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lila_berkof
Member

client budget ridiculously low

i just trolled a client who asked for a ton of translation in very short time for 10 dollars. gee thanx for the 9 dollars i'll make after upwork takes 1 dollar 

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kat303
Member

I've got you beat on that one. I just saw a post asking for 55 minutes of audio transcription for $5. If I understand correctly, 55 minutes (let's round it up to 1 hour) of audio equal 4 hours of actual transcription. If that's correct, thatcomes out to the grand sum of 80 cents an hour. Wonder how much lower clients budget can go and how low contractors will bid for these jobs.

 

 

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kat303
Member

I've got you beat on that one. I just saw a post asking for 55 minutes of audio transcription for $5. If I understand correctly, 55 minutes (let's round it up to 1 hour) of audio equal 4 hours of actual transcription. If that's correct, thatcomes out to the grand sum of 80 cents an hour. Wonder how much lower clients budget can go and how low contractors will bid for these jobs.

 

 

Fixed-Price - Est. Budget: $50,000 - Posted 1 hour ago

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**
 
Finally, a Job Poster has recognized the value of my CPA skills!!!
Joseph M. C. ,P.C., CPA/ABV

Yes you are right.  It's about 4 hours of work, if the audio is of great quality that is.  I got that one beat though.  Here it is, 30 hours of video to transcribe, max budget is $50.  If you can't work within this budget, don't apply.  It was a few days ago but the last I checked there were about 15 applicants.  Most were newbie "Expert" transciptionists.  I didn't even have the energy to do the math on that one. 

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"
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@Katrina B wrote:

Yes you are right.  It's about 4 hours of work, if the audio is of great quality that is.  I got that one beat though.  Here it is, 30 hours of video to transcribe, max budget is $50.  If you can't work within this budget, don't apply.  It was a few days ago but the last I checked there were about 15 applicants.  Most were newbie "Expert" transciptionists.  I didn't even have the energy to do the math on that one. 


I have figured it out with 1 hour video = 6 hours of work, so we have 180 hours for 50 USD, that means 28 cent per hour, could be less if the sound quality is bad! In which part of the world can somebody with perfect English work for 28 cent per hour or less? 

and u know the sad part. freelancers will apply for the job ! and bid even lower


@Katrina B wrote:

Yes you are right.  It's about 4 hours of work, (...)


Zombies who are desperate to get a job don't know this, they never have done transcription before. I bet most of them think one hour of audio = one hour of work. Eh, ok, maybe a little bit more because sometimes you need to pause the tape to catch up, right?

 

And that's a full dollar and 66 cents for each hour of work. Can you imagine? More than one dollar and half. Each hour. Oh my gosh! Oh please your majesty the client, hire me, hire me! I'll do it for less if your grace pick me!

 

 

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

Some of the best advice I got on here, although at first it felt a little cold and judgemental:

"Feel free not to accept jobs that seem unfair or fishy"

 

While I felt angry when seeing such low price jobs, I have learned to not waste emotional and mental energy when I see them. It results in more energy being available to look for better jobs elsewhere on the internet.

 

It is true that Upwork is a free area where you can post any job, almost any price. So people naturally take advantage of others. But what also helps is acknowledging that this is not always the case. Many, but not all, ridiculously low budget jobs are the result of jerks or scammers, or clients who take advantage of desperate freelancers looking for experience, or clients who have no idea how much work is realistically involved.

 

Here is what might also explain it:

 

1) Some clients may be in a country where the money is valued less, so they want locals to apply- the money might go further there.

 

2) The client may be a poor person in a richer country. For example, if someone from the US might post a $5 job, it isn't always that they just want to max profits, but rather that they literally could not afford more. There is a market for poor clients- and Upwork is their only shot at getting what they want.

 

3) Less likely, but the client may have just forgotten to fill out the info properly and really meant to ask the freelancer how much they wanted when they applied.

 

So in the end, just ignore low budget jobs/interviews unless you really really want the experience and can't get it any other way- because I've learned that feeling angry when seeing them will only make me feel desperate, insulted, and worried. If one looks hard enough in Upwork (and on other platforms and in person), one will be able to find jobs that are more reasonable). The wider the search, the more likely it is to find better jobs. Nothing is promised, just the chance increases more.

 

 

 

**Edited for community guidelines** I majored in Writing in college and have written for literary journals, newspapers, government documents, etc. and wanted to provide high quality content editing for a good price, but these people swamp the market.  Not only that, but their writing and grammar skills are horrible, and the people who pay them apparently don't know the difference.


@Ron M wrote:

**Edited for community guidelines** I majored in Writing in college and have written for literary journals, newspapers, government documents, etc. and wanted to provide high quality content editing for a good price, but these people swamp the market.  Not only that, but their writing and grammar skills are horrible, and the people who pay them apparently don't know the difference.


