Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Do you provide references?
Thread poster: Susan Welsh

Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:50
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Jul 28, 2008

Some agencies ask for references. I have generally refused to give them, as a violation of the confidentiality (and time) of my clients. (This is specifically advised on one of the other translators websites.) In one case where I gave references, it turned out it was just part of the bureaucratic procedure, and the company has actually had NO jobs in my language pairs for many months now. I.e., they're just starting up, at least in those areas, and were building their "translators base" (ugh). It was a waste of my time and that of the people I asked to provide references for me.

Of course, there is the WWA feature on our profiles, but what if this doesn't satisfy them?
Is there an "industry standard" in this matter?

Thanks,
Susan


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:50
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
No Jul 28, 2008

I don't provide references, for exactly the same reasons as you don't. I find it misplaced in this industry, it seems an archaic tradition and a bit "just out of college".

So I don't work with agencies who want references - besides, it's quite rare I get asked for it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Might want to be more specific Jul 28, 2008

SusanWelsh wrote:

...a violation of the confidentiality (and time) of my clients.


Fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be (an entirely different topic), most of my work is done for agencies. If I'm approached (or approaching) a new client and they want references, I state that these are available upon request - and if they actually need references, I can get them contact information for other agency clients that have agreed to this in advance.

In any event, I mention agencies and even end clients that I've done work for on my resume, so there's not exactly a breach of confidentiality there.

So the question might be better served by being a little more specific: Are you talking about references directly from clients (Coca Cola, Mercedez Benz, etc.), or just "any old references"?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 00:50
German to English
+ ...
i did once Jul 28, 2008

I did provide references once; and I think it was a mistake, because I had the same experience as you: cordial "we will use you", but never heard from again.

Rather, I should say I did feel that they did "use" me so they weren't particularly inaccurate ...

[Edited at 2008-07-28 14:39]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:50
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
References reliable? Jul 28, 2008

Hi Ivana,
Ivana Friis Wilson wrote:
I find it misplaced in this industry, it seems an archaic tradition and a bit "just out of college".
Agree.
And by the way: how do you check if a reference is really reliable? It could be a good friend of yours, a cousin or someone who can't even judge if you are a good translator.
The other thing round happened to me lately: I got a job offer from a translation agency I never worked with and they gave some translators as reference without having been asked. I looked up in the BB, rather good, general LWA 4.3, but some of the comments make backpedalling.


[Edited at 2008-07-28 12:35]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Natalya Zelikova  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 07:50
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
I do, but... Jul 28, 2008

I have agreed with few regular clients to provide their contact details for those who ask for references. I think that my readiness to provide such references is enough in most cases. And I know that some potential clients called my regular clients to confirm my reliability, experience, etc.

But some agencies/their registration forms require more detailed references - volume of work done for each client, subjects and even brands of end clients. In this case I always reply that NDAs don't allow me to disclose such information.

[Edited at 2008-07-28 12:34]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:50
English to Polish
I don't Jul 28, 2008

For two reasons: 1) I don't want to ask my client to waste their time and 2) I fear some of agencies only try to steal my clients and offer them their services, instead of mine (cheaper, faster, etc.)


Anni

PS. Maybe we should start asking for references from agencies on their payment practises

[Edited at 2008-07-28 13:31]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:50
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Sensible policy -- with perhaps one exception Jul 28, 2008

I entirely agree with the other people who do not provide references. I think it is very important that your relationship with a customer should be at arm's length, entirely commercial and not involve any obligation on either side. If you ask a customer or agency for a reference, you create an obligation, however slight.

Having said that, I think there is one valid exception. One agency I work for has a very sensible policy. They will give references to translators who wants to join a professional association. But they will not give references if you are applying to another agency. They say that they see no reason why they should help a competitor, and I think that is right.

In short, associations yes, competitors no.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

interpre-eu
Local time: 05:50
Finnish to English
+ ...
Providing references is not a chore Jul 28, 2008

I wrote 3 references last week for my translators and was quite happy to do so. It takes no more than 2 minutes to do and if a translator has done a good job for me, I'm only too happy to return the favour. I don't give references for people that have done a 1-page translation for me two years ago though... they have to be people whom I'm willing to vouch for and I know from a long time of cooperation.

Personally, I don't require references unless it is for something very specific. I think I've asked for 2 references in the last 7 years. I do, however, check out your WWA score on your profile and if you get good responses I do take that into account.

I think the WWA is flawed though, because there are translators for whom I want to click that "Don't ever contact this person... ever..." button, but it's not available. Yet translators can go on my Blueboard and write whatever they want - fact or fiction... in all fairness, I should be able to tell the world if the translator is rubbish if the translator can tell the world if they don't like working for me.

