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Are translators based in China threatening the livelihood of their counterparts in the US and Europe
Thread poster: asiatsp

williamson (X)
Local time: 04:30
Dutch to English
+ ...
The heart of the matter Jun 18, 2002

\"Are translators based in China threatening the livelihood of their counterparts in the US and Europe\".



Why are so many products made in China (under license)?



I would say \"no\". Some translations are too specific and relate to a certain geographical environment and cultural background. Having them made outside that envionment and cultural background would lead to mistakes.



With regard to rates: See to it that you have a second o
... See more
\"Are translators based in China threatening the livelihood of their counterparts in the US and Europe\".



Why are so many products made in China (under license)?



I would say \"no\". Some translations are too specific and relate to a certain geographical environment and cultural background. Having them made outside that envionment and cultural background would lead to mistakes.



With regard to rates: See to it that you have a second occupation which has nothing to do with translation. That way you can afford to say \"no\" to low rates and discounts for the use of expensive CAT-tools such as Dj Vu or Trados (although lowered in price).



Whoever came up with the fact that you have to lower rates because a word is repeated ten times in a text? Does an interpreter lowers his fee, when he has to repeat the word \"production\" 100 times for example?
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Patricia Lutteral  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 23:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
No volunteers for low rates Jun 18, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-06-18 02:03, dalcaine wrote:

I\'ll never understand, I\'m completely puzzled, I can\'t understand, why any translator should want to lower his/her own rates to half the price of the market, or to 30%, 20% of the accepted market price.

However, this has been defended over and over again by some ProZ members in different discussion topics.

Nor do I understand the concept of \"being forced to\" do ... See more
Quote:


On 2002-06-18 02:03, dalcaine wrote:

I\'ll never understand, I\'m completely puzzled, I can\'t understand, why any translator should want to lower his/her own rates to half the price of the market, or to 30%, 20% of the accepted market price.

However, this has been defended over and over again by some ProZ members in different discussion topics.

Nor do I understand the concept of \"being forced to\" do so.







Daniel, nobody actually wants to lower their rates, and I don\'t think anybody is \"defending\" that. But you said in some other thread on this same topic that when you have (or had) no job you accept lower rates. Well, take this situation to the extreme: you have had no job in quite a long time, you still have to make ends meet, you are offered a job for a \"less-than-desirable\" rate. Do you say no?



It\'s basic survival instinct. I agree with you, it\'s better if we all stick together to defend high rates; but we can\'t ask colleagues to starve in the name of rates. And in some cases it\'s not a metaphorical \"starve\". Please read the papers, there are really tough situations our there. Why do you think Moroccan workers pick up strawberries at miserable rates in Spain? Why do people work at sweatshops? Why don\'t they demand higher rates? They need the job. Plain and simple.



What we can indeed do is pass on some well paid jobs to quality professionals in less favored countries. That\'s a good way of helping to keep rates higher. And there are colleagues who do that.



Companies all over the world try to lower costs, and translation agencies are in no way different. And again, if quality is the same, the decisive factor is price.

In some countries a thousand dollars is an awful lot of money; obviously, 5000 is an awful lot more. Do you really think people choose to earn less? Can they really be that stupid?



On the other hand, what if people make a pretty good living at their lower rates? You live in Spain, you know that even at Spanish rates a good translator makes more money than many other professionals. Should they lose clients for the benefit of other people whose first assumption is \"those are cheap unqualified bastards\" or \"they are so stupid they prefer to earn less\"?



All I am trying to say is that we have to consider the whole picture; circumstances vary dramatically from country to country.



Best regards,



Patricia





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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:30
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
+ ...
This is my perspective. Jun 18, 2002

It is wonderful to see such a vibrant discussion in the Chinese Forum. The topic is sort of controversial but definitely deserves our attention. Most importantly, it is a question raised by a Chinese translator in China. This again proves my point that the translators in China do have opinions, except many of them like to read other translators\' messages and use the services at ProZ.com, but chose NOT to share their thoughts with us in this Forum. Hopefully someday they can understand that by p... See more
It is wonderful to see such a vibrant discussion in the Chinese Forum. The topic is sort of controversial but definitely deserves our attention. Most importantly, it is a question raised by a Chinese translator in China. This again proves my point that the translators in China do have opinions, except many of them like to read other translators\' messages and use the services at ProZ.com, but chose NOT to share their thoughts with us in this Forum. Hopefully someday they can understand that by participating in the discussion with your fellow translators and peers we can learn from each other quickly and stay on the same page with other translators worldwide.



As for Dongwei’s question, I can speak for myself. As an established native Chinese translator operating in the United States, the Chinese translators in China did not threaten my living standard or “livelihood”. The clients come to me for job is because my name, the work I have done and the service I provide, as well as where I am, not because the price I charge, at least I think so. As I always like to say, there are so many jobs available out there and there are so many clients with different needs and standards, therefore you always can find whatever or whoever fit into your specialties. There is NO WAY that the Chinese translators in China can take ALL the jobs away.



