Changes to be made to the ProZ.com job posting system

Overview

A petition concerning the ProZ.com job posting system was submitted to the site team in early March 2010. In response, an internal review was conducted. As a result of this review process, goals were identified and a plan was developed to make certain changes to the job posting system. A summary of the changes, and the objectives behind the changes, is presented in the tabs above.

Input considered in connection with this project

When ProZ.com staff members became aware of the petition, a thorough internal review was launched. A dialogue was initiated with petitioners and with ProZ.com members, and data was obtained directly on rates and rate trends from ProZ.com sources. A sample of the sort of information that was taken into consideration is presented here.

1. The petition

The following was sent to the ProZ.com team on 3 March 2010.

A Translators' Petition Concerning ProZ.com's Job Policies

To ProZ.com

We, the undersigned, are a group of translators based around the world.

The purpose of this petition is two-fold. Firstly, it aims to protest against the way ProZ.com manages and supervises its job postings made available to both paying and non-paying ProZ.com members on its "Translation Industry Jobs" board. Secondly, it requests that ProZ.com revise its current policies and procedures on job postings, which we believe are harmful to individual translators and to the industry as a whole.

Over recent months, we have witnessed a steady and alarming increase in the number of ProZ.com job offers that contain rates and working conditions we consider totally unacceptable. One recent example of such a post provoked the enraged reaction of thousands of translators and interpreters and was reported in the Italian national press, in addition to being widely discussed by thousands of other translators on translator mailing lists, blogs, Facebook, and elsewhere. The Italian Minister of Tourism ultimately released a statement disavowing the working conditions contained in the job posting that appeared on ProZ.com.

The post in question is only one example of many such job postings that appear daily on ProZ.com. For our part, we are convinced that such posts have always offended and continue to offend the dignity of professional freelance translators.

ProZ.com's company policy states that it aims to serve "the world's largest community of translators" and deliver "a comprehensive network of essential services, resources and experiences that enhance the lives of its members."

Job postings that do not offer translators a living wage or which contain detrimental working conditions clearly fail to "enhance the lives" of translators. On the contrary, they actively harm our livelihoods and our profession.

To cite one specific example: the fact that ProZ.com allows job posters to set prices and conditions is, in itself, a form of "market distortion" and reveals one of the main reasons why we believe the ProZ.com job posting system is fundamentally flawed. When offering translation services, the freelance translator acts as a service provider, not as a client. To this respect, as in any freelance profession, we believe the freelancer and not the client should establish working conditions, prices, etc.

We hope that ProZ.com will take swift action to revise its job posting system to bring it in line with its stated mission to "serve translators" and deliver "essential services, resources and experiences that enhance" translators' lives. Such action is in all of our interests and would only enhance ProZ.com's reputation as a reliable, responsible service for translators and translation clients.

Until such time as ProZ.com takes clear, decisive steps to achieve that purpose, however, we shall be committed to taking the following action:

  1. we will refrain from quoting on all jobs received through the ProZ.com posting system;
  2. we will inform job posters of this protest and of the reasons for refusing to quote on their jobs;
  3. we will refuse to join the ProZ.com site as subscription-paying members;
  4. if we are currently paying members, we will not renew our memberships when they expire;
  5. we will urge our colleagues, through every means at our disposal, to do the same.

Sincerely,
{List of 844 names}

2. Data available at ProZ.com on rates, rate trends and demand

After the petition was received, a general inquiry into rates and rates trends among freelance translators was performed, using sources of rates data available at ProZ.com. The conclusion was reached fairly quickly that there may be reason for concern, at least for some, and that the general situation with rates may be one of the drivers behind the petition. (The sort of rates data that was reviewed will be made available in the future -- stay tuned for updates in this site area.)

After the rates review, feedback concerning the current business environment was sought from members directly. Anecdotal evidence provided further cause for concern. While some translators continue to see growth in their businesses and in their per-word rates, many others are seeing increasing pressure on rates. Some report lower volumes, and a portion report having accepted lower rates recently, in light of reduced workloads. (To what degree lower rates are translating into lower income is unclear -- this is a question that requires further study. But for translators whose productivity is not changing, lower rates mean lower income.)

