Define:discounts
Thread poster: DZiW

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Apr 30

While reasonable discounts are based on (1) the general positive effect (2) in the interests of both buyer and seller, (3) considering the elasticity of demand, it’s not always good for business.

Recently I asked my in-house and freelance colleagues why they give marketing/volume/seasonal/fuzzy/grid and other “discounts”. The common answer is rather disappointing:
I just need that job, why?
They seem unable to realize that unilaterally making concessions without a good reason damages the biz, posing serious risks and drawbacks too.
(Some real businessmen and experts share my views–just Google something like “don’t offer discounts”.)

Taking into account most freelancers (aka independent entrepreneurs) are but poor businessmen, what is your good reason for giving “discounts”–
A) Personal branding investment?
B) New clients attraction?
C) Customer base growth?
D) Shorter payment terms?
E) Better future terms?
F) Higher volumes?
G) Mid/long-term cooperation?
H) ? ? ?


Thank you


 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:53
English to French
+ ...
Only bad reasons Apr 30

A) Brands the translator as not trusting his/her value. Bad reason.
B) Attracting clients looking for the lowest price point is attracting a one-time-only client. Bad reason
C) See B) above.
D) I have tried offering a small discount for faster payment. Didn't go anywhere. Bad reason.
E) Expecting promises (hope) to be better than experience. Bad reason.
F) See E) above.
G) See E) above.

But, hey, that's just me, and I know I will be yelled at the
... See more
A) Brands the translator as not trusting his/her value. Bad reason.
B) Attracting clients looking for the lowest price point is attracting a one-time-only client. Bad reason
C) See B) above.
D) I have tried offering a small discount for faster payment. Didn't go anywhere. Bad reason.
E) Expecting promises (hope) to be better than experience. Bad reason.
F) See E) above.
G) See E) above.

But, hey, that's just me, and I know I will be yelled at the moment I click on "Post reply"

DZiW wrote:


Taking into account most freelancers (aka independent entrepreneurs) are but poor businessmen, what is your good reason for giving “discounts”–
A) Personal branding investment?
B) New clients attraction?
C) Customer base growth?
D) Shorter payment terms?
E) Better future terms?
F) Higher volumes?
G) Mid/long-term cooperation?
H) ? ? ?


Thank you
Collapse


Chris S
DZiW
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@DZ Apr 30

DZiW wrote:
Recently I asked my in-house and freelance colleagues why they give ...fuzzy/grid ... “discounts”.


To my mind, a "discount" or a surcharge is something that is applied to something's normal cost, as a way of enticing either the client or the service provider to agree to the deal in circumstances in which they would otherwise not have agreed to it. It is a fact of business that many buyers would have agreed to the price even if the discount wasn't offered (and many translators would have accepted a job even if the client did not offer a surcharge), but the discount/surcharge is a risk reducer.

If during the negotiation stage, the final rate is lower than the rate that I had originally proposed or began the negotiations with, I would still not consider it a discount, even if the client had used that word specifically when trying to negotiate downward.

Also, applying variation in unit cost while determining the quote isn't "discounting". If a client sends me 1000 files to quote on, and during the calculation of my quote I determine that some of them are more difficult than average (and so charge more for them than the average), and some are much easier than average (and so charge less for them than the average), then I would not think of the different rates as having "surcharges" and "discounts" applied to them.

For this reason, although we speak of "fuzzy match discounts", I do not consider fuzzy match rates to be "discounted" in any way. If I were to charge per character instead of per word, then I would not consider short words to have been "discounted" and long words to have had a surcharge applied to them. I would simply see it as the normal way of calculating a rate that both I and the client can easily agree on.

What is your good reason for giving “discounts”–
A) Personal branding investment? ... G) Mid/long-term cooperation?


I must admit that I do not have a discount policy (i.e. I haven't decided yet under what circumstances I would or would not offer discounts).

My rates are sometimes loss leaders (i.e. I sometimes deliberately offer a rate that is unsustainable in the long term, in order to cement or maintain the relationship with the client), but when that happens, it is not because I had applied a discount but because I allowed the negotiations to reach that point.


