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What does translator mean on Upwork?

Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
21 of 40

Jennifer R wrote:

I just go this reply from a client outside UW that offers €0.02/word (less for repetitions):

 

...we specialized in translation company for more than 15 years... this order at least 10,000 words.

 

Please keep in mind that most of our projects / orders are ONLY involved user manuals of electric/electronic devices (that’s to say, though the rate that we offer seems “low”, you can certainly get rewarded “decently” because our documentations / orders often contain lots of similar terms / expressions and syntax, that’s to say, focus on a limited area and are coming only from the same several clients, which are much easier than legal or literary documents. Thus, you can translate faster and faster with a better and better working efficiency, that’s to say, the time and effort spent on a 3,000-word translation job from us will be ALMOST the same as that spent on a 1,000-word job from your current clients.

 

In addition, if your translation is of high quality and cost effective, we shall treat you as our core translator/partner and place with you many orders (i.e. we can build a long-term and stable working relation in the future). I hope that the terms and conditions offered by us will interest and attract you.

 

Any consideratin from you will be highly appreciated.

 

 


These people seem to think translating 10.000 words for a pittance is much better than translating 1000 words for a pittance. The problem is that it takes 10 times more time to handle the 10.000 words, and meanwhile you are not available for better jobs.

 

Besides, if it roughly takes 5 days to translate the 10.000 words, and should you accept a job were you make $200 for 5 days of work, you are a fool. OK, there are repetitions, but you still have to check the quality of the work - unless you really think that user manuals of electric/electronic devices are not worth a good translation.

 

"...we specialized in translation company for more than 15 years...", "this order at least 10,000 words", " Any consideratin from...". Their specialty doesn't seem to involve the use of correct English, which is very odd for a translation company! Good luck to them (and to the fools who use them).

 

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
22 of 40

Luce N wrote:

He sent me a message saying my rate was too high, that he had found an agency willing to offer that type of translation for $ 0,04 a word (!!!!).


True story: clients buying $0.04 per word translations receive just that. $0.04 per word translations. I'm seeing these every now and then and I have yet to see one that's good. Not saying there are no professional translators delivering professional grade results at this rate, but they are rare. And stupid.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
23 of 40

Rene K wrote:

Luce N wrote:

He sent me a message saying my rate was too high, that he had found an agency willing to offer that type of translation for $ 0,04 a word (!!!!).


True story: clients buying $0.04 per word translations receive just that. $0.04 per word translations. I'm seeing these every now and then and I have yet to see one that's good. Not saying there are no professional translators delivering professional grade results at this rate, but they are rare. And stupid.


I find it very sad that most people don't even seem to know the difference. Besides, if a "translation agency" sells $0.04 per word translations, who does the translation? Google? If not, the person doing the translation must be getting paid even less.

Ace Contributor
Chloe F Member Since: Feb 21, 2019
24 of 40
I don't use machine translation but for $0.04-.05 a word I do Spanish to English translations and don't mind, because based on my own facility with the work that ends up adding up to an hourly rate I'm comfortable with, higher than my profile rate, and because it's a competitive language, many people with the same skills live in countries with cheaper standards of living. It is totally believable to me that clients could find competent freelancers at lower rates. I believe French is a bit more in demand but I could be mistaken. Anyway, I believe machine translation is improving in quality over time so translators should prepare for rates to fall in years to come. Many industries are experiencing such structural change, including journalists who are being replaced by bots for simple articles 😬.
Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
25 of 40

Chloe F wrote:
I don't use machine translation but for $0.04-.05 a word I do Spanish to English translations and don't mind, because based on my own facility with the work that ends up adding up to an hourly rate I'm comfortable with, higher than my profile rate, and because it's a competitive language, many people with the same skills live in countries with cheaper standards of living. It is totally believable to me that clients could find competent freelancers at lower rates. I believe French is a bit more in demand but I could be mistaken. Anyway, I believe machine translation is improving in quality over time so translators should prepare for rates to fall in years to come. Many industries are experiencing such structural change, including journalists who are being replaced by bots for simple articles 😬.

