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PETITION FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SO-CALLED PROZ'S DEBT COLLECTING DIVISION
Thread poster: ksbtranslation

ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 20:16
Indonesian to English
+ ...
Feb 20, 2007

Due to our concerns with all the bitter experiences with regard to payment problem faced by the translators/vendors and our rights, as paid members, to get protection from the scams/bad payers, I would like to propose the establishment of the so-called Proz's Debt Collecting Division. Ideally the persons in charged in this division should have the following tasks:

1. Witness the agreement/contract between the translator/vendor and the outsourcer/agency.

2. Investigate the outsourcer's credibility through their Native Country, Website, Telephone number(s), Blue Board Entries, Profile Page , etc. and remind the translator of any potential problem that may arise if he/she takes the job from them.

3. Investigate the translator's credibility through his/her website(if any), telephone number, profile page, previous complaints filed by other outsourcers, etc. and remind the outsourcer of any potential problem that may arise if they assign the job to him/her.

4. Impose all possible legal actions in the case that one of the parties breach the agreement/contract, in cooperation with the interpol/debt collector operating in the outsourcer's country.

5. Provide a hotline service to which the translator or outsourcer should call before the job is taken or assigned.

6. Any ideas?

The translator should be willing to share a part of the payment with the division.

If you agree to this petition please reply this comment.

Iwan
Project Manager
KSBTranslation.com



[Edited at 2007-02-20 05:32]

[Edited at 2007-02-20 05:36]

[Edited at 2007-02-20 05:44]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not Proz's job Feb 20, 2007

Freelancers are responsible for vetting our clients as best we can, regardless of how they contact us.

Just as a newspaper publisher isn't expected to act as a collection agency for transactions initiated through its classified ads, I don't think it should be ProZ's responsibility to get involved.


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 20:16
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
We have not yet given a try Feb 20, 2007

Steven Capsuto wrote:

Freelancers are responsible for vetting our clients as best we can, regardless of how they contact us.

Just as a newspaper publisher isn't expected to act as a collection agency for transactions initiated through its classified ads, I don't think it should be ProZ's responsibility to get involved.


In another directory, I was contacted by their moderator who proactively reminded us of a suspicious job poster from whom we receive a job. He even called another client who delayed our payment and asked them why it happenned.

So why shouldn't we make a better one for Proz. We have not yet given a try.


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Jason Ma  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:16
English to Chinese
+ ...
Proz should be able to play a postitive role Feb 20, 2007

Given its influence and credibility, Proz should be able to play a postitive role .

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:16
English to German
+ ...
Moving the topic... Feb 20, 2007

...to ProZ.com suggestions.
Also switched of the 'off-topic' indicator.


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Nicole Blanc  Identity Verified
France
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
We should try... Feb 20, 2007

ksbtranslation wrote:

Due to our concerns with all the bitter experiences with regard to payment problem faced by the translators/vendors and our rights, as paid members, to get protection from the scams/bad payers, I would like to propose the establishment of the so-called Proz's Debt Collecting Division.


[Edited at 2007-02-20 05:32]

[Edited at 2007-02-20 05:36]

[Edited at 2007-02-20 05:44]


Owing to the increasing number of outstanding payments experienced by freelancers worldwide, it might be worth testing this suggestion. NB


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:16
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
"No" vote - not within ProZ.com's scope Feb 20, 2007

Although I understand where you're coming from, I'd not be in favour at all of such a move because of the resulting legal implications, and because the establishment of a "collection agency" function would be clearly outside the scope of the site. Also, ProZ.com would have to add a full-fledged department to its organisation and hire the people required to handle such cases (including legal professionals), which I consider impossible at this point in time.

As a mere venue for outsourcers and service providers to meet, ProZ.com cannot, and should not, become party to the agreements and interactions between the two. Since we, as freelancers, are all running our own business, it is first and foremost our own responsibility to take all necessary precautions to minimise our business risk and to avoid cases of non-payment as far as reasonably possible.

Steffen


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Fan Gao
Australia
Local time: 23:16
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Take responsibility for yourself Feb 20, 2007

ksbtranslation wrote:
and our rights, as paid members, to get protection from the scams/bad payers

Maybe I'm wrong but I don't recall Proz giving members such rights. Yeah, it would be nice but I really think we all have to take responsibility for this ourselves.

Do you solely rely on Proz for work? What about all the other websites out there, the direct clients and agencies who aren't registered here? You want Proz to be responsible for every project you take on?

