A good answer to half-anonymous agencies asking us to fill in database forms:
Thread poster: Mats Wiman

Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:54
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Dec 14, 2002

I quote an excellent reply to such enquiries (posted on the TCR-D list):



Hello,



I would like a little more information on your agency in order to make an informed decision on whether I would consider working for you or not.



Would you be so kind as to send me information on the rates paid for my language combinations, the agency address and contact phone numbers, web site URL if applicable.



Thank you for your interest in my services.



Best regards,



Mats J C Wiman

Übersetzer/Translator/Traducteur/Traductor > swe

http://www.MatsWiman.com

http://www.Deutsch-Schwedisch.com

http://www.proz.com/translator/1749 Deu>swe Proz.com moderator

eMail: MatsWiman@swipnet.se

Träsk 201

SE-872 97 Skog

Tel : +46-612-54112

Fax : +46-612-54181

Mobile: +46-70-5769797











[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-14 09:29 ]


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Arthur Borges
China
Local time: 18:54
English
+ ...
Inte dumt det ! Dec 14, 2002

Their silly forms take AAAAAAAAAAAges to fill in, with all the little boxes and window they invent. And how many ever contact you.

I will plagiarise that if I may.


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Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:54
German to Italian
+ ...
A really good answer! Dec 14, 2002

Thanks



Antonella


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Uwe Kirmse  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:54
Polish to German
+ ...
a good answer, ... Dec 14, 2002

but I don\'t think, that you\'ll get the requested information. There will simply be no answer.

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Subhamay Ray  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:24
English to Bengali
+ ...
Thanks! Dec 14, 2002

I\'ll make use of it.

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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:54
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
We must continuously show where we stand Dec 14, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-12-14 11:34, uwe wrote:

but I don\'t think, that you\'ll get the requested information. There will simply be no answer.





Dear Uwe,



If we want this market to become more professional we must relentlessly repeat what we think is professional.



If the agency is a newcomer, it will learn and answer. I have personal experience of that sort.

If the agency is serious, it might have been in a rush and might have bad routines, but will come back.

The rest belongs to that translation industry swamp that should not be encouraged.



We must try to educate the industry if we believe in what we feel.





Mats



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-14 16:26 ]

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Nico van de Water  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:54
English to Dutch
+ ...
One step further... Dec 14, 2002

I entirely agree with Mats. Chapeau! But to go one step further, who on earth could make a decent living out of the \"generous\" fees dangled before our eyes like red herrings for all these job postings for legal, medical and other specialist assignments that are \'rewarded\' with USD 0.05 or EUR 0.06? Or who could live on 100% matches, with the risk of being called \"utterly unprofessional\", if those very same 100% matches were riddled with inconsistencies? And who can remember all those phone calls or faxes which implied the \'taciturn understanding\' that those very same 100% matches were \"of course\" checked against new terminology (\"language is a changing phenomenon\", \"product understanding and description changes all the time\")?



Perhaps we could encourage one another to simply ignore such postings as they not only present an insult to our professional (and perhaps personal) integrity, but also constitute a direct attack on our livelihood. A free market with qualitative differences is one thing, a \'free for all\' is another.



Reactions are invited to my personal e-mail address: nicovdwater@planet.nl. I welcome all responses, both in favour of these views and against them.



Thank you for your attention and your valuable time. And with best personal regards (and of course the best Season\'s Wishes),



Nico (aka Klaas).


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xxxmmachado
English to Portuguese
I agree with Mats Dec 14, 2002

Dear Mats,



I agree with you and have indeed followed the method described above several times. It\'s good as we start receiving messages only from good and reliable clients. No need to be watering weeds when we can use that time to look for nice flowers.



Thanks a lot for all your opinions on translation business. They are always very good.



Best regards,

Mónica Machado





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Arthur Borges
China
Local time: 18:54
English
+ ...
PATER NOSTER Dec 14, 2002

If we want this market to become more professional we must relentlessly repeat what we think is professional.



The rest belongs to that translation industry swamp that should not be encouraged.



We must try to educate the industry if we believe in what we feel.



AMEN


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:54
English to German
+ ...
Agree and disagree Dec 14, 2002

Quote:


Perhaps we could encourage one another to simply ignore such postings as they not only present an insult to our professional (and perhaps personal) integrity, but also constitute a direct attack on our livelihood. A free market with qualitative differences is one thing, a \'free for all\' is another.



I fully agree with the first part of your statement - most of such postings are better left alone. However, I don\'t see business transacted at, say, 5 cents as a direct commercial threat: I firmly believe we should abandon the notion that simply because someone is happy to do the work at that level, we also have to.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-15 13:51 ]

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xxxTService  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:54
English to German
In support of Ralf (although he needs none): Dec 15, 2002

This is exactly the way I see it, too.

To be \"professional\" (who sets that standard and what\'s it\'s definition ?) it should take more than applying to well-paid jobs only.

We all should stop discouraging small agencies (and those that are located in countries with low wages) and fellow translators by postulating to do only extremely well paid jobs.



Better ask yourself the question: What IS a well paid job ?

This is the way I see it: A well paid job is a complicated text with 0.12 Euros / US$ per source word - OR a simple text with 0.05 Euros / US$ per sourc word.

I prefer the latter - because it takes less time and lowers the danger of delivering a wrong translation.

What\'s the value of a text of 1000 words at 0.12 Euros that takes two stressy days compared with a text of 2000 words at 0.05 Euros that takes just an hour of joyful and easy work ?

I like demanding tasks - but I love jobs that are done quickly and easily.



Regarding Mats\' suggestion to deal with that endless forms for \"enhancing our database of experienced translators for future purposes\": I do it like him: I do write a short eMail - but I refrain from wasting my time with filling in thousands of text fields that no one ever evaluates.



