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Professional Practices for Outsourcers
Thread poster: José Henrique Lamensdorf

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:14
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jan 20, 2009

Transposted from http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/124687-crisis_and_payment-page2.html#1035499

Professional Practices for Language and Associated Services Outsourcers

... in a similar manner to the "Professional Practices for Language Service Providers". Outsourcers would be given the option to endorse them or not at any time, and revoking them would entail a one-month latency period, so they can't temporarily revoke them for occasional instances and then put them back on to restore their image.

Such endorsement or lack thereof would be shown on their Profiles and Blue Board screens, as well as "infractions", as reported by professionals, screened by moderators, and restricted to those that also endorse the Service Providers' Practices.

I'll have a partial and short single-minded-"brainstorm" here to suggest the scope, i.e. a few examples of the kind of issues to be covered:

* Delayed start - Any PO should specify the start date, by when the service provider should receive all the necessary material to be worked on. Default is "immediately" if such date is not mentioned. Outsourcer will incur in a 1%/day penalty - payable to the translator - on the initial delay. (This will prevent outsourcers to keep vendors standing by on potential jobs. It's just a matter of not issuing a PO before they have actually received a firm order from the end-client.)

* Money transfer fees - Outsourcer-imposed payment methods - e.g. vendor wants PayPal, outsourcer only pays by check - should limit service provider's expenses to 5% of the amont paid; documentable excess should be covered by the outsourcer.

* Context queries - Outsourcers must provide answers to reasonably justified content queries (e.g. 2 + 2 = 5) by the service provider within 24 hours on business days, otherwise delivery deadline should be extended by the time span of the delay beyond that.

* Job cancellation - Outsourcer is fully liable for paying pro rata all work delivered or deliverable at the moment a cancellation is made, regardless of motive.

* Default on payment - Outsourcer is expected to take every possible caution to ascertain the end-client's credit, requiring full payment in advance if necessary. No service provider should ever suffer any penalty or delay in payment by the outsourcer from the end-client's non-payment after a job is delivered.

* Penalties on vendor - Any penalty for flawed and/or late work delivery must be clearly stipulated on the PO at the outset to be enforceable. No further penalties will be allowed in such cases, yet any penalty must have its grounds fully documented, and such documentation must be made available to the vendor, being open to rebuttal. (No more Your translation is bad, so we'll be deducting 50% from your fees.)

* Free tests - Outsourcers are strictly prohibited from using free service provider tests for any other purpose.


All this is very sketchy and disorganized. My intent here was to show the kind of things to be covered, and one of the possible stances to approach each of them.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:14
English to German
+ ...
ProZ.com staff notified Jan 20, 2009

Thanks!
I have notified ProZ.com staff.

Best, Ralf


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:14
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Seconded Jan 20, 2009

Very important initiative with perfectly reasonable items. Thank you for bringing it up, José Henrique.
Attila


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 02:14
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
SUPER! Jan 20, 2009



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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I don't think there is a need for this Jan 20, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
... in a similar manner to the "Professional Practices for Language Service Providers". Outsourcers would be given the option to endorse them...


This is how I see it: We have a very effective Blue Board here on ProZ.com to show how reliable, trustworthy and professional outsourcers are. We do not have something similar for freelancers, though. Sure, there is WWA, but that system has only had limited success. So ProZ.com came up with another way of separating wheat freelancers from chaff freelancers, namely the red P (and its associated code of conduct). The red P system is not perfect but it has the advantage that it does not rely on outsourcers being present to grade the translator.

There is no need for a red P system for outsourcers because the Blue Board is sufficient to separate wheat from chaff when it comes to outsourcers.

Besides, the freelancers code is very general, so it fits many translators even though they work in different ways. The proposed outsourcers code contains many very specific items that may not be specifically acceptable by all outsourcers.

And be careful with percentage based penalties -- sometimes the penalty is so small in real money terms that it completely fails as an incentive. As for time limits, remember we work with different time zones and there are often a long chains of communication that cause further delays.

You can't force bad outsourcers to be good by letting them sign a code of sorts.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:14
English to French
+ ...
I agree - except for the money transfer fees Jan 20, 2009

This is a great idea! This is only fair, given that many freelancers also adhere to similar principles.

