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Poll: Is being undercut by other service providers an issue in the sector in which you work?
מפרסם התגובה: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 11:20
צוות האתר
Jan 7, 2019

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is being undercut by other service providers an issue in the sector in which you work?".

View the poll results »



 

neilmac  Identity Verified
ספרד
Local time: 20:20
מספרדית לאנגלית
+ ...
Yes Jan 7, 2019

Although I'm usually lucky enough not to be affected personally, it is definitely "an issue in the sector" in my main ES-EN pair.

Teresa Borges
 

Teresa Borges
פורטוגל
Local time: 19:20
חבר (2007)
מאנגלית לפורטוגזית
+ ...
Yes Jan 7, 2019

I know that some translators of the same language combinations charge much less than me (50% + repetitions discounts), but over the years I’ve built a solid and happy client base (agencies and direct clients) willing to pay my rates. Anyway, at this stage of my professional career I should be more interested on reducing my working hours than my rates…

Muriel Vasconcellos
Maja_K
Chris S
Gareth Callagy
Mario Freitas
Victoria Batarchuk
Ana Vozone
 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
ארצות הברית
Local time: 11:20
חבר (2003)
מספרדית לאנגלית
+ ...
Yes Jan 7, 2019

The issue plays out in many ways. In my humble opinion, it is the biggest problem in the profession. Between agencies pushing to lower rates and people willing to work for them, we are seeing rates that not only haven't moved up but are going backwards. I recall that translators were getting 10 cents a word in 1974. That would be 45 years ago.

A freelancer should be able to should be earn enough to live on. Otherwise the profession will devolve into a sideline for people who mainly
... See more
The issue plays out in many ways. In my humble opinion, it is the biggest problem in the profession. Between agencies pushing to lower rates and people willing to work for them, we are seeing rates that not only haven't moved up but are going backwards. I recall that translators were getting 10 cents a word in 1974. That would be 45 years ago.

A freelancer should be able to should be earn enough to live on. Otherwise the profession will devolve into a sideline for people who mainly rely on income from other sources.
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Maja_K
Elisabeth Purkis
Teresa Borges
Anna Herbst
Gibril Koroma
Patti Maselli
Kaisa I
 

writeaway  Identity Verified
מהולנדית לאנגלית
+ ...
Yes: just have a quick look at the response to job postings on this site Jan 7, 2019

Jobs posted at ridiculous rates by dubious outsourcers get flooded with 'bids' in at least one of my pairs, especially when the field advertised is tourism, legal, business, financial, marketing and any other domain now regarded as 'anyone can do it'.


Teresa Borges
Chris S
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Patti Maselli
Davide Leone
Platon Danilov
Michael Harris
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
גרמניה
Local time: 20:20
חבר (2009)
מאנגלית לגרמנית
+ ...
Yes Jan 7, 2019

I've noticed that some translators of literature and poetry offer amazing rates that nobody could really live on.

Any translator association has a business conduct requirement. One point is not to underbid colleagues because it might force them to go out of business or find another field to work in. Another is to honor and respect the profession.


Maja_K
Davide Leone
Laura Nagle
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
צרפת
Local time: 20:20
חבר (2018)
מצרפתית לאנגלית
yup Jan 7, 2019

Recently an agency tried to get me to lower my rate "just this once".

I mentioned this to a friend who had just told me that she'd be willing to help out if ever I had too much work. She said "oh I'll do it for them".

Right. Hmm if you're intending to undercut me, I don't think I will recommend you to agencies when I have to turn them down.


Maja_K
Teresa Borges
Michael Harris
Ana Claudia Macoretta
 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
גרמניה
Local time: 20:20
חבר (2016)
מאנגלית לגרמנית
I don't know Jan 7, 2019

I can only assume that it happens, but if it's really an "issue", who can tell? Not for me. As long as I have more work than I can handle anyway, I don't care very much if I'm being under-cut, or over-cut, or whatever. The sector I work in allows me to charge good rates, and that means that anyone who charges less is just plain stupid, since any individual translator has only so much time and capacity to sell, so why not charge the highest rates they can get? I am sure that there are other secto... See more
I can only assume that it happens, but if it's really an "issue", who can tell? Not for me. As long as I have more work than I can handle anyway, I don't care very much if I'm being under-cut, or over-cut, or whatever. The sector I work in allows me to charge good rates, and that means that anyone who charges less is just plain stupid, since any individual translator has only so much time and capacity to sell, so why not charge the highest rates they can get? I am sure that there are other sectors and language pairs where the situation is very different, but it seems to me that the market for specialized EN>DE translation is strongly in favor of the translators.Collapse


