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Why most rates proposed and/or expected by potential clients are below ProZ "Average rates"?
Auteur du fil: CARLIER BRUNO

Sadek_A  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:54
anglais vers arabe
+ ...
..... Apr 1

Dan Lucas wrote:
Because we know that context is everything, I should point out that Eleftherios has been gloomy ever since he started posting on ProZ.com in 2004. One cannot deny that he has been consistent, and that's a good thing. And he's still here, so he must like it.

Personally, if I had listened to the people who were saying in 2014 that the end was nigh for translators....I would have lost out on hundreds of thousands of pounds in income achieved with no investment other than a PC. Fortunately, I....have been reasonably successful.

I was managing to grow my revenues steadily, my professional life has actually been pretty good.

If this is the end of the world, it's been fairly lucrative and quite enjoyable.

You need something that makes you stand out from other freelancers. For me, and many others, that has been domain-specific knowledge. If you are an expert in a particular field, there is demand out there.


TBH, I'm more interested in knowing how you can be that "successful" doing work on your OWN, when most of the time you're on the forum posting (often times, very) lengthy pieces (not to call them brags) like this last one.

Believe me, if I have noticed it, so did others. Many of whom might be silent only because they're afraid of having to suffer retaliation.

Also, your 'niche advice' is NOT selling anymore. Many people around here with specialist knowledge in western language pairs are going through hard times nowadays, not just in what you would consider low-profile languages.

Perhaps instead of belittling other people's concerns about the current downward trends, you can allow them both space and time to try and reach a better situation. You don't have to help, but you don't have to curb either!

Sadek


 

CARLIER BRUNO
France
Local time: 10:54
Membre (Feb 2021)
anglais vers français
+ ...
AUTEUR DU FIL
Clear, precise and realistic but still positive... THANK YOU! Apr 1

Dear all, thank you for all your comments, testimonials, feedback, etc.

I now have a quite fairly comprehensive view of the factors behind this rate thorny issue.

It is now quite clear and I believe it may be useful for the ProZ community.

Many thanks for your time!



Dan Lucas wrote:

CARLIER BRUNO wrote:
Thanks for your comprehensive and very personal testimony... which sounds very gloomy, actually.

Because we know that context is everything, I should point out that Eleftherios has been gloomy ever since he started posting on ProZ.com in 2004. One cannot deny that he has been consistent, and that's a good thing. And he's still here, so he must like it.

Personally, if I had listened to the people who were saying in 2014 that the end was nigh for translators I would never have started out in this business. I would have lost out on hundreds of thousands of pounds in income achieved with no investment other than a PC. Fortunately, I took a view, pushed on, and have been reasonably successful.

Unsurprisingly, since then people have made various excuses for why (until COVID) I was managing to grow my revenues steadily and why, despite CAT and MT, my professional life has actually been pretty good. One of my favourites is "Ah, but you're in a good language pair". In fact, on the JP-EN specific mailing lists there is plenty of doom and gloom, and talk of falling rates, so clearly the pair isn't the determining factor. JP-EN has been affected by broader industry trends, just like other pairs. Some people succeed, some people fail. It's complicated.

I fully expect to read many more wild and unsupported assertions to the effect that by 2024 (ten years after I started) my business will have dried up and I'll be no more than an MT jockey. Maybe that will happen, maybe not. Maybe it's no big deal if it does happen provided that my income remains much the same. Some people found ways of prospering despite CAT, some didn't.

But I can tell you now that, if my business hasn't imploded by 2024, the doomsayers will move the goalposts again and some other reason will be found for the success of people like myself. "You've been fine because of XYZ, but don't you worry, it's coming", will be the vague threat. "You just wait. By 2030 you'll be out of a job". Yeah, OK. Anyway, good to see you again mate, you're looking well. Sorry, can't stop to chat, need to finish 6,000 characters by tomorrow morning.

I would not deny that the market has changed over the past decade, and I expect it to change again over the next ten years. I've been waiting for the sky to fall in - as foretold by many in this forum and elsewhere - for seven years. And you know what? If this is the end of the world, it's been fairly lucrative and quite enjoyable.

BUT, and it's a big "but", you need something that makes you stand out from other freelancers. For me, and many others, that has been domain-specific knowledge. If you are an expert in a particular field, there is demand out there. (For example, if this person's linguistic skills are up to scratch, she'll probably do fine because of her specialist knowledge.)

If you don't have some kind of expertise, it's going to be harder. Just being able to take simple text in one language and express it reasonably well in another language isn't enough any more. That market is under pressure. Adapt, evolve, or die. Then again, isn't that the case in most industries? Everybody needs a Plan B.