Several quick polls were also run, and again, the results were consistent. One poll -- What is the current trend for your rates?" -- when compared to much more positive results from similar surveys run in previous years, is considered to provide significant cause for concern, given that 1 in 8 translators report a decreasing trend in their rates, vs. 1 in 5 reporting an upward trend. (Again, how this translates into overall income depends on productivity.)

The only inconsistency in the picture came when reports of lower volume were investigated. Looking strictly at ProZ.com activity (in terms of number of job postings and directory searches), the data seems to suggest that whereas volume was down considerably through the first half of 2009, demand began returning in the second half of last year, and now, volumes are higher than they have ever been before. No means was immediately available to assess whether the return of demand being seen at ProZ.com is reflective of an increase in demand throughout the industry (which we assume), or of increased use of ProZ.com.

3. Input from (and demographic analysis of) petitioners

The list of petitioners, sent to ProZ.com by the petition organizer, appears to include at least 540 translators with ProZ.com profiles. A demographic analysis was performed on this group.

Looking at those with ProZ.com profiles, it was found that many of the petitioners were based in Italy and that most work in Italian (English to Italian, in particular). When interviewed, several of the petitioners expressed the view that the issues raised were particular to Italy. Others disagreed. It is the opinion of ProZ.com staff members that while there clearly are some local factors at work, the reason that the demographic was skewed to Italy is probably more related to the fact that the initiative began in Italy. Certainly, many translators outside of Italy and working in languages other than Italian signed on or later expressed support.

The rates distribution among petitioner profiles was also reviewed. It was found that petitioners rates tend to be similar to rates found among all ProZ.com profiles at the high end of the bell curve, and similar in the wide middle range, but different at the low end: basically, among petitioners there was a relative absence of translators working at rates indicated by the lowest 18% of ProZ.com registrants. (A further observation made concerning the rates indicated by petitioners in their ProZ.com profiles is that if the idea of a minimum rate had been discussed -- and ProZ.com staff members received no reports that it had been discussed in any detail -- it would have been difficult for consensus to be reached, given the significant variance among the group.)

Among the petitioners were a significant number of full ProZ.com members. Some have reported dissatisfaction with their ProZ.com memberships, but many others appear to be satisfied with their personal experienced in using the site. A good number are known to be having ongoing success in meeting solid clients via ProZ.com. Interviews with members of this group reveal the profile of individuals who, while not yet having been affected directly by an apparently deteriorating business climate, nevertheless see signs for concern and are therefore ready to make personal sacrifices in the interest of the greater good. These translators reported having met clients via their profile pages (ie. directory search) much more frequently than through the job posting system (which is typical among all ProZ.com members.)

A number of those who were invited to join the petition but chose not to contacted site staff members to discuss their reasons. (The reasons were varied.)

4. Internal discussion and brainstorming

After having researched the issue and confirmed that there is some cause for concern with regard to the direction the business environment is headed for translators, the determination was made that in keeping with ProZ.com's mission, whatever can be done by ProZ.com staff members in the current situation, should and must be done. A list of twenty or so possible steps was formulated. (Some of the ideas have made it into this action plan, others may be implemented in the future.)

5. Input from an independent "working group" formed among petitioners

While ProZ.com staff members were working to identify possible steps, a subgroup of petitioners was working to do the same. A few weeks after the petition was closed, this group submitted their set of proposals to the site team. The proposals might be summarized as follows:

  • Publish and enforce a policy barring outsourcers from indicating any offering price (either via job postings or profile mail)
  • Create and distribute an "information sheet" for translators on the topic of how to set rates
  • Create a public education program to further disseminate and explain the information in the "information sheet".
  • Provide marketing education (free to members, at low cost to non-members).
  • Establish a continuing education ("CE") program on ProZ.com, with some system of incentive-backed credits.
  • Create an information sheet and public education program aimed at outsourcers.
  • Cooperate with existing bloggers, online publications, Facebook groups, etc., in a mutual effort to protect the livelihoods of translators.
  • Host a new blog (independently written) covering rates and other business issues.
  • Add to the "ProZ.com professional guidelines" something that covers a professional's responsibilities related to rates and working conditions (of oneself and the industry)
  • Create a channel at ProZ.com so that suggestions and complaints can "rise to the top".

