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Modest improvement to form for entering rates in profiles
Thread poster: Jason Grimes

Jason Grimes
Local time: 22:16
SITE STAFF
Apr 8, 2013

The form for entering general rates in freelancer profiles has been updated with a number of small changes to make it easier to use.

You can try it out here: http://www.proz.com/settings/freelancer/financial

The form is for freelancers to enter their general rates, which are intended as a rough, high-level indication of the rates typically charged for a translation assignment in a familiar discipline with no additional costs (travel expenses, software, dictionaries, etc.). It should be understood that further negotiation is often needed to set an appropriate rate for a particular job or client.

(Note that this update is not related to past efforts at a structured approach to defining more complex and granular rate specifications. There are currently no plans to resume that project.)

Specifying your rates helps you attract the right type of client, filter out jobs offered at rates below your minimum, and improve aggregate statistics that help educate the translation community. If you'd rather not enter your rates, you can avoid being prompted to do so in the future by clicking "I don't want to enter my rates."

Please post below if you have any questions or feedback about these updates.

Thanks,

Jason


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I'm forced to either not show my rate or show only my high rate Apr 9, 2013

Jason Grimes wrote:
You can try it out here: http://www.proz.com/settings/freelancer/financial


I would like to show my rates to clients on my profile and in the directory, but I would like to show only my high rate (not my low rate). My high rate is my usual rate. My low rate is the rate that I may be willing to accept under certain special circumstances. I do not want clients and colleagues to see my low rate in my profile or in the directory.

However, since I'm willing to accept a low rate for certain types of jobs, I would like my low rate to be used in the filters. If I use only my high rate in the filters (i.e. if I fill in only one rate into both fields), then I will be excluded from jobs that fall beneath my high rate threshold even though I might have considered those jobs.

The current form does not allow me to do both things. I have to either specify a high rate in both fields (if I want my rate to be visible on my profile page and in the directory), or I have to specify my low rate in addition to my high rate (but then I must hide my rate from my profile page and the directory).

Instead of trying to combine the two options into a single set of selections, it would have been better if you had offered translators to specify two separate sets of rates, namely a public one (to be used in the profile and/or the directory) and a non-public one (to be used in filters).


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 22:16
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Your minimum rates can be hidden from others Apr 9, 2013

Hi Samuel,

Thanks for taking the time to write. I appreciate it.

Samuel Murray wrote:
I would like to show my rates to clients on my profile and in the directory, but I would like to show only my high rate (not my low rate). . . . However, since I'm willing to accept a low rate for certain types of jobs, I would like my low rate to be used in the filters.


I think it's actually working the way you want right now, but it's just not very clear.

Your minimum rates are being used for filters, but only your standard rates (what you called your high rates) are shown in your profile and the directory.

Your minimum rate is not being shown to others in your profile, because you didn't tick the "show minimum rates" checkbox. But when you view your own profile, the minimum rates are shown to you. Unfortunately there's no indication that this is what's happening. I will get that fixed. Thank you for bringing this up.

Please let me know if I've misunderstood the issue.

Thanks,

Jason


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You're right Apr 9, 2013

Jason Grimes wrote:
I think it's actually working the way you want right now, but it's just not very clear.


You're right -- there is a tickbox "show minimum rates" elsewhere in that dialog, that is unticked by default.

==

By the way, do I understand correctly that I can have my rates in only one currency on my profile? At this time, I have three sets of rates for clients from different regions, and these rates don't follow the bank exchange rates (they follow the market-tolerance in each of the regions). Right now, I have my EUR rates on my profile page, which would seem mildly excessive to clients from the United States and extremely excessive to clients from South Africa, if they were to convert it using a bank currency exchange rate converter.



[Edited at 2013-04-09 11:49 GMT]


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 22:16
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Only one currency is supported per language pair Apr 9, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:
By the way, do I understand correctly that I can have my rates in only one currency on my profile? At this time, I have three sets of rates for clients from different regions, and these rates don't follow the bank exchange rates (they follow the market-tolerance in each of the regions). Right now, I have my EUR rates on my profile page, which would seem mildly excessive to clients from the United States and extremely excessive to clients from South Africa, if they were to convert it using a bank currency exchange rate converter.


