Jump to content
ūüí¨ Smartcat Community
Vova

Let’s talk discounts (or better not?)

Recommended Posts

I have recently participated in an illustrative discussion in @Simon Akhrameev’s great Facebook group.

Simon has shared Neil Patel’s article about common marketing mistakes. One of the mistakes quoted was not offering discounts/promotions.

And one commenter, Igor Juricek, made a remark that I hear surprisingly often in the translators community. I’m quoting:

Quote

The point about giving discounts reminds me of a Czech agency I came across when doing research on websites. These guys offered discount on anyone¬īs first translation order, every fifth, tenth translation, on high-volume translation as well as SEASONAL discounts. I still don¬īt get it, is translation cheaper over summer or winter?

I wonder why we translators often feel this way? Do we consider our work to be a kind of gold standard, whose price is set in, well, gold? To me it seems natural that as market participants we must take into account its nuances.

So I was going to ask, what do you guys think? Do you offer volume/seasonal discounts? Or maybe discounts for super-friendly clients? :)

  • Thumbs up 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Vova for quoting my reply from FB.

To put this into context, the Czech translation market is heavily underpaid, prices and rates being the decisive factor for most clients and the average rate being 0,03 - 0,04 eur per word (basically no valuation since 2005). Therefore, an excessive discount scheme will only result in pressure on lower rates for the translators. And we all need to make a living.

To me, a "seasonal" discount is a nonsense. In case of a "low season", I¬īd rather spend the time looking for new, better paying (foreign) clients, rather than working on an underpaid job from an (domestic Czech) agency who claims to provide "a higher class of translation" or similar marketing fairy-tale (true story).

I am not against discounts in general. If a client returns regularly with mid to high-volume projects and has a solid payment morale, a discount plan is perfectly alright. But offering a discount for a 200-word job, just because it is a client¬īs first order or because it is summer holiday time just doesn¬īt make sense to me and sounds straightforward suicidal.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that a good discounts policy relies upon many factors, including the niche, the most common client types you work with and the size of your business, etc. If you have a stable inflow of translation projects from one client, it might be wise to offer a small but pleasant discount (you may call it volume discount) to "reinforce" relations. While offering random discounts just to grab another gig or two won't bring you any feasible results in a long run. Discounts may also work to "hook" a new client, but you should know for sure that this type of client would actually take the bait. It depends on cultural specifics, e.g., for Asian people asking for discounts (or getting discounts) is a common thing, while the same tactics may have a negative effect on others, meaning that your services are not so good and you are trying to attract customers' attention by lowering the rates. Currently, I offer one type of discounts for new clients who order Standard and Premium package - 10% off for the first order (I also have a Basic package without any discounts). As for CAT related discounts, I deduct Repetitions and apply special rate for 95-100% matches for recurring clients only. Everything below 95% shall be paid in full.

  • Thumbs up 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, Igor Jur√≠ńćek said:

 

I am not against discounts in general. If a client returns regularly with mid to high-volume projects and has a solid payment morale, a discount plan is perfectly alright. But offering a discount for a 200-word job, just because it is a client¬īs first order or because it is summer holiday time just doesn¬īt make sense to me and sounds straightforward suicidal.

 

Here is almost exactly how I feel about discounts.

Actually, as translators & interpreters, we are all language "providers", which means we bargain our rates and try to get clients permanently and unconditionnally engaged with our services. Thus, to achieve keeping an average or good client, one may decide (or, of course, not) to offer a discount.

So far as I am concerned, I usually do so with direct clients who have proven themselves very honest and friendly. Behaving as such often results in a very strong relationship that can only be assessed when hard times are there. For example, I have such a direct client that recently had more than 10,000 words to translate (initially) within three (03) days. He reached out to me with the job, but I said I could not take on the job because of the tight schedule and tiredness imposed on me by my first ever child, which I had to take to-and-fro hospital very often for visits. Unexpectedly, the client showed a very deep concern: first, he decided to make 50% payment upfront, and, second, he asked me to tell him when I could deliver the job. When I said "Two weeks", I was greatly surprised by his words, "OK, great. You're always very responsive and kind. I'll do same this time. Go ahead and greet your baby for me". No existing words were enough to thank him!

That very experience can only encourage me to keep on proving myself considerate and kind with clients, so that they can love partnering with me! And, from my own little experience, one amongst the best ways to get them stuck is actually... offering timely discounts!

Have a blessed day, all! :12_slight_smile:

 

  • Thumbs up 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, OK... I know that you know that I know something about discounts and all that jazz, right? Just let's try to keep smiling...

We Want a Discount…

by Danilo Nogueira and Kelli Semolini

You must give us a discount…

1.            …because we are a new client.

2.            …because we are an old client.

3.            …because this job is for a new client.

4.            …because this job is for an old client.

5.            …because last time you gave us a discount.

6.            …because last time you didn't give us a discount.

7.            …because you always give us a discount.

8.            …because you never give us a discount.

9.            …because the other guy who translated for us always gave us a discount.

10.        …because everybody else gives us a discount.

11.        …because if you want to work for us you must give us a discount.

12.        …because if you don't give us a discount we will have to look for another translator.

13.        …because you will make up for the discount in future jobs.

