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Changes To Payment Model

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!


4 Responses to “Changes To Payment Model”

  1. Jenn says:

    I received this letter last month from a U.S. company so I would guess they have a U.K. branch as well. From what I have heard, this new rate structure is not going over well and the trend seems to be a “trend of one” if your mystery company’s name rhymes with ignoble.

  2. Recuenco says:

    I am really tired of this story. After talking to some people working for these companies I got the idea that they got into a price war. In one year prices have gone 40% down and it does not look like is going to stop. I wonder for how long can this be mantained.

  3. Jill says:

    I imagine it will stop when their translators refuse to work with them any more. Ah, the beauty of being an independent contractor – telling clients with unreasonable demands to go take a flying leap off a short cliff.

  4. Recuenco says:

    Hi Jill, I don’t think the leap off the cliff is going to happen any time soon (if at all). For every translator that opts out there are at least 4 new CVs equally prepared and ready (eager) to do the job. I don’t have a representative amount of data to back up this affirmation as universal, but as far as my immediate reality goes I have to be pessimistic.

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