 
They aren't attractive to the clients who want high-quality work and are willing to pay a reasonable rate for it. Not every client just wants "the cheapest" work - trust me.

 

Keep looking. You'll find your great clients.

 

And no. These lowest payers may not know the difference between good and bad writing. They may literally want a lot of SEO thrown into something that loosely resembles an article. That happens and yes, there's a market for it. That's THEIR decision, about THEIR site/brand. It's not everyone's, though. So move along, keep looking.

 

On the other hand, do be ready for these top-notch clients. They WILL require top-notch work. "Better than the $5 per hour freelancer" won't cut it. Be SHARP, be as flawless as possible, from your very first approach to the final product. Good luck!


Ron M wrote:

....Not only that, but their writing and grammar skills are horrible, and the people who pay them apparently don't know the difference.


Why would you want those people as clients, rather than the people who do know the difference, and pay good money to people they can rely on to know more than they do?

[edited to add: Sorry, didn't realize I was responding to an ancient post.]

someone was more original. Instead of offerign low rates, they posted a 15 minute audio which was actually of 1 hour, played at fast speed. 

brijrajo
Member

I don't have any problem with low budget projects. But the irony is that the client wants an expert and wants to pay in pennies.. 🙂 🙂


@Brijraj S wrote:

I don't have any problem with low budget projects. But the irony is that the client wants an expert and wants to pay in pennies.. 🙂 🙂


I'm happy to be able to ignore delusional (and deluding) clients. I wish I could say the same about politicians. But I'm an American.

dataextract
Member

This is much better than the $1 jobs being posted in Admin Category.

They need to copy/paste a directory with 40,000+ recors for $1

🙂
kedo1981
Member

I have to wonder what the degree of customer satisfaction is when you get a job done for a ridiculously low amount? Under the video production listings you will have jobs listed for a flat 30$ (4Xampl) and the stipulation is that it be exactly like (link to youtube video posted by major corp costing min of 20k) and there will be 30+ bids?

hamargyuri
Member

I have just submitted a proposal of $190 for the translation of a subtitle of a 90 minutes long interview, 9-10k words.

I know, even this amount would seem very low for a real professional, but I'm just an enthusiast.

Anyway, guess what the original budget is.

 

*drum roll*

 

$10

 

Yeah, that for roughly 10k words. Not to mention, he also wants 90% JSS or RT status. Typos and grammatical errors are not acceptable, of course. Oh yes, and he's looking for a long term cooperation. And this client has multiple similar postings and freelancers actually do it for $10 (or less). His ratings are excellent, almost 5/5, freelancers thanking for the opportunity all the way. The perfect client, etc.

 

People amaze me. The less they get paid, the more they praise the client (and the less they think about themselves). Reminds me a bit of the Stanford prison experiment...

 

But the real problem is Upwork letting this happen. It can really **Edited for Community Guidelines** a small market, like ENG-HUN translations. When there's no more than 5-10 jobs posted a week, even just one of these can have a big impact, pushing the prices under, slowly turning the market into a joke.

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Too many farmers are here. They copy job offers from other platforms, sometimes offer work they want to acquire on other platforms, ask for samples they use themselves to prove their ability to do the job, really spoil the market and should not be here. They harm Upwork's reputation and nobody can earn anything from those jobs. Anybody who accepts those jobs will deliver bad work, because you can only deliver a machine translation for 10 USD or less for tenthousend words! Can somebody buy a new car for 10 USD? No.

 

Gyorgy, you should not apply to those jobs anymore and you have to look for additional options to be able to make a living from your work. The farmers are not interested in a reasonable budget. Those jobs are not business at all, they are pure fraud (from both sides) and anyone who does serious business and provides quality work must stay away from those jobs. Yes, I think Upwork should not allow those jobs but as soon as freelancers will stop applying for those jobs the market will run dry. However, I suppose this will not happen, unfortunately a lot of unskilled freelancers apply to those jobs all the time.


@Gyorgy H wrote:

I have just submitted a proposal of $190 for the translation of a subtitle of a 90 minutes long interview, 9-10k words.

(...) the original budget is.

 

*drum roll*

 

$10

 

 


OK, so? What's the difference between $190 and $10 in this case? It's a 10k word translation, are you and the client really not on the same page here?

 

I'm sure both of you have a margin for negotiation and you certainly can find a common ground. The client is cheap, you are cheap. You are both part of the problem that you are complaining about.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
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@Rene K wrote:

OK, so? What's the difference between $190 and $10 in this case? It's a 10k word translation, are you and the client really not on the same page here?

 

I'm sure both of you have a margin for negotiation and you certainly can find a common ground. The client is cheap, you are cheap. You are both part of the problem that you are complaining about.