That brings us back to the initial question: What does translator mean on Upwork?

A: Someone who uses google translate ot other machine translation?

B: Someone believes some years at school and a dictionary are enough?

C: Someone who is bilingual due to his/her upbringing?

D: Someone who offers translation into several languages?

E: Someone doing it parttime as a hobby and to earn some extra money?

F: Someone offering a low rate just to get any job not carring if more that language knowledge is needed?

G: Someone who was stupid enough to study translation for several years, because no qualification is needed to call yourself a translator?

 

Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
26 of 40

Jennifer, not many years ago, being a translator also meant that you had a bunch of dictionaries at home and knew how to use them (I'm not sure many younger people know how to use dictionaries nowadays). 

That made it harder for people to declare themselves translators. Now that you have access to online dictionaries, it simplifies the "becoming a translator process". I must admit it's so much easier, and I'm enjoying it very much.

 

Pretty soon, I'll be able to offer my old, beloved, dictionaries to a museum. I had never expected to witness such a change... But I don't know if I'll be able to part from them, though, they are part of my life, bought as treasures - particularly my first English English dictionary bought in England after working for a whole month during my holidays when I was 16. That old dictionary is like a part of me, it reminds me of my love and devotion to the English language!!!

Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
27 of 40

Luce N wrote:

Jennifer, not many years ago, being a translator also meant that you had a bunch of dictionaries at home and knew how to use them (I'm not sure many younger people know how to use dictionaries nowadays). 

That made it harder for people to declare themselves translators. Now that you have access to online dictionaries, it simplifies the "becoming a translator process". I must admit it's so much easier, and I'm enjoying it very much.

 

Pretty soon, I'll be able to offer my old, beloved, dictionaries to a museum. I had never expected to witness such a change... But I don't know if I'll be able to part from them, though, they are part of my life, bought as treasures - particularly my first English English dictionary bought in England after working for a whole month during my holidays when I was 16. That old dictionary is like a part of me, it reminds me of my love and devotion to the English language!!!


Same here, I spend several months with my aunt, went to school, took my driving test...

 

I remember having saved money every month just to be able to afford first Slaby-Grossmann.

Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
28 of 40

Jennifer R wrote:

Same here, I spend several months with my aunt, went to school, took my driving test...

 

I remember having saved money every month just to be able to afford first Slaby-Grossmann.


We sound like dinosaurs remembering our extinct civilisation.

Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
29 of 40

Chloe F wrote:
I don't use machine translation but for $0.04-.05 a word I do Spanish to English translations and don't mind, because based on my own facility with the work that ends up adding up to an hourly rate I'm comfortable with, higher than my profile rate, and because it's a competitive language, many people with the same skills live in countries with cheaper standards of living. It is totally believable to me that clients could find competent freelancers at lower rates. I believe French is a bit more in demand but I could be mistaken. Anyway, I believe machine translation is improving in quality over time so translators should prepare for rates to fall in years to come. Many industries are experiencing such structural change, including journalists who are being replaced by bots for simple articles 😬.


Well Chloe, I've found English to Spanish translators that charge more than you do, and I've looked at their job which I thought was pretty good (I speak Portuguese and understand Spanish).

 

Now that you've been on Upwork long enough, you should think of asking for more for your services. 

Ace Contributor
Chloe F Member Since: Feb 21, 2019
30 of 40
In reality, I make the bulk of my income doing proofreading/especially quality control of Mandarin translations, and copywriting because most Spanish translation jobs reach 50 applicants in a couple of hours so it's inefficient to spend connects. If I began a relationship with a new client I would likely raise rates but for me translation is the work I truly enjoy and find stimulating so I don't mind. To refer higher in the thread I took a couple translation courses in Spain as part of a "Spanish studies" major but I'm not certified or anything and I do use online resources so my up front investment was low, I've spoken Spanish since childhood. I do prefer to translate into my native language however so I can be sure my final product is relatively perfect.
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