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What to do when an agency fails you a UK question
Thread poster: xxxBrandis
xxxBrandis
Local time: 05:36
English to German
+ ...
Sep 27, 2006

Hello there,

I have been interacting with a couple of agencies, that are supposedly be top champions in translation trade, so I took a chance of giving them a quarter million word split projects. Now the agency took a 3 days time and came back that they cannot acomplish the project. They have however said, project size is not a problem and they had recd. a TM of 200000 words for two projects, source files and Trados (.ini or DTD)settings. What can I do now. I had believed all that good talk, because no single translator or a group of translators that collaborate with each other could have accomplished this, as per time frame, the price structure was not cheap either with all the matching, because i am giving the working environment that comes in batch file processing. I am very angry, because I am losing a noble client, but the agency initially promising fails me. I cannot post, because the system limits this in a relation of translator to outsourcer and not outsourcer to outsource, there is a huge war going out there in this area in global economy. aLL adv. is appreciated. I think proz.com could do something along these lines, while seeking improvement. Best Brandis


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:36
French to Spanish
+ ...
Don't get it. Sep 27, 2006

1.- You have 200 000 words to translate.
2.- You've been in touch with 2 agencies, they said yes.
3.- Later on, they said no.

Is that it? Let me know if I understood the problem all right.

Why are you angry? They can say "no".
Look for somebody else, should I say. Or put your own agency and look for translators... in ProZ, for example.
And why should ProZ.com improve anything in this case: that's you personal business problem, isnt' it?
And what the "huge war out here" has to do here?


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Manuel Rossetti
Local time: 04:36
re: agency fails you a UK question Sep 27, 2006

Hi Brandis,

How was your contract?
It should be tight covering all angles and offering yourself protection against these possible mishaps.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 05:36
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I think you have understood it right Sep 27, 2006

Juan Jacob wrote:

1.- You have 200 000 words to translate.
2.- You've been in touch with 2 agencies, they said yes.
3.- Later on, they said no.

Is that it? Let me know if I understood the problem all right.

Why are you angry? They can say "no".
Look for somebody else, should I say. Or put your own agency and look for translators... in ProZ, for example.
And why should ProZ.com improve anything in this case: that's you personal business problem, isnt' it?
And what the "huge war out here" has to do here?


Jacob, the situation was two large projects, that I could trust to either giving to teams or only agencies, singled out translators would never have been in position to accomplish the task. I gave clear PO with instruction and all resources, TM, DTD settings, reference material, time frame and also the price. The agency said yes, and slept for over 3 days and repeatedly put questions that they needed more input and I do not know what else, god forbid me from abusing. Finally I had to wake up, this is not the way to do things. The reached solution was different, but the promise on the part of the agency with so many translators apparently was not working either. I ask myself now, is it the translator fooling the agency or the agency falcifying their ability or an agency trying destoy another. I had to give out this work because my team was and is still busy with other projects. BTW the combination was German - UK English. I guess, if there were atleast one person in that agency understanding the source text together with the supplied TM and some trados experience, many things would have been lot easier. When a translator can post LWA on an agency, why can´t he/ she do it, incase of a non-compliant agency that promises, why can´t a translator or an team or an agency do the same, that would represent the true nature of the global economic processes. Apparently agencies have a way of working with each other, which did not work in this case. I do not have to be an agency to give a job, everything was set, there was an agreement, but whether agency or a translator the compliancy was lacking. I hope you get it now.Best Brandis

[Edited at 2006-09-27 19:16]


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Manuel Rossetti
Local time: 04:36
re: Juan Jacob Sep 27, 2006

Juan Jacob wrote:

1.- You have 200 000 words to translate.
2.- You've been in touch with 2 agencies, they said yes.
3.- Later on, they said no.

Is that it? Let me know if I understood the problem all right.

Why are you angry? They can say "no".
Look for somebody else, should I say. Or put your own agency and look for translators... in ProZ, for example.
And why should ProZ.com improve anything in this case: that's you personal business problem, isnt' it?
And what the "huge war out here" has to do here?




I too wasn't very clear on the message. However, this is how I feel. I do not know what the time frame is for this huge project. All I know based on experience and common sense is that, there's a lot at risk on taking on such a humongous job in such little time. That's scary, and as a translator, I'm aware once I say yes, that all the responsibility of the project is on the translator, at least according to some agencies. That's why I feel the contract and or purchase order is so important. For a big project, I feel the translator should have some time to be able to opt out of the project. That should be negotiated and made official with the agency and client.

I do not feel it's right for the translator who's actually having to do the project fo take all the fault. How much support can a translator actually get from the person administering the project? It's so big that there has to be a team alotted to provide support- technical, general in relation to the project and the person doing the job. If that's not available to the translator, for sure, they should have their right to exit withing a given amount of time.


How's the agency or client managing the entire project? There tends to be alot of rush and sometimes excitement at the fact that there's alot of money (income) involved. Really, in my opinion, I think it is insane to expect so much work at excellent quality in little time when there's not been the time taken to negotiate and make official the possibility of such mishaps. I would really like to see the probability of huge projects and little time and see how many are actually of polished quality.

