https://wiki.proz.com/forum/getting_established/335632-translation_job_offer.html

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Translation Job Offer
Thread poster: Michael Manion
Jun 22

Hello,

My name is Michael and I am trying to become a translator. Yesterday, I got an offer to translate 5 documents from Russian to English for a total of 10700 words and the rate is $0.03 per word. The person who sent it is looking for someone with experience in medical files it will be sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. I am in a dilemma because first, I do not have experience translating medical files and second, I got to start somewhere to get set up. What s
... See more
Hello,

My name is Michael and I am trying to become a translator. Yesterday, I got an offer to translate 5 documents from Russian to English for a total of 10700 words and the rate is $0.03 per word. The person who sent it is looking for someone with experience in medical files it will be sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. I am in a dilemma because first, I do not have experience translating medical files and second, I got to start somewhere to get set up. What should I do?

Any feedback would be helpful.

-Michael
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My advice Jun 22

Hello Michael, and welcome!

I'm sure that more established colleagues with more experience than I will soon chime in, but I just wanted to offer you my 'two cents', as it were.

I can well remember the pressure I felt starting out to accept work that was honestly beyond my scope of expertise, and every time I did, I truly regretted it. The ultimate decision is up to you, of course, but just a couple of points you might like to consider:

- the quality of the
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Hello Michael, and welcome!

I'm sure that more established colleagues with more experience than I will soon chime in, but I just wanted to offer you my 'two cents', as it were.

I can well remember the pressure I felt starting out to accept work that was honestly beyond my scope of expertise, and every time I did, I truly regretted it. The ultimate decision is up to you, of course, but just a couple of points you might like to consider:

- the quality of the work: if you're not fully conversant with the subject-matter at hand, the quality of the work will suffer, no doubt about it - and the client is far less likely to return.

- the cost-effectiveness of the work: if you're stopping every couple of minutes to check something in the dictionary or do a bit of research because you're not familiar with the topic in question, your per-hour rate will decrease in turn, making the project less profitable.

I'm not familiar with your pair so I can't really comment on the rate, but my instinct is that it's rather low!
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Vladimir Morozov
IanDhu
Elmachich
Josephine Cassar
Carolina Nicosia
Sheila Wilson
Morano El-Kholy
 
Make a choice Jun 22

10,700 words is a pretty large quantity, so if you should feel unsure to translate files correctly, maybe you should decline this offer.
Moreover, 0.03 USD is too low for sure.


Vladimir Morozov
IanDhu
Elmachich
Sheila Wilson
Morano El-Kholy
Philippe Etienne
Heike Holthaus
 
@Michael Jun 22

Just don’t do it! I do understand that when we are starting out it’s difficult to say no to what seems a door that suddenly opens up. But let’s look at this offer: for starters, why would a client ask someone with no experience to translate a medical file and what is more for a big volume? Then, $0.03 per word for a medical file is… ridiculous for lack of a better word. Have you checked the client? To me this looks very much like a scam and I just see red flags wavering over it. Please b... See more
Just don’t do it! I do understand that when we are starting out it’s difficult to say no to what seems a door that suddenly opens up. But let’s look at this offer: for starters, why would a client ask someone with no experience to translate a medical file and what is more for a big volume? Then, $0.03 per word for a medical file is… ridiculous for lack of a better word. Have you checked the client? To me this looks very much like a scam and I just see red flags wavering over it. Please be careful!Collapse


IrinaN
Thomas T. Frost
Vladimir Morozov
Tanja Oresnik
Jennifer Caisley
Kevin Fulton
Michele Fauble
 
From a fellow Russian Translator Jun 23

Hi, Michael,
I started as a full-time Russian translator six years ago. I was really excited when I received my first assignment; the rate I received was $.06/word. Nowadays, I definitely would not go below $.05/word. The rate I currently ask for is $.07/word. $.03/word is an insult to any translator. I charged $.03/word more than 25 years ago when I did occasional translations.

