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Thread poster: Álvaro Espantaleón Moreno

Ana Cuesta  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:07
Member
English to Spanish
Good riddance! Apr 7, 2017

I would reply thanking them for letting you know that their business model puts volume over quality, something you weren’t aware of and certainly collides with your own business model, and yes please stop sending you job alerts so you can concentrate on working with other companies whose budget allows them to pay your rates in order to get the quality you provide them with and so are better prospects for a long-time collaboration.

I find it really sad that such business model exi
... See more
I would reply thanking them for letting you know that their business model puts volume over quality, something you weren’t aware of and certainly collides with your own business model, and yes please stop sending you job alerts so you can concentrate on working with other companies whose budget allows them to pay your rates in order to get the quality you provide them with and so are better prospects for a long-time collaboration.

I find it really sad that such business model exists and that they have no qualms to admit to it, no matter how politely, and that their "good manners" may lead others to find it normal/acceptable. Their reasoning is flawed to start with, since working with big volumes should allow them to charge clients less without any need for their translators to reduce their own rate, simply by adding a lower margin at their end due to admin savings. So they are just greedy and/or plain ignorant of the economics involved. Whatever the case, they seem engaged in a race to the bottom and I can only hope that they reach their destination sooner better than later, so they are out of the quality translation market. A good riddance for the rest of us!

[Edited at 2017-04-07 07:26 GMT]
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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:07
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Apr 7, 2017

Michael Newton wrote:
This agency is quite manipulative and controlling. If you lower your rates once, they will insist that you lower them again and again.

Indeed this is how it happens. Not only lowering the rates does not help securing any more work than before (they always manage to find someone who is even cheaper than your offer), but once "the melon is cut" as we say in Spain, they will keep asking for lower and lower rates.

I made the mistake of lowering my rates with one agency that meant 20% of my work in the past and is now close to 0%. They kept asking for lower rates and, when I had done my best, they left for cheaper (in both senses of the word) options.


 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:07
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Reading between the lines Apr 7, 2017

Well, I'm a translator, so I've had a go at this one:



"Dear partner,


[I don't know your name, only that you're on the toxic list.]


You've probably noticed that you haven't been assigned projects lately.


[Neither have we. We're going down, and fast. Help.]


This is likely to do with the fact that your rate is significantly above the average rates that our other service providers charge us.... See more
Well, I'm a translator, so I've had a go at this one:



"Dear partner,


[I don't know your name, only that you're on the toxic list.]


You've probably noticed that you haven't been assigned projects lately.


[Neither have we. We're going down, and fast. Help.]


This is likely to do with the fact that your rate is significantly above the average rates that our other service providers charge us.


[So we're about to shaft you.]


Our Project Managers have profitability targets to meet and when assigning the projects they most likely will choose the linguists whose rates are closer to the averages.


[It's not just you - we shaft our PMs as well.]


Our business model relies on large volumes. We have long term contracts with the largest corporations in the world and because the volume of words we provide them is so big we cannot charge the same that an individual translator would.


[We had a two-page job with XYZ once, but they were so big that they shafted us, so we've taken a leaf out of their shafting book. See above.]


Having that in mind, I thought I'd write to you today and see if you would be willing to renegotiate your rate to a level which is closer to our average.


[Here comes the shaft line ...]


Alternatively, if you consider that your current rate is the minimum you'd be willing to work for, would you like me to remove your name from our database so you no longer receive our availability check emails?


[I know it sounds like a threat, but really we're begging here. Help.]


Kindly let me know."


[Please hurry up and tell me you want us to pay you much less. My job's on the line here. Next week they're cutting off the leccy.]
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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Average translation agency Apr 7, 2017

Hi Alvaro,
Sounds like an average agency looking for average translations done by average translators, so they aren't interested in working with You for the sort of service only You can give. I'd take a leaf out of Mervyn's book and shaft 'em.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Thoughts Apr 7, 2017

If they're getting larger volumes, they won't need such big margins to turn a profit, so they don't actually need you to lower your price.

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
I think that it is legitimate that the agency asks for lower rates, just as legitimate as a translator asking for higher rates.

I disagree. Professionals set their own rates. Clients take them or leave them.

