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word of warning - contacted by agency banned by proz
Thread poster: xxxcmwilliams
xxxcmwilliams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:33
French to English
+ ...
Feb 12, 2007

I've just received an e-mail from a French agency that is banned from posting jobs on Proz because of non-payment. Although it wasn't sent through my profile, I suspect that's where they found my contact details. I believe it's been sent as a mass mailing and it's for French to English translators. I won't say anything else and don't even know if this is allowed or if it's in the right forum, but I just wanted to warn others.

There is no mention of Proz and they have a very respectable looking web site, but fortunately I decided to look at the Blue Board and was surprised to see that they have a history of non-payment (more than 10 entries) and are banned.

I just wanted to warn others that it's really worth checking lists such as the Blue Board. I know non-members don't have the automatic right to do this but I believe they can pay a small fee or use Brownie points.

I'd also like to say that I am of the opinion that sometimes we have to take risks and if an agency isn't mentioned on the Blue Board, I don't automatically assume that they are not a respectable agency (I think this came up in another forum), but a quick check can eliminate any obvious non-payment problems before they arise.



[Edited at 2007-02-12 21:33]


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Christine Schmit  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
German to French
+ ...
happened to me too, looks like the same agency Feb 12, 2007

The same thing happened to me too a few days ago. I got a direct e-mail, not through Proz, from a French agency looking for French translators asking for my CV and rates. I checked their website, which looks professional, but I also checked the BlueBoard: over 10 ratings of 1 and 2 only, banned from posting jobs on Proz, definitely the worst BlueBoard rating I have seen!
So, I suspect this is the same agency. Apparently they have trouble recruiting translators willing to work for them!

Christine


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:33
French to English
Me too Feb 12, 2007

Yup, same here, and they also figure on a list which the publishers refrain from qualifying with the word "black", but which is undoubtedly intended as a directory of the darkest imaginable hue

Since the letter started "Dear Translator", I guess you're right, and it IS a mass mailing. Altho' without knowing, word for word, as it were, what yours said, it's impossible to be sure


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Some of my best clients are French agencies.. Feb 12, 2007

..and most of my worst ones, too.

I've received this kind of enquiry quite often,
but I think you don't have to worry too much
about non-members' blueboard access:
Just log out and take a look at the blueboard
to see what they will see.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:33
English to German
+ ...
Thanks for posting Feb 13, 2007

I won't say anything else and don't even know if this is allowed or if it's in the right forum, but I just wanted to warn others.

No worries - as long as you don't include any information that allows to identify the outsourcer (directly or indirectly), this is perfectly within the forum rules.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:33
French to English
+ ...
me too... Feb 13, 2007

I got something similar last year, and this French agency is on every list of bad payers out there. I replied with a link to their blueboard record, asking them to comment and reassure me that their practices had improved.

Result? Complete silence from them after that.


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Nicole Blanc  Identity Verified
France
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Be extremely careful!!!! Feb 13, 2007

cmwilliams wrote:

I've just received an e-mail from a French agency that is banned from posting jobs on Proz because of non-payment. Although it wasn't sent through my profile, I suspect that's where they found my contact details. I believe it's been sent as a mass mailing and it's for French to English translators. I won't say anything else and don't even know if this is allowed or if it's in the right forum, but I just wanted to warn others.

There is no mention of Proz and they have a very respectable looking web site, but fortunately I decided to look at the Blue Board and was surprised to see that they have a history of non-payment (more than 10 entries) and are banned.



[Edited at 2007-02-12 21:33]


I would like to confirm that everybody is to be extremely careful before taking any translation assignment from any unknown outsourcer.
It seems necessary to add that you can find bad payers everywhere. Bad payers are not typically French.

As a French native and Proz member, I've been the victim of an 'apparently very respectable' agency based "somewhere in Europe". Friendly contact, appropriate terms etc. I can't say more about it... A dream at the very beginning, to end as a nightmare.
They've never paid two of my invoices, ie. a VERY high amount.
I did all things possible, but this is a fact: I worked for a crook (the company boss) who was even able to threaten me on the phone because I posted a very very negative ticket about him on ProzBB - ie: 'either you remove your comment or you'll never get paid'.
I didn't remove my comment and I was never paid! This was blackmail. I hate blackmail.
This is a very common story which goes on as this outsourcer (now banned from posting jobs) is still seeking new victims worldwide, often after visiting professional associations' websites (SFT, ITI etc) or even Proz freelancers homepages where he picks up any necessary contact details.

But I do have a responsibility in this matter. If I had checked the BB in 2005, I would have read all the "warnings" (already) about this agency and the man, more particularly. And I would never have accepted to take jobs from him.
I've been working as a freelancer for nearly 13 years... and I've experienced there my "sole outstanding payment", and a huge one! Which shows it can happen to anybody!

As mentioned here, many outsourcers never post any jobs on Proz: a few do it intentionally to avoid freelancers' warnings! Either because they never pay or pay only within 6 months or even more...
Some have got absolutely no integrity. Others are extremely respectable, this is quite true.

This is why I think we might ask Proz.com to allow Proz.members (and non-members) to enter remarks about their experience with bad payers who avoid Proz job postings but keep on trapping freelancers by any other possible means.

I take very few assignments here but now, when it happens, I never never forget to go and check quickly the BB, trying to find useful information about this unknown outsourcer so eager to work with me, suddenly! Eventually, it's incredibly worth checking the BB!