These proposals were explicitly endorsed by a group of fifty-one (51) translators that identified itself as the "PropoZals working group". ProZ.com welcomed these proposals and set about planning and implementing (or had already begun to implement), in whole or in part, each.

(As suggested by one member of the group, a private forum was set up for members of this group to discuss detailed implementation of the proposals together with ProZ.com staff members. That forum can be seen here.)

6. Input from members

Input was obtained from ProZ.com members on the job posting system by way of phone conversations, skype chats, forum discussions, support request and a survey. The major opinions found are as follows.

General feedback on the idea of changing the job system

When feedback was sought generally on the idea of changing the job posting form, there was broad support. The following opinions were found.

The job posting system is not the major source of clients for most ProZ.com members.
"I get very little (if any) work from [the jobs system]"
"I have received jobs through Proz.com, but have usually been contacted directly, i.e. someone has read my details and on the basis of that asked me to quote."
"I don't look at job [postings] any more"

Most favor action of some sort. Goals that were identified in connection with the job posting system were welcomed wholeheartedly.
"The goals are really worth working on..."
"An excellent initiative!"
"If it is possible to do something, it should be done."
"Every- and anything that can improve the standard of our work is positive!"
"This is vitally important."
"I feel great about this initiative of changing the job posting system."
"Something should be done, or at least tried out."
"It would be excellent if this was the beginning of something bigger."

On the other hand, a few dissenters argued that the system works well now.
"Please don't try to spoil the job system by introducing any fixed barriers."
"ProZ is a translation marketplace, and it shouldn't be getting involved in disputes over rates."

Opinions on the proposal for a full ban on rates discussion

Feedback was sought on the idea of a "full ban" on the mention of rates by outsourcers. (This idea was suggested by an independent working group that had been formed among petitioners.)

Many ProZ.com members support the "full ban". Representative comments:
"I feel that it has become necessary in this difficult economy to reaffirm the principle that professionals offering services should be the ones calculating their rates."
"It's the seller's right to set rates and not the buyer's."
"If the outsourcers offer rates, they will tend to lower them. Moreover, inexperienced outsourcers will be influenced and will align their rates with the already low rates."
"There are plenty of lowball clients out there who attempt to control the market, why give them such a public forum to do it?"
"Rates should be a second and individual step in the agreement between outsourcer and /translator according to the conditions of each single job."
"Quoting or accepting a job before knowing what the job really involves is really absurd."
"It's a first step to client education."
"That way the translator is forced to set his own rate."
"The current system, where clients regularly post sub-McDonalds payrates, gives new translators a false sense of the market as a whole."
"Specifying rates by an outsourcer is an outrage against the translator's profession."
"I think that the ultimate decision for hiring a translator should be based on the quality of the work of the candidate."
"It recreates the normal commercial approach just like in real life: the client asks for a good/service and the vendor tells the price, then they can eventually negotiate further."
"Outsourcers have no business stating the rate translators should accept for a job, just as my dentist has no interest in knowing how much I would like to pay..."
"No mention of payment because it distorts competition..."
"It is difficult to highlight experience and/or specific traits when all the attention goes only to finding the lowest rate."
"Fear and the 'herd' instinct mean that if translators see a certain (low) rate appearing frequently they will feel that they have to get in line with it thus pulling everybody's rates down."

Many also oppose a "full ban". Comments:
"I would be strongly opposed to this idea."
"If outsourcers have a rate ceiling above which they won't pay, I'd rather know ahead of time..."
"Why waste time on discussions that could have been avoided at an earlier stage?"
"It is counterproductive..."
"I don't want to waste my time doing samples, etc. if they have a low rate in mind."
"Price is certainly essential information."
"Payment is one of the most important questions in any project."
"Preventing [outsourcers] from indicating [rates] will only lead to more useless negotations."
"Rates is what it's all about. It should be up front."
"What is the point in applying for a job only to find the rate stinks?"
"It is like going to a job interview without asking about the salary."
"I'd rather have an idea of someone's budget..."
"This would miss out on the other objective of educating the low-rate outsourcers and translators that their policy is unacceptable."
"This way I do not have to respond to jobs that are below my rate, which saves me time that I can use for other matters."
"A translator should be allowed to indicate that she or he would like to know the outsourcer's position on rates, if the outsourcer wishes to provide it."
"I think [the more] information about a potential job there is, the better."

