A Translators’ Petition Concerning ProZ.com’s Job Policies: Comments

Comments posted by petition signers, February 23-27, 2010

Feb 23, 2010

R. —

A Translator’s life is hard enough without “friendly fire”

 

P. —

Adding to this, my experience – during several years now – has showed that sites like ProZ mainly promote a business morale of very low standards, where (lowest possible) price is the only important factor. I have so far seen very few decent job offers on these sites.

 

M. —

After six years, for the first time I have not renewed my
full-membership to Proz.com
. Instead, I simply renewed as a partial member. The next step will be to stop renewing.

 

A. —

Agree, I became a paying member (and continued to pay) only because I wanted to have full access to the blueboard, but considering the ever-lowering rates offered on Proz I can do without it.

 

V. —

I absolutely agree. I have received jobs were the pay is USD0.02 per word!! That it is UNACCEPTABLE

 

L. —

I absolutely support the petition, and it is with sadness I remember the beginning of Proz (very different from today).

 

I. —

I agree full-heartedly with the content of this letter. While it is true that we are living in a globalization area and hence rates are free to circulate and be accepted or not, proz.com was born mainly to help translators and not as a profit organization, at least that is what I thought in the first place….. [A]llowing service providers to publicly announce rates at 0.3 or 0.4 eurocents is ridiculous and offensive to our profession. It takes hours to deliver a decent translation, years of studying to get a degree to become a translator and years of experience to develop an acceptable quality and translation style. If this service, without offence to these categories, is to be paid as much as working in a sweatshop factory, as a maid or janitor, frankly I will not oblige. We are a professional category, just like doctors, lawyers and should be recognized as such. No one would ever dream of going to a doctor or lawyer and saying, “Hey I am going to pay you 10 dollars for your visit today doctor instead of 100!

 

F. —

I already wrote something about this on the Proz.com forum. I do agree with my colleagues. Prices have to be proposed by Freelance translators and not at the contrary.

 

E. —

I am a non-paying Proz.com member and I have never even considered the possibility of becoming a paying member, because in many years I’ve never managed to obtain any decent fee from Proz.com job postings…. I am more than happy to refrain from quoting and continue to refuse paying subscription offers!

 

A . —

I am still a member because I paid in advance and kept on giving it a new shot but I do finally understand why it does not work. I do have to say that I find the site very
informative but definitely not for making a substantial living…

 

F. —

I believe Proz is destroying
the quality translation and improvement of translation industry
by creating a forum of low paying offers for
translation/interpretation services. Greed is the main source of motivation at Proz and it should stop.

 

I. —

I believe ProZ is destroying the translation & interpreting market. I was never a paying member and will never be. Enough is enough!

 

Z. —

I completely agree, the rates offered via ProZ.com are a shame for our profession.

 

P. —

I doubt ProZ will do anything, but at least it should stop using that publicity about serving translators. They do serve their own pockets. Member 2001-2006 (I deleted my profile then)

 

H. —

I dropped my paying subscription to Proz because I did id not get a single job from their service that offered a decent fee.

 

N. —

I fully agree with the above, especially with the link
between “market distortion” and “translation as a commodity”
(which in itself is a form of (financial) distortion). I applaud this initiative!!

 

C. —

I fully agree! Incidentally, I complained about unfair rates for translation jobs to proz.com yesterday and gathered from their long answer that they are really not concerned by this issue: in other words, they can’t care less!

 

M. —

I fully agree. Most of the jobs that I have seen have ridiculous
prices and unacceptable delivery times.

 

S . —

I have always been a non-paying Proz.com member: never thought that membership could be useful – none of the job offers I’ve ever seen was really interesting

 

A. —

ProZ.com’s … as a reliable, responsible service for translators and translation clients” is a joke, a stupid and a harmful one.

 

D. —

I have received several offers where the rates
are far below what other agencies offer. Please make an effort to set
standards and
not just allow any low offer to go through the Internet.

