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Re: low payment

Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
11 of 51

@Preston H wrote:

Supply and demand.


This is apt to an extent, Preston. The issue I was raising is this: the true "supply" of translators qualified to do a high-quality job on a French-to-English translation of a medical-journal article (of the type I read today) is limited. That supply remains limited in size--such that those skilled and specialist translators can (and do) demand rates starting at $.12 (a bargain!) per word. Rates go up from there.

 

A client who hires someone to do the job I described above at $100 is NOT hiring from the "supply" of qualified translators (unless one of them has had a brain freeze or is having a lark), Such a client has a "demand," but he or she will not truly have that demand met. 

 

There are just only so many truffles harvested from the woods each season. You can demand a truffle for the price of a portobello mushroom, but you aren't going to open your market basket and find a real truffle inside.

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Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
12 of 51

I'm by no means suggesting that this accounts for the bulk of the problem--I'm sure Janean's example is very common--but I do wonder how often this might come into play in translation through a site like this. In the professional world, I've occasionally run into content I need "translated," but not really. What I really need is to know what it says. I don't need a professional translator. I need someone who can read and write both languages at a servicable level. 

 

I've always been able to find someone within my network when this arises, but I wonder whether this type of need might account for some of the one-off "translation" jobs posted here.

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
13 of 51

Tiffany, you are right, but if one just wants to get the gist of a text, then Google, and now many others, can occasionally do a sufficient job. And for the most part, these are free - so why pay the sort of freelancer who will do a Google translate anyway?

 

I have certainly been in a position when editing a text, translated from a language I can just about say "hello" in, where if I hadn't had the original text, Google, and a dictionary, I would not have been able to complete the work. I returned it to my client with a disclaimer.

Active Member
Lisa D Member Since: Aug 19, 2010
14 of 51

If it is legit this request, that is.  It could be a translator that got a lot of work. Will pay someone less and pocket the rest without doing more than proofreading the translation.  It is legit. He makes money and the translator well, got 80$ instead of $100.  I can't confirm this but I was told by some recruiters from India and Philippinos. Maybe there is more. They team up.. A few asked for teaming up then I heard nothing from them. They are found in - we are looking for translators and other outlets I.T. articles - I never heard back. I apply at all times. 

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
15 of 51

@Lisa D wrote:

If it is legit this request, that is.  It could be a translator that got a lot of work. Will pay someone less and pocket the rest without doing more than proofreading the translation.  It is legit. He makes money and the translator well, got 80$ instead of $100.  I can't confirm this but I was told by some recruiters from India and Philippinos. Maybe there is more. They team up.. A few asked for teaming up then I heard nothing from them. They are found in - we are looking for translators and other outlets I.T. articles - I never heard back. I apply at all times. 


 _______________________________

 

What on earth are you talking about? 

 

A translator will charge for translating, but will also try to deliver  error-free copy. For longer, or literary works, as for all writing, it is better to hire a proofreader. However, for most translated works proofreading means just that. It does not mean editing.

 

Ace Contributor
Nadine D Member Since: Jan 23, 2016
16 of 51

Birgit and Veerle, 

 

I absolutely agree with both of you regarding the low rates. My absolute "highlight" happened yesterday, when I was asked to translate a csv file containing about 100.000 words for $200! I was truly speechless, especially since that client had obviously found people who actually did that job (into other languages) for that price. If I would depend on Upwork only, I would probably starve to death.

 

But I have to defend the infamous CAT tools a bit. I use Trados, and I have to say, it speeds up the translation process considerably, especially when you have a lot of repetitions in the text. It mainly helps me with technical translations and to ensure consistency, and once you have built a decent translation memory, it is really a benefit. It is also quite handy for handling extensive glossaries.

 

But of course, CAT tools cannot replace a professional translator and the availability of those tools makes gives translation agencies an excuse to take advantage of freelancers. Personally, I rarely give discounts for fuzzy matches, except they allow me to raise my base rate. I didn't buy an expensive software to lower the costs of translation agencies, but to work in a more efficient way.

Active Member
Petra T Member Since: May 27, 2017
17 of 51

I'm affraid that lower rates are exactly what clients are looking to find on Upwork in the first place Smiley Sad

 

Do you even bother bidding a higher price than suggested?

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
18 of 51

@Petra T wrote:

 

Do you even bother bidding a higher price than suggested?


 Absolutly!

Ace Contributor
Nadine D Member Since: Jan 23, 2016
19 of 51

 


@fasttranslations wrote:

I'm affraid that lower rates are exactly what clients are looking to find on Upwork in the first place Smiley Sad

 

Do you even bother bidding a higher price than suggested?


 Yes, I do that quite frequently, because budgets are often just placeholders. I prefer looking at the average hourly rate and how much the client has paid for past projects.

Ace Contributor
Ludy F Member Since: Feb 24, 2017
20 of 51

See what's actually behind the rate offered. Take a look at the text requiring translation. Often, it's not as complicated as it seems at first sight. Sometimes there are repeat parts which you only have to translate once anyway, occasionally with minor adjustments. Some jobs require hardly any research, or even none at all, containing vocabulary you are well familiar with. How long does it take you to type 750 words? 15 minutes? 20 perhaps? Add to that 10 minutes to reread it, and you're already done.

In the end you may have produced a 750 word translation for "only" $25, but consider the actual work and time involved: $50/hour. I see that the OP's hourly rate is way lower than that, so instead of always dismissing "cheap jobs", take the time to see what they really are. They're not all as bad as they look. 

 


@Nadine D wrote:
Yes, I do that quite frequently, because budgets are often just placeholders. I prefer looking at the average hourly rate and how much the client has paid for past projects.

I too bid higher. If the customer thinks me too expensive, so be it. Then he'll get what he deserves. If he's a skinflint wanting make himself a laughing stock, it's not my problem.

Sometimes, when I bid higher, the customer realizes their offer was too low in the first place.

And there are those rare gems who actually expect you to bid higher, so they see proof that you are indeed a professional.

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