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Please don't bid on jobs if you aren't available!
Thread poster: Sandra Alboum

Sandra Alboum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:40
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 29, 2006

Hi.

Here's a tip for people to improve their business. Please don't bid on jobs posted on the Blue Board if you're not around or available to take them! I posted a job yesterday and received several good responses. Emailed them all with further questions regarding their availability, rates, etc etc etc, and what I got back was *silence*. It took several of the people I wrote to HOURS AND HOURS to get back to me, and it wasn't due to a time difference. Some of the people I wrote to offering the job *still* haven't gotten back to me, nearly 24 hours later.

Please don't bid on a job if you aren't around to answer follow-up questions, or even accept files that have been sent to you to begin!

Thanks.
Sandra
(sort of frustrated)


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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 05:40
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
some thoughts Aug 29, 2006

There are always two sides to such stories: sure, there are people who dont bother responding ASAP, while there are those who do, but perhaps in that particular one case the delay was caused by some force majeur (like electricity black-out, internet connection breakdown or whatever else of that nature) and then one simply cant respond immediately.

I try to keep to the rule – not to make a client/agency wait for my response for more than 2 hours – however as I mentioned before there can be situations when its simply impossible to respond faster. However if its really urgent there’s always phone.

Im not defending those who are arrogant, Im just speaking out for those who have gotten into some unfortunate coincidence.


[Edited at 2006-08-29 19:44]


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Teresa Bento  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:40
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I agree with both Aug 29, 2006

It's true that we need to look at both sides of the story (and each person is a different case). However, I also understand that it can be really frustrating when you're waiting for replies and people take ages to do it. Updating your daily availability sign is really important.

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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:40
English to German
+ ...
well Aug 29, 2006

I think if it is urgent make it urgent in the job offer.
Let people know they will have to answer more questions the very next day.

Or really search for a translator in Proz directories and send him or her an instant job.

If you have not worked together with a translator and did not mention you have an urgent task at hand, in my opinion allowing 24 hours response time is a question of professional politeness and is only reasonable. If you need someone more urgently, call them.

Of course, people will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


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Heather Chinchilla
United States
Local time: 22:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
I hope you found somebody! Aug 29, 2006

Did you finally find somebody? I looked for your job post and didn't see it. What language pair/area(s) of expertise are you looking for? If you haven't found someone, maybe somebody reading this forum could help?

I checked out your profile, and your agency on the Blue Board. I saw nothing but positive feedback from those who have worked with you before. It's nice to hear about someone who is professional, nice to work with, and pays on time. Usually in these forums I read about negative experiences such as rude project managers, late payers, etc.

Thank you for your professionalism, I hope others will follow your example. Good luck with your predicament!


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:40
German to Spanish
Yes Aug 29, 2006

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:



Or really search for a translator in Proz directories and send him or her an instant job.



I will never understand why people prefer to offer a job to 130.000 potencial bad translators instead to search for the 10 best based in a specific search.

Time? no! it takes less time to find ten good translators with the translator's mask than to read 100 bids from all over the world.

No, I can not understand...maybe the old human quirk?

It is so cause everybody do it, or it was always like this....


My suggestion for a new motto for Proz.com

Proz.com, the place where you find the best translator for your needs!
no auctions needed!




p.s.: but I understand your situation, in this case


Regards


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:40
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
I agree Aug 29, 2006

Fernando Toledo wrote:

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:



Or really search for a translator in Proz directories and send him or her an instant job.



I will never understand why people prefer to offer a job to 130.000 potencial bad translators instead to search for the 10 best based in a specific search.

Time? no! it takes less time to find ten good translators with the translator's mask than to read 100 bids from all over the world.

No, I can not understand...maybe the old human quirk?

It is so cause everybody do it, or it was always like this....


My suggestion for a new motto for Proz.com

Proz.com, the place where you find the best translator for your needs!
no auctions needed!




p.s.: but I understand your situation, in this case


Regards




This is not the first time you make your point about this and, again, I wholeheartedly agree with you. It is simpler, faster, and safer to search for the resources that meet your requirements and that you are likely to find at Proz.

On the other hand, as a job bidder, I refrain from bidding when I see 30, 50, or 70 biddings. I ask myself, what for? I suppose others do the same, which ultimately could account for a big chunk of qualified people who stay away from job postings.

Lastly, I understand Sandra's predicament and frustration, it is so easy to be polite. Discounting the few exceptions mentioned by bramasole, I would say the rest run the risk of being considered rude and curtail their future opportunities.


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Sandra Alboum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:40
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Bids Aug 29, 2006

First of all, thanks to Heather for the compliment! I appreciate it. I work hard to keep my translators happy. As a translator myself, I know what it's like out there in the trenches.

But let me give you an example of what I'm dealing with. My posting was for English>Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Got a quote from someone in the "Heartland" who had fabulous qualifications and a price that couldn't be beat. What more could I want?! She must have bid late last night or early this morning because the bid hadn't come in when I finally turned off my machine last night, but it was there this morning when I turned it on around 8am. She said she was excited to take on this job.

I wrote her this morning at 8:05am my time, which was probably 7:05am her time. I sent her some files, my standard paperwork, and asked her to please confirm ASAP her acceptance of the work and the terms.

I still haven't heard back from her.

For those who say, "Why not email people directly instead of posting?" my response is that this same thing happens when you send direct emails! In fact, once I had a job into French in a very specialized field, and I sent out about 20 emails to French translators asking who was available, and I only heard back from something like 2 or 3 within 24 hours. Several of them took weeks to respond (and wrote back asking if the job was still available) and one of them wrote back a couple months later -- "Hi! I just saw your email! Sorry!".