Many translators believe that it is better to increase the availability of information than to decrease it:
"The possibilities are nearly endless but I'm convinced that what we need with each of these jobs is MORE information, not less; MORE transparency, not less."
"I think that the whole business needs more transparency."
"There should be a mechanism whereby both outsourcer and translator know the range of acceptable rates."
"Work on gathering statistics on rates per specialization area and show those average rates to outsourcers and translators on every job posting in that particular area."
"Indicate to outsourcers that for the topic and level of specialisation required, rate should be between X and Y."
"[Outsourcers] could perhaps be made aware that you get what you pay for, or that they are not likely to get serious offers, or something, if the rates are below XXX."
"I would appreciate if outsourcers could be more or less forced to provide at least some detail on the job in question."
"What I want is to be able to screen the requests for quotes the same way the outsourcers screen respondents, when using criteria like freelancers, expertise, CAT tool, etc."

Some even suggested the exact opposite of the "full ban":
"I'd prefer ALL jobs to carry an indication of the rate I can expect to earn, rather than NONE of them."
"... let the pendulum of competition swing into the outsourcer corner... the ones willing to compete for better translators might suggest a decent rate."
"On the contrary I think outsourcers should mention how much they are willing to play you."
"My suggestion is to let, or better, make it mandatory, for clients to declare their MAX acceptable rate."
"Allow filtered display so I don't even see jobs with rates below a set minimum."

A good number expressed principles in opposition to the idea of a full ban:
"Human creativity has always defeated the attempts to regulate through forbidding."
"Quotes are delivered to the agencies by the freelancer. ProZ doesn't get involved."
"Being open about rates in the community, IMO, facilitates clarity and might help eliminating underpaid jobs in the long run."
"... what I love about Proz.com is the variety of skills and abilities found. And if there is too much regulation, may be this aspect will be lost."
"I believe the market handles all this."
"The client is also entitled to offer what he wishes, just as we are entitled to accept or decline his offer."
"It's up to the outsourcer if they want to publish rates or not."
"As much as I hate low rates, I believe in leaving the free market alone."
"Administrative barriers won't solve anything"
"Rates are the result of supply and demand."
"Let me have my liberty."

In addition to those who disagree with the proposal in principle, many simply don't think it would work. Some of their comments:
"Such a measure alone would not have a significant impact on improving job offers."
"I don't think it's very realistic."
"The outsourcers would still be flooded with offers of 0.03-0.04..."
"The outsourcer will still have a budget and want to stick to it."
"The very same translators who reply to low rate job offers would also offer these low rates when applying for a job."
"It would simply drive [rates] underground."
"Translators who want to work at below-market rate will always find clients who don't care about quality."
"Writing a quote takes a lot more time than ignoring it."

Some commented that, counter-intuitively, when an outsourcer posts a rate rates competiton is discouraged:
"Offering rates at the start discourages translators from setting their own rates"

The relationship between quality and cost came up:
"Let's start emphasizing quality over quantity for a change."
"I may offer different services at different rates"
"Maybe on the basis of the Proz.com PRO certification program, rates could be higher for those certified than for those who are not."

Many comments recognized the complexity of the issue:
"It's a tough but necessary discussion. I hope we find an agreement."
"Initially, I was 'no' but after some consideration I think it may not be a bad idea."
"I don't know, it is a double-edged sword."
"Tricky."
"Difficult topic. I hope you can work this out!"
"Unsure on this one, might be worth a try."
"Thank you for trying to make improvements in a very complicated situation!"