[Edited at 2019-04-30 14:46 GMT]


Thomas Pfann
Emma Page
DZiW
 

Emma Page
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:53
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
More about undercutting the market than "discounting" Apr 30

Samuel Murray wrote:

although we speak of "fuzzy match discounts", I do not consider fuzzy match rates to be "discounted" in any way. If I were to charge per character instead of per word, then I would not consider short words to have been "discounted" and long words to have had a surcharge applied to them. I would simply see it as the normal way of calculating a rate that both I and the client can easily agree on.



[Edited at 2019-04-30 14:32 GMT]


Agreed. I accept "fuzzy match discounts" because they legitimately take me less time to translate than new words. Same reason my proofreading and MT post-editing rates (for documents where the MT is of a certain quality, which I am strict about), are lower than my translation rates. Those jobs take less time and effort per word, so the client pays less.

Also, I don't consider it a "discount" when I accept a slightly lower rate than my preferred one from an agency, because that rate is the highest I could negotiate from them and I still feel the payment will be worth the time spent on the work.

The only actual discounts I ever offer are for volume/guaranteed work...I recently accepted a job for around 10% less than my usual rate, because it came with a substantial guaranteed volume. I don't regret it, and now I have another decent agency client on my books.

I think the problem described in the original post is less about discounts and more about translators accepting the rates offered by outsourcers even when said rates are unreasonably low, or accepting low rates without negotiating because they need the work. An age-old issue in any profession where most service providers are individuals with little bargaining power, and there is a high level of competition. The answer? Keep educating newcomers about what decent rates are, accept only what you feel is fair, turn down work paid below market rate whenever you can afford to do so.


DZiW
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Certainly not (F) -- that's plain daft, IMO! Apr 30

DZiW wrote:
Taking into account most freelancers (aka independent entrepreneurs) are but poor businessmen, what is your good reason for giving “discounts”–
A) Personal branding investment?
B) New clients attraction?
C) Customer base growth?
D) Shorter payment terms?
E) Better future terms?
F) Higher volumes?
G) Mid/long-term cooperation?
H) ? ? ?

The only reason I'm currently giving any regular discounts is for "G) Mid/long-term cooperation". I think I'd been doing regular and fairly similar translations for one client for over a year when he finally came up with one that was really similar to a previous one, and he knew it. I decided at that point to introduce (briefly) the concept of "TM matches" -- and the advantage of staying with a regular translation provider (aka me!). Since then, he's been getting a discount on some translations. TBH, his texts are not inclined to be highly repetitive (e.g. 1 of 5 translations this month was discounted) so it isn't a big deal, especially as three were urgent and so cost him more! And he doesn't get anything like the discounts that some agencies "impose" (if you let them). I invoice the full price and then add a separate discount line.

I also have a discounted rate for the help I give fellow professionals in polishing their own personal promotional materials. I don't really know how to categorise that. It isn't pro bono as it's only for the good of one person. I just feel it's the right thing to do, really. Hopefully, they'll help someone else at some time -- I think "paying forward" is the current expression.


DZiW
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Price over Value May 1

If the only competitive advantage you have is price, your business is in big trouble
I'm glad that at least some translators can tell different discount types, seeing the meaning behind fancy words. Moreover, colleagues seem to realize that sacrificing one's interests for the sake of just getting a job is no good concession, let alone business decision.

How viable is the biz, where a freelancer agrees to $0.07/word and "discounts", thus losing some 66%? It's like working for $0.021/word flat--without discounts!

Every translation project is unique, tailored to individual needs. It cannot be cheap or go at wholesale prices.
Discount creates an expectation that everything can be negotiated.
As far as something worthy cannot be cheap, discounts give a badly wrong impression that your margin is much wider, making clients press harder.

Sure, giving unreasonable discounts is... not professional.
How viable is the biz where a translator agrees to $0.07/word and "discounts", thus losing some 66%? What is the lost profit? Profitability? Margin?
How different is it from working for $0.021/word flat--without "discounts"?
I strongly believe a substantiated discount should be up to some 10-35%, definitely not over 50%.


Emma Page
 


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