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

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Турция
Local time: 16:19
Член ProZ.com
английский => турецкий
Some questions Mar 31

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:
In Greece for example if one earns 1,000 per month from this job he'll be happy


Isn't Greece in the EU? Don't they use EURO as their currency? Doesn't a bottle of Heineken, or a Samsung phone, or a Big Mac meal or a piece of IKEA furniture costs the same as it does in France, Holland or Germany? How is it that a Dutch translator thinks 0.08 or 0.09 EUR is not enough for him to live in Amsterdam and complains about losing jobs, yet Greek translators live happily on 1,000 EUR per month? This doesn't make any sense at all.

[Edited at 2021-03-31 08:10 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Великобритания
шведский => английский
+ ...
Cost of living varies Mar 31

Baran Keki wrote:

Isn't Greece in the EU? Don't they use EURO as their currency? Doesn't a bottle of Heineken, or a Samsung phone, or a Big Mac meal or a piece of IKEA furniture costs the same as it does in France, Holland or Germany? How is that a Dutch translator thinks 0.08 or 0.09 EUR is not enough for him to live in Amsterdam and complains about losing jobs, yet Greek translators live happily on 1,000 EUR per month? This doesn't make any sense at all.


Housing costs. Services. Supply and demand. Popular and less popular areas. Tax rates. It does add up.


 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Турция
Local time: 16:19
Член ProZ.com
английский => турецкий
Still though Mar 31

Chris S wrote:

Housing costs. Services. Supply and demand. Popular and less popular areas. Tax rates. It does add up.


I realize that living in Romania or Greece is not exactly the same as living in Germany or the Netherlands, but unless you're living with your parents or in-laws I really can't see a person living comfortably on that kind of money in a EU country (that's paying for rent, utilities and whatnot, even if you dodge taxes).


 

Adieu  Identity Verified
русский => английский
That's exactly WHY Mar 31

Baran Keki wrote:

Chris S wrote:

Housing costs. Services. Supply and demand. Popular and less popular areas. Tax rates. It does add up.


I realize that living in Romania or Greece is not exactly the same as living in Germany or the Netherlands, but unless you're living with your parents or in-laws I really can't see a person living comfortably on that kind of money in a EU country (that's paying for rent, utilities and whatnot, even if you dodge taxes).


They tend to live with their parents or in-laws.

Not because they want to, but because they cannot afford not to.


 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 08:19
греческий (новогреческий) => английский
+ ...
And yet... Mar 31

Baran Keki wrote:

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:
In Greece for example if one earns 1,000 per month from this job he'll be happy


Isn't Greece in the EU? Don't they use EURO as their currency? Doesn't a bottle of Heineken, or a Samsung phone, or a Big Mac meal or a piece of IKEA furniture costs the same as it does in France, Holland or Germany? How is it that a Dutch translator thinks 0.08 or 0.09 EUR is not enough for him to live in Amsterdam and complains about losing jobs, yet Greek translators live happily on 1,000 EUR per month? This doesn't make any sense at all.

[Edited at 2021-03-31 08:10 GMT]


And yet, this is exactly what happens. It is the mentality of Greeks in Greece that the proper ("moral") amount to be earned is the minimum you need to survive or something like that. We were taught ideas like that in school. With the average entry ("basic") salary being under 1,000 in the market, everyone making 1,000 pretends to be satisfied. No mentality is a guarantee for becoming rich, but certain mentalities are definitely a guarantee for becoming poor.

I have personally witnessed cases where the client offered a price and the translator counter-offered a lower one because the initial sounded too good. This was just another example.


Adieu
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Турция
Local time: 16:19
Член ProZ.com
английский => турецкий
Teachings of Diogenes Mar 31

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:
It is the mentality of Greeks in Greece that the proper ("moral") amount to be earned is the minimum you need to survive or something like that. We were taught ideas like that in school. With the average entry ("basic") salary being under 1,000 in the market, everyone making 1,000 pretends to be satisfied. No mentality is a guarantee for becoming rich, but certain mentalities are definitely a guarantee for becoming poor.

I have personally witnessed cases where the client offered a price and the translator counter-offered a lower one because the initial sounded too good. This was just another example.


It looks like the teachings of Diogenes are deeply rooted in the Greek culture


Adieu
 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 08:19
греческий (новогреческий) => английский
+ ...
Diogenes Mar 31

Baran Keki wrote:

It looks like the teachings of Diogenes are deeply rooted in the Greek culture


Except when they migrate abroad (in which case $200K/year in California is ok) or when they receive an inheritance or a large salary in the public sector etc. It seems that Diogenes applies only to private employees and freelancers (except plumbers).


Baran Keki
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
Член ProZ.com
английский => французский
+ ...
How about avoiding bashing translators in a professional translators forum? Mar 31

The question is about a perceived discrepancy between offers proposed or expected by potential clients and the ProZ community rates, which are set by translators.