Barring general economic collapse, there is no reason for them to demand, or for us to accept, lower prices. They are not paying for a physical product that could be produced more cheaply with a new machine. They are paying for our time, the time of a highly trained and skilled professional. There are no significant productivity gains to be made in translation. So there is no reason for our prices not to rise steadily with inflation and experience.

They are being disrespectful.

Mario Chavez wrote:
If we are professionals, we can't take every rejection letter too personally. Clients come and go, so project managers and smiling receptionists. And being professional means answering that letter in a businesslike manner.

We certainly can, Mario. Being professional is about providing a quality service, not about taking this kind of **** lying down. I'm not a robot but a human being, and I'd tell them where to shove their request in no uncertain terms.

Mervyn wrote:
Stuff

Lol, very good

[Edited at 2017-04-07 08:16 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:07
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Normal, but... Apr 7, 2017

Álvaro Espantaleón wrote:
I have received this email today:
You've probably noticed that you haven't been assigned projects lately. ... This is likely to do with the fact that your rate is significantly above the average rates that our other service providers charge us.


It is normal for buyers to try to get more product for less money. And your agency isn't saying anything we did not already suspect, namely that if you are on the agency's lists but you don't get many jobs, one of the reasons may be that your rate is much higher than other translators'.

Our Project Managers have profitability targets to meet and when assigning the projects they most likely will choose the linguists whose rates are closer to the averages.


This means that unless you lower your rate to below the average of all other translators, you are unlikely to get more jobs even if you reduce your rate.

Our business model relies on large volumes. We have long term contracts with the largest corporations in the world and because the volume of words we provide them is so big we cannot charge the same that an individual translator would.


Yes, but it is their fault for not negotiating higher rates with the end-clients.

The volume of work is not relevant for you, of course, because freelancers aren't more productive (i.e. can produce more so that they can charge less to get the same profit) with high volumes from a single client than with low volumes.

You'll have to work much harder to convince an agency that accepts or offers volume discounts from/to end-clients to hire you at your normal rates. It can be done, but it takes effort, and is the effort really worth it? Will the effort even pay off?

Having that in mind, I thought I'd write to you today and see if you would be willing to renegotiate your rate to a level which is closer to our average.


I suspect the agent is using the word "renegotiate" simply to mean "lower", and that he isn't really trying to negotiate -- i.e. he's not willing to offer you anything in return for lowering your rate. He's not willing, for example, to guarantee more work if you guarantee him a lower rate.

Alternatively, if you consider that your current rate is the minimum you'd be willing to work for, would you like me to remove your name from our database so you no longer receive our availability check emails?


No, let them keep your name. Sooner or later your name will be seen by another PM who believes that you are likely to save him more effort than money.

[Edited at 2017-04-07 08:18 GMT]


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:07
Member
English to French
Normal Apr 7, 2017

I've had a number of returning agency customers who faded away from my landscape, and some of them have also "offered" my getting more work at lower rates. Since I've never been desperate enough to decrease my defaut rate in order to get work, I've always let them go without second thoughts.

I don't think there's anything to be upset at: they want a haircut they can't afford on a regular besis, they negociate, and if it doesn't work, then end of story. They will continue to go to th
... See more
I've had a number of returning agency customers who faded away from my landscape, and some of them have also "offered" my getting more work at lower rates. Since I've never been desperate enough to decrease my defaut rate in order to get work, I've always let them go without second thoughts.

I don't think there's anything to be upset at: they want a haircut they can't afford on a regular besis, they negociate, and if it doesn't work, then end of story. They will continue to go to that hairdresser's because s/he does a perfect job, but only once in a while because it's too damn expensive, when they have to attend a wedding or go to an interview.
Frances Nichol wrote:
...I think I'd like to know if I dropped my rate by a small amount, then I could get a lot more work. At least to consider if, even if I didn't want to in the end...

Do you really need agency customers to tell you that?
The cheaper your rates, the more work you're offered. Therefore the idea is to increase rates periodically (justified through cost of living, expertise gained, uniqueness and what-not) in order to get the right balance between offers and what you can effectively take on. And when you get to the point that you consistenly have to turn down offers from returning customers, you know it's time to increase rates.

It takes a lot of sifting, but what remains is only gold nuggets.

Philippe
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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:07
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Why ... Apr 7, 2017

... would anyone ask for your agreement to the removal of your details from their huge creaking database? Why not just remove them without the song and dance routine of contacting you (surely it's more important to get your permission to put them in there in the first place)? Because it's a handy way of putting out a clumsy, thinly veiled threat, that's why.

