Thebigword Needs Your Prayers: Here’s Why They Pay Shite

The Leeds (England)-based translation agency, thebigword (;, needs your prayers.

Recently, thebigword wrote translators to explain why it was further lowering its already lousy rates: a tragic story of actually having to pay people to assist the company in becoming (according to its own advertising claims) “the leading, highest earning global LSP.”

Brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it? Poor tycoons! Being forced to reduce their per-word rate to .038 GBP (about $0.05 US)! And it’s all because they have to fly people around in planes!

Moral of the story: If you want your life as a translator to get better, tell agencies like thebigword they should stop flying and, instead, should take a flying leap.

We are writing to advise you that thebigword is to amend the fees it pays to translators. This will bring thebigword into line with other large LSPs that are servicing the needs of large Government and Corporate contracts. This has been driven by changes in the way that these organisations operate which has created a downward pressure on costs. Coupled with an increased cost of sales and significantly extended sales cycle, this has eroded margins to the point where the rates that we are currently paying you are not viable in this very competitive market place.

I would like to explain the efforts we put into generating business which creates work for you as one of 4,000 translators in more than 70 countries that carry out projects for us every month.

At present, thebigword employs 60 sales people worldwide who, as a group have to take 80 flights a month and on average, have to each spend 2-3 nights a week away from their family and home. We employ a further 50 people who recruit, interview and test linguists in order to maintain the high standard of our service. In addition, we support our global linguists’ community with more than 250 project management staff from our 10 global offices who liaise between our customers and yourselves. We also have over 50 people working on our technology so that we can improve our internal efficiency, drive down our internal costs and provide the state-of-the-art, highly secure systems that our customers now demand, and that you need to deliver your service.

However, having said all of this, never before has our industry experienced such huge pressure from both the private and public sector to drive down prices. This, of course, is not necessarily for their own profit but simply a reaction to the state of world economies. At thebigword we have endeavoured to keep our rates to the highest possible level whilst enabling us to keep the work flowing to you but at the present time, those rates are not viable in the competitive marketplace. Therefore, with effect from Thursday 18th July, thebigword will change its payment per word rate to 0.038 GBP. These rate changes are not retrospective but will apply to any new work received from Thursday 18th July 2013.

8 thoughts on “Thebigword Needs Your Prayers: Here’s Why They Pay Shite

  1. Guru365

    Get the violins out for those ‘sales’ people who can’t cover their own expenses! Bless their hearts and their massive profit related bonuses 😉

  2. Former thebigword employee

    Everything they mention there is complete Bullshit! They do not employ more than 60 sales people around the world; at best it is 20 sales people.

    They do not have 50 people who recruit, interview and test linguists. SUCH LIES! They have at most 10 people, last time I was in both offices, I saw about 5 people! This department only exists in their Leeds office.

    “250 project management staff” is such LIES!!! LIES, LIES, LIES!!!! In their NY office, they have about 4 project managers and about 10 project coordinators/administrators, so about 14 people. In their headquarter, they have, at best, 30 project managers/coordinators. Their China/Japan office has a combined total of 15 people, at best!

    50 people working on their IT team sounds about right, though the number seems a tiny bit over inflated.

    I refuse to believe that they hired more people. Thebigword is infamous for understaffing and overworking their employees. The CEO and his executive management team positions linguists in such a way that they are a plethora of other linguists that can do the job and will kill just to get the project in their hands. What really goes on in their office is that Thebigword struggles everyday to find linguists with very specific language capabilities. Thebigword shuns the idea of linguists sharing pay rates so that they can lower the linguists’ pay rates 1 penny at a time.

    To all linguists considering working for Thebigword, I encourage you to share your rates as to break down the web of lies Thebigword has woven.

  3. tonybaldwin

    I wonder if I could send such a letter to my landlord with any success, or the grocers:

    Dear Landlord, I’ve had to lower my rates to work for TheBigWord and remain competitive. As a result, I will be reducing my rent payments by 30% so that I can continue work for these low rates and remain in your building.
    Dear Grocers, Starting this week, I will be paying 30% for my bread, eggs, milk, bacon, etc., because, in order to remain competitive on the market, I’ve had to lower my rates…
    Maybe I could then try with the gas and electric companies, and perhaps my ISP and mobile phone provider.
    What do you think?

  4. Concerned translator

    They recently even asked translators to pay for their own DBS (perviously known as CRB) check, which is a total joke. These checks should be pald by employers or institutions, and only when the employees need to work with children and such.

    1. Ian

      I had to pay £70 for the DBS certificate. Good job I didn’t send them the original, as requested, as on more than one occasion they lost all the documentation I sent them . Very little work came of becoming a member of a special team although lots had been promised. I found their Language Director most exasperating as it continually rejected valid passwords. Following one final incident I I finished my mnay years of association with them.

  5. Ivan Polakovič

    I talk from my own experience.

    I just would like to let every translator know, that thebigword is a scam company. They will not pay.
    When you are finished with you job, and send it back, nothing will happen. No links for e-invoice would work and dont accept this as a minor flap. Its not. They intentionally point you somewhere, where it wont work and you cant reclaim your money.
    If you are not needed the next month, you wont be paid for the job.
    And yes, dear BigFu-kingWord, I will post this on each possible site.
    Actually I am working now on a site now, and it will be exactly about this. And it will be everywhere. I politely asked you many times to get in touch with me. Your ignorance will ruin you. BTW, I will do my best to let people know, what you doin…
    Nice day…

  6. An interpreter

    I noticed a typo in your article. I’m certain that the company in question is in fact called The Pig Turd.


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