 

M. —

I have recently joined as a non paying member just to have some access to the blueboard. However I never considered joining as a paying member because of the ludicrously low rates. It would have been a complete waste of my time to receive offers which I would have just binned. I agree wholeheartedly with the purpose of the petition and I would be prepared to give my money only if the translators’ interests as a professional body were fully served.

 

A. —

I just hope that ProZ.com will do something about it !

 

P. —

I often write to “bad” job posters complaining that the rate offered is far below an acceptable level. I think that also “good” posters, our regular clients, should be informed about this petition and what is happening among freelance translators.

 

A. —

I posted this to my blog, too, to share with other translators. Proz has a great many excellent features that I use on a daily basis, but, I agree that far too many job postings now leave me nauseated.

 

M. —

I realized this situation years ago and, accordingly, ceased to participate in Proz.

 

S . —

I stopped trying looking at the jobs offered on ProZ long time ago due to the ridiculously low rates offered and
do not plan to come back unless and until the situation changes.

 

S . —

I totally agree with this letter. Some conditions are so
frustrating that even housekeepers have better conditions
(rates, working hours, payment terms, National
Health system). It’s we who pay Proz and Proz must be on our side.

 

M. —

I totally agree. It has to be the service provider who quotes the price.

 

C. —

I was a paying Proz member for a year and I didn’t renew my subscription exactly because of the kind of job offers Proz publishes. One of the things that surprised me was that the main thing the average Proz job outsourcer cares about is price (best rate) and not qualifications, specific training, or experience as a translator. I’m not interested in that sort of client.

 

A. —

I welcome this petition. I have reviewed job postings on ProZ and have noticed the unacceptable rates being offered. I decided early on that it wasn’t worth the trouble to quote.

 

C. —

I wholly subscribe to this action. It is the reason why I have never subscribed to ProZ as a paying member.

 

G. —

I will not renew my membership!

 

P. —

I will refrain from quoting; I will inform job posters of this protest when they advertise the fees they want to pay and when they are below a decent living wage; and as a paying member, I will not renew my membership when it expires (you have ten months to implement new policies).

 

S . —

If we all agree to bid for the low-paying jobs, proposing quality work at dignified rates, we should be able to change things, eventually. I use a standard formula, explaining what I mean by “quality” work (time-consuming research, proof-reading, polishing). This is not so much about personal results but about educating the public. This petition is one step in that direction.

 

B. —

I’m lucky to have established long standing clients years ago… I hardly ever have any new clients from proz.com.

 

G. —

In former years I took steps to get a ProZ.com job (even some short unpaid translations), but the conditions I found were so shocking, that I stopped having anything to do with ProZ.com. I really emphasize that it is a basic necessity for a freelancer to indicate at which price he/she can work with dignity, a basic human right. I’m very glad that colleagues took the steps necessary to defend their rights by organizing this petition, thanks to all of them! May the behavior of those in charge at ProZ.com change rapidly – it would be good for their own dignity as well!

 

L. —

Indeed, there has been an increasing number of postings where the outsourcer actually announces the price, leaving translators with little room to negotiate.

 

G. —

It has been a while that the rates are low.

 

W. —

It’s time for Proz to wake up to the reality of what it has helped create and what it is in a unique position to help
resolve.

 

J . —

My full displeasure against Proz (Henry), the one person
and organization that has damaged translators the most.

 

E. —

None of the job postings I have seen or received from proz has been appealing to me. Rates are always too low to obtain a decent wage. I believe proz can be a very useful resource for
translators, but it is not at the moment. Not for me, at least.

 

J . —

ProZ has made a great start, but it is time to review its procedures and adapt, in order to fulfill its core function. Suggestion: Create a poll/blog, whatever, for experienced translators to suggest changes, then do something about it!

 

G. —

Who are ProZ clients? Translators who pay their fees. Although it can’t be expected to act “on behalf of translators” as a class, I definitely expect that its supposed “clients” are somehow protected by those who are taking their money.