Hi Samuel,

That's basically right; the general rates data is deliberately simple and can't be used to specify multiple rates in different currencies. General rates are intended as a rough, high-level indicator, with the understanding that actual rates vary depending on many possible details.

Would it help to enter a note explaining your policy? You could do that in your "about me" section, where you already talk about your rates.

Best regards,

Jason


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not so modest, Jason. A few ideas Apr 10, 2013

I tried it, and it motivated me to come out of the closet. No, I'm not gay, but I decided to publish my rates with the surcharges & discounts (S&D) to see what happens.

Nevertheless, I would suggest having the S&D on a category of its own (like Expertise, Preferred Currency, etc.) instead of a normally closed link "conditions apply". This would enable users to decide separately on showing rates (y/n) and S&D (y/n) on their profiles.

I'll give just one example, though I'd have several more. Imagine a translator who chose to hide their rates, but display their S&D. A prospect having a parts-list-type translation job with some 70% repetitions (I've had a few of these) might be more interested in large discounts for repeats than actually the stated rate.

Then the fields won't accept 0% nor 100%. While I understand this may involve database design, a 1% surcharge looks weird, even as a minimum.

On the other hand, in Rio de Janeiro State in Brazil, local regulations prescribe a 150% surcharge on large sworn translations to be done on weekends and holidays, so it's not unheard of. Again, a 99% surcharge or discount looks strange.

Considering the width of the phrase "Use this table to list...", you have more space, so some 20 more chars could be allowed to describe Condition = Other. Alternatively, you could give two lines in that cell, one for the Condition itself (either standard = listed or other) and another for a short description. For instance, what does "Rush job" means there? The description could be, e.g. ">3,000 words/day.

I don't think putting PDF and PPT together makes sense. I could delve deeper into this issue, however they are quite different kinds of work.

The minimum charge is too vague to be useful. Perhaps you'd need more input from Prozians to devise something universally usable.

Taking my case, I have a general minimum charge per client per payment period, otherwise international payment methods will take up most of my pay.

Then one of the categories there, subtitling, for me it's a three-step process (described here. Some clients just want translation for it, so there is no minimum. Spotting may have a minimum or not if video conversion is required. However for the entire job, or burning alone, I have set a 15-min (not $) minimum, because it requires some careful configs for conversion before and after the burning process, yet the process itself is mechanical, so the computer can do it on its own, possibly overnight, regardless of the length of the video. All this is just to show how complex it can get. DTP is another case, and so on...

These are my views at the present time. I hope colleagues here will have more ideas so you can turn this into a major improvement.


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Gallagy
Ireland
Local time: 03:16
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
where has the range of rates gone? Apr 10, 2013

Hi,
Really not sure about this being an improvement. I was happy with displaying a range of rates from minimum -highest on my profile page.

I just noticed that the rate being displayed in my profile was the highest rate (when was this changed and why weren't people notified of the changes?) and surely this would be off-putting for prospective clients?

I have now tried to edit the rates to return to showing a range but it seems to be impossible to do so I'm forced to show a so-called "standard" rate which I've chosen to be my average but which I would not NOT find acceptable for all projects. So, I am not too happy about this.

Why is it not possible to continue to show a range of rates?

[Edited at 2013-04-10 11:51 GMT]


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:16
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Error message? Apr 10, 2013

When I tried to change the visibility of my minumum charge from Outsourcers to Everyone, a blank screen appeared with a few lines of codes on it.
The URL of that page was this:

http://www.proz.com/ajax/ajax_rates.php

And here is the content, although I am not sure it will be reproduced correctly here in the quote:

{"is_success":true,"ok_msg":["Updated minimum charge visibility"],"ok_msg_html":"
OK.Updated minimum charge visibility
","action":"save_mincharge_vis","debug_msg":null,"data":[]}


I am not sure whether the change went through, but either way, this should not show up.
Katalin

A bunch of div and center tags do not show up in the quote above, but I guess you can still find the problematic lines in the code.

