lack of commercial realism and the extent of economic naïveté.

The reality is that in some language combinations, the supply of translators exceeds the demand for their services - hence low rates. In other combinations (including mine) the reverse is true.

Pious statements about setting rates and a living wage stands no chance against the economic fundamentals. Hiding rates is a cosmetic measure. Low rates are an economic signal that there are too many translators, and some should get out. Cruel, but that is the nature of our economic system.

Let me emphasise that these comments are aimed at naive translators, not ProZ.


 

Krzysztof Kajetanowicz (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:30
English to Polish
+ ...
wording Apr 6, 2010

Peter Linton wrote:

Pious statements about setting rates and a living wage stands no chance against the economic fundamentals. Hiding rates is a cosmetic measure. Low rates are an economic signal that there are too many translators, and some should get out. Cruel, but that is the nature of our economic system.

Let me emphasise that these comments are aimed at naive translators, not ProZ.



Much as I agree about the futility of hiding rates (or setting them based on the dreamed living standards for that matter), note that the wording of the new guideline is different. It has to do with not deceiving outsourcers, i.e. "garbage paid, garbage delivered" is fine, as long as the outsourcer is fine with garbage.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:30
Member (2008)
French to English
Market forces can be skewed Apr 6, 2010

Peter Linton wrote:

Low rates are an economic signal that there are too many translators, and some should get out.


The would be true in the absence of any external factors that skew the market. Publicly posting buying prices and translation companies that apply pressure to individual translators are both activities that skew the market, introducing an imbalance that doesn't allow true market forces to play out. Hence low rates may be more than a pure economic signal; they may also be a signal of artificial imbalances. These professional guidelines may help to correct these imbalances.


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 16:30
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
The statement stands on its own, Peter Apr 6, 2010

Peter Linton wrote:
Hiding rates is a cosmetic measure.

Hi Peter,

Maybe I should not have posted concerning the connection with that discussion. Please evaluate the statement on its own merits. Most people seem to agree it is sound, something fair to expect from a professional. (Think of the discussion as having highlighted something that was missing from the guidelines.)


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 16:30
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
I'll keep the idea in mind, Samuel Apr 6, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:
Since there is now the facility to endorse more than one version of the guidelines, how about having a look at some of the objections made to the first version and creating a third, "minimalist" version...

Hi Samuel,

I'll keep this in mind as an idea for later, but I can say that for the most part, each of the provisions is fairly widely accepted. (Almost all of the points have parallels in "codes of conduct" maintained by industry associations, and just about anything that was judged to have encountered substantial disagreement -- say, less than 95% approval -- was removed even before the guidelines went live.)


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Quality is not a major requirement of some agencies Apr 6, 2010

Henry D wrote:
"[Professionals] set their rates at levels that allow them to deliver, on an ongoing basis, the quality levels that their clients require"

(If you do not approve of this addition, refrain from endorsing it.


As I said when I was asked, I can agree to the guideline, but I think it could be worded better.

I believe that one of the major problems we're facing at the moment is that a number of our clients, i.e. agencies, do NOT actually require quality - they want it cheap even if that means paring down the quality. I'm sure the end-client requires quality but a lot of the time they probably don't understand what they've got for their money and what they could have got for a bit more.

IMO, a better ending to the guideline would be "..., the quality levels that a professional translation demands"


 

Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:30
English to French
+ ...
Excellent, Sheila! Apr 6, 2010

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I believe that one of the major problems we're facing at the moment is that a number of our clients, i.e. agencies, do NOT actually require quality - they want it cheap even if that means paring down the quality. I'm sure the end-client requires quality but a lot of the time they probably don't understand what they've got for their money and what they could have got for a bit more.

IMO, a better ending to the guideline would be "..., the quality levels that a professional translation demands"


This would be a better ending, which might even ring a bell in the client's/agencies' minds.

I wonder if we coulldn't even substitute "deserves" for "demands" ?
Catherine


 

rumpeb  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 08:30
English to French
+ ...
Fully endorse Sheila's statement Apr 6, 2010

I totally agree with Sheila's statement. It is apparent that major agencies are seeking the cheapest translation possible with total disregard to quality. Sadly it is the client who is the biggest loser.

 

Batya Knebel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:30
Hebrew to English
+ ...
A related issue to wording and guidelines Apr 7, 2010

I want to bring to the attention of the translation team a pattern of misleading writing of PO's that affects the payment for translation work. In my example this pattern of writing also was utilized to avoid payment, when a dispute regarding due date arose, leaving me surprised about the subtle deception.

I will detail here the PO speciification to illustrate how the PO specifications was deceptive to avoid future payment.
I received PO number XXXXX for Proofreading and translation of list of words for the price of proofreading!! when only 1/6 of it is proofreading!!!. When I requested to correct it - a new PO XXXXX-YYY was sent (same number with additional number after the dash) for the 1/6 of proofreading. And a additional Po XXXXX(same number)- UPDATED is send for the translation. Each of the PO requested a different due date, which I could not fulfill and I stated it in an email that I can deliver only two days later. Without response for my reply I send first my proofreading (only of $10!) which is immediately accepted although it is past the due date sending me the PO XXXXX-YYY again confirming that my proofreading was delivered. Following it, on the next day, the due date for the translation PO XXXXX-UPDATED I received an email that PO XXXXX is cancelled!!!. So I continue to translate the list of words of PO XXXXX-UPDATED in order to deliver it as I promised to deliver two days later, but for this one I was refused with the excuse I am past the due date for it and that it has been cancelled. I pointed out that the cancelation did not specify PO XXXXX-UPDATED and that I should be paid for my work however I am bluntly refused and I am told that the cancelation referred to PO XXXXX-Updated, even though it was not written in the cancelation email.

I would be happy to know if this is a common occurance or just a one time my unfortunate experience.

[Edited at 2010-04-07 05:57 GMT]


 

Krzysztof Kajetanowicz (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:30
English to Polish
+ ...
as usual Apr 7, 2010

Sheila Wilson wrote:

IMO, a better ending to the guideline would be "..., the quality levels that a professional translation demands"


Let me be the devil's advocate here but is it really that you guys are worried about... end clients? Businesses, mind you, not sick orphans — businesses that press agencies to lower prices, actually get lower prices and... garbage? Or is it simply about translators wanting to be paid more? If the latter is the case, the first step might be to admit it...

I mean, this is something we endorse in front of the client. They are for us, aren't they, as a promise we give to the client in order to get hired.

[Edited at 2010-04-07 07:30 GMT]


 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: The post had been emptied by the poster.

Umberto Steindler  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:30
Member (2005)
German to Italian
+ ...
A problem of credibility Apr 8, 2010

Are the "Professional Guidelines" of Proz.com credible?
I am not so sure after I read a Proz.com translation job posted by a certified member, who allegedly endorses ProZ.com's Professional Guidelines, and offers 0.045 to 0.05 EUR/Word. With this price nobody can survive.
What is your opinion?

Alberto


 
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