I can confirm that my effective rates fall within the standard and minimum ProZ community rates for my main language pair. And the community rates tend to be lower than those reported in studies made by translators associations (which usually gather successful professionals and tend to weed out amateurs).

When
... See more
The question is about a perceived discrepancy between offers proposed or expected by potential clients and the ProZ community rates, which are set by translators.

I can confirm that my effective rates fall within the standard and minimum ProZ community rates for my main language pair. And the community rates tend to be lower than those reported in studies made by translators associations (which usually gather successful professionals and tend to weed out amateurs).

When setting my rates, I accept that they make me not a good match for many agencies out there (and vice versa).

I also concur that most demand is invisible and goes through the ProZ directory.

Allow me to answer with a question:

- Which is the main reason an agency would post their project through ProZ Jobs or through a bulk email sent out to an undisclosed number of ProZ members?

While there may be other reasons (urgent project, exotic language pair, rare specialty, big project, etc.), the main one is because the offer is "price sensitive".

Believe it or not, it's a free (and global) market out there. And this market has many segments. My advice: just focus on those that can meet your rates, which in turn should sustainably meet your needs and living standards.

Shouting at the waves does not help to stay afloat...

[Edited at 2021-04-01 01:33 GMT]
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Dan Lucas
CARLIER BRUNO
William Bowley
 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 08:19
греческий (новогреческий) => английский
+ ...
Some of the dirty laundry Apr 1

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

And the community rates tend to be lower than those reported in studies made by translators associations (which usually gather successful professionals and tend to weed out amateurs).


Translators' Associations do not have any data from Purchase Orders and agencies. Their online surveys are filled by their members, who put in imaginary high rates because that makes them look better - but without any accompanying proof.
The only people who know what the true rates are, are veteran translators with a high enough volume over the last 10 years and over at least 10 agencies (because they have a large enough sample of both rates and trends), and the related agency personnel. And there is no process to "weed out amateurs". In my real-world example, would you characterize successful professionals those who reduced the price of a 6,000 word project, from 3 cents down to 2 cents per word for translation from scratch? Or should we assume that a huge agency prefers to hire amateurs? Who is an amateur and who is a pro? Nobody knows, such a classification does not exist.

Since I have contact with clients I know personally, and some partners in smaller agencies and I work for the large ones too, I can tell you that the markup of agencies for most projects (meaning where the dense data clusters are) on the total trans+proof+qm is from 2.3 to 4 (230-400%). They keep for themselves 100% of formatting charges (they don't pay the translator anymore for that, because some translators had the funny idea a few years ago to offer this for free), the minimum charge to the client is from $65 - $150, and anything over 1,500-2,000 words per day for new material is charged as "rush fee" (which the translator does not receive nowadays).

As far as the "successful professionals", they are actually the ones weeded out nowadays by the large agencies, in favor of cheaper ones. Project managers working from home have no access to long-term data and little access to actual specialization data, and no supervision either, they just go by what the cheaper is or who they like the most emotionally (facebook friends sometimes, or superfluous LinkedIn resumes), since they assume that otherwise they wouldn't be on the list. Their vendor management departments don't even know how to read resumes, because they have almost zero experience in the market. I asked once over the phone one of the recruitment manager of a major agency whether she was familiar with the acronyms CFA, ChFC, CFP for hiring financial translators, and she had no idea, she had to Google those(!). A lot of major companies in other industries are planning to open offices again by Sep-Oct, because the working from home experiment failed for some of those and similar reasons, while in the translation industry it's still la-la land and emotionally-driven decisions with no documentation.

This January I had another eye-opening experience as the proofreader on a series of large projects, which were all delivered 3-7 days late (!!!!) by the translator, and with so many errors that it would have been much better to run them through Google trans (seriously). Despite my reports, nobody escalated the issue (because it takes time and may lead to penalties to the project manager), and they're still using the same person because of lower price, and with the hope that the client will never read the content anyway, and the PM can always blame anyone else in the long chain. The project manager will get a bonus of course for completing under the budget, and if the client ever comes back complaining, they'll find some word salad to cover it up ("our translators are this and that"). The PM responsible replied that "her computer broke, that's why, but she's nice". Go figure.
End-clients routinely accept bad or mediocre results, under the general assumption that "translations are bad and vague by their nature anyway". End-clients are under the assumption that translators are all in-house staff and are paid well, because that's what agencies have told them, to justify high prices. Imagine is someone spilled the beans just on that fact, let alone all the rest. End-clients believe that translators are paid 18 cents per word, because they saw it on some magazine article that the agency wrote and approved, under the name of the reporter.

