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Option now available to 'endorse' ProZ.com professional guidelines from your profile
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 09:18
SITE FOUNDER
Apr 29, 2008

Some of you are familiar with ProZ.com's list of professional guidelines for translators, interpreters and translation companies. These guidelines, created by discussion among staff members and moderators and posted over five years ago, capture the professional practices believed to be appropriate for our community. See: http://www.proz.com/professional-guidelines

Do you endorse these policies? If so, there is now a way to indicate that. To show your endorsement of these guidelines in your profile, go to the page above and endorse by clicking the button at the bottom of the page.

Once you endorse the guidelines, a statement concerning your endorsement will be included in your profile: "{Your name} endorses ProZ.com's professional guidelines." The display of your endorsement in your profile can be toggled on and off (as can your actual endorsement.)

We are the world's largest community of translation professionals, and together, we have the power to raise awareness of what constitute professional practices in our industry. That is the purpose of this new feature.

Note that opting to endorse or not endorse these guidelines will have no effect other than the display of this statement in your profile.


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:18
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Excellent idea Apr 29, 2008

Best Regards

Stanislaw


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 11:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Where is it? Apr 29, 2008

Hi Henry,

This is a good thing.

However, I can`t see it in my profile? Where is it exactly?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:18
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Professional guidelines for outsourcers Apr 29, 2008

I'd suggest outsourcers were also invited to endorse these guidelines, and that such endorsement were indicated on their Blue Board profiles.

This would also call for having a way for a "disgruntled" translator to merely click on the guideline s/he deemed the outsourcer in breach, thus streamlining the limited comments on the Blue Board.

One item I would suggest adding to the guidelines is the following:

No discount should be applied to the agreed compensation due to quality issues. Flaws should be objectively pointed out to the professional, who will have one chance to correct them at no additional charge. If the professional is unable to do it on their first attempt, then discounts may be applied on payment, to pay someone else to do it.

Though it never happened to me, I have seen reports of too many cases where the outsourcers simply said "We/the end client didn't like it, it's too bad! So we are deducting 40% from your payment." without ever mentioning what was the problem there, nor offering any kind of evidence to support such statement. In several cases the translator found the translation eventually published (on paper or on the web) exactly as they had delivered it

I'll leave the Proz staff with the mission of writing that more succintly.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:18
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Down, down below Apr 29, 2008

Walter Landesman wrote:
However, I can`t see it in my profile? Where is it exactly?



It's the last item on the "table".


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 11:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
OK Apr 29, 2008

Thank you, José Henrique. Now I see it.

But, actually, it get lost down there. It was hard for me to find it. Probably most people will overlook it.

Maybe it should be highlighted somehow. My suggestion.


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:18
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
great idea...but more visibility? Apr 29, 2008

Is it possible to create an option to make this statement visible somewhere in the body of the profile (like WWA in the top right-hand corner, for example)? I am not sure how many clients actually read the standardised information.

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Kristina Kolic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 15:18
Member (2007)
English to Croatian
+ ...
More exposure... Apr 29, 2008

Henry D wrote:
We are the world's largest community of translation professionals, and together, we have the power to raise awareness of what constitute professional practices in our industry. That is the purpose of this new feature.


Great idea, but, as already suggested, I would also like to see a special (graphical) feature somewhere at the top of the profile page rather than in the profile itself under the "training attended" row.

Such a powerful statement should indeed be given more exposure!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:18
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two points of concern Apr 30, 2008



I have two questions/concerns:

1. I'm not a native speaker of English, so perhaps someone can explain to me what is the difference between "take any and all steps necessary" and "take all steps necessary".

2. The item "do not attempt to change, after work has begun, agreed-upon terms (except by mutual consultation)" is a bit confusing to me. The terms can never be changed by just one party. What can be done by one party, however, is to force the other party to agree to new terms... and I suspect that that is what this item is trying to prevent. Am I right? If one party thinks that he changes the terms, then he isn't really chaning the terms -- he is simply not complying to the agreed terms.



[Edited at 2008-04-30 06:54]


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:18
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
Agree with Samuel on his point 2 Apr 30, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

2. The item "do not attempt to change, after work has begun, agreed-upon terms (except by mutual consultation)" is a bit confusing to me. The terms can never be changed by just one party. What can be done by one party, however, is to force the other party to agree to new terms... and I suspect that that is what this item is trying to prevent. Am I right? If one party thinks that he changes the terms, then he isn't really chaning the terms -- he is simply not complying to the agreed terms.


