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Platinum member looking for slave labour
Thread poster: Bob Kerns

Bob Kerns  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:15
Member (2002)
German to English
Jan 20, 2004

Hello friends,

We read a lot here about agencies who post jobs offering really low payment and we (at least I) often think that such jobs are only offered by agencies.

Not true! Today I received the following mail from a Platinum member of ProZ who lives in the Netherlands:

-------------------
Dear Sir / Madam,

Are you available to translate the attached document for
Thursday evening. Rate offered Euro 0.02/word. Please replt
to XXXXXX@YYYYYYYY.nl

Kind Regards,

XXXXXX

This message was sent to a group. Recipients: 100
--------------

I have intentionally deleted all references to the lady's name, profile URL etc.

I have also replied by mail to her with my views about asking professionals to work for 2 cents per word. She has not (yet) bothered to reply.

I can only suggest that we all respond appropriately to such requests, wherever they come from, and then maybe people like this will realise that prices like this are (at least in Europe) an insult to our professionalism.

Regards from Germany (where I'm currently earning almost ten times what this ProZ member is prepared to pay).

Bob Kerns


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:15
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
I had this too Jan 20, 2004

I also received this email. It was supposed to include an attachment but didn't, so I don't even know what languages are involved.
I just replied pointing this out and saying that it didn't matter anyway as I was not interested in work at such a rate.

[Edited at 2004-01-20 17:14]


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Ulrike Lieder  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:15
English to German
+ ...
Me, too... Jan 20, 2004

I can only add my "me, too" here - I also received this very generous offer (wow, I charge more than that for proofreading...), looked in vain for an attachment (I'm not sure, but I don't think that you can send attachments through ProZ broadcast mails), and decided I would simply ignore this request and delete it. (Which is what I usually do when I see that a message has been sent to 100 recipients.)

But Bob has a good point - I think I'll fish this back out of the deleted items folder and send a reply.


[Edited at 2004-01-20 18:56]


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:15
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Sad but true! Jan 20, 2004

If one would go and look at the websites of these folks then you would see that they charge their clients ten times what they have offered to you.

Or they have the translation done and come to you to have it proofread - which basically means that you have to redo the whole thing, and they then also want to pay you 1 cent a word for proofing. Total sum: 3 cents a word for a technical translation. Quite a nice profit, don't you think?

Sometimes these amounts are even offered for highly specialized texts like Engineering and Medicine, Micro Biology, etc.

Happy profitable translating!
Lucinda


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 04:15
English to German
+ ...
Are you referring to the late proof-reading job?? Jan 20, 2004

Bob Kerns wrote:

Hello friends,

We read a lot here about agencies who post jobs offering really low payment and we (at least I) often think that such jobs are only offered by agencies.

Not true! Today I received the following mail from a Platinum member of ProZ who lives in the Netherlands:

-------------------
Dear Sir / Madam,

Are you available to translate the attached document for
Thursday evening. Rate offered Euro 0.02/word. Please replt
to XXXXXX@YYYYYYYY.nl

Kind Regards,

XXXXXX

This message was sent to a group. Recipients: 100
--------------

I have intentionally deleted all references to the lady's name, profile URL etc.

I have also replied by mail to her with my views about asking professionals to work for 2 cents per word. She has not (yet) bothered to reply.

I can only suggest that we all respond appropriately to such requests, wherever they come from, and then maybe people like this will realise that prices like this are (at least in Europe) an insult to our professionalism.

Regards from Germany (where I'm currently earning almost ten times what this ProZ member is prepared to pay).

Bob Kerns
Hi! I have recd. something similar.Didn´t know the person was a platinum. Then what did you do? Bandi


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Geir Vikan  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 04:15
German to Norwegian
+ ...
? Jan 20, 2004

Please explain yourself clearly.
What is the problem?
Is this price too low if you have no other work?
Do we have a market working on supply/demand or not?
Try delivering newspapers (Sunday morning, 3 AM) in Oslo, Norway at -20 (Celsius) and come back to me.
Best regards
Geir Vikan


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
I got 2 or 3 similar mails last month Jan 20, 2004

First, I always try to imagine whom I am talking to.

Then I smile and delete the mail.

If I would answer, he/she could feel encouraged to send another thing like that, just because I would be communicating with him/her.

[Edited at 2004-01-20 23:30]


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:15
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Supply and demand works both ways. Jan 20, 2004

Geir Vikan wrote:

Please explain yourself clearly.
What is the problem?
Is this price too low if you have no other work?
Do we have a market working on supply/demand or not?
Try delivering newspapers (Sunday morning, 3 AM) in Oslo, Norway at -20 (Celsius) and come back to me.
Best regards
Geir Vikan



I can understand that you would do anything rather than deliver papers in -20° weather.
However, as Lucinda has pointed out, these agencies often charge their clients plenty and they make a huge profit at the translator's expense. Supply and demand works both ways: as long as there are people who accept work at these low rates, these agencies will not clean up their act. Translators need to demand the kind of pay that we deserve given our knowledge and expertise. There are plenty of bona fide agencies that do pay reasonable rates. There must also be better alternatives than delivering papers. I wish you luck!