(he he... says the man with an average of 5 on BB)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 06:50
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
BB: willingness to work with you again Jul 28, 2008

interpre-eu wrote:

I think the WWA is flawed though, because there are translators for whom I want to click that "Don't ever contact this person... ever..." button, but it's not available. Yet translators can go on my Blueboard and write whatever they want - fact or fiction... in all fairness, I should be able to tell the world if the translator is rubbish if the translator can tell the world if they don't like working for me.

(he he... says the man with an average of 5 on BB)


I beg to disagree here.
Translators cannot say just about anything when entering a BB rate, they can only express their willingness to work with you again.
Personal comments are not allowed and incorrect or false allegations may or should be reported to any of the Job Moderators or ProZ.com staff. Due action will be taken after investigation.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, I do not Jul 28, 2008

Below is a message I sent to an agency that approached me last week and asked me to fill out their online translator profile form:


Dear ______:

Thank you for your note. Congratulations on the opening of your new branch!

I have heard good things about your company. However, since your online form cannot be submitted without references, it appears I will not be able to work with you.

As a matter of policy, I do not provide references. This is out of respect for my clients' time and privacy, and because it strikes me as unwise to share my client list with agencies who are, in many ways, my competition.

Regards.


I'm usually less blunt than that, but I was a little annoyed after spending 10 minutes filling out a form that refused to function when I went to submit it.

I promptly received a message back saying they don't absolutely require references and telling me how to bypass the form's requirement for references.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:50
English to French
+ ...
Samples and paid translation test Jul 28, 2008

I do not give references, for two simple reasons: I prefer to keep my contacts private because, as many of you know, contacts can be easily stolen, and I am not willing to give my clients away to ill-intentioned kitchen table agencies; also, I don't want my clients to be bothered by calls and mail that is of no benefit for them.

I always offer sample translations and am willing to provide a test translation paid at my normal rate, the amount of which I always offer to deduct from the amount invoiced on the first job I get from that prospect.

I just had a great experience last week. An agency contacted me, asking for volume discounts, references and a free translation test. I politely explained why I am unwilling to provide any of these. They gave me the job - no CAT tool scheme, no translation test and without contacting any references. I did the job, delivered on time and sent them a document with comments and questions on the translation, and made myself available this week to implement any changes their client would like me to make based on those comments and questions. I got an e-mail this morning from my contact at the agency. She says she is very happy with the way things turned out and she will definitely contact me for more work when she has the occasion. See? I stuck to my principles and it still worked out. Actually, I think that for serious agencies, sticking to one's principles is actually a positive thing, and they may even use those nasty criteria to filter out "cheap" translators.

It is very much feasible to get work without providing references. And those who refuse to give you work because you didn't provide references are most likely not worth working with.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:50
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
I provide references Jul 28, 2008

When necessary, I provide references, after asking the people I indicate as references their permission to do so.

I normally give as references my former boss from when I worked as a translation team manager in the translation department of a major software company, a former member of one of the teams I managed, and a current customer.

That way my prospect can see my capacities validated at various levels.

What one should never do is to indicate someone as reference without asking permission first.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nice solution! Jul 28, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I always offer sample translations and am willing to provide a test translation paid at my normal rate, the amount of which I always offer to deduct from the amount invoiced on the first job I get from that prospect.


I'll have to ponder whether to start doing that.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Susanne Creak  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 14:50
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Sad, not sensible Jul 29, 2008

Peter Linton wrote:

One agency I work for has a very sensible policy. They will give references to translators who wants to join a professional association. But they will not give references if you are applying to another agency. They say that they see no reason why they should help a competitor, and I think that is right.

In short, associations yes, competitors no.



I appreciate that is up to each translator individually whether he/she provides references to new clients and agencies, and up to each of these whether they give them. I also agree a translator should never provide one without having permission. However personally, I find the attitude of this agency very sad, not sensible.

An agency that is not prepared to tell another one that a translator has been doing good work? Isn't it more about helping the translator to get more work, than about helping the other agency? Are they thinking that they are the only agency the freelance translator is working for, or that the other agency will find it that much harder to find good translators without their reference? They are making it harder for you, the translator, than for the other agency!

In many industries at least here in Oz it is common practice that competitors support each other with references on staff or contractors. Us freelance translators, we support each other here every day although we are competitors as well.

Addition:
Oh - and I've just realized: If it is actually the translator who they regard as a competitor whom they don't want to help - then I find that equally sad.

[Edited at 2008-07-29 00:53]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Do you provide references?

Advanced search


Translation news





Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs