I received an e-mail from a British translation agency which shall remain unnamed. It looks like I’m in their translator database although I cannot find any record of ever having invoiced them. But things change quickly in the language services field, and they may have bought a company I actually did work for in the past – who knows.
There are so many things wrong with this message!
I’m an independent contractor. Maybe I somehow got this wrong, but they are not supposed to set the price for my work, I am. They are, of course, free not to accept my price.
I also would think that if I am not getting paid for a portion of a source document, then I should not even receive those sections – provided I accept the conditions of this e-mail. If they feel that it is financially advantageous to them to squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube, they should be the ones to put it back in. As long as I have to work on sections they’d like to get for free, even if it is only pressing keys or looking at the screen to see if it is a match, I am spending my time and effort, and for that I would like to get paid.
Then, it is a weak justification to say that others do it as well. When I was a child, I used this excuse a lot. The reply was usually “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, then would you too?” As adults, we are supposed to have learned that lesson. So what that “other language companies communicate similar changes”?
The last paragraph is a neat mix of all the hooey freelance translators are confronted with all the time: We cannot pay more because the competition isn’t paying more; if you agree to this, there will be lots more work; the new payment structure will increase quality.
Give me a break!