Business, Linguistics, Uncategorized

In the jungle

I started my campaign of increasing my prices.

Before you think, how easy it is and come with the ideological s***t, what I just posted last week, I can tell you, there are few and very important problems, when you increase your prices:

1. an agency has more than one of you. Literally you are interchangeable with other translators. There is no agency, who only keeps one translator in a language pair and this for obvious reasons. Neither there is a translator working for only one agency, I think, or if, than that translator certainly has another occupation.

2. you are not the first person, who wanted to change the cards on the table. Vendor managers – yes, for those people there is a name, they are the vendor managers – are used to get emails from translators saying: “I want to have more from the marmalade jar”.

3. you might think, you are sure, when you want to increase your prices, until you get the responses from your outsourcers, who then make you feel, like the most fortunate to be their slave and this is good so, so please shu-up and labor!

I had sent my new year’s resolution emails to my outsourcers.

No-one accepted my increase. Truly, not one agency said: you are right, sure, no worries, sorry, we used you this way. What they did say?

1. We can’t accept your decision to increase your rate to <my_new_rate>. Your <previous_even_lower_rate> was your advance. If you increase your rate, you lose this advance and our PM-s will give the jobs to other translators, because the quality will be the same.

Well…I truly had no idea, how to respond. It was like being punched into the stomach on the day of your worst hangover. You not only confirm to me, that I work for less, than the majority of your translators, but you also confirm, that the only reason, you chose me was not, because I am pretty the best, you can get in the specialty  fields, you work in, but only because you pay me less, than the others? Than a figure comes, which gives me an overview, that I got through them so much money, so if I increase instead of my newly proposed rate only with the half of the amount, I still will even get lot more money, than I got this year and this is the only thing, they can offer me.

The figure was right, don’t get me wrong, but the way, how they got here, was wrong. I can’t possibly work for a low rate, because with this low rate, working 12 hours a day, having my computer all-over-the-time on my back(pack), I get a lot of money. I want to do quality! I need time to think, it is not like assembling a chair from IKEA. What I actually do, requires time and a working mind! I am still perplexed about their response.

But here another one:

2. Thank you for your email, I forwarded it to our boss. Until (s)he gets back to you, could you please proofread for us 220 words for 1 euro?

I was crawling from laughing. I know, why she asked me to do this. Because the girl, who proofreads by them also gave them the goodbye letter. You imagine 220 words for just 1 euro? I told them my rate again and they told me, I would be too expensive, they can’t afford to work with me. Strangely this agency just has sent out to its translators a beautiful email about having taken important steps (conformity to some industry standards, new image, new website, more important international clients) to move from a small translation agency to one of the monster agencies on the market. So what, you grow on my shoulders, but I should get a single euro for working?

The last is the best:

3. Thank you for your email. If you consider to work for these rates, I hope, you understand, that we need to give you other type of work too. In this first step, please do a translation into a foreign language. We will provide a native proofreader. (and after I refused to do this translation into a foreign language, they said:) I hope, you understand how easy task this would have been for you. You just would had to translate, the native proofer will do the main job.

I couldn’t believe it. I question my ability to find good agencies. If I worked for people, who really treat me like this to follow their own interest, what should I wait from agencies, who I will work for? I sent out some applications, no answer yet. Today I continue hunting. wish me luck!


2 thoughts on “In the jungle

  1. ildikosantana says:

    Good luck to you my friend!! And if I may, a bit of encouragement for you out there in the jungle: don’t take it personally and don’t give up. I’ve been on a similar quest and just because the reactions I’ve been receiving don’t make me feel like I’ve been stabbed in the heart, the benefits of being firm about competitive pricing are nowhere to be found, yet… Just to offset those unpleasant exchanges you quoted above, let me share with you a much more civilized, courteous, professional, and almost promising response from a (soon-to-be former?) client of mine, who proposed a several million (!) word project for peanuts.
    (Them:) “…Because the volume for this project is so large, we will need to come in as close to [$.06] per word for Translation and Editing (T/E) as possible. … We are excited by this great opportunity and are looking forward to working with you soon!”
    (Me:) “…Please note that working more for less pay is not what I would consider a “great” opportunity; in fact, it would be considered rather poor business policy in my opinion to commit to working with a single client for an extended period at half of my standard rates. Besides losing income, I would also miss out on potential job opportunities with clients who still value their translation providers and express their appreciation in the form of decent compensation.
    Therefore, I regretfully decline your offer at this time. Please feel free to contact me again should there be a new project with a more reasonable budget.”
    (Them:) “Thank you so much for your message. We certainly understand your need to keep your rates at a level that works for you. Unfortunately for this project, we don’t have the budget to pay your regular rates, but please do know that we are eager to work with you on other projects we receive outside the scope of this current venture. We appreciate your correspondence, and your commitment to quality, and we will certainly contact you for future projects as we receive them.”

    • Och Ildiko, thank you for your comment! I think you are not in a jungle, rather in a zen garden. 🙂 Love the way you talk to your clients, they respect you so much.

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