I guess the moral of the story is ... again ... if you are going to be bidding on a job, and if the job is something that you are truly interested in doing, PLEASE make sure that you are around your computer frequently during the next 24 hours in case the person/company offering the job has further questions or even offers the job to you. It is truly baffling how many times this has happened to me.

Take care, all. Hope everyone is booked solid. A busy translator is a HAPPY translator.

Sandra


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:40
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Why jobs are put up for bids Aug 29, 2006

Hi Fernando,

I will tell you why jobs are put up for bids. My experience of picking colleagues out of the directory is as follows:

Often they do not want the job, and sometimes they are discourteous about it. But, above all, they make such offers as "EUR 0.15/0.16 per word with immediate payment upon delivery". Even then, they do not always keep on answering once you have started to correspond with them in order to negotiate an arrangement.

If, on the other hand, you put up jobs for bids, people offer low-average to normal rates and agree to allow 30 days for payment - which is, for me, necessary, as my clients do not pay me by electronic return upon receipt of the translation.

To Sandra: Yes, I have experienced the same problem with trying to chase up translators after they have bid for a job. It is really hard work, and the only hope is to get them on the telephone first! Even then, they have sometimes meanwhile gone out shopping!

Astrid


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another suggestion Aug 29, 2006

Sandra Alboum wrote:
Please don't bid on a job if you aren't around to answer follow-up questions, or even accept files that have been sent to you to begin!


You mean "quote", right?

AFAIK, there's no bidding in Proz.

Regarding your predicament, perhaps an alternative could be to contact renowned translators associations/certification bodies in the language pairs you need.

At least most (all?) of these organizations require that their members abide by a professional code of conduct.

No guarantee of perfection, of course, but at least there would be some sense of accountability.

--
Dyran
(tiptoeing around the peanuts->monkeys can of worms)


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:40
Simple... Aug 29, 2006

Sandra Alboum wrote:

...if you are going to be bidding on a [this] job, and if the job is something that you are truly interested in doing, PLEASE make sure that you are around your computer frequently during the next 24 hours in case the person/company offering the job has [we have] further questions or even offers the job to you.



Hi Sandra,
I understand your predicament, but I also understand the situation of many translators who are tired of responding to endless job offers, just to never hear a word from the outsourcer again. How are them to determine which outsourcer is going to reply immediately, and which one is simply going to disregard their quote without further notice, especially in the case of interpreters who most of the time have to work away from home. How are they going to know if it is worth staying around for an answer, or going out to look for another client?

If I were you, I would include your sentence (quoted above) in your job postings. In that way, the translators will know beforehand that you are one of the FEW outsourcers who contacts them back and does so within 24 hours.

In this way, no guessing for either side; me thinks...


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Phone, Sandra Aug 30, 2006

It may not be so easy in some cases, but in most, yes. E-mail can tend to be impersonal, but you can tell (with both meanings, transmit and receive) so much more on the phone.

Plus most cell phones don't even charge for long distance. It's right there at your fingertips, and with a phone call you can be a bit more secure in your business relationships.

It's no guarantee, but it helps. It gives you a better idea of who you are dealing with; not as good as seeing them in person, but much better than e-mail.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 05:40
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Both sides are wrong, sorry Aug 30, 2006

First of all we should not quote on job-offers if we are not serious or not available. I sometimes mention, that I will not be available the rest of the evening or that I'm off for the weekend (on Fridays). But usually I get no response on quotes because I do not undersell myself.

Secondly, as outsourcer do not accept jobs for whom you have no experienced translator at short notice. Even then it's best to use SMS or phone to inform him/her of the upcoming work. Leave exotic language combinations to specialised agencies with the necessary staff.

Take always into account that most people start working around 11 in the morning, I hardly ever recieve business mail befor that.

@Gillian: Just my experience. When I send work back I hardly ever get a confirmation befor noon, except from Finnish customers.

Regards
Heinrich

[Bearbeitet am 2006-08-30 05:51]


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:40
Member (2004)
German to English
What time do you start? Aug 30, 2006

I was just following this thread and the "most people start at 11am" comment got to me. I am an early bird and intend to finish work today at 11 not start it!

I think one of the problems here is the technology. Everyone knows that email is virtually instantaneous (except when it isn't) and so when you send an email you expect one back immediately. Sometimes the expectations are too high and need to be toned down a little. Of course although a few hours may be reasonable, longer than that is not.

Happy translating.
Gillian
At now 5.30am


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:40
German to English
+ ...
Could it be that spam filters are part of the problem? Aug 30, 2006

I belong to another translation job exchange board (only for my country) and the set-up there is such that jobs now sometimes take 1 day or longer to get to my in-box because of various spam filters. Sometimes they don't arrive at all. Not being much of a techie, I don't know why the recently introduced spam policies at Yahoo and aol would affect my account with an entirely different provider, but they apparently do, as explained by the board's founder/operator. So the problem may be partly technology-related, as someone suggested.

In general, though, your complaint is probably justified: The response behavior between agency and translator often leaves a lot to be desired. Agencies don't respond to the quotes of translators they aren't interested in. This, in turn, leads to translators not bothering to answer job offers they aren't interested in. I'm guilty of this on occasion, too, so I'm glad you reminded me that I should also politely turn down job offers that I can't or won't accept for some reason. Thanks.

One of my regular clients in a neighboring country ALWAYS calls to find out if I'm available. If I'm not there, or don't respond in a 1/2 hour or so, they phone the next translator. I suppose the reason is exactly because of what you're experiencing, and that's their way of solving the problem.


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