Some members proposed totally different approaches:
"Make positive feedback on translators' profile more important [than KudoZ, in translator ranking.]"
"Maybe forcing job poster to post a sample of the text might be more helpful."
"Rates should be entered only in a dedicated field and translators should be able to flter out rates below their minimum or even jobs that include rates information."
"Perhaps a parallel system for low paying clients to meet translators who are prepared to take low rates."
"Translators should also be barred from displaying their rates on the site."
"Rates are the result of supply and demand. Maybe only members (paying) should be allowed to answer to the job posts."
"Forbid membership to translators who can't prove they are professionals."
"Attract more outsourcers."
"Have a few options for posters: 1. so-called 'fare rate postings' and 2. 'low rate postings...' so translators would have their choice."
"Eliminate "potential" jobs."
"What I suggest is that the only way translators should be able to apply for a posted job is through the proz.com SUBMIT QUOTE button, not by directly contacting the outsourcer."
"The question should also be, how can it be avoided that tramslators translate subjects they are not qualified for."
"Remind outsourcers that there is an alternative to posting jobs: To use the excellent directory selection system..."

All of these points of view and preferences were taken into consideration by the site team. In keeping with ProZ.com's guiding principles, a means was sought to honor the business preferences of as many members as possible while still making fundamental changes that achieve the goals that are shared.

Goals identified for the job posting system

As a result of the internal review process that was sparked by the petition, the following goals were identified for the job posting system:

  1. Eliminate the potential for the ProZ.com job posting platform to be used to "popularize" low rates.
  2. Reaffirm the fact that the translator is in the best position to determine what he or she needs to charge to deliver the quality required on any given job.
  3. Enable the job posting system to be used by experienced members of the ProZ.com community to share useful information with job posters on rates (and how to estimate them).
  4. Enable the job posting system to be used by experienced members of the ProZ.com community to share useful information with fellow translators on rates (and how to set them).
  5. Improve the image of the ProZ.com site, countering the impression that it condones unprofessional practices.
  6. Encourage further, ongoing cooperation among the community around these issues and translator livelihood in general.

Changes to be Made

In order to achieve these goals, the following steps will be taken:

1. The pricing field will be removed from the job posting form.
This change is consistent with the fact that the individual translator is in the best position to determine what he or she needs to charge to deliver the quality required on a particular job.

2. When consistent with member preference, posters will be given an opportunity to specify a budget range (after having posted).
An option to enter budget information will appear, with a suitable explanation, when among those who meet the specified criteria there are one or more members who prefer to take budget information into consideration when deciding whether or not to quote.

3. Even when a client budget range has been specified, it will not be published by default.
Client budget ranges will be accessible only to members who (1) have expressed a preference to consider client budgets, and (2) meet the specified job criteria. (This eliminates the possibility for the job posting system to be used to "popularize" low rates.)

4. More information -- supplied by the community -- will be made available concerning the price of professional translation.
In the void left by the decreased publication of poster positions on rates, guides entitled "Determining what service you need and what it will cost" and "Determining your rates and fees as a translator", will be introduced. These guides, linked to from the job posting and job quoting forms, are already being built by the ProZ.com community in the ProZ.com wiki. (Please consider contributing.)

Together with the guides, real-time data on rates charged by ProZ.com members will be made available for reference by job posters and those quoting. (This will be the topic of further notices in this site area.)

5. A means will be provided, and job posters will be encouraged, to enter more detailed information in job postings.
To quote accurately, jobs have to be posted in sufficient detail. Encouraging job posters to enter as much detail as possible becomes more important with these changes.

6. A means will be provided to enter more detailed rates information in profiles.
Profile owners will be given a means of entering more detailed rates information, such as premiums for rush jobs, etc.

7. The prominence of the job posting system will be reduced overall, with higher priority given to the directory.
The directory has proven to be a much better source of new clients for professional translators.

8. An addition will be made to the ProZ.com professional guidelines on the topic of rates.
Proposed addition: "Professionals: ... set their rates at levels that allow them to deliver, on an ongoing basis, the quality levels that their clients require"

9. Efforts will be made to stimulate industry-wide cooperation to support the livelihood of professional translators.
Several ideas for how to approach this have been considered, but at a minimum, links to groups that are active in this area will be maintained. Please share information related to any groups or individuals that you know that are active in this area.