However, I have a bit of a problem with the money transfer fee item.

I am among those who are very strict when it comes to payment terms. I have always considered that whatever payment fees are generated, they should be defrayed by the client. Let's not get into the issue of whether this is fair or not or whether this is an accepted practice. Suffice to say that when I charge $1000, I want to get $1000, not $980. In short, I want to get paid for the time I have worked. Let's not forget, either, that even when a client pays for the wire transfer, I still have to pay a certain fee to my bank to receive it (a fee that often matches the one paid by the client). Either way, I pay for those transactions, so I am not willing to cover even a fraction of what the client pays. Financial fees are not included in my rate.

I know this is a question on which freelancers were never able to reach a consensus, given that we all come from different cultures with varying customs (in Europe, debit card fees are systematically paid for by the merchant, whereas in North America, the fees are borne by the customer). This is why I think this item should either request that outsourcers bear the fees, or it should not mention a percentage, or it should simply not exist.


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 02:14
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Agree Jan 20, 2009

Dear Victoria, being an outsourcer I fully agree with all you say and we always bear the costs.
However, in our electronic wire transfers we have only three options to tick- transfer fees are borne by the receiver, shared in half, or born by a payer. We always tick the last one, but we have no knowledge (nor can obtain it) it the specific receiver's bank subtracts something from the transfered sum none the less.

Uldis

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
Suffice to say that when I charge $1000, I want to get $1000, not $980. In short, I want to get paid for the time I have worked.


[Rediģēts plkst. 2009-01-20 17:41 GMT]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:14
English to French
+ ...
Client's shouldn't have to worry about that Jan 20, 2009

Uldis Liepkalns wrote:

...but we have no knowledge (nor can obtain it) it the specific receiver's bank subtracts something from the transfered sum none the less.


I agree with you, Uldis, that it would be overly complicated for clients to try to figure out and keep track of how much money each service provider will have to pay to receive a wire transfer. I don't expect my clients to know this - they have more important things to worry about. But I do expect that they are aware that I also pay fees to receive transfers, even if they pay the transfer fee. So, I bear the cost of receiving money - and that is why I am unwilling to go any farther and expect that clients pay their own financial fees.

In short, even if outsourcers pay the transfer fee, I still have to kiss a small portion of my paycheque goodbye, so there's no reason I would want to bear any additional charges.

On a sidenote, I also offer to my clients to pay by cheque - it takes more time to get it and more time to cash it in, but the cost of writing a cheque doesn't even come close to sending money via wire - and the cost to me is negligible as well ($2.50 per cheque cashed in, no matter the amount). If the client prefers to pay by wire, I guess they just picked the expensive method. The additional fees have nothing to do with me.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:14
English to German
+ ...
Has nothing to do with the P-system Jan 20, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:

There is no need for a red P system for outsourcers because the Blue Board is sufficient to separate wheat from chaff when it comes to outsourcers.



Example:
I am endorsing the business practices for language services providers but I have not applied for the P badge yet (too busy). Those are two very different things.

On a different note:
I do agree with Uldis regarding the money transfer expenses: Making promises that can't be kept is unwise because outsourcers usually have no control over banking fees charged in a foreign country.

I also would be very careful regarding penalties for late delivery of the source text. After all, it is up the translator to decide if he / she is still interested or available.


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:14
English to German
+ ...
The red P Jan 20, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:

So ProZ.com came up with another way of separating wheat freelancers from chaff freelancers, namely the red P (and its associated code of conduct).


This is at least slightly offending. Are you aware of this, Samuel?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:14
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Covering a few of the issues Jan 20, 2009

As I triggered the discussion (which I consider at least valuable - if not absolutely necessary), I'd like to add a few comments on some of the colleagues' ideas so far.

Samulel Murray wrote:
I don't think there is a need for this.


Of course there isn't. How did our trade survive without it so far?
It is only a time-saver that might spare a lot of argument and distress.

Bear in mind that it might not necessarily include all good agencies, though it's likely it will exclude the bad ones. To illustrate, let's assume two things:
1. That I am a competent and ethical translator (though I hope it's true, it's an assumption here);
2. That the Professional Practices for Service Providers included translating only into their native language.
I'd be immediately out of it. As a Certified Translator in Brazil, the same law that makes me so, forbids me to turn down any job in my certified pair, regardless of direction. So yes, I was tested, passed, and do translate into my non-native language. If that were a reason for not endorsing the practices, I wouldn't be able to do so.