 Please be aware that the average monthly income in Hungary is only one third of that in France. So, what might be unacceptable for you could be OK for the OP. A lot of clients on Upwork (not all of them) try to buy cheaper outside of their own country. That is the momentum of this platform. Farming is another problem, it is just fraud and no regular business.

"Please be aware that the average monthly income in Hungary is only one third of that in France."

It can be true, Margarete - but it doesn't make our work cheaper on a global market. Regardless of where I actually live, I charge what my work worth. Period. There is no laptop or a new car for third of the price in Hungary. We pay the same (if not more) for everything.

Edited to add: Hungarians are paying highest VAT in the EU (27%)
VAT_EU.jpg

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@Zoltán N wrote:

"Please be aware that the average monthly income in Hungary is only one third of that in France."

It can be true, Margarete - but it doesn't make our work cheaper on a global market. Regardless of where I actually live, I charge what my work worth. Period. There is no laptop or a new car for third of the price in Hungary. We pay the same (if not more) for everything.


 You are right, Zoltán and you can do this, because you are specialized in a niche and clients pay you for your specific knowledge. There are more competitive areas where the price is decisive. Why are customer services outsourced to countries that are far away? Because clients are able to buy the service much cheaper than in their own country. Some freelancers even complain that they are not allowed to work for 1 USD per hour on Upwork.


@Margarete M wrote:

Some freelancers even complain that they are not allowed to work for 1 USD per hour on Upwork.


 I can understand if someone doesn't need money for living, or just want to do charity / volunteer work. But why that silly $1 then? Why not free? And especially - why here?...


@Gyorgy H wrote:

 

$10

 

Yeah, that for roughly 10k words. Not to mention, he also wants 90% JSS or RT status.

 

But the real problem is Upwork letting this happen.


 Not if you report it, as surely 10 000 words for $ 10 falls under the rule that it is a policy violation to ask freelancers to work for free or for extremely low pay.

 

There is a minimum hourly rate of $ 3.00 so even if you could do 600 words an hour those 10 000 would still take a minimum of 16 hours and the hourly rate would work out at 60ish Cent.

It is very sad to see the large amount of freelancers who apply for these jobs. It is very discouraging. 

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@Maria C wrote:

It is very sad to see the large amount of freelancers who apply for these jobs. It is very discouraging. 


 There are a lot of unskilled freelancers who apply for those who can only provide bad work. Skilled freelancers who apply for those jobs are desperate because of a lack of jobs from reputable well paying clients.

And that's the point. It is almost impossible to find jobs with a decent pay. I am almost unable to land a fixed-price job since June, except for the cases when I am invited. Since for some reason I am not receiving any invites lately, this has become a desert. I can feel the desperation of the people, because I saw freelancers with a fairly good profile taking such low-paying jobs. 

Hi Maria,

 

Thank you for sharing your perspective. If you check Community discussions I'm sure you'll also find feedback from experienced freelancers who command high rates and are being actively being hired on Upwork. Compromising ones' rate is not something our team or experienced freelancer would advise as a means to get ahead, and having a great profile is just one of the factors necessary to win jobs on Upwork.

Untitled


@Maria C wrote:

And that's the point. It is almost impossible to find jobs with a decent pay. I am almost unable to land a fixed-price job since June, except for the cases when I am invited. Since for some reason I am not receiving any invites lately, this has become a desert. I can feel the desperation of the people, because I saw freelancers with a fairly good profile taking such low-paying jobs. 


 Maria, you refer to yourself as a multi-tasker and mention three different skill sets in your profile. One thing many of us who do consistently find good-paying jobs on Upwork have noticed is that the more varied the skills you offer, the less likely you are to land jobs and command high rates. Upwork clients seem to be looking for specialists who are uniquely qualified for the particular job they're posting. If you narrow your focus, you may have greater success.

Ok, thanks for the advise Tiffany, I will think about it.

 

But even so in my section good jobs are hardly seen and even bad jobs have +50 applicants. Not all the categories are the same, but if the good jobs are something around the 5-10% of the total (and some of them only accesible via invite), obviously only the very best of the freelancers can succeed. Where is the intermediate part of the field? 

Maria, my guess is that English to Spanish is really tough because Spanish is a global language spoken in many countries, some so struggling economically that the rates have been driven extremely low.

 

You live in Madrid and the cost of living in Madrid is astronomical compared to Venezuela for instance.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

That's very true, in some cases we have to face that problem. But also the Spanish language differs greatly from one country to another, so many jobs are targeted to a specific country. 

 

However, many freelancers of my own country are also taking jobs per $0.01, so they are working for something below the minimum income, which is already trash. 

 

 


@Maria C wrote:

Ok, thanks for the advise Tiffany, I will think about it.