Perhaps it should read something like this: do not change agreed-upon terms after work has begun unless this is mutually agreed.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:18
German to English
Legal aspects Apr 30, 2008

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
One item I would suggest adding to the guidelines is the following:

No discount should be applied to the agreed compensation due to quality issues. Flaws should be objectively pointed out to the professional, who will have one chance to correct them at no additional charge. If the professional is unable to do it on their first attempt, then discounts may be applied on payment, to pay someone else to do it.


Such issues are generally governed by local (national) law, and ProZ shouldn't attempt to get involved in this sort of issue, unless it also wants to stipulate that translators will - without fail - deliver flawless translations.

Most translations that cross my desk nowadays contain errors to a greater or lesser extent, and there is rarely enough time to give the translator a "second chance". You talk about "professionals". A "professional" gets it right, first time.

Robin


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:18
English to Portuguese
+ ...
This is worth a new thread Apr 30, 2008

RobinB wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
One item I would suggest adding to the guidelines is the following:

No discount should be applied to the agreed compensation due to quality issues. Flaws should be objectively pointed out to the professional, who will have one chance to correct them at no additional charge. If the professional is unable to do it on their first attempt, then discounts may be applied on payment, to pay someone else to do it.


Such issues are generally governed by local (national) law, and ProZ shouldn't attempt to get involved in this sort of issue, unless it also wants to stipulate that translators will - without fail - deliver flawless translations.

Most translations that cross my desk nowadays contain errors to a greater or lesser extent, and there is rarely enough time to give the translator a "second chance". You talk about "professionals". A "professional" gets it right, first time.

Robin



A very interesting point, Robin. I don't know exactly how, maybe it requires (IMHO it should!) a moderator to move this message to a new thread about discounts on alleged but unevidenced quality problems.

I never had such problems; at most a client asks me - after a job is done - On a second thought, would it be too expensive to change... (something in the original)? However, when I check a new client on the Blue Board and their composite WWA is not a full 5 but almost there, I look for the cause. Usually the translator says that s/he never got any explanation, but the agency cut their pay in X %, under the allegation of "poor quality". Then the agency replies that they had to pay urgency rates to a competent proofreader to fix the translation, or that the client deducted that much on the grounds of poor quality.

I've been serving a local client for 20 years. Now and then I take a vacation. On these occasions I recommend a dependable colleague to fill in. Once this colleague was not available, and they decided to give someone new a chance. It was a video for dubbing. Upon my return, their general manager gave me the video, the translated script, pointed to a VCR and a TV and asked me to take a look. After watching and reading for some 30 secs, I made a gesture of tearing the script in two. He told me: Go ahead! I'd have done it myself if I hadn't paid for it! He asked me to redo it from scratch, at my regular price. It's worth mentioning that regarding ethics, this client of mine is a benchmark for any company in the world.

So it's all about ethics. You mentioned local laws. In spite of many vendor-specific money back guarantees, most of the laws anywhere require first that the vendor gets a chance to fulfill their promises. Only after that, the laws become geographically specific about what may happen next.

I recently bought a used car from an authorized dealer of another brand. They gave me a 90-day guarantee on motor and transmission. Three hours before that warranty expired, the motor went kaput. It cost them 1/4 of whathe market pricet I had paid for the whole car to fix it. It took them a month to get all the parts and do it, but they did it without charging me a cent. Nobody was able to find the root cause. My mechanic did. A minor leakage was releasing coolant/water into the crankcase oil and vice-versa. This had gone unnoticed in all the five programmed preventative maintenance checks the previous owner had done at the car manufacturer's authorized shops. No such defect had ever been documented by the manufacturer. Again, with "my" diagnostic, they fixed the cause for free. If I had bought it financed, should I have fixed it myself and simply stopped paying the installments? No! In any country they'd sue me and try to repossess the car.

So ethics include biting the bullet after having hired an inadequate vendor, paying them, and for the sake of sanity, never hiring them again! If a translator's work consistently requires rework (even if it's properly and quickly done by him/herself), the outsourcer is to blame for the poor choice.

