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Sad Truth About the Translation Industry

Well, I have come across a very pertinent article on Translation Industry. Couldn’t help sharing it with the esteemed Fiverr community.

The author of the article has very elaborately expressed the harsh reality of translation jobs. This is actually the reality of all the freelancing jobs, Fiverr included, and we will have to live with it.
Aim, is actually not to get frustrated, but to find a way out.


Some people only care about cheap, some only care about quality, a lot try for a mix of that. The sad things is when those who could afford quality and could pay for decent production, working conditions, sustainability and all those nice things, don´t, it’s not just the harsh reality of all freelancing jobs either. We all, as humans, need to rise above all this, just like above all the bias in so many things. ᴵᵗ ʷᵒᶰ´ᵗ ʰᵃᵖᵖᵉᶰ, ᵇᵘᵗ ʷᵉ ʰᵃᵛᵉ ᵗᵒ ᵇᵉᶫᶦᵉᵛᵉ ᶦᵗ ᵐᶦᵍʰᵗ⋅
You´re right, aim is to not be sad or frustrated, but to do what we can. :slight_smile:


whats can we ,though our Desire Do at our Best,

Looking at that guy’s pricing, it is easy to see why he is upset. His basic fee for English to Russian translation is $100/1000 words and that goes up if the document is technical, marketing or PR etc to $180/1000 words.
Those prices are beyond ridiculous. I specialize in translating marketing and PR type texts to English and ask for a quarter of his basic fee. Sure, there might be a couple of slight inaccuracies from the original but the reality is that these types of text are better written by a native speaker of the target language and these changes actually improve the text. I have done a lot of work with Russian tech companies, web design companies, SEO companies etc and if I had charged his rates I could probably take the rest of the year off.

The translation industry needs to wake up to the reality that those prices are simply unrealistic and for anything other than legal documents (which I also am asked to translate and are then certified by certified translators who charge those high fees) it is not necessary to spend that kind of money. $180/1000 words? Please, cry me a river.


[details=More or less OT]When he’s live with his pro gig some time soon, your gig will look like good value next to his then, the times the algorithm decides it´s your turn to be one of the couple no pro gigs on page 1. :wink:
I love the russian tech/seo companies people btw, they are all totally nice to work with. :thumbsup:[/details]


Things cost what they cost. Customers aren’t thinking about sustainability, working conditions, and socialist stuff like that.

If I need X, I have a budget, and I will look for the best quality at the lowest price. It’s like buying a car, the car salesman might try to get you to focus on the monthly payment so you ignore the total cost of the car, but a smart buyer focuses on the price, and then on the downpayment and monthly payment. If your budget is $15,000, maybe you’ll go as high as $19,000 but you’d be pretty stupid to buy a $25,000 or $45,000 car.


lol, indeed…
Right on cue, I got a message saying my price is too much and telling me how much I should charge…
Literally one-tenth of what Mr. Blog Post would quote.

And yes, those Russian companies are fantastic to work with. Polite, friendly, easy to communicate with, no issues with price (now I see why) and no hassle afterwards.


Some customers, please, or most, for all I care. There are people who think about it, who do buy from ethical clothes’ companies, from eco farmers, only regional foods, who don´t buy a car but a bike from a local bicycle manufactory and so on. Of course that´s not the masses, yet, we all know that, but there are more and more people who don´t buy into, well, you know into what.
Some stay in the thinking about it stage, because they can´t or don´t yet quite want to afford to put their money where their thoughts are and to give up embosomed things, some actually put their thoughts into practice, to varying degrees, they might not be mainstream, yet, or ever, but some customers do think about ‘socialist’ stuff.


Wrong, customers are selfish, it’s all about them. It’s all about him, it’s not about you. They don’t care if you have bills to pay, they don’t care about your credit card debt, they don’t care if you’re a humanist who loves everyone and kittens. Customers care about THEMSELVES. Even the social justice, socialist customers, are shopping for their own values and beliefs, not yours.

So if you want to make a sale, you have to appeal to their selfish need, because nobody buys nothing to help someone else. Even Girl Scout cookies are bought because they have a reputation for being delicious. If GS cookies were disgusting, nobody would buy them other than the mothers of their kids in GS, and then they would throw them in the garbage. Even then, the mothers would be buying the cookies to make their kids look good, which is a selfish need as well.




That is so true. That is a truth that needed to be told. People are inherently selfish. They may pretend to be otherwise, but we are all selfish. That is the natural state of humanity - selfishness, greed, envy and permanent dissatisfaction. Let’s not pretend otherwise.


