Fiverr Community Forum

Big project, sold to a underbidder


So today I was contacted about a project which was rather sizable. It was a transcription and translation of 102 minutes of interviews.
Now I do not have a lot of experience with transcription but I do know it does take up a lot of time (I’ve done some tests to make sure I am up for it). So after getting the request I googled all there is about freelance rates for such work. Not professional rates because they are much much higher.

So I came down on about 800$ worth. Ye I was a bit shocked too.
The transcription was based on 2$/min audio file, seemed quite fair.
The translation was an estimate, not a set price. See according to google an average person speaks 125-150 words per minute to speak clear. I had reviewed the file and deemed that an accurate estimate. With 125 words and 102 minutes of speech that’d be 12750 words.
My rate for translation is the minimum advised for a (cheap) freelancer: 0.05$/word.
So yeah that comes out rather high.

Not shortly after I had shown the prices and the calculation, I was contacted that it was way out of budget and that they found someone who’d do it in 1 day for 100$.
So I calculated the hours it would take to do such work based on averages. 4-6 times longer for transcription and 400-600 words per hour translation. Based on the fastest speed it’d be 27.9 hours of work.

So I advised the client to get the work checked as it’d probably be nog good and wished them luck with completing a 28 hour project in 24 hours.

Sometimes I wonder if people do not educate themselves at all in work rates and time. Should I expect them to do a project for me for 5$ that takes up 2 hours?



I am sorry that you fell prey to the capitalist system of supply and demand. It hurts (an annoyance at the very least) to have a project (particularly a sizable one) slip through your fingers like that.

I am just speculating here, but hear me out. In certain parts of the world, $100 is an incredibly HUGE sum and people in such regions can survive on that amount for longer than a year (edit: I’m just pointing out an extreme case scenario; not very realistic in general, I agree). It is possible that the person who won the project is in some kind of an economic environment where $100 is a good amount of money. This is the fundamental principle of off-shoring/outsourcing.

It is also possible that the person has a teammate with whom they share the workload. This cuts the time required for finishing the project down by 50% to 14 hours.

Or, it could also be that the person is just starting out on Fiverr and is interested in outbidding other sellers in hopes of getting order for themselves and proving their skills to customers.


Can you list a few? Just curious.

"In the long run we are all dead."
(J.M. Keynes)


@pacquo Here’s an example: wherever these people :arrow_down: are from :slight_smile:

I have come across a few more forum posts (like 1 or 2 more) like this where a few other forum users have said that their monthly expense is like $5 or something.

Nice try. List the countries.

Or maybe the other seller is using automatic transcription software, so it can be done quickly, with maybe a quick manual (+spell checker) check of it afterwards.

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I believe I have already answered your question. I have already given 2 specific examples. :slight_smile:

The best in the industry costs 20$/hour, but it’s far from perfect. It provides a kind of starting point if you are in a hurry. Most of the work is on the shoulders of the transcriber.


Problem solved, then: all they have to do is find a transcriber in their country.


Hi @danielllll3

First of all… Welcome to Fiverr and to the forum!!!

Secondly, sorry to be the apple of discord.

I see you just joined Fiverr on Feb 2019. The following is taken from your profile:

"I’m a forensic chemistry student from the Netherlands. (…) I’m looking to get started as a translator. I’ve written various English reports for my studies but have yet to do any professional translations. I’d love to get started with those however. Will you be my first client?

I also took a look at your translation gig, you charge $5 for 100 words with a 2-day delivery time.

I’m not telling you how much to charge, that’s you own business but I think you’ll be having a very hard time to take off with that rate and delivery time. Not only because you’re new to Fiverr but specially because you have no experience.

One other thing is about transcription…

I looked up some gigs. A TRS (Top Rated Seller) I found, would charge $200 for those same 102 minutes with up to two speakers (3-day delivery time) and a Level2 seller, would charge $55 for those same 102 minutes and with up to 4 speakers (7-day delivery time).

You should check some gigs on your category and language and try to fit the best as possible to have a chance to start growing. That would be my advice to you. :wink:


That sounds really unprofessional - sorry.

As has been said, supply and demand - if this weren’t the case, every item of the same sort would cost the same. Why buy a Fiat 500 when you can have a Rolls Royce - they’ve both got 4 wheels and an engine so they should cost the same shouldn’t they?

Consumer choice - if somebody wants to pay less than you asked, wish them well and let them get on with it. Otherwise, it sounds like sour grapes, when they were actually being good enough to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’.