A good translator most always gets it right at the first attempt. But a good translator is supposedly more expensive than a mediocre one. So if the outsourcer chooses the "best" from the "best rates" they asked for, they should know they are not hiring the "best" translator. We have a saying in Brazil that goes like this: Who pays cheap, pays twice.

So, if it's a code of ethics, it's ethical to pay what it's worth. An ethical translator, on his/her turn, will not take a job for which s/he is not qualified. Whenever ethics is not a two-way street, the outcome will be a win/lose situation, with the ethical party losing.

This is the whole spirit of the idea: enabling ethical outsourcers to hire ethical translators, and to enable ethical translators to select ethical outsourcers to foster win-win outcomes.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:18
German to English
Quality and effort Apr 30, 2008

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote: So it's all about ethics. You mentioned local laws. In spite of many vendor-specific money back guarantees, most of the laws anywhere require first that the vendor gets a chance to fulfill their promises. Only after that, the laws become geographically specific about what may happen next.


In code law countries, this sort of thing is normally codified. As a rule, a supplier must be given a reasonable opportunity to rectify defects in the service provided. However, there are occasions when this doesn't apply, for example when there's simply no time to do that and you - the reviser - have to play "Translation Repairman". No fun, but it's got to be done.

Even the best translators have bad days sometimes, and our experience is that when they get the revised translation back, they themselves offer to cut their bill to reflect the hours we've spent on repairing what they delivered. If they don't, and if they try to argue with us, we just impose a cut, no more arguments, and of course they won't work for us again.

So ethics include biting the bullet after having hired an inadequate vendor, paying them, and for the sake of sanity, never hiring them again! If a translator's work consistently requires rework (even if it's properly and quickly done by him/herself), the outsourcer is to blame for the poor choice.


Absolutely. And none of the "three strikes and you're out" nonsense. Despite all our efforts, including difficult test translations, it sometimes emerges that a translator is entirely inadequate. Of course they never work for us again.

A good translator most always gets it right at the first attempt. But a good translator is supposedly more expensive than a mediocre one.


That's the theory. But you'd be surprised at how many mediocre translators, including those with excellent ProZ/KudoZ reputations, try to charge rates that are way above what they're actually worth.

So if the outsourcer chooses the "best" from the "best rates" they asked for, they should know they are not hiring the "best" translator. We have a saying in Brazil that goes like this: Who pays cheap, pays twice.


Definitely. But 9x% of outsourcers go by price, don't they? Including the big ones with a global reach. Lots of mass, no class...

This is the whole spirit of the idea: enabling ethical outsourcers to hire ethical translators, and to enable ethical translators to select ethical outsourcers to foster win-win outcomes.


Sounds good in theory. But I'm reluctant to hire a translator I don't know personally. I think it's much easier to tell if someone's ethical if you've sat down and talked with them. You get a much better feeling about whether they're honest and competent.

Robin


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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:18
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
"Any and all steps necessary" Apr 30, 2008

[quote]Samuel Murray wrote:

I'm not a native speaker of English, so perhaps someone can explain to me what is the difference between "take any and all steps necessary" and "take all steps necessary".

Dear Samuel,

Perhaps your question is really a polemical question for Henry. But as a certified native speaker of English, I can tell you that it's a matter of emphasis. "Any and all steps" would mean that if your mother had just gone into the hospital for a quadruple-bypass surgery, you would let her lie there by herself, and meet your top-quality translation deadline. Whereas "all steps" might give you a little leeway, if you're lucky and can negotiate with your client.

Susan


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 09:18
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Samuel Apr 30, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
I'm not a native speaker of English, so perhaps someone can explain to me what is the difference between "take any and all steps necessary" and "take all steps necessary".

Hi Samuel. I don't remember whether or not there was any intention to make a distinction there. "Take all steps necessary" sounds sufficient to me, at least now.

2. The item "do not attempt to change, after work has begun, agreed-upon terms (except by mutual consultation)" is a bit confusing to me. The terms can never be changed by just one party. What can be done by one party, however, is to force the other party to agree to new terms... and I suspect that that is what this item is trying to prevent. Am I right? If one party thinks that he changes the terms, then he isn't really chaning the terms -- he is simply not complying to the agreed terms.

I take your point. We'll take stock of feedback of this type and consider an edit.


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