Interesting discussion, but I just like to reply to the OP.
That prices are sometimes ridiculously low for Translations is mainly influenced by 2 factors.
a.) The huge cheap labour market in the former eastern bloc countries and Asia, where people offer their work for a fraction of the appropriate Prices. Logically the costs of living etc. is lower, therefore they can.
(This includes me, I live in the Philippines, but being native German and qualified still don't go below 11.11 US$/hr or 0.12 $ per word)
They also can offer cheaper because they are supported by software and automated translations, often the majority does not even speak the languages. And there are some companies with a business concept of mass translations among them as well.
I know from one instance that there was a company in India which had ONE German speaking Translator, which then proofread and simply edited the automatic translations "manufatured" by the workers. This saved about 75 % of the time, as most of the time in a short translation job is used in actually uploading, formatting and reseraching of the subject of the translation, which can be done by anybody.
I know it for certain, because the mentioned company actually offered me his jobs a few years ago !
b.) The unfortunate practise (even suggested) of new and qualified Freelancers to do some initial Jobs for a very low rate in order to get "hours" and "ratings".
Since there are vast numbers of them, the majority will drop out sooner or later due to loss of interest or having other means of income, competition is relatively fierce.
One can not do much against the factor a.), hopefully it will eradicate itself one day, experiences in oue daily life however implicate that this seems to be not the case. (Technical Manuals and Customer support emails are often written in some sort of "new age" language, guess where the Companies got this one from)
The factor b.) could be avoided (HINT to UPWORK) if the discourage "newbies" from going below reasonable prices. I also often find this in "Tips" from Freelancers....
BOTH don't do themselves any favour due to loss of commission and lowering of overall prices.
Note- post hammered down in one minute and not proofread or edited :-)
(Gotta go to work now!)