Yes, it's up to the person to accept. However, it's crazy to even offer such expectations. (This is my opinion.) There may be pages that are unclear or missing or who knows what may happen. Are there enough personnel at the agency to help the group of translators working? How is it handled by the client if these problems occur or is it all the translators responsibility to deal with this being the translator said yes to taking on the project.

There's so much involvement, it seems that a lawyer is necessary to write up the contract to protect both the client, agency and translator.

ex. I saw on tv the other on a court show, a lady needing her entire roof and gutters done within 24hours. She finally hired this gentleman who was a licensed contractor to do her job. Well, he got the job done, and the roof and gutters were once again restored, but not to her standards. She decided not to pay him.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 05:36
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I have no idea, how the agency manages the project Sep 27, 2006

emilysc wrote:

Juan Jacob wrote:

1.- You have 200 000 words to translate.
2.- You've been in touch with 2 agencies, they said yes.
3.- Later on, they said no.

Is that it? Let me know if I understood the problem all right.

Why are you angry? They can say "no".
Look for somebody else, should I say. Or put your own agency and look for translators... in ProZ, for example.
And why should ProZ.com improve anything in this case: that's you personal business problem, isnt' it?
And what the "huge war out here" has to do here?




I too wasn't very clear on the message. However, this is how I feel. I do not know what the time frame is for this huge project. All I know based on experience and common sense is that, there's a lot at risk on taking on such a humongous job in such little time. That's scary, and as a translator, I'm aware once I say yes, that all the responsibility of the project is on the translator, at least according to some agencies. That's why I feel the contract and or purchase order is so important. For a big project, I feel the translator should have some time to be able to opt out of the project. That should be negotiated and made official with the agency and client.

I do not feel it's right for the translator who's actually having to do the project fo take all the fault. How much support can a translator actually get from the person administering the project? It's so big that there has to be a team alotted to provide support- technical, general in relation to the project and the person doing the job. If that's not available to the translator, for sure, they should have their right to exit withing a given amount of time.


How's the agency or client managing the entire project? There tends to be alot of rush and sometimes excitement at the fact that there's alot of money (income) involved. Really, in my opinion, I think it is insane to expect so much work at excellent quality in little time when there's not been the time taken to negotiate and make official the possibility of such mishaps. I would really like to see the probability of huge projects and little time and see how many are actually of polished quality.

Yes, it's up to the person to accept. However, it's crazy to even offer such expectations. (This is my opinion.) There may be pages that are unclear or missing or who knows what may happen. Are there enough personnel at the agency to help the group of translators working? How is it handled by the client if these problems occur or is it all the translators responsibility to deal with this being the translator said yes to taking on the project.

There's so much involvement, it seems that a lawyer is necessary to write up the contract to protect both the client, agency and translator.

ex. I saw on tv the other on a court show, a lady needing her entire roof and gutters done within 24hours. She finally hired this gentleman who was a licensed contractor to do her job. Well, he got the job done, and the roof and gutters were once again restored, but not to her standards. She decided not to pay him.
I gave them this work, because they said they can do it with all the given parameters. They have recd. all the necessary resources I have, and kept me waiting for 3 days only to request for more time, which was not in the game. Now I am afraid I have lost that income and also my customer, so I claim loss from the agency. This is my good right. Best Brandis


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:36
German to French
+ ...
My opinion Sep 28, 2006

I feel some people (and even agencies) do not check through a document before they say yes.
I am sometimes amazed by some people saying yes, giving a quote and coming back days later that they are not able to open the document.

I see it as a lesson to be more careful when dealing with projects with some kind of particularity (size, deadline format). It is sad that you lost your client. Maybe if you had seen that you had a team for it before accepting the job (one that you can rely on and not a new one) or asked the client to ask the deadline of a couple of days, it wouldn't have so bad.

You lost 3 days on a 200 000 words project. How tight was the deadline for it that it was a matter of 3-4 days more to finish the project and loose the client if it was 3 days late. Sometimes deadlines are just crazy.

I can't advise much, I think it was very pushy indeed but I am not in your shoes and I would not like to be. The client send you the job thinking that your team would be ready for it so in a sense if I were a client and you had a team I would be much disappointed when you told me you were trying to subcontract it and as a consequence lost time.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 06:36
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
It could be a matter of diminishing rates Sep 28, 2006

When Brandis excepts the job for rate X, offers it to agency UK1 for the rate 0.7X (X-30%), and the agency UK1 outsources this job in chunks for the rate 0.49X (again 30% off), It may well be possible that they do not find qualified professional freelances.
I'm only guessing.

Hope you find a solution!

Regards
Heinrich


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 05:36
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Your guess was wrong Heinrich Sep 28, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

When Brandis excepts the job for rate X, offers it to agency UK1 for the rate 0.7X (X-30%), and the agency UK1 outsources this job in chunks for the rate 0.49X (again 30% off), It may well be possible that they do not find qualified professional freelances.
I'm only guessing.

Hope you find a solution!