And there\'s another thing that upsets me: A company asks for highly skilled translators, e. g. vast experience in the field of database programming using VBA.

The job offer is active for three minutes, no text sample is given - and there are 40 bids already.

It is absolutely clear that most applicants do NOT fulfull the requirements - but they DO apply for that job.

Two days after we see dozens of KudoZ questions dealing with that matter, showing that the one in charge lacks the simplest knowledge of the task he\'s working on.

Then six anwers to such a question are given - and the asker picks the worst answer to use in his translation.



This is something I call \"unprofessional\". And it has nothing to do with lower wages - it is the REASON for that.



Jörn...


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Terry Thatcher Waltz, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:54
Chinese to English
+ ...
Look out! :-) Dec 15, 2002

I once answered an agency asking for that kind of info (rates, etc.) before providing the samples that they requested, and they did not answer...then turned around six months later, threatened to sue me for libel, sicced the cops on me (I am an expat)...lots of fun! I notice they were recently taken off ProZ for antics regarding another agency, I believe.



But I agree that any professional agency should be quite willing to answer such questions, and indeed if they think about it, anyone willing to do any translation at any price should be avoided as that reeks of unprofessionalism.


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 12:54
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
not really... Dec 15, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-12-15 08:59, TService wrote:

This is exactly the way I see it, too.

To be \"professional\" (who sets that standard and what\'s it\'s definition ?) it should take more than applying to well-paid jobs only.

We all should stop discouraging small agencies (and those that are located in countries with low wages) and fellow translators by postulating to do only extremely well paid jobs.



Better ask yourself the question: What IS a well paid job ?

This is the way I see it: A well paid job is a complicated text with 0.12 Euros / US$ per source word - OR a simple text with 0.05 Euros / US$ per sourc word.

I prefer the latter - because it takes less time and lowers the danger of delivering a wrong translation.

What\'s the value of a text of 1000 words at 0.12 Euros that takes two stressy days compared with a text of 2000 words at 0.05 Euros that takes just an hour of joyful and easy work ?

I like demanding tasks - but I love jobs that are done quickly and easily.







Maybe so, but with respect to job postings, I can\'t say I have seen any extremely well paid jobs posted here.

What I do see (more and more often) is well established translation agencies posting (rather) difficult jobs at impossible/degrading rates.

There are quite a few in the language pairs I work in and Nico/Klaas is definitely hinting at some of the agencies I have in mind.



One of the latest was a legal job in PDF (posted as a ProZ job) at 0.06 euro/word.

If that\'s an easy job at a fair rate?



No, that\'s being greedy and aggressive.

They\'re simply taking away jobs from bonafide translators.



Post low paid jobs, triple...the purchase amount and sell, without any proofreading or editing.

These same agencies also claim they have all their translations proofread and edited by professionals, but I happen to know for a fact that this is simply not the case.



Then just add what Mats wrote about certain clauses added in their contracts and guess who\'s in for big problems if anything goes wrong?



Just recently I was contacted by a very well known agency asking me if I could lower my rates because they \'wanted to become more competitive\'.

Instead of .12/.13 (or whatever) they now want to pay 0.08 or less (I\'ve seen their most recent postings).



I checked their current selling rates only to find they start selling at .21/word (most common language pairs) up to .35 and more.

Now I don\'t mind the fact that people try to earn a good living and I do understand their overheads are far higher than ours, but really: tripling/quadrupling the amount of what they pay their translators, and then trying to get even better rates?



That\'s business, global business.



You should know they sent me about 15 jobs from June till September.

As from September I got exactly one from them (and because their end client asked for me).

And no, I didn\'t lower my rate, yet I\'m pretty sure I\'m not going to receive lots of translation assignments from them anymore.

I can live with that, as I work for several companies directly, but I can\'t say this trend makes me any happier nor does it any good.



In short, we should indeed be more assertive and yes, we should refuse to sign clauses like the one Mats mentioned.



A last thing, just recently someone posted an English-\'Flemish\' job (\"lightly\" legal topic) at 0.05 and only mentioned FE (as outsourcer coordinates) and a hotmail address.

Being moderator for this language pair, I deleted the posting indicating its anonymous character and its ridiculous rates.

The poster, who can get in touch with both the moderator and ProZ.com staff upon seeing the reasons why his posting was deleted, never replied.

Maybe he got the message?

And maybe we should simply do this more often.














[addsig]

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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:54
Italian to English
+ ...
database forms and cheeky translators Jan 8, 2003

A couple of points:



Database forms:

Like most, I work as an outsourcer as well as a freelancer. Translators can put themselves forward for future projects via e-mail (no horrible online forms), and the website has a downloadable Word document purely for the purposes of gathering translator details together and avoiding the 20 page CVs/resumes that come through on a regular basis (most in illegible 8-point, of course! As such, translators are free to fill in the form if they so wish: name, address, source and target languages - nothing ridiculous.



My second point - is there already a forum for this(?):

How to deal with cheeky translators?

I received a \'phone call this afternoon from a translator who wouldn\'t let me get a word in edgeways. (He translates from English to some Eastern languages, which will remain nameless.) He churned out some drivel and then proceeded to demand what my position was and how old I was (\"you should never ask a woman that\"), claiming I sounded like a teenager and was probably \"about 19\" - (I\'m 23). I stayed calm and asked him to e-mail me his details. (Wish I hadn\'t.) Perhaps speaking to women in a degrading way is common in other parts of the world? No skin off my nose - as if I\'d ever employ him now!?

..and I suppose I rather liked being 19 again..



Just food for thought.

All the best,

Amy











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