Of particular interest would be those active in the following areas:

  • differentiation on the basis of quality
  • establishing a more direct correlation between quality and price
  • techniques for boosting productivity
  • marketing / negotiation / business skills for translators

Note that although these have been areas of focus in ProZ.com events and trainings for some time, there is ongoing demand for training on these topics in various areas and languages. If you have developed programs in these areas, and would like to deliver trainings or sessions on these topics, please make a proposal via support request.

10. A host of other steps, both technical and social, will be undertaken. Updates will be posted here.
Note: The above changes will be implemented as soon as development can be carried out. More detail on each of these points, and notice of additional measures, will be posted on an ongoing basis. To be notified when changes are made to this page, subscribe below.

Updates:

FAQ concerning the changes to be made

This is a bit unlike anything that has done at ProZ.com before. Why the change?
It had been the feeling among ProZ.com administrators that it more or less went without saying that poster rates were merely positions subject to negotiation. But the petition, and discussions with petitioners, made it clear that many translators have been regarding client figures as absolute. In light of this, the decision was made to modify the job posting system so that there would be no room for this sort of misinterpretation.

Won't job posters just continue including rates information in the body of their postings?
It is expected that once the new policies are announced, the majority of posters will respect them. However, the policy will be enforced as necessary.

My rates are higher than average, and I like to know before quoting whether there is any chance a given client will pay them. How will this change affect me?
The planned changes should help you. Indicate your preference to consider client budget before quoting in your profile. (Or rather, this page, for now). When an outsourcer posts a job that matches your profile, he or she will be given an opportunity to enter a budget range for your reference. (You must be a paying member for this to happen.)

Why do only paying members get to influence whether or not the client is given an opportunity to enter a budget range?
The job posting system is a commercial area of the site. In principle, member preferences are respected first.

I like ProZ.com as it is. I am worried that there may be unintended consequences as a result of these changes.
Indeed, these issues are complex and the results are not entirely predictable. It is likely that some aspects of the plan will need to be modified. Usage patterns will be monitored closely and feedback will be actively solicited.

Is it possible that one or more of the changes could be reversed?
Yes. Any change that turns out not to have a net positive effect would be changed or even reversed.

I understand that some petitioners had proposed a complete ban on any mention of rates / budget by outsourcers. Why do the planned actions stop short of that?
Many experienced translators prefer to get a sense of the client's budget before they invest the time necessary to quote. The changes to be implemented respect the preferences of these members, while leaving no room for misunderstanding the fact that the translator is in the best position to determine what he or she needs to charge to deliver the requisite quality on a given job.

Why would any translator want to know a client's budget in advance?
So that they don't waste time quoting when there is little or no chance that the client will pay their rates.

By allowing communication on rates to continue in some cases, aren't you undermining the whole thing?
We don't think so. The planned changes will at least achieve the goal of stopping ProZ.com from being used to popularize low rates. (And who knows, maybe the conditional exchange of data, without "popularization", provide a benefit. As one member put it, "Being open about rates in the community, IMO, facilitates clarity and might help eliminating underpaid jobs in the long run.")

I'm unconvinced -- I feel strongly that outsourcers should be completely barred from any mention of rates.
The proposal to ban rates discussion entirely was given careful consideration. The decision was made not to implement a full ban at this time.

Won't clients who pay poorly and translators who work for low pay still be able to meet? Why not just set a minimum rate so that they can't?
The idea of instituting a minimum rate is not new, but it was not part of the petition and was not among the proposals put forward by the independent working group established among petitioners. Therefore it was not considered anew at this time.

I don't expect these changes to improve the situation much for translators.
It is true that a technical solution like this can only go so far. A real solution to the problems faced by translators today will require cooperation and progress on more fundamental issues, including quality and productivity. Still, many are optimistic that these changes will help at least to some degree.

What about profile messages? Sometimes insulting offers are sent out via profiles.
The job posting system was the main subject of the petition, and that is where the focus is for now.

FAQs to be added to the site

The following FAQs will be added to the site when the changes are implemented.

FAQs for outsourcers

Where do I enter rates info?
First enter details related to the job, providing as much detail as possible. If among those who meet the criteria there are ProZ.com members who prefer to take your budget range into consideration when deciding whether or not to quote, you will be given an opportunity to provide a budget range.