My background in the financial industry made me a good records keeper - to this day I have enough that would cause shock-waves in the industry and major end-clients terminating contracts with certain large agencies, because the records I have can't be refuted by standardized corporate responses. The services they promise have little to do with the internal processes. The 300-word elementary school level test to recruit new translators is one of the secrets that not even Project Managers are aware of(!). Of course the clients have no idea about that - they assume that the translators are tested vigorously by God himself. The tests are so simple that the Google Trans machine passes with 90% score!. Seven years ago I proposed to them to change their tests and I sent texts to use. They stuck with the simple ones. The reason is that recruitment departments are getting bonuses by the number of people they recruit, and difficult tests would have spoiled that.
Let alone the rampant subcontracting of even US government jobs by freelancers themselves, who find people in the motherland to work for "2 euros per page". Illegal? Yes, but who's going to know, who's going to bother, who's going to prove and how. I can (I got records), but do I want to send three mothers to prison? No.

We're in an industry where the people who run the place have never translated one page themselves. There are agencies for everything popping-up everywhere, in all arts and crafts, by people who have no idea what they're selling (for example, rookie computer programmers setting up photography agencies and catering businesses!!!).
As far as surveys of associations, anyone can set up a survey over the internet, and I bet if you make one only for Greek translators the responses will indicate 6-10 cents rate (the real ones are 1.5-4 cents for most jobs, some 4-6, very few at 7-8, and I have seen from the inside how they "negotiate downwards" all the time gives me chills).

All industries have problems, in this one the major problem is totally unreliable information. Practitioners have no idea how the pricing and selection system works and what the real prices are, Clients have no idea who makes the product and where, Project Managers have no idea how practitioners are recruited and whether their product is good (and have no reason to care about that), Programmers making software have no idea how a real translator works and they don't seem to care, and the politicians think that we're all immigration interpreters.
This mess was caused, over time, by an insanely high secrecy surrounding this industry, which was based on the effort to conceal the extraordinary profit margin of agencies. Online surveys made this problem bigger, because they're not based on real data from purchase orders, but only on "make believe" prices translators put in to make themselves look good. Look at the Online Satisfaction Surveys that many agencies send to their translators: all have ratings 4/5 - 5/5 in all fields - I'm not kidding you! Everyone's perfect and everyone's happy! LOL!



[Edited at 2021-04-01 03:58 GMT]


Baran Keki
Robert Forstag
William Bowley
 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 08:19
греческий (новогреческий) => английский
+ ...
Proving my point? Apr 1

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

Believe it or not, it's a free (and global) market out there. And this market has many segments. My advice: just focus on those that can meet your rates, which in turn should sustainably meet your needs and living standards.

Shouting at the waves does not help to stay afloat...

[Edited at 2021-04-01 01:33 GMT]


So you're proposing
-- a zero reaction to what's causing the waves, just accept they exist (while a group reaction would have slowed them down at least)
-- to search for hypothetical segments when 90% of all segments are controlled by 3 agencies, in which my colleagues are fighting hard for jobs with the only weapon in their arsenal being "I'll be even more cheap than the others".

What global market? You mean becoming an interpreter for the Greek community of Vietnam?
This market is not free (it's an oligopoly), and not global for you or me. Do you have any businesses or any market in Japan or Russia? Do you accept translation offers for French or Persian?
Your business is inside your office and concerns only Greek-speaking people, that's very local. That's even more local than a grocery store. Just because the email arrives from NY instead of Athens, doesn't make it a global market for you. It's global for the agency, not for you or me. For them, Tokyo is a relevant market. Not for you. Foreign agencies did not "create" more translations (it's not shoes or shirts), they just snatched them from Athens agencies.

I didn't get the stimulus check because my net income was far above the cut-off limit. Therefore I'm not starving and not seeking such type of advice, but being in the first class of the Titanic for a few years doesn't mean I don't see the lack of lifeboats for me and many others, causing a huge abrupt (not gradual) shock. In Greece it's usually the parents' home following the ship close by just in case, but not here.

I'll stop here for all forums (I usually storm back once every few years), because... A few years back I warned about price crash in the Greek forum and the reasons. Everyone disagreed. It happened (even worse than I had predicted). Now they say "Lefteris was saying it but...". Then I warned about MT taking over completely. Everyone disagreed. It happened. I wasn't a prophet, I was just stating the obvious. I wasn't a genius (if I were, I wouldn't be still working as a translator), I was just saying "hey guys, I see more electric lamps, our whale oil won't be selling in a few years". Then I said that the H1-B mania along with automated project management software will replace a lot of project managers. We are seeing this slowly starting to happen. Then I was saying that "translator" is not a career or a business, but only a "job", and 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.


Baran Keki
Robert Forstag
 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
Член ProZ.com
английский => французский
+ ...
Are translators misrepresenting themselves? Apr 1

The OP raises two questions:

- Are the ProZ community rates accurate/realistic?
- Are their clients offering jobs that meet those rates?