Regards,
Dan

[Edited at 2021-04-01 10:37 GMT]


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
États-Unis
Local time: 04:54
Membre (2003)
espagnol vers anglais
+ ...
Cooperatives, agencies, etc. Apr 1

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:

...and [I] whispered something about "cooperatives" only to be called a communist workers' organizer. And now many are seeing things and don't disagree with theoretical wishes, because of the ProAct etc coming up fast, and it may even become reality in European countries as well. This time many agree, because all the things I was warning about piling up.

Good night and thank you for your time.



Cooperatives could be an excellent way of bringing translators into direct contact with end clients, and thus of bypassing agencies - along with their clueless and mendacious PMs, exorbitant markups, onerous onboarding requirements, nauseating marketing hype, never-ending squeezing of translators and - in the end - their often dubious contribution to the provision of quality service and product. A site like this one could help serve such a purpose (i.e., instead of functioning mainly as a matchmaker between freelancers and those selfsame agencies).

In any event, I salute Eleftherios for his incisive contributions to this thread. Gloomy though he may be, his posts here are an incandescent expression of a reality experienced by many.

Diogenes lives!

[Edited at 2021-04-01 13:49 GMT]


Mervyn Henderson
 

Adieu  Identity Verified
russe vers anglais
Hmm Apr 1

CARLIER BRUNO wrote:

Dear all, thank you for all your comments, testimonials, feedback, etc.

I now have a quite fairly comprehensive view of the factors behind this rate thorny issue.

It is now quite clear and I believe it may be useful for the ProZ community.

Many thanks for your time!



Dan Lucas wrote:

CARLIER BRUNO wrote:
Thanks for your comprehensive and very personal testimony... which sounds very gloomy, actually.

Because we know that context is everything, I should point out that Eleftherios has been gloomy ever since he started posting on ProZ.com in 2004. One cannot deny that he has been consistent, and that's a good thing. And he's still here, so he must like it.

Personally, if I had listened to the people who were saying in 2014 that the end was nigh for translators I would never have started out in this business. I would have lost out on hundreds of thousands of pounds in income achieved with no investment other than a PC. Fortunately, I took a view, pushed on, and have been reasonably successful.

Unsurprisingly, since then people have made various excuses for why (until COVID) I was managing to grow my revenues steadily and why, despite CAT and MT, my professional life has actually been pretty good. One of my favourites is "Ah, but you're in a good language pair". In fact, on the JP-EN specific mailing lists there is plenty of doom and gloom, and talk of falling rates, so clearly the pair isn't the determining factor. JP-EN has been affected by broader industry trends, just like other pairs. Some people succeed, some people fail. It's complicated.

I fully expect to read many more wild and unsupported assertions to the effect that by 2024 (ten years after I started) my business will have dried up and I'll be no more than an MT jockey. Maybe that will happen, maybe not. Maybe it's no big deal if it does happen provided that my income remains much the same. Some people found ways of prospering despite CAT, some didn't.

But I can tell you now that, if my business hasn't imploded by 2024, the doomsayers will move the goalposts again and some other reason will be found for the success of people like myself. "You've been fine because of XYZ, but don't you worry, it's coming", will be the vague threat. "You just wait. By 2030 you'll be out of a job". Yeah, OK. Anyway, good to see you again mate, you're looking well. Sorry, can't stop to chat, need to finish 6,000 characters by tomorrow morning.

I would not deny that the market has changed over the past decade, and I expect it to change again over the next ten years. I've been waiting for the sky to fall in - as foretold by many in this forum and elsewhere - for seven years. And you know what? If this is the end of the world, it's been fairly lucrative and quite enjoyable.

BUT, and it's a big "but", you need something that makes you stand out from other freelancers. For me, and many others, that has been domain-specific knowledge. If you are an expert in a particular field, there is demand out there. (For example, if this person's linguistic skills are up to scratch, she'll probably do fine because of her specialist knowledge.)

If you don't have some kind of expertise, it's going to be harder. Just being able to take simple text in one language and express it reasonably well in another language isn't enough any more. That market is under pressure. Adapt, evolve, or die. Then again, isn't that the case in most industries? Everybody needs a Plan B.

Regards,
Dan

[Edited at 2021-04-01 10:37 GMT]


Why does it sound like you are collecting information for an article or a market research project?

[Edited at 2021-04-01 14:53 GMT]


Sadek_A
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 09:54
Membre (2014)
japonais vers anglais
Diverse viewpoints Apr 1

Robert Forstag wrote:
Gloomy though he may be, his posts here are an incandescent expression of a reality experienced by many.

And in that sense they are, I agree, a valuable contribution.

Dan


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 09:54
Membre (2014)
japonais vers anglais
Not constructive Apr 1

Sadek_A wrote:
Perhaps instead of belittling other people's concerns about the current downward trends, you can allow them both space and time to try and reach a better situation. You don't have to help, but you don't have to curb either!

