Sample Letter: Respond to Unfair, Exploitative Rate Offers!

Clients and potential clients need to hear from you when they demand unfair, unacceptable rates. Here’s a sample letter you can use to communicate that you don’t work for peanuts! (Feel free to modify according to your needs. Copy and paste the text below or click here to download as a .doc file.)


Dear Colleague:

I am writing with regard to your recent job offer [**add details if desired**].

Though I am fully qualified to provide the services you have requested, I cannot consider your offer. The compensation you indicate is not sufficient for the services you are seeking and, in fact, denies the translator a decent quality of life.

As part of the No Peanuts! for Translators Movement (, I have joined a growing international group of colleagues united in opposition to unfair, exploitative rates.

I urge you to revise your rate policies immediately. Here’s one good place to start: In a proper client/service provider relationship, translators and interpreters establish and communicate the cost of their services. It is not the role of the client to impose rates on the language professional.

When you recognize that translators, just like members of other professions with specialized experience and training, deserve to earn an adequate living, I would be happy to reconsider a collaboration with you. Until then, together with translators from all over the world, I refuse to work for “peanuts.”

Sincerely yours,


About No Peanuts! for Translators

No Peanuts! supports professional translators & interpreters in demanding & receiving fair pay for their work.
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9 Responses to Sample Letter: Respond to Unfair, Exploitative Rate Offers!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Sample Letter: Respond to Unfair, Exploitative Rate Offers! | No Peanuts! for Translators --

  2. Just about perfect!

    I have to admit that I have been a bit more contemptuous than that in the past, although I am sure that didn’t do anything for me or for other translators… I particularly like the fact that this response quotes the main anomaly in our line of work: clients demandind to impose prices.

    Keep up the great work.

    • Hello, Giuseppe. Yes; I’m usually much nastier, too! Of course, we invite No Peanutistas! to improvise on the letter as they see fit!

    • Anna says:

      Here’s an Irish outsourcer’s reply to the sample letter I’ve sent as my response to their generous translation job offer at the rate of 0.02 cent per word:

      “Thank you for your reply. We did not intend to initiate any manifest, in fact we have 4 translators working for the same rate and no rebellions have been made so far. They are happy to work for this rate as we are mainly specialising in documents translations and provide them templates which basically just need to be amended.
      You are writing we are IMPOSING the rates on you – no, we are not, we’re just making you an offer.
      It is up to you whether to take it or not.
      Please make motivated accusations.”

      Is there any sense in going further into the discussion with someone who clearly doesn’t understand the concept of fair cooperation? Well, I might not have gained much by using your sample letter but at least I saved my dignity. And for this I thank you!

  3. Well, a little bit ironic, but i had the following ad displayed below your blog:

    “Ads by Google
    Online Übersetzungen
    Günstig, professionell und schnell. Nur € 0,06 pro Wort! PayPal nutzen.

    … does not really fit in.

    @topic: I absolutely agree – keep up your great work.

  4. beata says:

    I am glad that I am not the only one. Congratulation – No Penauts is marvellous idea. You have my support

  5. Hear, hear. I, too, am glad I am not the only one who is fed up by the unethical practices currently seen in this market segment. It really is time this stops and that we regain the respect we deserve. I’ve written very similar letters myself, both to people asking such rates as well as to people offer to work for me for such rates. As Ellen Westenbrink so elegantly put it in her reply to Didier Hélin, if you pay less you get less quality. That’s certainly not the business I’m in!

  6. Hello! I have just turned down a ridiculous job offer…1.8p per word. No thanks! I didn’t study for years to be paid a pittance!

  7. Steve Rawcliffe says:

    I usually hit the delete key on such offers (mainly received via Proz — in fact, I have never received an offer via Proz in which the rate in cents entered double figures). Just once, I took the time to list my monthly outgoings (rent on a small flat, food, etc.) and demonstrate that, working at a sensible number of words per day, I could not have lived on what they were offering, even if I had worked 24 hours a day. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get an answer!

    Bottom line — work for end-users, not agencies. How can an agency charging their customer 15 cents pay you more?

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