Highest quality

There is this company in India, Edisense. I have been working for them for a while, but then was found to be "too expensive" and therefore have been dismissed.

I could not help noticing, that they *frequently* put ads of IDENTICAL wording on several major translator sites and ALWAYS are looking
b) extremely highly qualified translators, who volunteer to
c) work for very little money (peanuts) on
d) extremely large projects.

Like in:
[Urgent] requirement for Japanese to English translators for Medicine. We have served more than 8000 clients, translated over 18000 documents in various languages and are proud to be amongst the top three editing players in Japan.
- We have also successfully partnered with Japan's largest academic publisher, Maruzen, and Dai Nippon Publishing (DNP), the second largest publisher in the world, for their editorial needs.
Our Requirements:
1. Experience in Academic Translation (at least three years)
2. Either native Japanese or native English with proven Japanese skills
3. At least bachelor’s degree (Master’s Degree preferred)
4. Certifications in translation and/or academic translation are preferred
Volume: 100,000 words
Our company is committed to the highest levels of translation quality and we expect our freelance translators to be of the same caliber. If you feel you have the mettle and the translation experience required, come on board!"

If they actually did have these large projects from Japanese companies/universities AND would be paying the doctors/professors/scholars they are looking for a decent amount of money for their work ...the last thing I saw was 5 Yen/Japanese character, which is about 50% of the usual/acceptable rate ...
then they would not have to look all the time so frantically for new(?)
That seems to be the most natural conclusion that comes to my mind.
Probably not only my, but also the mind of a lot of other people ...


Extra payments?

Regarding jobs posted on internet sites or spread through lists, are often announced to be "rush jobs". Like for example the giant TransPerfect Translations ALWAYS sends "urgent" job offers:
"We have this urgent translation / proofreading assignment available.

The funny thing is, I have NEVER seen any offer of higher rates offered precisely because this is a rush job. If you call a taxi after midnight or order a suit that has to be finished the next day = rush job: it is a "matter of course", that the customer has to pay higher than normal prices for the service or product.
How come then, that translation agencies, like aforementioned TransPerfect constantly request rush jobs (which not infrequently require working through the night!), but don't even think of offering a little extra money for the extra effort/time?
I think, this is not only a very rude behavior, it is exploitation in the worst sense of the word of highly specialized, precious manpower = translators.

If people want to have appealing translations, then the workers (translators), who are sometimes literally "toiling" to straighten things out, should be treated a least politely and preferrably be paid what is "right" and not "peanuts" that will drive them into starvation.


Again, Transperfect slavery

Again, Transperfect slavery offers:
On October 8, I received the following (removed details):
"Hi all,
How are you? Please excuse this blast email but this project requires some urgency. I'd like to introduce a new job to you that requires translation from EN>DE. It consists of 4 pdf files w/ approx 6500 new words. 
I can offer $390 for the translations and will need this back to me by 12PM EST Monday 10/11. If this doesn't work for you please let me know what will."

Although I do not feel being addressed at all, I did answer:
"Good morning
Wonderful 0.06 (quite worthless) USD per source word ... for a **RUSH** job ......
Where do the translators live, who can survive working for peanuts like that???"
The result was am "amazing" increase in the rate from 0.06 to 0.07 USD:
"Hi Thomas,
So sorry for the rate.  I would really appreciate your help for this project though.  Is there any way you can meet me at a rate of .07/word for this?  Let me know.  I would really like to work with you for this one."

Although I should have left this at it, I composed an answer.
Mainly because I do not like being considered a cheap unit of expendable labor:

"Good morning from Japan
Please don't tell me, that you are NOT aware, that the so-called "international standard rate" (even on Proz.com) would be something like 0.10-0.12 USD - NOT taking into account the rush job nature.
Even that rate is at least 35% below my normal rate. (you are offering me 30% of my usual pay ...)
Then, the USD is not worth anything these days. When I signed up with TP many years ago, it was something like 140-150 Yen to the USD.
Today it is 81 to the USD. But I have NEVER seen or heard any offer of compensation from TP. Funny, when the exchange rate changes, the next morning I have to pay different prices in the supermarket across the street ...

Apparently, the people at TP consider this kind of modern slavery normal.
I do not . I have to survive too and for that end I need to work for at least decent rates.
But I am sure you will have no problems at all finding someone among the approximately 300 English-German translators on your list (in the past one of your PM has been to clever as to make the list of mail addresses visible to ALL translators on that list - it is public knowledge now), who is just dying to work for peanuts.
Maybe people living in rural China or India won't have any problems with that.

In short: no thank you.
Please find someone else."

I am (always) under the firm impression, that companies like Transperfect exploit the situation, that the entire world can see their job offers and force translators into cheap labor - on which many ultimately cannot survive. What remains then, are the so-called "best offers" and people, like the Korean lady I wrote about before, who claims to be able to translate in "native quality". And the clients ...?? Do they not notice? Are not capable of telling the difference? Or maybe they just don't care ... and give s**t about quality ...
In any case the final victim will be the people, who are supposed to/have to read the translated material.

Koran/Chinese quality

A while ago I received a mail from someone, who apparently wanted to offer her services to potential clients. I am definitely not one of the smartest persons and similarly not the world's best translator, but I believe the "quality" offered here is MUCH too close to "Chinese quality" than can be tolerated. At least, if someone is looking for acceptable, or possibly even good translation. Please form your own opinion:

"Freelance Translator from Beijing
Dear Sirs,
I am a freelance translator with more than ten years experiences.
I am a Korean but leave in China with my husband who is a Chinese.
So I can do English<>Chinese<>Korean natively.I can use Trados
myself.The rate is 0.08-0.12USD per word,extra 30% fee if use Trados.
First cooperation, I can provide a free testing. If need, I can send you my CV."

Expecting a translation of "native quality" seems to be an illusion at best.


Who decides ...?

    Books and other information: I am often wondering who in the world decides on "what is worth being translated". In the past I DID translate a whole book on shiatsu, but in my opinion the contents of that book is a shame for the 1,500-year tradition of this fine art. Then again, those books that might really deserve to be translated ... well, they are drowned by all the purely money-oriented schemes. It is a pity.