I don't think I curb anyone's point of view - I welcome debate. You don't want debate. You want a safe space where nobody disagrees with you.

you can allow them both space and time to try and reach a better situation

That's exactly what my posts are aimed at achieving. I speak out when I see people repeatedly come up with the same old tired, economically illiterate ideas, without providing a shred of evidence that they will improve the lot of most translators, and without having the moral courage to discuss whether they might, in fact, make it worse.

When challenged, you spout rhetoric and emotion about how big business and the government, about how it's never the fault of the individual, about how we translators are, in essence, powerless. That is a deeply pessimistic, cynical, and unambitious view of the world.

And yet when I tell translators that they have agency, encourage them to stand up for themselves, to continually seek to improve their skills, to take steps that will allow them to noticed by clients and perhaps to succeed, I'm the one being negative? Really?

Dan


Arabic & More
Arjan van den Berg
 

CARLIER BRUNO
France
Local time: 10:54
Membre (Feb 2021)
anglais vers français
+ ...
AUTEUR DU FIL
Yes, let's be constructive, positive as far as possible, and respectful of other peoples' opinions Apr 1

We are here, obviously, not in a boxing ring, but in a place for constructive, positive exchanges, etc.

By the way, my initial question linked to ProZ rates is/was only linked to my own activity as translator. Nothing to do with article, corporate espionage and any other weird project.

Funny thought...


Dan Lucas wrote:

Sadek_A wrote:
Perhaps instead of belittling other people's concerns about the current downward trends, you can allow them both space and time to try and reach a better situation. You don't have to help, but you don't have to curb either!

I don't think I curb anyone's point of view - I welcome debate. You don't want debate. You want a safe space where nobody disagrees with you.

you can allow them both space and time to try and reach a better situation

That's exactly what my posts are aimed at achieving. I speak out when I see people repeatedly come up with the same old tired, economically illiterate ideas, without providing a shred of evidence that they will improve the lot of most translators, and without having the moral courage to discuss whether they might, in fact, make it worse.

When challenged, you spout rhetoric and emotion about how big business and the government, about how it's never the fault of the individual, about how we translators are, in essence, powerless. That is a deeply pessimistic, cynical, and unambitious view of the world.

And yet when I tell translators that they have agency, encourage them to stand up for themselves, to continually seek to improve their skills, to take steps that will allow them to noticed by clients and perhaps to succeed, I'm the one being negative? Really?

Dan


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
anglais vers français
+ ...
If Apr 1

If PROZ community rates had been real rates, the Federal Trade Commission would have intervened and fined PROZ a long time ago, which would have been considered as a translators' cartel... Thank God, such a scenario never materialized...

[Modifié le 2021-04-01 19:23 GMT]


 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
Membre
anglais vers français
+ ...
ProZ community rates: average rates reported by both freelance translators and translation companies Apr 1

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but the ProZ community rates description (which I have already quoted in this thread and can be found here: https://search.proz.com/employers/rates) starts with this sentence:

This page lists the average rates reported by ProZ.com's community of freelance translators and translation companies.

Notice anything peculia
... See more
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but the ProZ community rates description (which I have already quoted in this thread and can be found here: https://search.proz.com/employers/rates) starts with this sentence:

This page lists the average rates reported by ProZ.com's community of freelance translators and translation companies.

Notice anything peculiar?

The community pairs listed as the average reported by both freelance translators AND translation companies.

Now, for a translator who seeks to make use of these averages as an indicator when establishing their own rates, failing to take that bit of information into account (along with other the listed caveats) could lead them to draw wrong conclusions.

I don't know about you, but I have seen very few translator profiles making a difference between rates applied to agencies and rates applied to direct clients. The one I remember seeing applies a 50% discount for translation agencies. My own (and maybe many other's) rates are exclusively geared towards agencies. These offered rates would be quite different if addressed to direct clients.

In contrast, translation companies… (registered as such and acting as an outsourcer) probably define their rates as applied to direct clients (unless their core business is to act as subcontractors to other companies).

So the "community average" seems to include a mix of prices geared towards two very distinct segments, with no indication of how many freelancers and how many companies are included in any given sample.

If any ProZ.com staff is following this, may I suggest to implement a way to additionally filter the average by displaying only rates by freelance translators or translation companies?


[Edited at 2021-04-01 20:10 GMT]
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Christel Zipfel
Philippe Etienne
Peter Shortall
 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
Membre
anglais vers français
+ ...
@Baran Apr 1

Baran Keki wrote:

I just wanted to let you know that I'm actually following your advice regarding negotiating from a certain position. I turned down 3 jobs this week: one was paying 0.03 USD per word with the promise of 'continued (bottom-feeder) work', another was a 20k proofreading work at 0.015 USD, and another was something to do with transcription or phone interpreting (I lost interest after seeing the sender's country of origin).
I'm doing my modest contribution to the industry as far as maintaining the standards, though I must say it leaves me with too much time on my hands...