This is not the issue here, but only to illustrate the fact that some outsourcers might be externally prevented from fully endorsing these practices. Hence care must be taken upon writing them to avoid such situations as much as possible... like it was done for the Service Providers, regarding translating into non-native languages.


Regarding payment methods, what I meant was only for cases when provider and outsourcer disagree about them.

When I (provider) suggest PayPal (which deducts fees from the recipient, I've accepted these deductions, and built them into my rate. It's too messy to add them to the invoice. If the client obdurately wants to pay me via e.g. check or wire transfer, they should cover whatever exceeds 5% (my suggestion),

To illustrate the latter situation, all in USD, among other jobs I did one worth $ 55 for a thoroughbred LWA=5 agency. As a house policy of theirs, they only pay via check or wire transfer. Here in Brazil either one costs $ 70 in bank fees per transaction. So if they paid me for that job alone, I'd get nothing for my work, on top of having to pay the bank $ 25. Bear in mind that I gave them no less than five online options for that payment. This is the kind of situation I thought that should be covered.


Finally, guys, those were only the first ideas that came to my mind. There should be many more, so that when a translator gets hired by an outsourcer who endorses all them, they become part of the agreement, and may be left unsaid.


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 02:14
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Europe vs America Jan 20, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I agree with you, Uldis, that it would be overly complicated for clients to try to figure out and keep track of how much money each service provider will have to pay to receive a wire transfer.


Generally, if we pay the transfer fees, in Europe receiving banks do not subtract anything.


On a sidenote, I also offer to my clients to pay by cheque - it takes more time to get it and more time to cash it in, but the cost of writing a cheque doesn't even come close to sending money via wire - and the cost to me is negligible as well ($2.50 per cheque cashed in, no matter the amount).


In my country sending the cheque is about the biggest revenge the client can impose on you. Here cheques as species did die without even being properly born- yes, I can cash a cheque- by personally going to bank (which I normally do on two occasions only- when opening or closing an account), standing an hour in line, filling in, signing and stamping some three forms (all saying "yes, I'd like this cheque to be cashed into my account") which including the drive to the bank takes at least 3 hours, then waiting for the cheque to be cleared (at least a month) and then bank takes AT LEAST EUR 30 for this service. Therefore we DO NOT accept cheques at all- and if I'd attempt to cash the cheques for minimum charge, it is very likely I will have to pay the bank the difference. Actually, was there, done this.

BTW, few years ago I was in a situation I had to send a cheque, I went to my Bank and told them I'd like to take out a cheque-book. They told me they don't have or use such since year 2K, looked at me like I was a spy from Mars and in the end I was happy they didn't call the asylum for me...

Uldis

[Rediģēts plkst. 2009-01-20 19:36 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Transfer fees Jan 20, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I am among those who are very strict when it comes to payment terms. I have always considered that whatever payment fees are generated, they should be defrayed by the client.


I hear what you're saying, but I think it is unrealistic. I believe that transfer fees should be built into your rate. If there are no transfer fees, you score. If there are, well, then they are covered by the rate, through the average income generated by all jobs. Your fee is not clean profit, after all -- it covers business expenses too.

If you know what the fees are, and you can prove it, you may be able to deduct it for tax purposes. If the fees are mystery fees (such as an intermediary bank taking its share), well, that's a price you have to pay for a successful business.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Please explain...? Jan 20, 2009

Aniello Scognamiglio wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
So ProZ.com came up with another way of separating wheat freelancers from chaff freelancers, namely the red P (and its associated code of conduct).

This is at least slightly offending. Are you aware of this, Samuel?


Nope, I'm blissfully unaware (perhaps the flu has clouded my judgment). Can you explain to me how my statement can be offensive?


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:14
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Red Pee? Sounds dangerous Jan 21, 2009

I have had a look at Samuels profile but saw no 'Red P'. Can anyone explain where it shows?
But anyway, if this P should signal security, wouldn't a Green P be better for that purpose?
Regards
Heinrich


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