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Different test translations that make up the whole job - can we avoid this?
Thread poster: Stefanie Sendelbach

Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Jun 8, 2005

Dear Proz staff and colleagues,

I would like to suggest the implementation of more transparency in Proz' job bidding system. I realized that, when bidding for a job and receiving a test translation from the outsourcer, there is no way the translators can make sure they are not being sent different small pieces of one big job, which they collectively (but unknowingly) translate in the whole, while the outsourcer gets his/her job done for free.

Currently there is no way translators can get in touch with other translators who applied for the same job to find out whether the outsourcer really sent out different translation tests.

Would it be possible to add a check box in the bidding form, through which the translator can indicate whether his/her email address or profile link may be shown to other translators who bid for the same job?

Well, just an idea. I'd be interested to hear your opinions to this suggestion. Maybe there will be a better way to implement this, but I think something should be done to avoid exploitation through outsourcers.

Happy translating,
Stefanie

[Edited at 2005-06-10 15:08]


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Idea Jun 8, 2005

MikeTrans wrote:
Here is a tip for those who consider doing a test anyway: Always do the test within a CAT tool (never more than 300 words) and make a PRINT SCREEN which you then paste into a MS-WORD file. You can enlarge the picture to be more readable, before saving it; don't use the Zoom feature.
If the client is honest, he can just read on-screen and be convinced about your capabilities. Besides, he will know that you are able to work with a CAT tool (maybe the one he wants you to be used).
There is no need for the reader to copy & paste any of your test content: it will not work.

I would very much recommend this last procedure; it makes any abuse of the test much harder and, maybe, will garbage out all those hoping to get work done for free. Let's keep our wonderful job clean!

Mike




I found this posting by MikeTrans in an older forum here on Proz (http://www.proz.com/post/231966#231966). Maybe not a bad idea, at least to get those outsourcers angry who were really hoping to get their job done for free


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 11:05
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
;o) Jun 8, 2005

This is such a great idea! I feel stupid that I have never thought about it before!!!

Yesterday I did a larger translation sample, but the context was just completely different. It was more than 300 words, but in five different bits to really let me prove how well I can do in different areas. Besides, the document was organized in a way that it makes the translator comfortable, knowing that it is the same standard sample that is distributed to all applicants instead of different paragraphs from the same text...

Well, I'll use the Print Screen key next time I receive a suspicious sample then!


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xxxTekkie
English to German
+ ...
This doesn't really help Jun 9, 2005

MikeTrans wrote:
Here is a tip for those who consider doing a test anyway: Always do the test within a CAT tool (never more than 300 words) and make a PRINT SCREEN which you then paste into a MS-WORD file. You can enlarge the picture to be more readable, before saving it; don't use the Zoom feature.

The outsourcer could rather easily profit from such test translation by using OCR software to recover the translated text.

A person experienced in using OCR software could convert a screenshot containing a translation of 300 source words within less than 2 minutes, resulting in more than 9,000 words per hour.

This would yield a nice gross profit of about EUR 1300 per hour.


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Ziad Marzouka  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:05
English to Arabic
+ ...
:) Jun 9, 2005

Yea I agree with you! yesterday there was a translation job for a total of 1200 words, six bids were made then the job was closed, I was sent a 200 test and I believe that each bidder received the same. A friend of mine asked me how my work is going, I told her that there's a potential job of 1200 words and they sent me a 200 words test and they did not contact me yet (It's not like I should get any job I bid for), then she asked me "how many translators bid for the job?" I told her they were 6, so she answered "That's it! 6*200=1200! job done!"
It could be true it could be not, who knows! I agree with you guys, there should be a way of communication between bidders.


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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
Member (2003)
German to English
Couldn't the infrastructure be built into Proz Jun 9, 2005

I like the screencap idea, but here's a thought: why not build a "sample text" delivery system into proz, such that a moderator could review the validity of the text(s) in question where requested by a bidder? That would preserve the general anonymity of the bidding process, which I feel is important.

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
English to German
+ ...
Test translation is already part of the Job Posting Form Jun 9, 2005

Guten Morgen, Stefanie,
I would like to suggest the implementation of more transparency in Proz' job bidding system.

Just a slight correction, if I may: the ProZ.com job system is not a bidding system; in fact, the process has been designed in a way to prevent competitive bidding in lieu of quoting. (I believe this is more than just semantics.)

I realized that, when bidding for a job and receiving a test translation from the outsourcer, there is no way the translators can make sure they are not being sent different small pieces of one big job, which they collectively (but unknowingly) translate in the whole, while the outsourcer gets his/her job done for free.

Objection in part: there is a way, where the outsourcer posts the test part with the job (which is done by many).

Would it be possible to add a check box in the bidding form, through which the translator can indicate whether his/her email address or profile link may be shown to other translators who bid for the same job?