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
?? Jan 20, 2004

Geir Vikan wrote:
Please explain yourself clearly.
What is the problem?
Is this price too low if you have no other work?
Do we have a market working on supply/demand or not?
Try delivering newspapers (Sunday morning, 3 AM) in Oslo, Norway at -20 (Celsius) and come back to me.
Best regards
Geir Vikan

Now I am really curious about the way a Norwegian newspapers deliverer would react, when you offer him a job at 20% or less of his usual pay, just because he might have no other work.
(But I would ask only extreme pacifists.)


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:45
English to Tamil
+ ...
What is your point Geir Vikan? Jan 21, 2004

Have I missed something? What is the connection between translation and delivering newspaper? Had you pressed the "reply with quote" button, it would have been better. Anyhow I gather from your observations that you are trying to indicate that in a free market anything goes. Well, an interesting point.
In this thread the original poster was just expressing indignation over the fact that a translator, that too a platinum member of Proz acted in this manner. It looks bad, does it not?
I am all admiration for the restrained manner in which this issue was approached. All references to the platinum member's identity were avoided. And a majority of the recipients seem to have just ignored this ridiculous offer.
Regards,
N.Raghavan
Geir Vikan wrote:

Please explain yourself clearly.
What is the problem?
Is this price too low if you have no other work?
Do we have a market working on supply/demand or not?
Try delivering newspapers (Sunday morning, 3 AM) in Oslo, Norway at -20 (Celsius) and come back to me.
Best regards
Geir Vikan



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Bruce Popp  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:15
French to English
it's an insult Jan 21, 2004

Geir Vikan wrote:

Is this price too low if you have no other work?


Hi,

I certainly do have other work that pays much better. The person sending the e-mail is insulting me because she insinuates that I don't have better paying work.

Bruce


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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 21:15
German to English
Skilled Labour for slave wages Jan 21, 2004

Bruce Popp wrote:

The person sending the e-mail is insulting me because she insinuates that I don't have better paying work.



...or because she is implying that your skills, experience, qualifications and knowledge are worth so very little.

We have all done work for less than we are worth (I know I have, and still do, if I need the money) but it does sadden me a little that a ProZ colleague - who knows the time and skill required to do the work - would try to get a Proz-quality product for such a low price.

Hilary


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Gareth McMillan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:15
German to English
+ ...
I got one too. Jan 21, 2004

And I know others who received recognition from this woman.

I say "recognition" because she has picked out some of the (in my view) very best translators around on proz.

We should feel complimented, I suppose.

But no worries she won't attract a good professional- there are plenty of native Serbo-croation speakers with Chinese/Urdu bilingual talents working out of a steam driven internet connection in Siberia, who will jump at this opportunity.

That's also ok- there's loads of room on the market for all kinds of crap, it seems.
We live in an age of mediocracy, after all, and anyone interested in producing quality has to either find their niche and defend it to the last, or sacrifice their principles and swim along with this tide of amateurism.

In answer to Geir Vikan.
I find the analogy somewhat fatuous. I've had hard times myself- I've even scrubbed out the ladies loo in a British Railways mainline station during the Glasgow Fair (and beleive me there is no more filthy and degrading work than that in W. Europe) in an effort to survive as a non-grant-aided student- delivering papers sounds like a dream job by comparison.
But in Western Europe you can get caught in a social trap by working too cheaply- the overhead costs are very high, and if you can't meet these, the same social oriented state will take the shirt off your back for trying to be independent- it's safer not to work at all sometimes.
People in poorer countries have a different set of problems and can often survive quite well with what we consider to be "insultingly" low rates.
I don't believe these people are competition to me, because, as an engineer/translator, I work only at what I do best- quality technical translations from the language of the country where I live and work, into my (100%) native language. Someone trying to compete with me on quality but living outside of "The West" just can't even come close to this in my languge pair, no matter how good they think they are.

Nonetheless, I think the lady (offers herself for €0.10) who has pulled this stunt will have done considerable damage to her credibility- she has the advantage of living in W. Europe and still thinks she can exploit her peers- this is another example of mediocracy- mediocracy of principles- in what the Germans call the new "Ellbogengesellschaft".

She's actually done nothing wrong or illegal. I can accept this- but I don't have to like it.

G. McMillan


[Edited at 2004-01-21 08:10]

[Edited at 2004-01-21 08:16]


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satish krishna itikela  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 07:45
Member (2011)
English to Telugu
+ ...
"very shame on his/her part" Jan 21, 2004

This is very insulting on his part that being a translator and a platinum member he should feel shame to post such a job, it is very bad that being in this profession and knowing about professional difficulties in this field, how he/she could behave like a layman who don't know about this field.
If i was the person who recieved the mail i would give him a strong reply about his behaviour and also recommend the site staff not to allow any person or any agency to post a job which offer such a poor payment.
I request the site staff to please look into this matter and take a necessary action.
Regards
I.SATISH KRISHNA.


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