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Request to add a mandatory "outsourcing" field to job posts
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:57
English to French
+ ...
May 17, 2008

I have noticed lately how there is an increasing amount of jobs posted on the job board where the job itself is not posted by the end client or by an agency, but rather by the end client's agency's translator's translator, and so forth. Often, the people who post such jobs are unwilling (and most likely unable) to negotiate rates, deadlines, etc., because their hands are tied by the other parties further up the outsourcing pyramid. They also tend to be extremely slow on communication (they have to forward questions to someone else, who then has to forward those question to yet someone else, and so on) and therefore it is harder for ProZ users who accept to do the job to deliver a quality translation (they don't get any support or they get it when it is already too late). Needless to say, often, these people were to perform the work themselves, but then ran out of time and are only outsourcing the work to make sure they don't miss the deadline. This often translates into unrealistic deadlines.

However, the parameters that might ward off some translators (tight deadline, peanuts for monkeys, etc.) are not always mentioned in the initial job post. So, if I submit a quote for any such job, it is likely that I will have wasted my time since, for example, their rate and mine are not even close or I am unwilling to provide 9000 words overnight.

Some of us don't mind unrealistic deadlines and low rates, and who am I to try to persuade them that the jobs they are quoting on do not deserve to be quoted on? But some of us are serious to the point where we simply refuse to work with people who are not end clients or agencies, who are not project managers and, most importantly, who have absolutely no means to ensure that we will get paid. These people would most likely appreciate not having to waste their time quoting on such uncertain jobs. It would be nice if we had a way to distinguish between the two types of jobs without having to go through the quoting process.

Would it be possible to introduce a mandatory field in the job posting form that would advise us of the fact that this is not a direct job (that is, a job given by an agency or an end client)? A mandatory field called Outsourcing or Third-tier job or something of the like would be appreciated.

Don't you think so?

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:57
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Would they tell the truth? May 17, 2008

One tell-tale sign of reoutsourcing is a longer than 30-day term. Well, it might also indicate an agency with severe cash-flow problems. So when they offer to pay by check on the last day of the month after 60 days have elapsed, they'll have put their cards on the table.

Then we should consider what leads an outsourcer to reoutsource the job. If they hire a translator directly, they might offer a better rate, get a better professional, meet the deadline, and still have less quality problems. If it's an ideal world, why would one deliberately step out of it?

The most common reason is that they have a bad payment history. Competent pros don't want to work for them, to later waste time trying to collect theur money. Candidates see disgruntled WWAs of 1 and 2 on the Blue Board. So this agency needs another agency to use as a cat's paw.

Would this latter agency admit that they have been hired by another agency? I doubt it.

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Jason Kim
South Korea
Local time: 00:27
Member (2007)
English to Korean
Translator-turned-outsourcers May 18, 2008

I noticed that some established translators are also outsourcers here at I wonder if they outsource jobs with their clients' consent because I frequently notice that most established translation agencies forbid their translators from subcontracting their jobs. And I believe translation agencies have every right and reason to ask their translators not to outsource jobs they are supposed to do themselves.

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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:57
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
"Third-tier jobs" are not of our doing May 18, 2008

I have an Agency and most of our clients are Western Agencies.

Not because I try to squeeze in as an extra link between the end client and the translator, but because most of Western end clients, either requiring translation to single Baltic language or to 30 World languages, go the easiest way- they just order it to their local Agency they know, not search a supplier in a country about the very existence of which they may have a vaguest notion. In turn, Western Agencies, instead of taking a gamble with untested suppliers, order the translation to an Agency in target language area they know.

So the chain indeed often is multi level. However, normally it is not just outsourcing further down- each level provides his extra input in the effort- we choose the best translator for the subject matter, solve various problems (terminology, software, deadlines, etc.), proofread the ready translation inhouse, then the Western Agency, more often than not, does the DTP...


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