Technically, that shouldn't be too difficult; the question is whether people would use it. Think about the competitive impact: someone could ask you about a test translation, and just by the way, might be asking you about your price, only to turn around and undercut you.

If you receive a test translation where you have a suspicion of a "free ride", contact a Jobs moderator. We can investigate such suspicions, but that would obviously need to be the exception rather than the rule.

Best regards,
Ralf


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 11:05
English to French
+ ...
Guesswork Jun 9, 2005

Do you really think these agencies can deliver a good translation with this kind of approach?

Even if they're lucky enough to have 6 good translators translating 200 words each, the result will be a hopeless hodge-podge of styles! And making the thing look consistent would probably take more time than translating the whole thing from scratch.

If you implied they just paste everything into a word file and deliver it as is, then they won't be in business for long.

In this business, natural selection is a reality.

FWIW

Sarah


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xxxTekkie
English to German
+ ...
Good translations are not required Jun 9, 2005

sarahl wrote:

Do you really think these agencies can deliver a good translation with this kind of approach?

As most people don't master their native language any more (how often do I read "wierd", "recieve", etc., written by native English-speakers or horrible deformations like "Apostrov" written by native German-speakers), many clients - who are in fact a company's employees acting as project managers - aren't even in the position to distinguish outright terrible translations from good ones.


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Andrea Appel
Canada
Local time: 14:05
English to German
+ ...
just bits and pieces Jun 9, 2005

Steven Sidore wrote:

I like the screencap idea, but here's a thought: why not build a "sample text" delivery system into proz, such that a moderator could review the validity of the text(s) in question where requested by a bidder? That would preserve the general anonymity of the bidding process, which I feel is important.


I think that confidentiality also plays a big role in posting a test translation and therefore don´t really believe that the outsourcer takes this route.I guess a view black sheeps are everywhere but they won´t make it and like

sarahl says;
do you really think these agencies can deliver a good translation with this kind of approach?


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 19:05
French to English
I have found my own solution to the problem... Jun 9, 2005

...by simply refusing to do unpaid tests.

After all, is this the way we really want to work? Second-guessing people's intentions and feeling like you have to check up on everything all the time to make sure it's legit?

That's why I stopped working for others and started working for myself

I feel strongly that vetting translators through small paid jobs with enough of a deadline to have the work re-done if needed is part of an agency's cost of doing business. After all, what is their margin paying for, anyway?

As a small-scale outsourcer myself, I would never dream of asking a professional to do a test for free.

Maybe if translators stop accepting these kinds of practices agencies will fall in line.

Regards,

Sara


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification Jun 9, 2005

Ralf Lemster wrote:
there is a way, where the outsourcer posts the test part with the job (which is done by many).


Hi Ralf,

I know about this function, and I am not referring to this here. If a client posts the sample text on the job page itself, I know that everyone gets the same text for translation. I was rather referring to those cases where outsourcers send out small parts of a text by email. Especially when the file name contains MY NAME. That's what makes me wonder...

Technically, that shouldn't be too difficult; the question is whether people would use it.


True, people might not use it.

Think about the competitive impact: someone could ask you about a test translation, and just by the way, might be asking you about your price, only to turn around and undercut you.


Well, I do not think the identities of the other applicants should be revealed. It would have to be implemented in a way that if I need to get in touch with other translators who applied for the same job, I would send an email to an anonymous group, asking them whether they, too, find anything foul about the test translation. If someone wants to reply, they can. If indescreet questions about rates are asked, they can ignore the email.

[Edited at 2005-06-09 19:35]


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Translators in other language combinations cannot afford to be picky Jun 9, 2005

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:
Maybe if translators stop accepting these kinds of practices agencies will fall in line.


Hi Sara,

I very rarely do test translations now, and I completely understand what you are saying.

But there are language combinations with less demand and less job offers. Translators working in these language combinations are sometimes not given a chance to be picky about the jobs they take or to refuse the outsourcers' requirements, such as doing an unpaid test.

Good for those who can afford to decide for themselves

Stefanie


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:05
Member (2004)
Italian to English
More awareness of issue Jun 9, 2005

One or two tests I've submitted in the past have made me suspicious - especially when there has been no reply or feedback. Now I will only do a sample test if it is shown in full on the job offer.
Perhaps advertisers could be warned that members are unlikely to respond if a test is sent privately and perhaps the job page could include a warning to translators to be suspicious if it is.


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Quality Jun 9, 2005

sarahl wrote:
Do you really think these agencies can deliver a good translation with this kind of approach?


Hi Sarah,

No, of course I do not believe that a target text that is pieced together by various different translations, all from different translators with different approaches to translation, different dictionaries, different writing styles, etc. can be any good.

But would a Chinese-speaking client (for example) realize that the German text he gets is complete nonsense? And would the German-speaking readers of his translated user manual let him know that they cannot understand it? I doubt so.

Happy translating,
Stefanie


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