As matter of fact, I am benefited from such a new translation force from China, because I have many translation jobs done each year by hiring the translators in China. I never bargain with them over price, instead, I am always willing to pay them more to exchange their promises to pay more attention to my job in quality control. I feel safe to do so because I have the knowledge to evaluate a translation job and perform the final proofreading myself. To be honest with you, I always can find errors and mistranslations from the job received from China. I will never feel comfortable to submit the job straight to my client without my final proofreading and “touchup”. I guess it is because of the time difference between China and the United States, and the tight time schedule given, it left no time for the Chinese translators to ask questions and get a proper answer back before the job is due. I do feel sorry for the translators in China that they have to work so hard, being paid so little and still being pushed around so much by the clients. To be honest I can NEVER work that way myself. Some American clients might found it is difficult to work with me in this regard.



What concerns me a great deal is that there are about 80% of the translation agencies in America that do not have any in-house Chinese linguist or specialist who can understand the target language, say Chinese, to work on their translation projects with China. These agencies, I happened to worked for a few of them, only can count paragraphs and bullets, and check the layout to determine the translation quality. Then, they submit the translation to their clients. There is not such thing called \"detailed proofreading procedure\" at this end. A few of such clients, sometimes, will hire me to do a proofreading job. Because I charge more than what they paid for translation, they often become hesitate to proceed. I guess only time can tell if the translation they received can stand for the challenge of the readers.



I also noticed that the translation jobs that the American translation agencies like to send to China are usually very large in volume. One proofreading project I helped last summer went over 50,000 pages. I got dizzy just by reading them. I was simply amazed that the translators in China complete it on time. There is NO WAY that I can handle such volume myself single handedly. If I push myself to work so hard on something like that, I will have to lose so much sleep and walk around like a living corpse. I have to tell you that my health is much more important than work. My point is that it is not the Chinese translator took the job from me, but I chose not to sacrifice my quality of living by working on such a large job with a tight time frame.



The following are my advices to my fellow translators in China:

1. You can say “No” to unreasonable request from your clients. It will be healthier to yourself and the industry. Is work more important than your good health?

2. When the client pushes for unreasonable delivery timeline, make your client sign an “AS IS” agreement, so they will not be able to refuse the payment to you by using the excuse of quality issues in your translation. We had a very heated and lengthy discussion in the Chinese Forum over this issue. You are welcome to read all the messages in this discussion, so you will know how to protect yourself.

3. Do not cut corners in the proofreading process. If it is done by one translator, put the translation aside for a day or two, then come back to read it again, you will be sharper to catch something and have a better way to say it. If you have another translator pair with you, be sure he or she is qualified for the subject you are translating.

4. Be aware of your limits. There is no one translator who can be good at all the subject matters and all the languages. When you are not so sure about something, for example, to translate Chinese into English, then you should turn it down. Over confidence is very dangerous in the translation industry. What is over-confidence? For someone who never lives or has been educated in the English speaking countries, but takes a Chinese to English translation job would be considered by me as over-confidence.

5. If the client drags on and delays to pay you, you should not work for such a client. The standard term of payment is 30 days net. Charge them interest for each day after the 30 days from the invoice date.

6. “Kudoz (term translation)” in ProZ.com is a wonderful resource for the translators. I like to see more Chinese translators in China can be benefited from it. There are many professionals here will be happy to help you with the words, phrases or sentences that you have trouble with. Please do not abuse it, and do remember to say “Thank you!” after your question is answered and selected.



Well, I have said enough, and hopefully it can help you and my fellow translators to understand my perspective to the question raised by Dongwei Chu.



Kevin Yang



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-06-19 05:14 ]
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asiatsp
Local time: 10:30
French to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thinking of a Win-Win for Fellow Translators across the Seas Jun 19, 2002

Quote:


I also noticed that the translation jobs that the American translation agencies like to send to China are usually very large in volume. One proofreading project I helped last summer went over 50,000 pages. I was amazed that the translators in China complete it on time. There is NO WAY that I can handle that volume myself single handedly.



Such jobs are done by in-house translators. I think this is where Ch... See more
Quote:


I also noticed that the translation jobs that the American translation agencies like to send to China are usually very large in volume. One proofreading project I helped last summer went over 50,000 pages. I was amazed that the translators in China complete it on time. There is NO WAY that I can handle that volume myself single handedly.



Such jobs are done by in-house translators. I think this is where Chinese translators and translation agencies can cooperate with their US or European counterparts. The workshop is in China with streamlined management and their counterparts abroad can continue recruiting jobs at their normal rates. There is something to be done. I have been reflecting on this. Kevin\'s comments are strengthening my belief that there can be a win-win situation for Chinese and American/European translators.

Price is not the only deciding factor. As I have noticed a Ukraine translation agency can recruit sizeable English to Chinese translation jobs at the American price. I believe there specialization and effective project management counts. ▲ Collapse


 
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