14.        …because it is a big job, months of guaranteed work.

15.        …because it is a small job and you will make a quick buck.

16.        …because you can squeeze it into whatever you are doing now and do it in a moment-and it will be extra money you were not even counting on.

17.        …because it is a simple job of a type you have done dozens of times.

18.        …because it is something short you can do over the weekend.

19.        …because it is an easy text.

20.        …because it is a subject you are very familiar with.

21.        …because it is a subject you are not very familiar with and your "expert rate" will not apply.

22.        …because it is a subject you are not familiar with and thus a great opportunity for you to enter a new field that will bring you a lot of work in the future.

23.        …because it is just like something you did two years ago.

24.        …because we are going to send you several hundred pages' worth of reference files where you can find all the terminology you will ever need.

25.        …because we are going to send you glossary you can search for words you don't know.

26.        …because we are going to send you a TM you can search for words you don't know.

27.        …because you will use our proprietary CAT tool which you will simply love.

28.        …because it is a very interesting text.

29.        …because you've never done something like this.

30.        …because it is a non-technical text. Just plain yadayada.

31.        …because it is a technical text. No need to worry about style or yadayada.

32.        …because it is just for information. No need to worry about style or yadayada.

33.        …because we just want a summary, the gist of it. You do not even have to translate it all: just summarize what is important.

34.        …because it is already in PowerPoint format, you just have to overwrite the source text.

35.        …because it is already in Excel format, you just have to overwrite the source text.

36.        …because it is already in .pdf format, you just have to overwrite the source text.

37.        …because it has already been translated by our people here and you just have to give it a look to see whether something escaped them.

38.        …because a good part of it has already been translated and you only have to fill in the gaps and have a look at what the other people have done, to see whether something escaped them.

39.        …because my secretary could do it herself, but she is too busy to handle it now.

40.        …because my sister could do it herself, but she is too busy to handle it now.

41.        …because I could do it myself, but am just too busy too busy to handle it now.

42.        …because we have already had this translated, the translation was horrible and we had to junk it, but we had to pay the translator all the same and now we are out of funds for this project.

43.        …because we will send you a copy of the translation we had to junk, so that you can see what can be saved.

44.        …because this is a job for a client and they already know someone who charges less than you but we want you to do the job because we trust your work.

45.        …because this is a job for a client and one of our guys has already given the client an estimate and now we cannot tell the client it is more than we had said.

46.        …because this job will not be charged to a client, it is for our firm.

47.        …because this is not for the Company. It is my CV, and I am leaving.

48.        …because this is not for profit: it is just something I need for my doctoral thesis.

49.        …because we want you to do the job, but there is a new policy here and we now have to assign jobs to the lowest bidder and our purchasing department has found a firm in Country X…

50.        …because the exchange rate has moved against us.

51.        …because the exchange rate has moved in your favor.

52.        …because this is a low-priority, low-budget project.

53.        …because we are on a tight budget for this job.

54.        …because we already have two estimates for this job: a guy who wants ten and another who will do it for eight; we cannot even think of doing it for twelve.

55.        …because we have already overrun our budget.

56.        …because we are building a new wing for our corporate headquarters and that is costing us more than we expected and we have to preserve cash.

57.        …because we already have an internal cost estimate for this job and it is a lot lower than that.

58.        …because my boss thinks translation is very simple work and will never agree to pay that much.

59.        …because if I tell my boss this is the price of a translation he will kill me.

60.        …because the total price exceeds my approval authority and I will have to submit the quote to my boss-who will never approve it.

61.        …because there is someone who will do it for less. Much less.

62.        …because we are looking to a translator who will do this for a maximum of $100. Of course, for our next assignment in your pair…

63.        …because we are located in Country X, where rates are much lower than in your country.

64.        …because this was outsourced by an agency located in Country X, where rates are much lower than here and there is nothing we can do.

65.        …because we know what rates are in your country.

66.        …because it is a huge project, including 25 languages in all and we had to bid low.

67.        …because it was a cutthroat bid, against people who debase the market and underpay their translators and we had no alternative.

68.        …because it is for a new client and we had to bid low to win the guys from the guys who worked for them.

69.        …because this is for an old client and we had to bid low or lose them to the competition.

70.        …because this is for one of our oldest clients and we have not had the courage to increase our prices.

71.        …because this job is for an old friend who always gets a special deal from us.

72.        …because we are in a crisis.

73.        …because this particular client is in a crisis.

74.        …because we are still feeling the negative effects of the latest crisis.

75.        …because this particular client is still feeling the negative effects of the latest crisis.

76.        …because there is a crisis looming in the horizon.

77.        …because there is a crisis looming in the horizon for this particular client.

78.        …because, please, see what you can do for us.

79.        …because… because… just because, man!

© Copyright Translation Journal and the Authors 2011
URL: http://translationjournal.net/journal/55discount.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Alexander Zharov said:

32.        …because it is just for information. No need to worry about style or yadayada.

33.        …because we just want a summary, the gist of it. You do not even have to translate it all: just summarize what is important.

These two actually seem pretty reasonable to me, provided the vendor in question is able to provide such post-editing/summarizing service. Didn’t read through the whole list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×