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:33
English to German
+ ...
No need to ask... Feb 13, 2007

Hi Nicole,

This is why I think we might ask Proz.com to allow Proz.members (and non-members) to enter remarks about their experience with bad payers who avoid Proz job postings but keep on trapping freelancers by any other possible means.

The scope of the Blue Board is not limited to outsourcers posting jobs on ProZ.com. In fact, there are numerous records for outsourcers who have never posted a job here.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Nicole Blanc  Identity Verified
France
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Great news! Feb 14, 2007

Ralf Lemster wrote:

In fact, there are numerous records for outsourcers who have never posted a job here.

Best regards,
Ralf


Hi Ralf

I've been using Proz.com for quite a long time ... and I didn't know that! So you mean any member is allowed to enter in the BB the details of any outsourcer whom it seems risky to work with? If so, this is simply ... great for all people who translate honestly for others, worldwide.

Thank you for caring, Ralf. Kind regards Nicole


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:33
English to German
+ ...
More than that Feb 14, 2007

Hi Nicole,
More than that, actually.

Have a look at the BB FAQ:
1. What is the Blue Board?

We'll explain in a roundabout way. First of all, any ProZ.com user can enter a number from 1 to 5 corresponding to his or her likelihood of working again (LWA) with a given outsourcer (ie. client or translation company/agency). By way of explanation, the user can also enter a line of text along with the number. In response, the outsourcer may enter a line of text of his/her/its own.

The Blue Board is the complete, searchable database of the records containing these entries and replies, along with outsourcer coordinates.

2. Glossary of Blue Board terms...

Outsourcer: An umbrella term that includes agencies, companies, clients and any other entity or person that buys translation services. The Blue Board is a database of outsourcers accompanied by service provider entries.
...


...and the BB rules.


So you mean any member is allowed to enter in the BB the details of any outsourcer whom it seems risky to work with?

Not just for those - also (and in particular) outsourcers worth working for.

Best regards,
Ralf

[Edited at 2007-02-14 20:47]


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xxxcmwilliams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:33
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
True Feb 14, 2007

Nicole Blanc wrote:

I would like to confirm that everybody is to be extremely careful before taking any translation assignment from any unknown outsourcer.
It seems necessary to add that you can find bad payers everywhere. Bad payers are not typically French.



Yes, unfortunately bad payers can be found everywhere. I wasn't implying that they are typically French and I hope that wasn't the impression that was given. I only mentioned the fact because I thought that the agency was contacting other translators at the same time and thought that it would be relevant to mention it in this particular case.

I'm sorry to hear about your experience. It certainly highlights the need to do thorough checks on any new outsourcer.

Best wishes


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Nicole Blanc  Identity Verified
France
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Never mind... Feb 15, 2007

cmwilliams wrote:

Nicole Blanc wrote:

I would like to confirm that everybody is to be extremely careful before taking any translation assignment from any unknown outsourcer.
It seems necessary to add that you can find bad payers everywhere. Bad payers are not typically French.



Yes, unfortunately bad payers can be found everywhere. I wasn't implying that they are typically French and I hope that wasn't the impression that was given. I only mentioned the fact because I thought that the agency was contacting other translators at the same time and thought that it would be relevant to mention it in this particular case.

I'm sorry to hear about your experience. It certainly highlights the need to do thorough checks on any new outsourcer.

Best wishes


Hi,

Don't worry as I feel more... International than .. French!
Be sure you did not give me the slightest feeling that bad payers are typically French! Furthermore, my own story was entirely told out as a proof that crooks are hidden everywhere on the Earth. Not especially in Hugo's country! Even if I am truly aware that a few outsourcers here are ... dangerous, not to say more.
And if you feel really unsure/unsecure about some new agency trying to place with you some suddenly urgent order, feel free to contact me. I don't mind helping my fellow members.

You know what? What I am sure of now is that:
it's better to have no work at all, listen to music, discover wonderful books, go and run, play basketball, take care of my children, cook, have a tea with friends, enjoy life fully... than to translate and get no money in the end.
No stress, no problem, only fun!

About my apparently sad experience, my anger was terrible and deep at the beginning! But now, I don't care anymore.
In fact, I've learnt so much from it. It has made me consider my work, our trade, my working methods in a quite new way.

Now, I carry out deep investigations about any new customer "so eager to work with me", I am no more systematically confident (this is a real pity), I dare demand this and that, I dare reject assignments with too low rates, too short deadlines and I even require down payments within high volumes. And it works!
I enjoy even more to translate for my dear, honest, reliable and serious clients I've know for years.
This "adventure" had lead me to choose my 'partners' with a much greater care. Simply, I take any possible measures not to get trapped again.
I am convinced that MY crook has no future, when I do have one.

Consequently this negative experience has turned into a quite positive one.

Thanks for your support any way.
Also, I am extremely grateful to Ralf (moderator) for his clear explanations about Proz' BB and the tremendous possibilities of this tool.

PS: As Martin Luther King said: 'I had a dream...' - mine would be to see one day a true community where we all, translators, interpreters, linguistic experts and others, would really help each other. This is what Proz.com is trying to build somehow... and we should all give a hand.

I don't take part very often in the English forums, but (to repeat myself), it's worth it! Kind regards. NB


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