Apart from the “there are countries in which $X is a nice amount” (which often isn’t really applicable when one wants/needs actual native speakers), just like there are people who translate or “translate” by using Google Translate, there are options to get a similarly good or “good” approximate automatic transcription for cheap.
I’ve been asked if I’d do transcriptions based on such “pre-transcriptions” which the customer would provide me with, to get to a lower price.
The pre-transcription was so bad it would not have taken me much less time to do the transcription completely from scratch - if you need to listen to, pause, type/correct the pre-transcription anyway, you don’t save that much time IMO.
Might depend on the clarity of the audio, if the speaker uses slang, dialects, slurs words, and the quality of the automatic pre-transcription tool, though, I guess.

Of course, it might be that someone who does a 28-hour job in 24 hours does either
use such a tool (and send the thing unedited like some people do with Google translations, or edited to an acceptable or even good level),
or is very desperate/inspired/enthusiastic/new and works without any breaks nor sleep,
or works as a team,
or, well, outsources to another person who (rinse and repeat :wink: ).

Usually it’s best to simply accept that people have different budgets (and you’re free to think “and will get what they are willing to pay for”) and wish them good luck with their project or something. If it was too much work for you to do for their budget, that’s perfectly fine.
Better to lose a potential project than to compromise your delivery quality.

You’ll have to find the right balance for you, usually, it’s not so bad to lose some bad-paid jobs because if you take too many of those you might have no time then when people who’d pay a fair price would come along. Most sellers here, however, do start with low-ish rates to get a few reviews and their gigs off the ground. See it as an investment in your business. When you see you get orders regularly for that price, adjust your rates, repeat until you’re at the price you think fair/want. Just my POV, of course, all roads lead to Rome (well, not all, but more than one. :wink: )


maybe they do not look for as much quality if not speed and pay as little as possible. And that’s why they chose someone else

Yeah I see what you and the others are saying. See I’ve left out a couple of things due to rules. Such as where the buyer originated from and what type of project it was exactly. They most definitely did not originate from a country where you can live on 5$/month. If anything it’s more expensive to live there, which I can know as I live there at the moment. (combining replies here, as this wasn’t really your point).

The quality they were looking for was an academic type of English. If they’d accept something with poor quality, it’d be very bad for their business as it’s a high end business.

But yeah I’ve accepted it. I did wish them good luck with the project, and I don’t blame them at all. I was surprised by the costs myself.

To be honest I’ve actually been more successful elsewhere and actually have completed a few projects by now. So it’s not like I’m lacking work.

Just wanted to let it out to where people might experience the same and not tell my cat who just looks at me like I’m insane.

Thanks for the advice :slight_smile:

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Just for the record, I did word it way nicer than I post it here of course. I actually gave them some advice to be aware of people using google translate and delivering that instead of being rude to them.

And this is not a rant against them, it’s more to let it out that I’m annoyed by someone who offers so little for the same. And I have very high doubts that there are native Dutch that would do this work for so little.

This is the ranting pot after all :stuck_out_tongue:

Don’t let whatever anybody else does or how little/how much they charge for it bother you - just do your own thing. :slightly_smiling_face:


Definitely, better to rant here than to the cat. :wink:

Well, if they needed an academic type of English, they hopefully found it for their budget, or will adjust their budget next, or even this time.
Sounds great then, if you’re not lacking work, don’t be bothered and stick to your prices. Be warned though, you’ll get asked to work below your prices and told you’re too expensive (vs the polite version of that’s not in our budget) often here, nevermind to which level you climb, so you’ll hear “just forget about it, and move on” from many or most “older” sellers. Who may or may not have ranted about such things back then too, but have gotten wiser and calmer over time … okay, some maybe not.
Anyway. Welcome to the forum and good luck on the platform.

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That’s not really the case. People just want to pay as little as possible…Just watch the ‘buyer request’ and you will laugh and cry in the same time.

Small update: I got the job through another platform after the ‘100$ 24hour’ guy used auto audio to text software and google translate.



In the Philippines, $100 is already a big chum of money. That’s equivalent to Php5,000 and we could already buy so much from that. Hell, we’d even compete for a $5 work that would probably take weeks to finish (I know I’d do that). I’m not even in the extreme poverty line. So, if it were two guys doing this project and they split the $100 in half, in my country, that would already be decent cash.