First of all, you need to check this agency out on the Blue Board. What's its rating?
... See more
Hi, Michael,
I started as a full-time Russian translator six years ago. I was really excited when I received my first assignment; the rate I received was $.06/word. Nowadays, I definitely would not go below $.05/word. The rate I currently ask for is $.07/word. $.03/word is an insult to any translator. I charged $.03/word more than 25 years ago when I did occasional translations.

First of all, you need to check this agency out on the Blue Board. What's its rating? If it's below 4.0 during the last six months, just say, "Thanks," but "No, thanks." If it doesn't exist on the Blue Board or isn't registered with ProZ, then I would not risk taking on this client. One of my first clients was shady although I didn't realize it at the time. I still don't like thinking about the $170.00 I never received from him.

What you might try is asking the client for several representative pages of the source. If you feel comfortable with the vocabulary, tell him/her that your rate is $.05/word and that you want a good faith payment after translating the first 1000 words. If he/she balks at these terms, then just walk away.

I wish you the very best!
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Philip Lees
Elmachich
KateKaminski
Iwona B. BA (Hons) MCIL
 
Translation job offer Jun 23

Michael:
First of all, you shouldn't be translating in a field with which you are totally unfamiliar, especially the medical domain. Translators owe the end user a fiduciary duty and people's lives are at stake here. A mistranslation or a guess could have fatal consequences.
Second, you should start out with a field with which you are comfortable and then never accept a demeaning rate.
Best of luck!


Elmachich
Kay Denney
Sheila Wilson
Michele Fauble
Heike Holthaus
ahartje
Silvija Gavrilovic
 
Just say no Jun 23

You're inexperienced in translation let alone medical translation.
You may not have heard about the people who died because of a translator putting decimal point in the wrong place? They were translating documentation for some scanning device and because of their mistake, the doctors were using ten times the strength of the contrast liquid.
Medical translations should only be done by well-qualified translators, preferably with some medical background, and very solid research skills
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You're inexperienced in translation let alone medical translation.
You may not have heard about the people who died because of a translator putting decimal point in the wrong place? They were translating documentation for some scanning device and because of their mistake, the doctors were using ten times the strength of the contrast liquid.
Medical translations should only be done by well-qualified translators, preferably with some medical background, and very solid research skills. And certainly not for the rate you've been offered. I would say that it needs to be multiplied by four, why should a highly-skilled translator work for any less?
If you're new here, it's highly likely you're being scammed anyway. No serious client would call on a newbie to do such a job. Take a look at the scam section here, read about their different techniques, you might spot some red flags in the client's messages after that.
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Sheila Wilson
Omer Dasbilek
Philip Lees
Heike Holthaus
Agnes Fatrai
ahartje
 
Go for it Jun 26

Hi, Michael.

Although the rate is low, if this is (one of) your first translation(s), it's OK to accept that price. In this way, you will get some ideas about how translations are done, deadlines, time spent on the translation/searching for terms, increasing your medical vocabulary, etc. When I made my first translation, I was paid 1/5th of the current prices at those times. But I learned a lot, and of course if you have 0% experience and 0% formal translation studies, it's OK to wo
... See more
Hi, Michael.

Although the rate is low, if this is (one of) your first translation(s), it's OK to accept that price. In this way, you will get some ideas about how translations are done, deadlines, time spent on the translation/searching for terms, increasing your medical vocabulary, etc. When I made my first translation, I was paid 1/5th of the current prices at those times. But I learned a lot, and of course if you have 0% experience and 0% formal translation studies, it's OK to work at that rate. When you become more experienced, you can start raising your prices. Happens in any profession!

About the difficulty of the text, perhaps you can ask them to send you the file or a couple pages to check the document? Some companies agree with this. My instinct tells me that if it will be used by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it will not be highly technical, as these kinds of centers use the information for general public awareness or to explain a disease in general. If this would go to a clinic/hospital, medical academy or a pharmaceutical company, then it would be probably very technical.

Good luck!



[Edited at 2019-06-26 16:53 GMT]
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It's getting curiouser and curiouser Jun 26

Michael,

You claim that you are about to start from scratch, but you are registered with Proz since 2013???