 

F. —

ProZ.com should refuse job posters who consider the translator’s work less than a cleaning lady’s service!

 

K. —

quality work demands adequate rates.

 

K. —

Rates are ridiculously low, as little as 0,02 euros/word. No translator, in France at least, can make a living from those kinds of rates.

 

C. —

some job posts are really shameful

 

M. —

Thank you for creating this petition. I firmly believe this is the first step for creating an international awareness of some of our problems, and we will be able to show we are not freelance just for hobby!!!

 

A. —

Translating/Interpreting is not a hobby, it’s a real PROFESSION. That’s the point.

 

C. —

Translator=slave? NO WAY!!

 

P. —

Well done. We deserve better conditions and appropriate rates as well.

Feb 24, 2010

G. —

¡Los traductores unidos jamás serán vencidos!

 

N. —

In fact I have stopped being a paying member this
year as
I often get messages that aren’t worth quoting on.

 

S . —

I have been a member of Proz for many years. I have found that the jobs posted on Proz as well as offered to me directly as a result of Proz are often an insult to our profession, especially over the past couple of years. We have often studied for many years and have many years of experience as translators. We deserve respect and remuneration according to our knowledge and experience.

 

W. —

Basically, it is important that services providers offer prices and not customers. If ever this system continues, it should at least be ensured that offers below a certain amount are denied access to Proz.

 

L. —

Hello, I’m a paying ProZ member but I consider that its current policies regarding job postings and collaboration conditions are not acceptable. Postings usually offer low rates but require high skills!

 

A. —

Henry, take this as your wake-up call !

 

A. —

I agree with the above wholeheartedly. I find most of the job postings on ProZ.com completely ridiculous in terms of payment and client requirements.

 

S . —

I completely support this statement, and as a member of the Proz community, which is most valuable in many ways, I sincerely hope that some corrective action is taken.

 

N. —

I fully agree and endorse the proposed actions, although so far I have rarely quoted on the jobs posted on ProZ. Finally, some long awaited action/reaction regarding this matter.

 

H. —

I have resisted becoming a paying member for this very reason. I have used ProZ to recruit translators for language pairs that I don’t personally handle and have paid what the freelancer requested or listed on their ProZ page. I have even added a 20% supplement for one translator whose normal rates seemed exploitive to me. She’s happy, my clients are happy with her excellent translations and her rates allow me a reasonable margin. The difference between what my faithful clients are willing to pay me and what ProZ job posters seem to think is “the going rate” is two- to four-fold. That sure isn’t “the going rate” here!

 

G. —

I registered in ProZ many years ago, but I never bought a full membership because I never thought I could profit from it. And that’s also the truth… in many years I received only “lousy” offers… I think I will delete my profile….

 

V. —

I sign in my dual capacity as a translator and as owner of a translation company that hires many translators.

 

E. —

I totally agree with the petition above. We are not slaves.

 

N. —

I totally agree with the content of this
petition. I’ve been a professional translator for over sixteen years, but I’m seriously starting to
doubt if I can keep making a living of my profession anymore, being offered jobs for 0.03 per word or less via the ProZ system.

 

L. —

I was one of the first couple of hundred people to sign on to Proz. Already within a few months it became obvious to me that it was going to be a clearinghouse for downward pressure on translation rates, and I rescinded my membership. The latest scandal with the “Italian Ministry of Tourism” is not *the* outrage,  the outrage began long time ago, and I am puzzled that it has taken my colleagues so long to see it.

 

A. —

I will continue to refuse paying a subscription fee until ProZ will have changed their policies. In addition, ProZ-members still bidding on ProZ will be excluded from my list of potential vendors.

 

S . —

It is high time that such action is undertaken! I have felt for quite some time that ProZ ought to do everything in its power to prevent dumping prices for translation work.

 

L. —

It’s time we raise our heads and let our voices be heard

 

S . —

Please keep our profession professional!