Hi eoin, though I am a rank newcomer at fiverr, I have been working as a translator for more than 3 years now. And though, the rates mentioned by the author on his site may be a bit high, there are clients who do pay those rates.
It’s like you get a jeans for 1000 bucks, but there’s one for 15000 bucks too.
Likewise, if there are 1000 tasks to be done, even if yours is the lowest rate you won’t get all. There will be some who do it at maybe double your rate, but half the work.
All actors never get the same pay…Then how can it be that the translation rates for all be standard.
Well, different customers, different budget.
There are always levels.
So, effectively noone is right or wrong, even the author is not wrong. Maybe not even you may be fully correct or fully wrong…
Everyday is a new learning, so be open to ideas…:slight_smile:

I agree to most of your stuff miiila, there are various reasons for clients expecting a particular rate. Likewise there are various reasons for us to have different rates too, like our desires, needs, time, quality, workload etc etc.
So, what matters is how much in sync you are with all these variables…It takes a lot of time to find the best possible combination…And the good part is there are many workable solutions…

You know Miiila, the social justice stuff is fine in Germany or Sweden where most people are comfortably middle class or upper middle class and jobs are available in plenty. In third world countries where everyone is in a desperate fight for survival any policy based on fancy unrealistic altruism will only lead to disaster. I have very strong feelings on this, but will take a book not just a comment to tell all.

I felt this is something worth sharing here…

Who is not selfish in this world…we all are…just the level of selfishness may vary. Whats more important according to me is can we reach a compromise wherein we have a WIN-WIN deal. So that both the parties can get the best of what they expected…The client, quality translation, while the translator, satisfaction and his/her true worth in terms of rating, money etc…:slight_smile:

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True, but don’t confuse greed with selfishness. Greed is a desire for wealth that doesn’t belong to you. Someone sees an athlete getting paid $100 million and they get angry. They don’t realize the value of these players, how well they can play, and how very few people can play like them.

It’s the same with Fiverr, some gigs are worth more by their very nature, some gigs are worth less. Programming? Very few people can do that, so they charge more. Writing and translating? A lot of people can do that, whether they do it well is a different story, but I’m not going to charge $50 for 1 headline unless I have a queue of 50. I’m gonna charge $5 for 5 and hopefully the buyer won’t demand revisions.

Brand names is even more complicated. On the 28th I made $128, the next two days I made $0 and $16. So I had to lower my prices dramatically, and today I made $56.

The whole point of being on Fiverr is getting orders and making money. If the price points aren’t getting orders, it’s time to lower them. This is universal, it doesn’t matter if you’re level 2 or TRS, if you have 10 reviews or 1,000 reviews,

Besides, by having lower prices, you’re making it easier for buyers to order your most expensive package, as long as the price jumps between packages are reasonable.


Actually this is true, at least in general. Of course there are exceptional buyers. But the majority is, exactly like what @fastcopywriter said. I am personally selfish most of the time when it comes to buying. I have bought some cheap, not so expensive, expensive and very expensive stuff throughout my life (The very expensive thing I bought recently is my car to replace the older one coz I really need it and I have my reasons why I chose that car. Not gonna tell you the price though. But since I am not a billionaire and am retired, most of the time I buy things with friendly prices. I would never buy a pair of shoes for $2000, or a woman bag for $8000), and most of the time I never think about how my buying will benefit the sellers. I just buy what I think will benefit me.

As crazy as it sounds though, I have done it. I am a dog person big time. I sometimes buy merchandise and any other handcrafts sold by dog rescuers to help them eventhough I don´t need those stuff. But of course, I am still selfish too at some point, which means, I choose the cutest options (the merchandises, etc), it´s more like buying the cookies from GS (people buy coz it´s delicious). If the merchandises aren´t cute enough for me to see, I don´t buy them.

Deep down inside I would love to be that kind of buyer. But reality is, it is hard to do most of the time. Especially with the car part, I have many dogs and I am getting old. I need a big car for my dogs, but at the same also must be very comfortable for me to ride. I don´t want to have to deal with a crappy truck. I am also not able to ride a bicycle and paddle it with a big trailer full of dogs behind me attached to my bicycle. :sweat:

Hi, thanks for commenting. Here’s what I think:

A $2,000 pair of shoes makes no sense unless you’re making $1 million a year, then $2,000 becomes pocket change. It also depends on what we value. A fashionista who’s been obsessed her entire life about owning a Gucci bag will save the money until she has $2,000 to buy it.

“I sometimes buy merchandise and any other handcrafts sold by dog rescuers to help them eventhough I don´t need those stuff.”

Do the purchases make you feel good about yourself? Do they create warm feelings? That’s selfishness, and it’s OK. Smart organizations make people feel good, so they can get more of their money.

Look for:
In Defense of Selfishness: Why the Code of Self-Sacrifice is Unjust and Destructive
by Peter Schwartz

It’s a great book.

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