Job Offer of the Week

While ridiculously low rates are offered to translators around the world on a regular basis, this one just had to be shared. Our colleague Karin Bauchrowitz, a English->German translator, just forwarded the following job offer to us telling us that it was quite unbelievable -- and it is. It was posted on, which has many fantastic advantages, including glossaries and solid term search functions. However, many of the jobs posted on Proz are very poorly compensated. This one takes the prize (original text, unedited):

We need some translation work on urgent basis & regular basis there after.
English to German-Polish-Portugese-Swedish Translation: URGENT
We have some 500 product descriptions and some site banners and ads that needs translation.

It is mostly technical and repetitive.
Our target price is $1500 to $2500 per pair.

No per word math please.

Product Description and other details: 21 days.

It is around 750 web pages.
Word Count is approximately: 215,000
Unique words: 133990 (Product description) and rest repeat.

Only Native speakers!
So, if you're from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Japan, Korea, please do not bid. As we need native speakers and writers.

We did the math for you, and if you were to get paid the maximum rate of $2500 for the 215,000 words (not the unique words), you would be making $0.011 per word. If you got the low end of $1500, your per-word rate would be $0.0069. Any takers?


joy mo on March 17, 2010 at 3:08 PM said...

I'll be more interested to know if anyone actually applies for the job. The low pricing game is partially some translators' fault. They are either incompetent or shortselling themeselves by accepting jobs like this.

Daniel on March 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM said...

LOL - "No per word math please."

That's hilarious. Even if you get the $2500 and only count the unique words, it still comes out to under 1.9 cents a word. And you'd have to translate 6,380 unique words every day for 3 weeks straight!

Are you sure this isn't a joke? ;)

Krzysiek on March 17, 2010 at 4:23 PM said...

It's not a joke. I received this job. I was wondering whether I'm really bed at maths or they put something wrong. I couldn't believe it!

Anne-Sophie on March 17, 2010 at 6:00 PM said...

Maybe the people at Proz should put some limits to the kind of offers being published. If it were for a good cause (like an NGO or something like that), but it's not!

Anonymous said...

The people at ProZ are run by an astute entrepreneurs who is squeezing the translators' market to fill its wallet.

The jobs, all jobs, any job, whatever job no-matter-what is the honey that attracts translators, and translators generate traffic, and traffic generates advertisement, and advertisement generates profit.

The persons running ProZ don't care about the profession, they adore Google AdSense and Google's cheques. End of the story.

Anonymous said...

The best would be applying with a xy email address forcing them to pay half of the money per paypal in advance and then never get back to them. As stupid as they are for thinking any professional native speaker would apply i think they would go for it, because competition cant be high and probably they calculate with paying nothing and would pay something to lure someone into the deal.

Localization company on March 18, 2010 at 2:40 PM said...

I wish them good luck and many satisfied customers:-) They will stay on the market for a long long time:)

Kevin Lossner on March 18, 2010 at 3:03 PM said...

I do love that "no per word math, please". Such postings are truly a delight and a benefit to all. They provide me and others with entertainment, and for the masochistic wannabes in our profession they offer opportunities for suffering that might be difficult to find in more remunerative sectors such as janitorial services or fast food.

Paul on March 19, 2010 at 12:31 AM said...

"No per word math, please" because they don't want you to see their slave rates. The proz-com moderators should do the per word math please and not allow these exploiters to post.

Paul on March 19, 2010 at 1:46 PM said...

It should also be noted that they practice racial discrimination (no Indians, Koreans etc. need apply), which is an absolute disgrace.

Anonymous said...

It would be great to know if someone applies for this say "job". This is simply ludicrous. I can't believe this is serious... C'mon...

Paul on March 21, 2010 at 11:07 PM said...

Following my and other people's complaints, the offensive term "No per word math please" has been removed by proz moderators, which is good. But the racial discrimination still remains ("No Indians, no Pakistanis" etc.), and I've put in another complaint ticket about this.

Paul on March 22, 2010 at 6:44 AM said...

Following my complaints and those of other friends and colleagues, this issue has been resolved satisfactorily. Proz in-house staff have removed the insulting remarks against our colleagues ("No per word math please") and the racial discrimination against people from Asia and the Far East. The outsourcer has also been informed. Fair enough, the horrendously exploitative and slavedriving rates remain, but, until the revolution, that's your free market for you.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on March 26, 2010 at 11:44 PM said...

@All: thanks for your insightful comments, which are much appreciated!
Sounds like we are all in agreement that these rates are not acceptable.

@Paul: it is wonderful to hear that Proz has taken some action based on your very well-founded complaints. We were very postively surprised, and completely agree with you that this terms of this offer were, beyond being ridiculously low, also very discriminatory. Kudos to you and your colleagues for brining it to Proz's attention.

Devon Ellington on April 5, 2010 at 8:17 AM said...

Wow. I didn't realize that translators had to deal with the same equivalent of content mills in the way the other freelance writers do. Maybe because I revere the work and talent that goes into good translation, I assumed so did everyone else!

You know what else is great here? No one got all huffy and defended the rate -- unlike many sites where freelancers who earn a living wage encourage others not to accept insulting wages, and a handful always come out swinging about how blessed and wonderful a fraction of a cent per word is as writers' pay.

Good for you, not falling into that pit!

Our time and talents are worth a decent, living wage!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on April 5, 2010 at 3:48 PM said...

@Devon: thanks for your insightful comment. Yes, unfortunately writers and translators are in the same boat when it comes to extreme downward pressure on prices. Perhaps this is rooted in the incredibly naive belief that everyone can translate/write. We are also proud of our fellow linguists for thinking these rates are ridiculous. Unfortunately, many linguists around the world still accept them...

Nic Scott on April 7, 2010 at 2:21 AM said...

It says that there were 23 quotes for the job..
I like the fact that they refuse to accept MT but then work everything out into unique words as though you can swap the 'equivalents' in and out without worrying about the context and use in the sentence.
On another note, I wonder if ProZs new policies for job posts following the petition are going to change the likelihood of these 'job''offers' coming through.
Nic Scott

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