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Outsourcer web with no pictures - What's your gut feeling?
Thread poster: Tomás Cano Binder, CT

Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 17, 2008

Dear colleagues,

We have discussed nicknames and pictures/lack of pictures in our profiles. I am now wondering about how we feel about companies whose websites contain no team member names, no pictures, and sometimes not even a phone number or an actual mail address (just a PO Box and some email address).

When some new customer contacts me for a translation job, I like to visit their website as the first step. Seeing people's names and pictures, ideally the names and pictures of the people I will be dealing with, gives me some sense of assurance that the company is an ethical business. On the other hand, I have some wonderful customers whose websites don't contain such information or images, and have had some customer in the past with big, professionally made pictures in their website but rather unacceptable practices. So names and pictures are not a guarantee, but I like to see them.

I am curious to know what you folks think about this. Thanks a lot in advance!


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Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:11
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
no fake photos! Dec 17, 2008

I would rather see no pictures than stock photographs of smiling "diverse" employees huddled around a desktop.

You know the ones I mean.

Gah. I hate those.

Beyond that, though, I guess I don't expect to see human photographs with a corporate web site. I do feel better if there's a phone number and a business location rather than just a PO box. I also like to see the names and some biographic information about the owner/senior management.

Beyond that, something that always leaves a favorable impression is evidence of involvement in the "translation community"--whether that be a blog, a history service in professional organizations, articles written for publications, etc.


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waschbaer
Germany
Local time: 03:11
French to German
+ ...
pictures on company websites Dec 17, 2008

Tomás,

As you said yourself, some of the best clients don't have pictures on their websites. I don't need to see pictures of the people I deal with. It can be nice of course, but it doesn't give you a guarantee. I pay much more attention to contact details and like to check them also. So, no phone number or address for example is a negative indicator for me. There should also be the name of a contact person.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:11
English to French
+ ...
Depends Dec 17, 2008

As you have probably guessed, I am not fond of displaying my picture all over the Web. There is no picture of me anywhere. The reason for that is that I am a freelancer, not a company. I mind my privacy. Similarly, for smaller agencies, this argument holds. As for bigger agencies, I tend to agree with Kathryn - I'd rather not see their faces than see the face of a pretty, young, blonde, white-skinned woman with a headset (for an agency in Afghanistan, where both headsets and blonde women are a rarity) who seemingly works for another dozen agencies at the same time, seeing as her picture is all over the Web.

For marketing purposes, I do find that it is a smart idea to display a picture. Many clients prefer working with people rather than with corporate identities. The same way, many clients prefer talking to you over the phone than writing e-mails. Who knows... Maybe in a few years you'll all get to see what I look like. But I don't see any dishonesty in not displaying pictures or names. I have several bigger agency clients where names are not a secret, even pictures of PMs are occasionally sent by e-mail, but none of that can be seen on their websites - not one person is named. Yet, they are good, honest, reliable people.

As long as there is a true, physical address displayed on the website (and not some ridiculous postal pox number), and as long as the phone number on the website doesn't invariably lead to an answering machine, I have no problem not seeing names or faces.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:11
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Verifiable business information Dec 18, 2008

The most important information for me is stuff like physical addresses, telephone numbers and verifiable tax ID numbers. Just once I let myself get scammed by someone with just an e-mail address (though I recycled that translation and used it effectively in marketing) - never again!

As for the pictures, well... I can't avoid making a mental image in my head of whomever I communicate with, so I find it helpful to see some sort of picture. It's a bit disconcerting to spend years talking on the phone and e-mailing with someone I picture in my head as a few years older only to meet that person later and find he or she is 15 years younger and just has an "old" voice from chain smoking. I had no idea what my favorite client looked like even after 5 years, until one day he showed up on the doorstep with a bottle of wine. My partner did recognize his dog, though. That kinda spoiled the surprise for him


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:11
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I'm with you, Kevin Dec 18, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:


As for the pictures, well... I can't avoid making a mental image in my head of whomever I communicate with, so I find it helpful to see some sort of picture. It's a bit disconcerting to spend years talking on the phone and e-mailing with someone I picture in my head as a few years older only to meet that person later and find he or she is 15 years younger and just has an "old" voice from chain smoking.