Regards
Heinrich
The rate was high, only it needed in the shortest time frame, to fulfil this I have given them my dearest TM, which I had developed and maintained. Here the agency had accepted in as-is state and agreed on price and timing, finally I had to determine I had to teach the agency, the workings with the files. Listening to the agency´s mails I must determine, they were not reading the content at all, hence leading to repeated educative mails. How can anybody be like this in this industry, I wonder.Best Brandis


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 05:36
German
+ ...
That's weird. Sep 28, 2006

Brandis wrote:

Listening to the agency´s mails I must determine, they were not reading the content at all, hence leading to repeated educative mails.
What, you mean they didn't seem to understand what you wrote them, even though you did so repeatedly?

Strange.

Best tectranslate


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 05:36
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The agency promises that thay would accomplish in the given parameter Sep 28, 2006

tectranslate wrote:

Brandis wrote:

Listening to the agency´s mails I must determine, they were not reading the content at all, hence leading to repeated educative mails.
What, you mean they didn't seem to understand what you wrote them, even though you did so repeatedly?

Strange.

Best tectranslate
Trados finishing and tagging etc., it seems they know like wizards. Now the source files, reference files, DTD settings and the .xml files were sent. After accepting the work and understanding the price and time frames, the agency says they need higher price and more relaxation on time. The files were sent to them prior to receiving the PO, so that they have adequate time to understand the subject. What now seems to be the problem, I would never ever employ this agency and would clearly reject all postings because this is unethical practise and against all trade conventions. The agency and their translators were approaching me with more educative demands about howtos. Now I have informed the customer of this issue and cleared all cards. This one lesson to learn the hard way. I am most sorry for the trust my customer was giving me. The point is he is also in a fix. Hence I suspect the agency wars. Best Brandis


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 05:36
German
+ ...
... Sep 28, 2006

Brandis wrote:

I am most sorry for the trust my customer was giving me.

Yeah, same here. Best tectranslate


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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:36
Member (2003)
German to English
Quite odd Sep 28, 2006

tectranslate wrote:

What, you mean they didn't seem to understand what you wrote them, even though you did so repeatedly?

Strange.

Best tectranslate


'Tis hard to fathom indeed.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:36
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Some conclusions... Sep 28, 2006

the budget was too tight and so the deadline. The agency probably tried to find translators at a certain price and who could do the job within the specified deadline. I think it's almost impossible to find good and competent translators working for a lowish rate (you said the price was high, but why did the agency say they needed more money, then?) and with a very tight deadline. The probably tried, but failed. It is a very time-consuming task. Having said that, there are some lessons to be learnt: often the biggest agencies are the worst. They employ many trainees, who don't know the field very well and are paid peanuts. Go for medium sized ones, where the owner is often in charge. Educate your clients: big jobs with tight deadlines often result in disaster and are a no no. You should have warned your client about this. Subcontracting takes the control out of your hands. I seldom do it, especially if it means involving many people. Finally, you should have taken the job away from that agency immediately, especially if you had to keep repeating instructions. This is clearly a bad sign. Finally, starting using unknown agencies for the first time for a big project seems a bit naive to me. Starting a gradual relationship with an agency should have been one of your first priorities to cover your back in case your team is too busy. I hope I didn't sound too harsh.

Regards,

Giovanni

[Edited at 2006-09-28 12:19]


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:36
German to English
+ ...
Poor risk management IMO Sep 28, 2006

Brandis wrote:
...I have been interacting with a couple of agencies...



I would never ever employ this agency ...


Let me see if I have understood this correctly: You, a professional with "over 20 years of translation experience," gave a gigantic, 250,000-word job to an agency with whom you have *never previously cooperated*, only "interacted" (which I take to mean "exchanged emails" or similar); an agency that doesn't speak the source language, on an extremely tight deadline? And you're surprised it didn't work out?

It's not clear to me because I am honestly having a hard time deciphering your English. But if this is the case, I think you need to really think about your own role in the problem. While I can certainly sympathize with you about a translation partner backing out after accepting a job (and by all means pursue all legal avenues available), I find it irresponsible and unprofessional to give such an important job to someone you have never "vetted" (i.e. long-standing partner). In my opinion, that's part of being a responsible agency.

For reference, here's an example of how other people deal with this problem:

http://www.proz.com/post/265766#265766
Ralf Lemster wrote:
...
Managing your risks is crucial - for me, this means the following:

- I only work with a carefully selected group of freelancers.
- I never entrust someone I don't know with a critical project.
- I actively keep communicating during the project, ensuring that all those working on it know what they're supposed to do.
- Last but not least, our prices ensure that we only work with true professionals. (I actually turn down cheap offers, unless I am convinced that a freelancer is underselling him/herself, in which case I raise the price.)

Based on this risk-mitigating strategy, I have had only a handful of situations where the work delivered was sub-standard. In these cases, I substantiate what was wrong (usually by providing an edited version and/or a document comparison, with added comments where necessary). I also quantify the extra cost incurred, together with a suggestion to reduce the invoice accordingly. I only had one case in ten years where this was not accepted - in which case I paid the invoice in full and terminated the relationship.
...


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