 

A. —

Proz and other sites fail in another, important regard. Whereas job posters will get a clear picture of ‘market’ rates, the translator receives no feedback on which to base future bids.

 

A. —

Proz.com doesn’t seem to care for quality: Low rates and, concerning many Kudoz-questions, poor quality of translators.

 

T. —

Proz.com used to be a good thing, but as with any “institution” over time it has become a money making machine and lost sight of what was once truly important to them “we translators”. Without us, there would be no Proz. Period… I, too, am absolutely outraged at the job postings asking high qualified professionals to translate for pennies.

 

R. —

Some years ago, Proz tried to prevent translators to publish rates beyond a certain amount (If I recall well, not over $200/hour, which, at that time, due to exchange rates, was not very much in Euros). But to my knowledge they have never tried to prevent rates below a certain % of the average translator rate!

 

P. —

With the clout it has obtained from our support, I think ProZ has the obligation to take a stand on this issue, and do everything in its power to restore dignity to the profession.

 

E. —

The same (and even worse) applies to TranslationDirectory.com Job offers for 0.02 US$/word.

J . —

Yes we are professional – no we do not work for peanuts.

Feb 25, 2010

C. —

After having worked hard to get my degree and postgraduate translation qualification, it is infuriating to see so many job offers with such low rates – this is damaging and degrading to translation as a profession.

 

V. —

I fully agree with your comments and claims. In the last few weeks I received job offers from Chinese and Indian companies about USD 0.03. for translations from English into German. Needless to say, that I am far from accepting this kind of dumping and I cannot imagine that a qualified translator with academic background would be willing to accept this rate. Therefore I am convinced that it is the right time to act as one working force in order to protect our wages and working conditions by establishing minimum charges – at least for Europe and America. ProZ should not allow to post jobs which offer lower rates than those that have been established as minimum rates and other translator platforms should be forced to respond in kind.

 

P. —

Fully, deeply, entirely agree. Thank you so much for such initiative. It is brave, smart and most of all, professional.

 

M. —

I agree … I can add that I am not a paying member for all
those reasons.

 

V. —

I am not a member at all, precisely because I know all postings offer unacceptable rates and require high qualifications.

 

P. —

I am thinking of joining Proz, however, I may not do it if advertising for low paying jobs continues as a practice in Proz.

 

B. —

I will refrain from quoting on all jobs received through the ProZ.com posting system.

 

G. —

I’ve never gotten a single job from Proz. I was a paying member a few years back.

 

W. —

ProZ.com job offers that contain rates and working conditions we consider totally unacceptable.

 

T. —

Quality of translations can only be achieved by experienced skilled translators, and clients need to realize that good rates of pay will lead to good translators taking on such work. Poor quality, inaccurate translations will reflect poorly on the companies that pay low rates, and may mislead or misrepresent important information.

 

M. —

Rates have always been unacceptable that’s the reason why I would never subscribe.

 

T. —

Supporting good rates for quality translations.

 

A. —

Totally agree. We are indeed service providers, not clients.

 

M. —

Translators’ work is always undervalued and underpaid. We must all stand united to improve our working and living conditions.

 

K. —

Unfortunately, globalization has struck the translation industry like a hurricane. ProZ is one of the players indirectly responsible for dumping and it has helped put many agencies and translators out of business. ProZ needs to step up to the plate and start demanding its users set fair prices for the services offered.

Feb 26, 2010

S . —

I completely agree with this petition. Our future is concerned here.

 

M. —

I never recommend that colleagues use Proz for the above mentioned reasons!!

 

C. —

If the current downward trend continues, translators will be driven out of the business.

 

J . —

I’m a professional. A translator isn’t just a guy with a dictionary.

 

D. —

It is clear to me that ProZ and other bidding portals have been major contributors to depressing translation rates and, willingly or not, they have allied themselves with those in the industry who would force rates to the lowest common denominator, and while there are concrete steps they could take to alleviate the problem, over the years they have always refused to do so.