Yes! I do that, too...imagine what people look like. I have a whole bunch of people I've worked with for years whom I've never seen, in photos or otherwise. I asked a couple of them to send me their pictures, but they never got around to it. I really like to see what people look like. A picture can reveal a lot. I like to look 'em in the eye.


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Laura Tridico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:11
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Contact info is critical Dec 18, 2008

I don't really care about photos - except I agree with Kathryn that those fake office pictures are obnoxious.

But the more contact information, the better. I want to see a real address, phone number, fax number, website, etc.

I display my picture, but for me it isn't that important. But I have to admit it was nice to see a group photo from one of the agencies I work with. After dealing with people by e-mail or phone for a couple of years it was nice to put faces to names. Last year I also had the chance to meet a client when they were in Washington for business - very nice. At some point I plan to visit Paris and set time aside to visit some of my clients.

Laura


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 09:11
Partial member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
An animation Dec 18, 2008

I opened some freelancers's webpages and saw animation or cartoon e.g. Mickeymouse-like graphic.
I asked the owner. She said it was her idol!
Can this be a photo or logo of an agency or freelance translators?

Soonthon L.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"Honest John" in a translation version Dec 18, 2008

Kathryn Litherland wrote:
I would rather see no pictures than stock photographs of smiling "diverse" employees huddled around a desktop.
You know the ones I mean.
Gah. I hate those.


Me too!! They try to emulate the "honest John" concept (with John the car dealer in front of a true bargain with a welcoming smile you can trust). They show something that hardly reflects reality, and that is the awful part of it. I would prefer to see the real picture of two people with a T-shirt working in a small office somewhere in Chicago than seeing these stock photos! Yuck!


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:11
Dutch to English
+ ...
I use an animation Dec 18, 2008

It says more about me than a photo would. What I look like is inmaterial when it comes to my competences and experience in doing my job.

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Some people work really hard! Dec 18, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I'd rather not see their faces than see the face of a pretty, young, blonde, white-skinned woman with a headset (for an agency in Afghanistan, where both headsets and blonde women are a rarity) who seemingly works for another dozen agencies at the same time, seeing as her picture is all over the Web.


Yes, I know who you mean. She does work very hard indeed!

But I think I like her better than the happy-family, happy-oldies-walking-down-the-beach, happy-couple, satisfied-man-in-luxury-car, healthy-thin-mom, trusted-doctor German stock photos in the magazine of my insurance company... :-/


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thought it was you! Dec 18, 2008

Marijke Singer wrote:
It says more about me than a photo would. What I look like is inmaterial when it comes to my competences and experience in doing my job.


Oh Marijke! This is quite a disappointment. I could watch your Spider-Man for ever. But I thought it was your moves processed to a Spider-Man with some software.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:11
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Viktoria, I've rumbled you ! Dec 18, 2008

Viktoria, I've guessed it. YOU are the omnipresent blonde in the headset, no?
Best wishes,
Jenny


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Marion Rooijmans
Netherlands
Local time: 03:11
English to Dutch
+ ...
That happened to me! Dec 18, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:

It's a bit disconcerting to spend years talking on the phone and e-mailing with someone I picture in my head as a few years older only to meet that person later and find he or she is 15 years younger and just has an "old" voice from chain smoking.


When I still worked as a PM, I worked a lot with a French translator. She always sounded like she was in her fifties (at least) and she had had a rough life, lots of cigarettes and alcohol. Very wise as well. Then one of my colleagues told me this French translator was only a couple of years older than me, quite a shock! Still, I've never seen a picture of her or met her, so I don't know if she looks als old as she sounds.

By the way, Kevin, it's nice to see a picture of you. I don't know if you remember my name, but I occassionally contacted you when I still worked as a PM. You don't look very different from what I imagined.


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Stuart Dowell  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:11
Member (2007)
Polish to English
+ ...
Reliable contact information Dec 18, 2008

I think if the outsourcer is a single person then it would build confidence to see a photograph and a real name rather than see some kind of cartoon and a nickname.

If the outsourcer is a company, I can understand that a photograph of a single person would be inappropriate.

However, reliable contact data and VAT numbers are a must.

[Edited at 2008-12-18 13:42 GMT]


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