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"Connect" feature - some rules needed?
Thread poster: Christiane Lalonde

Christiane Lalonde  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:10
Member
English to French
Jan 6, 2008

I just received a job proposal via the "Connect" feature. I could not believe what I saw.
The agency was offering US 0.05 per word for translating 17,000 words in 1 week in a very specialised field (aerospatial engineering). I think ProZ should state some rules of decency at this point. This is slavery, not transation.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:10
Italian to English
Support ticket? Jan 6, 2008

Hi Christiane,

AFAIK, there are already rules in place to block job offers below your threshold rate.

If you are getting unsuitable offers, you could send a support ticket and I'm sure the site staff will sort it out.

Best,

Giles


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:10
English to German
+ ...
"Premium" job? Jan 6, 2008

Hi Christine,
Giles is right: please do submit a Support ticket. Was this labelled as a "premium" job?

If you like, please contact me through me profile, so you can forward the notification to me.

Best regards,
Ralf


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 04:10
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I just got the same offer. Jan 6, 2008

I was tempted to reply, "You've got to be kidding," but I didn't because the offer said to reply only if I had experience in the field. So I deleted the message. At that price, I don't WANT experience in any field.

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Christiane Lalonde  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:10
Member
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
I did reply Jan 6, 2008

Oh I did reply. Enough is enough. I wrote "How can you expect that people experienced in this very specialised field would even consider to translate 17,000 in ONE week for 5 cents per word??? "
:


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:10
English to French
+ ...
Don't reply to the offer - send a support request Jan 6, 2008

There is no point in replying to such offers - it is against site rules AND it is unproductive, both for you and the outsourcer. You should send a support request instead.

The Connect platform doesn't have a set of strict rules, so in theory, jobs can be advertised as Premium when there is absolutely nothing premium about them. The Connect platform is in a way autoregulated, that is there are guidelines left to the judgement of users. BUT there are also people behind the platform who monitor what goes on behind the scenes - they are receptive. These people, when they are made aware of occurrences like this rather lousy offer, take matters into their hands. It is not enough to pay for use of the platform in order to be allowed to use it. If people use it outside its scope, they will be dealt with. This is why you should submit a support request.

I completely agree that it is insulting to get such offers labeled as premium. However, I think that the platform is still so new that it will go through much adjustment before reaching its final state. But judging from some of the premium offers sent through the platform, I admit it may be useful to have rules instead of guidelines.


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Christiane Lalonde  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:10
Member
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Victoria Jan 6, 2008

Merci Victoria. I will send a support ticket.
By "premium", do you mean that all the jobs sent via the Connect platform are premium?
Christiane


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Publicity is the best defense Jan 6, 2008

I too was surprised to see this offer in the Connect platform at Proz.

I decided to make the terms of Maria L. Gustafson's offer the subject of the first posting in my new blog. I believe that publicizing this sort of practice is one of the few defenses we have.

My blog can be found at: http://johnrawlins.typepad.com/lost_in_translation/

Any comments will be welcomed.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:10
English to French
+ ...
Premium, Standard and Classic Jan 7, 2008

There are three types of jobs posted on ProZ:

- Premium - Jobs offered through the Connect platform and paid at or above market rates (this is the part that cannot be regulated since rate fixing is illegal in most countries and ProZ probably wouldn't be interested even if it were legal, for obvious reasons)

- Standard - Jobs offered through the Connect platform that don't satisfy the Premium job class criteria (again, the criteria are vague so it is left up to the judgment of the job poster how they interpret the guidelines)

- Classic - Your average job board job

Sadly, the way the e-mail header is constructed, there can be a confusion between Premium and Standard. They are both sent through the Connect platform and so both are coming from a sender called ProZ Premium Job. For Standard jobs, it is only in the title of the e-mail that the word Standard appears. This is why we tend to think that Standard jobs are Premium jobs when they sometimes aren't intended to be.