 

P. —

It’s been clear for a number of years now that Proz.com has become a magnet for dumping prices and the site has done very little to avert this and other disturbing trends in the translation industry. In contrast with the text of this petition, I don’t have a problem with clients stating what they are willing to pay. However, more should be done to make such job posters aware of the importance of quality and the high risks that they take when they offer rock bottom rates on an Internet-based platform. You get what you pay for. It’s a simple as that. If this petition will help raise client awareness of the perils of paying ridiculously low rates, then I’m more than happy to sign it and make public that I do not intend to renew my paid membership on the site.

 

S . —

I’ve never been a paying member of Proz … because the prices offered on this market place are a shame. Anyway, I never use Internet services to get customers as they are too often a way to try to get a translation freely instead of paying a professional. But I think it is important to make our working conditions and the profession known to defend ourselves as working conditions get harder and harder.

 

K. —

Modern technology such as internet or TMs should help translators working (as should do translation agencies). But actual translation practice risks becoming increasingly dehumanized, without considering aspects like translation quality and professional ethics and dignity.

 

A. —

No comment needed – I completely agree. It’s a race to the bottom.

Feb 27, 2010

T. —

I fully agree what has been said above. I believe that Proz.com
site is loosing its professionalism.
Blue Board cannot be trusted as well. I don’t bid for any job on Proz.com any more.

 

D. —

In several years, the only couple of translation offers I received were so ridiculous, that they were insulting. I refused them politely, but I am inclined next time to be much less polite. I *never* closed a single contract thanks to ProZ.

 

About No Peanuts! for Translators

No Peanuts! supports professional translators & interpreters in demanding & receiving fair pay for their work.
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4 Responses to A Translators’ Petition Concerning ProZ.com’s Job Policies: Comments

  1. Serena says:

    As a translator myself, I fully agree with the points made in the petition and with many of these comments. However, I still have to point that the comment marked I. from Feb 23, 2010 is classist. I don’t care if the commenter didn’t intend to offend those who work in sweatshops or as maids/janitors, etc., it is still offensive and classist. Not everyone has had the privilege of getting higher education to become a professional and yet they still deserve fair working conditions. The comparison made in that comment is classist and does not help to further our cause.

  2. Maria João dos Santos Ivo says:

    I have been reading all the posts of my colleagues and I agree 100%. Proz is no longer the “Island” were good translators can be found. It became a business as any other and it is a shame that rates such as 0,02 Eur., can be accepted as a starting point for a deal. All of us can live very well without this “lobby” structure. This will be the last year that I am paying for nothing as Proz.com site is loosing its professionalism, totally.

  3. Clémence says:

    I agree with most of the above messages. In 2 years of membership, I could manage to get only a couple of jobs with reasonable rates. An idea: proz.com has a satisfaction guarantee…
    http://www.proz.com/membership/campaign/professional#guarantee
    “Professional Membership Guarantee
    ProZ.com offers a full refund for 30 days from the time of membership payment and a prorated refund thereafter.
    For example, if a member decides he/she would like a refund after 6 months of a 1-year membership have transpired, we will refund half of the purchase price, less payment fees.
    To request a refund, enter a support request.”

  4. Y says:

    Proz.com claims to have 300000 paying members. If each one pays 166US$ a year, it makes 49800000 US$ a year. It’s a lot of money that we could accept a good service from. First of all they should demand outsourcers to offer pay instead of the other way around, secondly they should filter off outsources who offer ridiculous pay, and third, improve the looks of their amateurish looking site. It is ugly, unclear and non-intuitive. I would keep on paying if it cost me like 15US$ a year. It’s not worth more. There must be another way of publishing the Blue Board, which is the only point with proz.com.

No Peanuts! doesn't pretend to be a representative democracy. We don't publish comments that denigrate our movement, attack our writers, or show disrespect for translators. All comments must be signed with first/last name and include a verifiable email address.

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