[Edited at 2013-04-10 15:34 GMT]


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 22:16
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Maybe a free-form way to describe payment terms is needed? Apr 10, 2013

Hi José,

Thanks for taking the time to think about these issues and to share your thoughts. It would be complex indeed to try to represent all the various rates and conditions needed by translators in so many different circumstances in a structured format.

Maybe a simple text field could be provided for describing payment terms. It would be unstructured so it couldn't be used to filter job notifications, for example, but it could be shown in profile pages. Would something like this meet your needs?

Thanks,

Jason


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 22:16
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Rates can still be shown as a range. Profile changed to indicate what visitors see. Apr 10, 2013

Hi gallagy2,

gallagy2 wrote:
Why is it not possible to continue to show a range of rates?


It is still possible to show a range of rates in your profile. To do so, first allow your rates to be shown by setting "Show rates to" to "Everyone" or "Outsourcer". Then tick the "show minimum rates" checkbox.

Would it be clearer if "show minimum rates" were reworded to indicate something more like "show rates as a range"?

I just noticed that the rate being displayed in my profile was the highest rate (when was this changed and why weren't people notified of the changes?) and surely this would be off-putting for prospective clients?


The profile was recently changed in attempt to clear up a potential source of confusion. Previously, even when others could only see your standard rate (because the "show minimum rates" checkbox was not ticked), when viewing your own profile you would still see the range of rates.

So when you noticed that you didn't see the range of rates in your profile anymore, I think that you were actually seeing your profile the way others have always seen it.

Best regards,

Jason


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:16
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Jason, please clarify this comment Apr 10, 2013

(Note that this update is not related to past efforts at a structured approach to defining more complex and granular rate specifications. There are currently no plans to resume that project.)


Does this include the ability to specify rates in units other than just "words" (such as characters)?
In other words, are you saying that there are no plans to allow specifying rates as "per character"?
Please note that this is very important for all translators translating from character-based languages, such as Japanese, Chinese, Korean.
Job budgets can be specified in "per character" format, and we can submit quotes through the ProZ system using "per character" as the unit, so I don't see why it is such a huge problem to implement it in the directory.
If profiles and the directory does not allow showing per character rates, there is a huge disconnect between clients and freelancers, because there are multiple ways to interpret "word" in this context. It also makes the published "community rates" for these language pairs totally misleading.
I have written about it several times on the forums, I won't get into the details here again.

http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_job_systems/244214-improvements_to_be_made_to_prozcom_directory_profiles_job_postings.html#2101882

http://www.proz.com/forum/japanese_日本語/240701-need_some_advice_on_a_reasonable_rate_per_character.html#2075849

http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_job_systems/170177-update_on_changes_made_to_the_prozcom_job_posting_system_07_may_2010.html#1502813

ProZ staff repeatedly said that most jobs get passed through the directory, not by posted jobs and quotes. I cannot comprehend why some users of this site are forced to enter their rates in units that are not commonly used in their language pairs, therefore lowering their chances of meeting clients who are (naturally) looking for providers using the customary, industry-standard units for rates.

Due to the current system of only "per word" as the unit, some translators enter their "per source character" rate in the "per word" field, and some enter their "target per word" rate into that field. None of it is clear for someone looking at the rates, and for example for Japanese, there is a 2-2.5 multiplier between the two figures.

I just had a discussion with a potential client last week on exactly this issue, after they told me they found my rates too high. By the time they realized they compared apples to oranges, it was too late, they selected another translator based on their misunderstanding of the rates display. I LOST A POTENTIAL CLIENT. How many others excluded me from their shortlist because of the rate display? I don't know. How many other translators were excluded the same way? I don't know. They don't know.

I would appreciate at least a comment from ProZ that the severity of this problem is recognized.

Katalin

[Edited at 2013-04-10 16:30 GMT]


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 22:16
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Bug fixed, thanks Katalin Apr 10, 2013

Hi Katalin,

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:
When I tried to change the visibility of my minumum charge from Outsourcers to Everyone, a blank screen appeared with a few lines of codes on it.