You seem to imply that translators across the board, systematically (as in in all studies) choose to misrepresent themselves in the ProZ community rates as well as in studies that translators associations conduct among their paying members (who also meet the membership eligibility criteria, like operating legitimate businesses).<
... See more
The OP raises two questions:

- Are the ProZ community rates accurate/realistic?
- Are their clients offering jobs that meet those rates?

You seem to imply that translators across the board, systematically (as in in all studies) choose to misrepresent themselves in the ProZ community rates as well as in studies that translators associations conduct among their paying members (who also meet the membership eligibility criteria, like operating legitimate businesses).

I do not make such an accusation and I feel offended by it, as my applied rates fall within the reported averages (and on the lower spectrum when it comes to studies made by professional associations).

Am I able to command these rates with every agency client out there who is looking for collaborators? Of course not! Many jobs are just offered (and taken) for peanuts.

The majority of agencies cannot meet my rates, and it is okay. They are not a good match for me either. They are looking for something else!

It is enough to build a few steady collaborations over the years. No need to appeal to the masses and to participate in their business practices.

From a freelance translator perspective, what I can do is keep offering decent rates and upholding good quality standards. This is my way of contributing to the profession while enjoying a modest "success".

You ask: Who is an amateur and who is a pro?

Well, sure, it is a tough call, in a profession where (in many countries) anyone can put on a translator's cap, since there is no barrier of entry, right?

I posit that commanding high (or even decent) rates constitutes in itself a barrier of entry. Or at least a barrier of sustainability. You can enter easily, but can you keep at it? For how long can you keep delivering subpar work and get away with it?

To the OP. Don't worry what most clients are willing to offer. If what you offer is valuable enough, you should be able to get enough value out of your work. Don't fall for unsustainable rates. Don't sell yourself short.

[Edited at 2021-04-01 05:29 GMT]
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Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
Член ProZ.com
английский => французский
+ ...
This is what I can do at my level Apr 1

I am sorry for not having tried to solve the translation world's problem with my post. It was not exactly the OP anyway, so I was also trying to stay on-topic.

But I have stated what I suggest: to keep working for decent rates and upholding good quality standards. This is what I can do at my level.

What is your take then? What should I do?


 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
Член ProZ.com
английский => французский
+ ...
And as far as my language pairs go Apr 1

I translate into French

 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Босния и Герцеговина
Local time: 15:19
английский => хорватский
+ ...
Some inputs. Apr 1

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

The OP raises two questions:

- Are the ProZ community rates accurate/realistic?
- Are their clients offering jobs that meet those rates?

You seem to imply that translators across the board, systematically (as in in all studies) choose to misrepresent themselves in the ProZ community rates as well as in studies that translators associations conduct among their paying members (who also meet the membership eligibility criteria, like operating legitimate businesses).

I do not make such an accusation and I feel offended by it, as my applied rates fall within the reported averages (and on the lower spectrum when it comes to studies made by professional associations).


There’s no much transparency about how “community rates” are calculated so we can only speculate. I can for instance speculate that ProZ is a business, has certain business goals for which marketing is required. Just as my local grocery shop, for example, uses stage neon lights above the fruit section to make the fruit look prettier, shiner and fresher than it really is.

As an example, the last time I checked, the community rates in my pair were ca. 0.20, while most agencies on here don’t offer more than 0.04 in that same pair (regardless if they source through directory or the board). Do you really believe the amount of newbies who decide to buy a membership on this site would be the same if they came here and read that regular rates offered are 0.02 as the community rates? They wouldn’t, they’d just turn around and leave. Same with the fruit section I mentioned above if they switched off those lights that distort perception.

[Edited at 2021-04-01 05:46 GMT]


David GAY
Isabella Modanese
 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 08:19
греческий (новогреческий) => английский
+ ...
No advice... Apr 1

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

I am sorry for not having tried to solve the translation world's problem with my post. It was not exactly the OP anyway, so I was also trying to stay on-topic.

But I have stated what I suggest: to keep working for decent rates and upholding good quality standards. This is what I can do at my level.

What is your take then? What should I do?


I'm not trying to give advice - just throwing information. The advice I gave years ago was not followed (whenever it was, in accidental cases where the selected translators demanded even double the price, it worked like a charm! - but now it can't, everyone's on the board).
The example I mentioned is just typical of the larger set of the market right now - there are no unicorn segments, and there are no unicorn survey prices in real life. Occasionally you find a good client for a one-time project, or a project manager who wonders "this guy's expensive but I have budget on this project and I've heard he's good", and that's it. This too will disappear this year.
Maybe I'm just disappointed with my choices... seeing older friends who started from a much lower point (a smaller modest boat) being now lawyers or upper employees with huge prospects, and me on this Titanic.
So... that's all.


 
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