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Approached by agency with bad Blue Board record
Thread poster: Marie-Hélène Hayles

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:44
Italian to English
+ ...
Mar 6, 2007

I've been contacted (not through Proz) by an agency with an appalling Blue Board record - average score 1.3 (10 entries over 3 years), full of comments like "had to get a debt collection agency onto them"... "finally paid after 6 months" and so on. Now of course, I have no intention of working for them, but I'm undecided on whether to inform them politely that I know of their poor practices or just chuck the email in the trash. What would/do you do in such situations?

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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Partial member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
I would tell them what you know Mar 6, 2007

So they see that people look into the BlueBoard.

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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:44
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Tell them, please! Mar 6, 2007

Hi Marie-Helene,
Yes, please tell them! Bad companies should know that they can run, but they can't hide!!

Amy


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:44
French to English
So would I Mar 6, 2007

I was emailed not long ago by an agency with a similar if not identical score (it certainly rings a bell), and which was also named on one or two other lists of a similar nature to which I have access.

I believe I used the phrase "your reputation precedes you" somewhere in the short email I sent, but without being specific. They expressed no curiosity about the source of my info. I guess they are aware of their doubtful rep.


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:44
Member (2004)
English to French
Two possible answers Mar 6, 2007

You can politely say that you are overbooked, or request an upfront payment on the base of their poor rating in proz.

I have been approched recently by an agency that was poorly rated. At the time, I was simply busy, so I declined (usually, when I am available, I check the BB first). Then a few days later another well rated agency in the same country as the first one requested the translation of the very same text. I checked both ratings, then advised the "good" agency of the coincidence that they ask for the same text. They said the first agency asked them to find a suitable translator. I then informed them of the situation and that they were bad payers. The good agency thanked me and cancelled the job.


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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:44
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Of course they are... Mar 6, 2007

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I guess they are aware of their doubtful rep.


... and I suppose they don't care a lot, after all. They know that eventually will find a translator someway.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:44
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's pretty conclusive! Mar 6, 2007

I was three quarters decided anyway - thanks for pushing me all the way!

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Todd Field  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:44
Member (2003)
Portuguese to English
Ask for prepayment Mar 6, 2007

When this happens to me, I ask for prepayment and politely mention the agency's Blue Board record.

Although this approach has never actually resulted in a prepaid job, I can still protect myself while being simultaneously candid and courteous. The responses have ranged from amusing to downright shocking... proving once again that the Blue Board is a great tool for dodging bullets.

Todd


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sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:44
English to Russian
+ ...
Also, too few reviews Mar 6, 2007

I would also advise to be careful with the agencies having just one or two reviews on BB. I am trying to collect quite a lot of money from a European agency which had just one (and excellent!) review. Now I realize one review was definitely not enough.

Another red flag: they approached me directly instead of placing a job on the website.


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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 11:44
German to Romanian
+ ...
ask for payment in advance and tell them of their record Mar 6, 2007

you will probably not hear from them again, which is a sign they are not serious ... but at least they will know that translators do find out about their practices and eventually they will not find people to work for them

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Mayturgeon  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:44
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
They are not all the same Mar 6, 2007

sokolniki wrote:
Another red flag: they approached me directly instead of placing a job on the website.


I don't really agree with you sokolniki on that one. I've been contacted many times directly by agencies for jobs not posted on any website. Agencies I have never worked for, with great records on BB. Many professional relationships I have started that way.
Whether the agency posts its jobs or contacts directly, freelancers have to check the reviews and comments before considering to work for them.

Asking for payment upfront is a good way to test agencies with bad reviews. Just like any agencies often ask for free translation test, to test translators.

I would definitely let the agency know that its review is not the best. We have to show them that freelancers are not credulous.


[Edited at 2007-03-06 19:40]


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Evija Rimšāne  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 12:44
Member
English to Latvian
agree with Maylanie Turgeon Mar 6, 2007

I also have been contacted by several agencies direclty, and now we have a brilliant cooperation relationship. So this is not the indicator for evaluating a good/bad payer.

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:44
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I've also been approached directly by a number of agencies Mar 6, 2007

And they've all been absolutely fine. I wouldn't know about any jobs posted anyway, as I don't subscribe to the job postings.

I had no intention of asking for prepayment - I don't need to work with dubious agencies and I prefer to only have relationships with people I can trust.

Anyway, I've just sent the following email:

Vi ringrazio per la vostra proposta.
Sono spiacente, ma le mie ricerche hanno rivelato che le vostre procedure di pagamento dei fornitori non sono del tutto soddisfacenti.
Di conseguenza, non sono al momento disponibile a lavorare con voi.

(Thank you for your email. I regret to inform you that my enquiries have revealed that your payment practices are somewhat less than perfect. Unfortunately in such a situation I am unable to work with you.)


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:44
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Do be careful, Marie-Hélène Mar 6, 2007

Marie-Helene Hayles wrote:

I've been contacted (not through Proz) by an agency with an appalling Blue Board record - average score 1.3 (10 entries over 3 years), full of comments like "had to get a debt collection agency onto them"... "finally paid after 6 months" and so on. Now of course, I have no intention of working for them, but I'm undecided on whether to inform them politely that I know of their poor practices or just chuck the email in the trash. What would/do you do in such situations?


My advice is to be very careful regarding this agency with its appalling Blue Board record.
If the agency has treated other translators so badly, it's likely to do the same to you. The reason it is seeking new translators is probably that its former translators have stopped working for it after several months (or even years) of not getting paid.
The whole point of the Blue Board is to help translators avoid that situation.
I suspect I know who this agency might be. I know I'm not allowed to give names in a forum, but if you contact me personally I might be able to help.
jenny @ jennyforbes.wanadoo.co.uk
Best of luck and kind regards,
Jenny.

[Edited at 2007-03-07 08:40]


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 11:44
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Just an observation... Mar 6, 2007

The subject seemed to have hit the nerve of the Prozship - just look at the numbers of views (500+) and replies (13 and counting).

Henry, BB is a swell of an idea.

And, let's not give them a living chance in hell


sincerely burnt-by-BB-ones Vito


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