When will Clients stop Thinking we would Actually work for Peanuts?

After a long day of translations, I got a call from one of my friends and business associates and he handed the phone over to his client, for whom I had just finished translating 3 legal documents after she agreed on the price the day before, as she was wondering why I charged $50 for 3 documents when she thought there were 4 documents. below is the conversation we had over the phone:

– I thought there were 4 documents and now I see they are 3. How much did you charge for each document?

– 25,000 LBP for each. So the total amount would be 75,000 LBP ($50). How can you think there are 4 documents when you dropped the documents yourself and left your phone number for reference?

– But other translators  would translate each document for 15,000 LBP.

– This is the price, on which you had agreed yesterday! Why didn’t you take the translation elsewhere before giving me green light to proceed?

– I was shy (ma ele 3ein) and I did not want to call you and cancel the job after having agreed. But my friends translated such documents for 15,000 LBP – she kept on repeating this sentence.

– I don’t know anyone who still charges only 15,000 LBP,  unless it’s a simple personal civil status record (ikhraj eid farde), not even a family one! Besides, what you think you’re saving in terms of money, you’d be paying double in terms of both time and gas (given my convenient location).

– You’re right, that price is found in Zahle, but my friends…

– You just said it yourself, Zahle. You are in Beirut here! Besides, I guarantee an awesome quality so why worry?

– I get the same quality elsewhere. I would recommend you to all my friends if you reconsider your rates.

– Miss, these are my rates and this is the quality and service I provide. Please don’t feel the need to recommend me. My translations speak for themselves.

– So you will not offer me a discount?

– Absolutely not!

– I really regret giving the job to you.


To be honest, I regret taking the job! I won’t even give you the privilege of calling you a client! All this phone call for what? A 10,000 LBP discount? I don’t need your friends if they have the same thinking as you do! Please don’t come back, as I have no intention in offering you my services in the future!

For any future clients reading this, please bear in mind that you are not at a farmer’s market looking for a good bargain! We are professional people offering a professional service!

For my dear colleagues, please stop charging ridiculously low rates!

And for those asking what the documents were, they were not civil status records. They were:

1- A company registration certificate.

2- A certificate of service from the NSSF (the special one for Embassies – not the regular one for which I charge 15,000 LBP)

3- A 1-page job certificate – Usually, job certificates are half a page, hence the price of 25,000 LBP for the full page one.

I know that by explaining how I priced the documents here on the blog I might get some mixed feedback, but frankly I don’t care anymore. I love my job, but I can no longer tolerate people who call me and talk to me the way she did! No respect for our job whatsoever! I don’t need such clients and neither should any of my other colleagues!




  • Chirine Ajouz Kabbara

    My dear Rania,
    Welcome to Lebanon! Although I work in a totally different type of business but that’s the case with all Lebanese clients. It doesn’t matter what service they are buying but they believe they can bargain over it as if bargaining over a kilogram of potatoes. Lately I have been dealing with such a client and it’s exasperating. I promised myself that the next time she brings up the fact that she saw something similar elsewhere for a better price to take a deep breath and tell her to go get it from there and don’t come crying back when she realizes the quality and service are not the same! Good luck!!

    June 30, 2016 at 7:36 am Reply
    • Rania

      It’s frustrating, really! Good luck to you, too!

      June 30, 2016 at 8:33 am Reply
  • Dagmar El. Stark-Bastin

    Dear Rania,

    Thank you so much for your comment which does not seem to be an issue in Lebanon alone. Most people want quality, speed, etc. and are only willing to pay peanuts for it. Keep up the good – Dagmar El. from Monument, Colorado, USA!

    June 30, 2016 at 10:02 pm Reply
    • Marc

      Dear Rania, keep up the professional work and don’t get too frustrated. It it sad that some people are willing to disrespect service providers and their quality work in hope to achieve the lowest price possible and to choke service providers to the maximum. As you said rightly, it is first of all on the service providers, the translators in this case to respect their on work and charge professional deserving prices and to therefore communicate to clients the value of the service.

      July 4, 2016 at 1:43 am Reply

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