Let’s not let ProZ.com take all the credit for allowing translation clients and agencies to engage in price-fixing.
Like ProZ, GoTranslators.com also allows clients to dictate maximum prices to translators. (Such as the Italian->English offer I received this morning from Bangalore-based Adith Multilingual Services Pvt. Ltd. Adith Multilingual describes itself as “one of the leading
The Attractive Nuisance
GoTranslators.com insists that it is not actually guilty of these practices for two reasons. First, it says that job posters cannot indicate prices directly in online postings (this is true, and it is a major step forward).
The positive, however, is immediately cancelled by the negative. GoTranslators.com does allow job posters to send so-called "private" mass emails to translators in a given language combination. In those emails, prices are indicated (such as the one from Adith Multilingual).
GoTranslators.com says it's a good guy because such offers are restricted to "private" emails. I say it's a distinction without a difference.
GoTranslators.com and similar services have created the equivalent of an "attractive nuisance," a legal concept that means, in short: if I create a hazardous condition on my property that is likely to attract others who cannot appreciate the risk posed by that danger, I remain legally liable if they are injured.
Classic example: I install a swimming pool in my yard but do nothing to restrict access to the pool. Neighborhood kids come into my yard when I'm not home, jump into the pool, and drown. I'm liable because I failed to fence the yard, cover the pool, or otherwise mitigate the potential danger that it represented.
Third-World Rates Need to Stay in the Third-World
Translators in the U.S. and Europe, meanwhile, are drowning.
I’ve written before about Indian translation companies and job offers that are unthinkable for anyone not living in the third world.
And before anyone starts working up a head of steam about the terrible racism of such an assertion: I understand all about the global economy. I’ve read the same books you have about China, India, and the practice of off-shoring jobs.
The point is this: God bless Indian translation companies. But they must stop demanding Indian rates from translators who live (pay rent, buy groceries, and purchase services) in the economies of the U.S. and the European Community.
If you only intend to pay $0.03/word, find a translator who lives in an economy in which $0.03/word is a living wage.
They must stop foisting such rates on the European and American market and convincing agencies and translation clients that such rates represent normal compensation. They do not, and translators outside of India cannot live on $0.03/word.
If Indian companies cannot find qualified translators in India, then they must pay European and American wages.
Instead, what Indian translation agencies are doing – and what GoTranslators.com is supporting and enabling – is disseminating cut-rate offers to large lists of European and American translators. The practice, by the way, has a name. It’s called unfair competition.
That’s the plain and simple truth.
ProZ.com and GoTranslators.com have the technical capability to allow job posters to restrict their postings to translators in specified countries or geographical areas. They need to stop allowing Indian companies to demand Indian rates from translators outside India.
If they refuse do it, ask yourself: Who is profiting?