I posted a job and no opportunity was provided for me to enter a budget range. Why?
This means that none of the professionals who meet your job criteria has a habit of considering client budgets before quoting. Any quotes you receive will have been based on the information you supplied in the job posting.

Why was the option to enter rates information from the start removed?
To reflect the fact that the individual translator is in the best position to determine what he or she needs to charge on a given job. For more information, see: About > Job posting changes

What if no one quotes within my budget range?
ProZ.com is home to the world's largest network of professional translators. If none is willing to work within your budget, you may want to consider either increasing your budget or seeking alternatives. For more information, see: Translation: Determining what service you need and what it will cost.

When I am given an opportunity to indicate a budget range, how should I go about estimating?
If you have no experience in pricing translation, you might want to pass on entering a budget range. If you do decide to enter a range, consider consulting the guide: Translation: Determining what service you need and what it will cost. That document links to data on the rates charged by translators registered with ProZ.com.

Should I enter a budget range that is a bit lower than what I can actually afford to pay?
That is up to you, but entering your real maximum helps ensure that the job is visible (and appealing to) a larger group of professionals.

FAQs for translators

Why don't I see payment information in job postings anymore?
Certain changes were recently made to the job posting system to reflect the fact that the translator is in the best position to determine what rate he or she needs to charge on a given job. For more information, see: About > Job posting changes.

I am an experienced translator, but I am new to freelancing. How do I go about determining what I need to charge on a given job?
For guidance on this topic, see the article Determining your rates and fees as a translator.

I've indicated a preference to see client budgeting information before deciding whether to quote, and as a result I sometimes see that information. Do I have to quote within the client's budget range?
No. The budget range provided by the client is strictly for use in determining whether or not you will take the time to quote. When quoting, you should never offer to do a job for less than the amount you need to deliver work at the quality level that is required, irrespective of the budget range specified.

If I am free to quote whatever price I want, why would I even look at the client's budget range?
You don't have to. Some people prefer to know the client's budget range so that they don't spend time quoting when there is little or no chance that the client will pay the rates they charge.

Is it safe to consider the budget ranges entered by clients as indicative of the going rates in the market?
No. Clients budget ranges often fall below the going rates.

How can I find out what the real going rates are?
The article Determining your rates and fees as a translator has links to rates data compiled at ProZ.com, by industry associations, etc. A methodology for working out what *you* need to charge to meet your own income needs and objectives is also provided in the guide.

What if after I quote the client comes back and offers me less than the rates I have determined I need to charge?
Turn it down. Only you can know what you need to charge to deliver work at the quality required on an ongoing basis. Ultimately, it is your responsibility -- to colleagues and clients -- not to charge less than that amount.

Are the translators who give the lowest quotes always the ones selected?
No. Experienced clients know that it is not possible to deliver quality consistently when rates are below a certain level. Therefore, the translators who are successful in connecting with new clients via ProZ.com tend to be those who quote within the normal range for professionals.

I understand all of this in principle, but I am not sure I can do this on my own.
You're not alone! Reach out to other ProZ.com members via the site or at a local powwow. You are sure to find loads of support.

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Your Take

What is your opinion?

What is your opinion on the changes to be made? Please send feedback using the online support system.

Early feedback

"Thanks for addressing this, guys. This is a step in the right direction."
"Your proposals strike me as an intelligent and well thought out response."
"I feel that this is going to be beneficial for all."
"I appreciate the thought that has quite evidently gone into it."
"The suggested changes strike me as a workable compromise."
"It is a good start."
"I was really happy with the petition and I'm excited with ProZ's action..."
"You have gone to a lot of trouble to address the problems with the job system, while still accommodating the wishes of those members who prefer to know the outsourcer's budget."
"It is nice to know that someone has listened to all the comments that have been made recently."
"One important improvement in any case is NOT to show in public the 'budget' the job poster specifies, only to those who meet the criteria."
"I believe an active awareness raising campaign should follow"
"I'll re-read the wiki article on translator's rate determination and provide my input on it in the next days."

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