However, there is a solution to this confusion. In your profile settings, you can specify whether you want to receive both Premium and Standard offers, or if you prefer to be advised of Premium jobs only. I opted for Premium only, since I am not prepared to work at rates that aren't considered premium by ProZ. Please note that the average market rate that ProZ refers to is based on their compilation of rates entered into profiles on this site, which means that the resulting average is not representative of the market as a whole, especially since the vast majority of jobs assigned through ProZ are agency jobs, where rates are lower than in the case of direct clients. I also prefer to work for a rate above the real market rate, so anything Classic or Standard is out of the question for me. I very seldom get these job notifications now - but on the other hand, when I do get them, I am interested for the most part.

I am guessing that the Connect platform is only temporarily based on guidelines and rules will probably be introduced soon. My guess is based upon my understanding that ProZ is letting outsourcers shape their outsourcing tool themselves as long as they use their good judgement and don't try to turn it into a system to find cheap labour. It looks as though most Connect users are doing it right - but there are always a few in the bunch who dare. If their numbers become too great, ProZ will most likely look for a better solution. The platform is also a good thing for ProZ and they've put lots of effort in it, so I would be surprised if they let it go astray.

[Edited at 2008-01-07 00:23]


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Christiane Lalonde  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:10
Member
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Jan 7, 2008

Thanks again Victoria. I did not realise I could set up my settings that way.
Christiane


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redred  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 16:10
English to Chinese
+ ...
low rate offer Jan 7, 2008

Giles Watson wrote:

Hi Christiane,

AFAIK, there are already rules in place to block job offers below your threshold rate.

Best,

Giles


Are there rules regarding such a situation?


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:10
Italian to English
You set the rules Jan 7, 2008

redred wrote:

Giles Watson wrote:

Hi Christiane,

AFAIK, there are already rules in place to block job offers below your threshold rate.

Best,

Giles


Are there rules regarding such a situation?


Hi redred,

I'm probably not the person you should be asking but if I understand the system correctly, once you indicate a minimum rate in your profile, (your maximum rate is automatically 2.5 times the minimum figure), you should receive only job offers that fall within that range.

http://www.proz.com/faq/rates#rates_why

You can make your rates visible to visitors to your profile or not, as you prefer.

This system doesn't stop outsourcers offering very low rates but it does stop them bothering you with jobs that are of no interest.

I see that Christiane has entered publicly visible rates that are higher than the offer that upset her so I imagine there's a glitch in the system somewhere. I'm sure the site staff will sort it out when she sends in a support ticket.

Cheers,

Giles


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 09:10
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Opt out of Connect altogether ? Jan 7, 2008

Apparently, if you don't 'play the game' and fill in everything Proz now wants you to (my home address and private phone number are missing!!), you are automatically left out of "Connect" altogether, whether you are a fully paid up "member" or not.
But it looks like it really doesn't matter.
A colleague of mine was one of 103 people emailed about a "premium" job in Nl-En legal. I wasn't notified at all. ( I sent in a support ticket and that wasn't even acknowledged, let alone answered).
In any case, what's "Premium" about a job sent to over 100 people?
As long as it's a question of bidding, no matter what the proposed rate, there will always be someone who will underbid the rest to get the job.
Imo, not worth losing sleep over. No matter what the "Connect" category.


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Bidding for a job Jan 7, 2008

If I were to win a non-specialist project contract by being the lowest bidder from 100 or so 'invitees', then I am really saying that I value my time less than everybody else.

If this ever happens, then I would want to dig a large hole in the bottom of the garden and climb in.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:10
Italian to English
Couldn't agree more Jan 7, 2008

John Rawlins wrote:

If I were to win a non-specialist project contract by being the lowest bidder from 100 or so 'invitees', then I am really saying that I value my time less than everybody else.

If this ever happens, then I would want to dig a large hole in the bottom of the garden and climb in.


That's absolutely right, John.

I'm quite pleased that in recent months, nearly all the outsourcers who have contacted me through Proz have *not* specified a rate in their initial email message. In the past, price always seemed to be the first concern of Proz-mediated outsourcers but nowadays many of them seem to be getting a bit more selective.

Cheers,

Giles


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