You've said that the potential client emphasized that is looking specifically "for someone with experience in medical files" for CDC, and that person found his best match based on this information:

"Government / Politics Social Science, Sociology, Ethics, etc.
Journalism Linguistics
Education / Pedagogy" ?????

10700 is pretty
... See more
Michael,

You claim that you are about to start from scratch, but you are registered with Proz since 2013???

You've said that the potential client emphasized that is looking specifically "for someone with experience in medical files" for CDC, and that person found his best match based on this information:

"Government / Politics Social Science, Sociology, Ethics, etc.
Journalism Linguistics
Education / Pedagogy" ?????

10700 is pretty much a standard number of words offered in scams.

Many respected and very busy members are trying to give you a sound advise and save you from a 99% scam, and not even a Thnx from you?

This is the kind of posts I hate the most, when seekers of very important help and advises use the community, and then just get lost.

Good luck with "going for it".
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Jorge Payan
Marco Belcastro Bara
 
A fiduciary duty? Really? Jun 26

Michael Newton wrote:

Translators owe the end user a fiduciary duty


According to whom? Legally speaking, translators don't owe anyone diddly squat unless they sign a contract saying otherwise - which would be an extremely stupid thing to do. Nor would any such agreement, stupid or not, stand up in court very well. The liability always rests with the manufacturer who is ultimately responsible for checking all those decimal points and such. They should also be well equipped to do just that, because if they are not, they have no business manufacturing and selling medical equipment. All these horror stories about poor little sods dying because of an incorrectly placed comma somewhere belong in the category that the Russians aptly refer to as "odna baba skazala" (Russian speakers here would know what that means).

Which isn't, of course, to say that one should translate subject matter he or she knows nothing about, be it medical or anything else, from languages they do not know particularly well. That's just bad business and is also indicative of a profound lack of self-respect.

I definitely would not go below $.05/word. The rate I currently ask for is $.07/word.


Ahem, $.07 is kind of an insult too, at least for a native speaker of English, living in an English-speaking country and translating into English. And $.05... well, let's not even go there.


Jorge Payan
IrinaN
 
Don't try to do it if you can't do it Jun 27

Michael Manion wrote:
The person who sent it is looking for someone with experience in medical files it will be sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. ... I do not have experience translating medical files.


The translator is required to make sure the client is under the correct impression with regard to the translator's experience, skills and abilities.

It may seem counter-productive to tell a client "I can only do X, and I can't do Y", but that is what honesty demands in our profession. So if the client wants someone with X experience, and you don't have X experience, you have to tell the client.

You can, of course, try to convince the client that you are still suitable for the job, due to other reasons (after all, sometimes the client's requirements are unnecessary, but the client doesn't know it).

However, if you really have no experience in a certain field, then it may also be unwise for you to try to translate in that field, unless you know that you have the support of one or more editors who do know the field well, who will check and correct your work. If you don't have such support, you are taking a big risk (and then the client will suffer, which is unethical).

...and second, I got to start somewhere to get set up. What should I do?


If you're going to ask such a question, you should not select the "inclusive" post format. (Perhaps it's ProZ.com's fault for not telling you.)

remaining


 
Decline the offer Jul 24

Michael Manion wrote:

Hello,

My name is Michael and I am trying to become a translator. Yesterday, I got an offer to translate 5 documents from Russian to English for a total of 10700 words and the rate is $0.03 per word. The person who sent it is looking for someone with experience in medical files it will be sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. I am in a dilemma because first, I do not have experience translating medical files and second, I got to start somewhere to get set up. What should I do?

Any feedback would be helpful.

-Michael


Michael, two things.

1) You do not want a 10,700-word document containing medical files if you do not have experience translating medical files. You'll spend so much time looking things up and trying to get them right that you will make very little money per hour. And if you do do it, you almost certainly will make mistakes.

2) This document is for the *Center for Disease Control and Prevention,* and contains *medical files.* There is no question that, ethically, you must either decline the offer or communicate explicitly to the CDC that you have no experience in medical translation. The stakes could be very high here, as CDC's research and publications may (and often do) affect whether people live or die.


Kevin Fulton
 


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