By doing this, I think you align your own interests to those of the translation community at large. Kudos from me! I sincerely hope this approach will pay dividends in the long run. One of the goals may well be to have more free time if you so desire (since you can work fewer hours for the same amount), but if the current free time volume is undesirable, you might need to temporarily increase efforts to create enough quality collaborations that will keep you adequately busy (with the occasional empty calendar we all may experience).

[Edited at 2021-04-01 20:01 GMT]


Robert Forstag
Baran Keki
Peter Shortall
 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
États-Unis
Local time: 03:54
grec vers anglais
+ ...
Only when coordinated Apr 3

Baran Keki wrote:

...one was paying 0.03 USD per word with the promise of 'continued (bottom-feeder) work', another was a 20k proofreading work at 0.015 USD, and another was something to do with transcription or phone interpreting (I lost interest after seeing the sender's country of origin).


It'll work only when coordinated, sometimes even by accident.
Many times I've seen this, but I'll mention only one example. There was a little project, one of those translators don't like (badly scanned PDF, doctor's comments). It was on a project platform and nobody would claim it at $20. The next day the price was $35. It was finally claimed at $45.
The project manager had posted it only to a very few selected translators, probably by mistake. The coordinated (by accident) action worked, to reveal the true budget of the project.

Here's another piece of info while I'm at it. US hospitals pay agencies from $95 to $145 for single-page medical reports. Agencies are then asking the translators to get paid 5-7 cents per word for the final (usually less than $25 in total). Lockdowns have made this far worse. The old customary $30 minimum charge (which should have been $45 inflation adjusted), is now $20, and some agencies have completely cancelled it. With new tax laws taxing them more, expect more rate decreases.
No wonder agencies are still multiplying at an incredible rate - their profit margin is off the scale with so many people willing to work for anything.
But coordinated actions can push back at the "sales-department culture" of those agencies. That's of course only a temporary relief, as I think that all such jobs are pretty much dead in the water for full-timers.


Baran Keki
Kaspars Melkis
Adieu
William Bowley
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 10:54
Membre
anglais vers français
What agencies say Apr 3

(Sorry for mentioning personal experiences again)

2020 (before COVID) - Large European agency, first contact, prospective - Direct e-mail through my proz.com profile
Reasonably large technical EN>FR project, with weak CAT discounts attached and 50 days end-of-month. Looking for good quality-price ratio, serious volumes and blah-blah, so competitive rate needed.

Conditions not optimal, but I must have been in a good mood. I offer EUR0.12/word if volume >30kwords (f
... See more
(Sorry for mentioning personal experiences again)

2020 (before COVID) - Large European agency, first contact, prospective - Direct e-mail through my proz.com profile
Reasonably large technical EN>FR project, with weak CAT discounts attached and 50 days end-of-month. Looking for good quality-price ratio, serious volumes and blah-blah, so competitive rate needed.

Conditions not optimal, but I must have been in a good mood. I offer EUR0.12/word if volume >30kwords (full equivalent)

Their reply:
"We know that it's a normal rate for [Subject], but [Limitations] able to offer a specific rate around 0,09 /word."

Why indeed not ask for a 25% rebate for starters. Because they can?
I didn't get the assignment, and they didn't get my work.

Bottom line:
For technical EN>FR, EUR0.12/word is a standard rate according to large agencies.
My own conclusion:
If it's standard, it's not even high.

Community rates: standard 0.11, min 0.08.
(EDIT: I wrongly assumed that agencies would state rates paid to translators in the community rates)

Philippe

[Edited at 2021-04-03 10:13 GMT]
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Baran Keki
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turquie
Local time: 11:54
Membre
anglais vers turc
Staggering Apr 3

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:

Here's another piece of info while I'm at it. US hospitals pay agencies from $95 to $145 for single-page medical reports. Agencies are then asking the translators to get paid 5-7 cents per word for the final (usually less than $25 in total).


I'm speechless. Where did you get this data? I had no idea how lucrative the translation business was. And I slaved away at a translation agency as an in-house translator for nearly 10 years. But then again, there is no point in comparing the rates in the Turkish market with that of the US market. Speaking of which, how are the rates in the Greek market? I've never worked with a Greek translation agency before.


 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turquie
Local time: 11:54
Membre
anglais vers turc
Why apologize? Apr 3

Philippe Etienne wrote:
(Sorry for mentioning personal experiences again)


Is talking about personal experiences against the forum rules or etiquette?
I haven't been on these forums for long, so I'm kind of curious


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 09:54
Membre (2004)
anglais vers italien
I was sent the client's invoice once... Apr 3

by mistake... the agency charged the client twice my rate...

 
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