John Fossey
Nadja Balogh
 

Amir Arzani
איראן
Local time: 22:50
מאנגלית לפרסית
+ ...
Yes, especially if ... Jan 7, 2019

you're in a country with high inflation and an unprofitable local market, so some fellows would rather undercut others and get paid 2 cents (for a service worth 5 or 7 cents per word) just for a day's pay. All the while ruining the ecosystem for those starting out as freelancers by setting a bad precedent.
*Not to mention the fellows who accept all kinds of jobs and outsource them (without the client's consent) to other translators for even less pay in their own currency. (This one really
... See more
you're in a country with high inflation and an unprofitable local market, so some fellows would rather undercut others and get paid 2 cents (for a service worth 5 or 7 cents per word) just for a day's pay. All the while ruining the ecosystem for those starting out as freelancers by setting a bad precedent.
*Not to mention the fellows who accept all kinds of jobs and outsource them (without the client's consent) to other translators for even less pay in their own currency. (This one really grinds my gears and I wish I had the power to stop it)
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DZiW
אוקראינה
מאנגלית לרוסית
+ ...
Selective advantage Jan 7, 2019

Besides generous rates, desirable turnover, and flexible hours and terms, working with local direct clients grants me preferences to hold the position, disregarding the translation market trends and rivalry

 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
הרפובליקה הצ'כית
Local time: 20:20
מאנגלית לרוסית
+ ...
Wrong question Jan 7, 2019

It's not a sector thing, it's your choice – to compete on price or on quality. Keep perfecting your work, and you will be able to raise prices well above the market average.

Ricki Farn
Chris S
Mario Freitas
Nadia Silva Castro
Ana Vozone
Ana Claudia Macoretta
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:20
מגרמנית לאנגלית
+ ...
Don't think so Jan 7, 2019

I certainly get contacted by agencies from time to time who claim that other translators charge way less than I do, usually ones contacting me via platforms, but my regular clients (end clients and translation companies) have never made such references. Their priority seems to be quality, and price is only discussed in terms of "what is your fee?"

Somebody referred to job postings. True, but one can decide to stay out of that particular area of the market. These tend to be based
... See more
I certainly get contacted by agencies from time to time who claim that other translators charge way less than I do, usually ones contacting me via platforms, but my regular clients (end clients and translation companies) have never made such references. Their priority seems to be quality, and price is only discussed in terms of "what is your fee?"

Somebody referred to job postings. True, but one can decide to stay out of that particular area of the market. These tend to be based on bidding system, which is a duck of a different colour.
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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
ברזיל
Local time: 15:20
חבר (2014)
מאנגלית לפורטוגזית
+ ...
Indeed, Anton Jan 7, 2019

As I always mention here, there are clearly two different translation markets. One of them is increasing in volume, and decreasing in quality and rates. Machine translations will take over this market, and there will only be post-editing jobs there.
The other market remains the same, grows very slowly, but keeps the rates and the quality at a decent level. A minority among translators is able to belong to this market, and to preserve that position.
However, it's still OUR choice to r
... See more
As I always mention here, there are clearly two different translation markets. One of them is increasing in volume, and decreasing in quality and rates. Machine translations will take over this market, and there will only be post-editing jobs there.
The other market remains the same, grows very slowly, but keeps the rates and the quality at a decent level. A minority among translators is able to belong to this market, and to preserve that position.
However, it's still OUR choice to remain in this market and resist, or to give up and "accept" moving to the other one.
Most people in ProZ and who participate in the Quick Polls will not migrate to the "bad" market. Leave it for those who deserve and fit into it.

[Edited at 2019-01-07 19:31 GMT]
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Ricki Farn
Maja_K
 


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Poll: Is being undercut by other service providers an issue in the sector in which you work?

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