 

But even so in my section good jobs are hardly seen and even bad jobs have +50 applicants. Not all the categories are the same, but if the good jobs are something around the 5-10% of the total (and some of them only accesible via invite), obviously only the very best of the freelancers can succeed. Where is the intermediate part of the field? 


 That's a fair question, and I think that's a bit of a problem area for freelancers in general. This is only my own theory and I have nothing but observations to back it up, but it seems to me that the primary reasons a company hires a freelancer are that they have a one-time large-scale project that their inside staff can't cover, they want to get something done very cheaply or they need a specific expertise that they don't have in-house. Only the first of those seems to favor the freelancer with mid-level skills, and they tend to be one-offs.

 

I think the problem many freelancers who haven't developed a specific niche expertise have is that most companies have someone in-house who can write, set up a Wordpress site, etc. at an adequate level. They don't have as much incentive to go outside unless they need higher-level skills.

 

It's obviously not an immediate answer, but I think that if I were in your shoes, I would pick the skill that has the best combination of "this is marketable" and "I like to do this" among your offerings and really focus in on becoming an expert in that niche.

hamargyuri
Member

Wow, I wouldn't have imagined my 2 cents would make such a stir.

 

Do you, Rene, really think that if freelancers from any country would start charging your global rate, clients would hire them instead of the next one for 100 times less? People will charge whatever they find sufficient in their own environment. $0.02/word is quite decent in Hungary. Excluding highly specialised areas, of course.

 

Also Zoltan, while you're right that we pay the same for a lot of stuff, there's also lots of everyday needs that cost less, on the other hand. Accomodation, food, school, health care...

 

Anyway, Rene, please stop calling me a problem, because I'm not. If anything, I'm the symptom (but again, I really wouldn't say I'm too cheap on my market), the problem is Upwork's lack of regulation (towards clients) and transparency (towards freelancers).


@Gyorgy H wrote:
 

Anyway, Rene, please stop calling me a problem, because I'm not. If anything, I'm the symptom


 That makes you a "victim" and someone who has no control. That is not what running your freelancing business is about.

 

And Rene doesn't mean to insult you, but frankly everyone who chooses not to be part of the solution becomes, by definition, part of the problem.

 

It is what it is.

 

Rene is actually a great example of what "not being part of the problem" looks like.

 

His language is one which is offered by endless of "so-called" native French speakers from very cheap countries and yet clients hire him at a multiple of what they could get the cheap guys and gals for.

 

Translation is a funny field. I've received two offers in a single day, one at less than 2 Cent a word and one at over 25 Cent a word.

 

You get what you can sell yourself at. Whether you can "exist on" 2 Cent a word is not the question. I guess I could "exist" on it myself, but I have no intention of doing so, because I don't run my own business to merely "exist!"

 

 

(PS: Disclaimer: These days translation as such is only a small part of my income, because I have diversified to utilise my language skills in combination with my background in management, partly because I can't be bothered to go around bidding for hours every week, and partly because I don't actually enjoy pure translation all that much. That way I never run out of work, never have to search for available jobs, virtually all my "available for work " time is spent working and earning, with hardly any time "wasted" searching, inteviewing, discussing, or similar "work related" time spent without earning money.)

 


 That makes you a "victim" and someone who has no control. That is not what running your freelancing business is about.

 

And Rene doesn't mean to insult you, but frankly everyone who chooses not to be part of the solution becomes, by definition, part of the problem.

 

It is what it is.


 

I can agree with the first part only.

The rate I'm charging (trying to) is not cheap. There isn't a global translation rate and there couldn't be, since people in different countries need different amount of money to make a living. I would be only part of the problem, if I took jobs for much less, which I don't do.

I still never heard what the solution would be. Because counting on freelancers reporting clients just don't work (as anyone can see). There should be regulation from Upwork's side.


@Gyorgy H wrote:

 


 


 

I can agree with the first part only.

The rate I'm charging (trying to) is not cheap. There isn't a global translation rate and there couldn't be, since people in different countries need different amount of money to make a living.


 There is no successful businessperson anywhere in the world who based his prices on the amount of money he needed to make a living.

If people valued their work more - regardless where they live - there would be no need for Upwork to "regulate".

And the latter is not going to happen any time soon.

 

If you want change, make it happen. Charge more.


@Ela K wrote:
 

If you want change, make it happen.


 Well said:


@Ela K wrote:

If people valued their work more - regardless where they live - there would be no need for Upwork to "regulate".

And the latter is not going to happen any time soon.

 

If you want change, make it happen. Charge more.


 

Oh yes, and if people all over the globe would stand up and said "I won't work for this amount of money (that's perfectly enough in this country) anymore", that would solve everything.

 

Just for a starter, everything that you don't make for yourself would become much more expensive, just saying.