This should be fixed now. Thanks for the report.

Best regards,

Jason


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 22:16
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Units are important but beyond the scope of this update Apr 10, 2013

Hi Katalin,

There's certainly a lot of room for improvement in the way rates are specified at ProZ.com. In my experience, these issues are more complex than they may at first appear, and they go beyond the limited scope of this update. But that doesn't rule out such improvements being made in the future.

In the meantime, would you find it useful to be able to add a note that would be shown with your rates, in which you could add clarification for potential clients?

Thanks,

Jason


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Reply to Jason Apr 10, 2013

Jason Grimes wrote:

Hi José,

Thanks for taking the time to think about these issues and to share your thoughts. It would be complex indeed to try to represent all the various rates and conditions needed by translators in so many different circumstances in a structured format.

Maybe a simple text field could be provided for describing payment terms. It would be unstructured so it couldn't be used to filter job notifications, for example, but it could be shown in profile pages. Would something like this meet your needs?

Thanks,

Jason


My point is that many, perhaps not so many, translators go beyond translation, when things get complex.

For many translators - and for most translation agencies - it's all about one's "per-word rate", the "best" rate for the latter.

Charging per hour is the best choice for interpreting, since the interpreter will have to be there for a specific period of time. Whether the interpretee speaks slowly, stutters, or, n the other side, delivers their speech like a machine gun, possibly with a weird accent, it makes no difference on the cash results.

Otherwise, I think that charging per hour is unfair. Let's take DTP for an example, I've been using PageMaker for some 20+ years. If that's what they ask, I'll do the most complex jobs in no time, and make very little from the time I invested in mastering it. Conversely, if they ask me to do it with Quark, I'll spend hours on trial-and-error, and reading help screens, so it will be some kind of a rip-off.

So we must have units to assign them dollar values.

I am a versatile translator. In audio/video and DVD, I'm almost a walking post-production studio. So I have my own ways to calculate how I charge each possible thing I do with them. However I'm not sure they are standard; my clients just want to know the total. On the other extreme, I often see forum posts on translators discussing whether AV translation or transcription should be charged: a) for the translator's time; b) for the playing time; or c) per word, like anything else.

There are other realms translators get into that I know little about, like glossary building, terminology management, etc.

As I see it, Jason, you have two basic choices.

One is to make a thorough survey on all the pricing systems translators use, and try to devise a common platform. Even the per word system has its troubles. Far-Eastern ideograms need a system of their own. Some translators set their prices by the Italian cartelline, German normzeilen, Polish strony, Brazilian laudas (which exist in many sizes).

The other one is to use the existing min/max per word rate in USD only for search purposes. Then make room on the profiles for three tables:

1) One for prices, with these columns:
a) price per... - in any currency they want, you have exchange conversion in place
b) unit - word, line, page, whatever
c) explanation - i.e. if it's a "lauda", then "1,000 chars w/o spaces"

2) One for discounts, with these columns:
a) minimum %
b) maximum %
c) for... reason (e.g. payment, repetitions)
d) condition (e.g. COD, job over X words, respectively)

3) One for surcharges, with these columns:
a) minimum %
b) maximum %
c) for... reason (e.g. rush)
d) condition (e.g. over Y words per day)

However don't take my word for it. Get as much varied input as you can before making a decision.


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Jason Grimes
Local time: 22:16
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
The scope of this update is limited Apr 11, 2013

Hi José,

You're right that a comprehensive system for describing rates would be complex, because there are so many variations and so many details to consider. Complex improvements like that are beyond the limited scope of this update. This update is focused narrowly on modest usability improvements to some forms that members were having trouble using.

I appreciate the thought you've put into this. I've logged your suggestions so they can be taken into consideration if a more extensive improvement to the rates system is undertaken in the future.

In the meantime, would you find it useful to have just a simple text field where you could enter a free-form description of your rates, which could be be shown with your rates in your profile?

Thanks,

Jason


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