Food for Thought: People Don't Respect....

Neon Boneyard, Las Vegas.
Photo by Tom Gruber
Thanks to our tech guru for letting us know about this fabulous article by Forbes blogger Selena Rezvani. In a short, but very to-the-point article, she tells us why we should charge for work: because people don't respect free work. This is very, very true for any line of work, and it directly applies to our business (think free translation tests!).

Here's an excerpt:
Whatever the reason, if you are asked to pitch in your research, skills, or accumulated experience without some type of compensation now or in the future, I hope you will consider the request very carefully, with a bent toward saying “no.”  Better yet, why not use the opportunity as a chance to negotiate better, more favorable terms?   Sketching out new terms and conditions opens up the possibility that you’ll find options where there were none and that you’ll get more than you even ask for.  Your compensation requirement, whatever you negotiate that it be, adds some teeth to the deal. 

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Read the full Forbes article here.


Corinne McKay on March 20, 2012 at 8:11 PM said...

Excellent point, and I agree completely; when people get a high-value service for free, I think it's just human nature to value it less. I think you could also write an entire blog post on alternatives to working for free, even when you support the cause for which you are translating. For example you could ask the recipient to donate money to a charity in your name, or provide a pro bono service for you (graphic design, marketing consulting, etc.) in exchange.

Dolores on March 21, 2012 at 1:26 AM said...

100% true! Judy, that is right. We usually never value, unbelievable! free service or think it is not good enough or that something is missing...
A was very interesting and useful article! Thanks for sharing! Missing you! Hope to see you soon!

Caroline Lakey said...

Totally agree! I used to work in the schools' travel industry, and during the summer we provided holidays for families. The experience provided each week was identical, but the prices varied (wildly!) according to the dates. And guess what - the guests that paid the most complained the least! The higher price they paid gave them the expectation that they were going to enjoy excellent services and facilities (which they did of course!). The families that paid lower prices often looked for any opportunity to complain - having paid rock-bottom prices, they expected a low-quality holiday.
I'm entirely convinced that this theory applies to the majority of service-provision markets, including translation, with the proviso of course that you have to be capable of providing the top-notch services to justify the prices you charge!

Megan Onions on March 21, 2012 at 2:57 AM said...

That's a great point, Corinne, and something that I think translators who are just starting out are likely to benefit from.

Personally, I hadn't considered asking a client to help out with non-translation services, so thanks for the tip!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on March 21, 2012 at 12:59 PM said...

@Dolores: looks like we are in agreement, dear friend. :) See you soon, we hope!

@Corinne: we love the idea of donating to charity in one's name; what a fantastic concept. And it looks like you just gave us a great idea for a future blog article. :)

@Megan: thanks for reading and for commenting!

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