[Edited at 2017-04-07 09:12 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Plain speaking Apr 7, 2017

Álvaro Espantaleón wrote:


Our business model relies on large volumes.


Pues, me c*** en tu "business model", and all who sail in her.


 

Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 15:07
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Similar experience > results Apr 7, 2017

I had a similar experience a few years ago, the message was worded differently, but the main point was similar.
I replied that I do not comment on other people's rates and that I think my rates are fair. I also explained very briefly what type of work I do for other excellent clients and left them with the choice to remove me from their database if they feel so inclined. They chose not to.
A couple of years later, they provide me with daily work at my regular rates.
Based on
... See more
I had a similar experience a few years ago, the message was worded differently, but the main point was similar.
I replied that I do not comment on other people's rates and that I think my rates are fair. I also explained very briefly what type of work I do for other excellent clients and left them with the choice to remove me from their database if they feel so inclined. They chose not to.
A couple of years later, they provide me with daily work at my regular rates.
Based on your profile, I do not think your rates are high...
Good luck.

[Editat la 2017-04-07 11:12 GMT]
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:07
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Bad English Apr 7, 2017

Álvaro Espantaleón wrote:

I have received this email today:

"Dear partner,

You've probably noticed that you haven't been assigned projects lately.

This is likely to do with the fact ....


I would have stopped reading there. People who don't know how or when to use the adverb "likely" in sentence construction in alternative to "probably" are not to be relied on.


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Normal in Spain Apr 7, 2017

Álvaro Espantaleón wrote:

I have received this email today:

"Dear partner,

You've probably noticed that you haven't been assigned projects lately.

This is likely to do with the fact that your rate is significantly above the average rates that our other service providers charge us. Our Project Managers have profitability targets to meet and when assigning the projects they most likely will choose the linguists whose rates are closer to the averages.

Our business model relies on large volumes. We have long term contracts with the largest corporations in the world and because the volume of words we provide them is so big we cannot charge the same that an individual translator would.

Having that in mind, I thought I'd write to you today and see if you would be willing to renegotiate your rate to a level which is closer to our average.

Alternatively, if you consider that your current rate is the minimum you'd be willing to work for, would you like me to remove your name from our database so you no longer receive our availability check emails?

Kindly let me know."


I too received a letter from an agency based in Spain who unilaterally lowered the rate for EN > ES language combination. The letter was large and wordy, but the essence was this: "we will pay maximum EUR 0.04/word".

This is less than half of my standard rate (rate that was fine for them). I wrote them back reaffirming my rate and suggested they remove me from their database. They responded they would keep me but cheaper translators would have priority. I responded it was fine by me. It looks like cheaper is better. Well, it's one of the criteria. I can only respect that and move on.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
An unlikely tale Apr 7, 2017

Tom in London wrote:

People who don't know how or when to use the adverb "likely" in sentence construction in alternative to "probably" are not to be relied on.


I likely wouldn't ever use likely like that, but many people do, so that's likely just my personal preference. Just like I wouldn't ever be likely to say "in alternative to", which I don't really like. It'd be more like me to say "as an alternative to". But I likely wouldn't judge you on that.

What seems most likely here is that you'll likely end up rather lonely and unliked if you routinely dismiss what people say on the basis of your grammatical dislikes... Or are you, like, just joking?


 

Maija Cirule  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 15:07
German to English
+ ...
Alas Apr 7, 2017

Chris S wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

People who don't know how or when to use the adverb "likely" in sentence construction in alternative to "probably" are not to be relied on.


I likely wouldn't ever use likely like that, but many people do, so that's likely just my personal preference. Just like I wouldn't ever be likely to say "in alternative to", which I don't really like. It'd be more like me to say "as an alternative to". But I likely wouldn't judge you on that.

What seems most likely here is that you'll likely end up rather lonely and unliked if you routinely dismiss what people say on the basis of your grammatical dislikes... Or are you, like, just joking?


Age doesn't always bring wisdom, sometimes age comes alone...


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:07
French to English
Somebody once told me this Apr 7, 2017

If you are good at what you do, then justifying a higher than average rate to your client is easier than justifying a poor rate to yourself.
Thank you David Palmer (RIP).


 
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