There are simple steps you can take to help protect yourself when you first start to work for a new client. Check out the blueboard, do they have a professional website, does their email address end in Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail etc, speak to them on the phone. If you have any doubts, start off with a small project or ask for a deposit as an act of good faith. Trust your instincts and if you are left with an uneasy feeling then turn it down, there are plenty more out there.

Proz is just a site to give your business visibility and to be able to communicate with others in the business. Some of the things you want Proz to do, you can do yourself and for the others, I think you're expecting way too much.

Good luck anyway,
Mark


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:16
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The Proz. Blue Board does play a positive role Feb 20, 2007

Martin Jones wrote:

Given its influence and credibility, Proz should be able to play a postitive role .


The Blue Board cannot tell you everything, but it does show
agencies it might be wise to avoid.

It also shows that some agencies who have been poor payers earlier can get their acts together and score lots of 5s 'in the last 12 months'.

Unfortunately the reverse can happen too.

Please make Blue Board entries for outsourcers you work for. The good ones deserve the praise, so they can attract business, and colleagues will be grateful for warnings about the non-payers.

Happy translating, folks!



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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 20:16
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
All we want is to make Proz the safest place for both the translators and outsourcers. Feb 20, 2007

Chinese Concept wrote:

Proz is just a site to give your business visibility and to be able to communicate with others in the business. Some of the things you want Proz to do, you can do yourself and for the others, I think you're expecting way too much.

Good luck anyway,
Mark


Dear Mark,

I did not want Proz to do what we usually do when we receive a job from the outsourcers, such as checking the client's BB Entries, website, telephone nos., etc. All we want is to make Proz the safest place for both the translators and outsourcers. Is it too much?


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Natalya Zelikova  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 16:16
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
Option? Feb 20, 2007

If setting up such a department is not in ProZ plans, may be establishing any type of cooperation with collection agencies (in a form of some kind of directory on ProZ or one of site's sections, etc.) would be a good option?

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Elena Robles Sanjuan  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:16
English to Spanish
Use your judgement and the information provided Feb 20, 2007

I am not going to debate whether it´s Proz´s responsibility to act as a debt collector or not, as I don´t understand the legal implications, but suspect they´re endless.
However, I think it´s up to us translators from all over the world to take advantage of a feature that Proz DOES offer: input on agencies, companies or even other freelancers.
Fair enough there are cases where nobody can tell whether it´s safe to work for an agency, as there is no information available here.
My advice is, explore all the sites available on the internet, which are exclusively dedicated to information on this matter. There are loads.
But more than anything, seek advice from the Translators Association you belong to. If you don´t belong to any, then enrol in your country´s.
I believe that sharing information about our experiences is the best way to be on guard.

Good luck to everyone!


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 20:16
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Our ideas Feb 20, 2007

Our freelance service at http://clients.ksbtranslation.com (for clients) or http://freelancer.ksbtranslation.com (for translators) may give Proz some ideas.

In this website, all clients are required to deposit the full payment to us, acting as mediator, via Moneybookers when they agree to hire the selected translator. The translator will be notified that the client has paid in full so he/she must proceed with the job. Cancellation of the approved job is not allowed because the translator has actually been paid. A penalty in the form of payment reduction will be imposed to the translator who cannot fulfill his/her obligation to finish the job on the agreed deadline or who produces bad quality translation, which is different from the quality of his/her sample translation.

In Proz you can use such a division to collect the payment either fullly or partially from the outsourcers. The staffs should be more proactive to give advices to the outsourcers rather than to the translators so that they can select a good translator suitable for the job. The division should also be neutral when solving the problems that may arise on the job completion.

Let us know what you think?


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:16
German to French
+ ...
Here what I think? Feb 20, 2007

ksbtranslation wrote:

Our freelance service at http://clients.ksbtranslation.com (for clients) or http://freelancer.ksbtranslation.com (for translators) may give Proz some ideas.

In this website, all clients are required to deposit the full payment to us, acting as mediator, via Moneybookers when they agree to hire the selected translator. The translator will be notified that the client has paid in full so he/she must proceed with the job. Cancellation of the approved job is not allowed because the translator has actually been paid. A penalty in the form of payment reduction will be imposed to the translator who cannot fulfill his/her obligation to finish the job on the agreed deadline or who produces bad quality translation, which is different from the quality of his/her sample translation.

Let us know what you think?


What is your job as an agency in this case? Why would not the client purely deal with the translator. After all:

-The client is paying upfront but the translator is not getting the money -- you get your charges ascertained plus interest out of the back of both sides for a long project.
-Cancellation is not allowed : is not fair to the client. If a client cancels he should pay for what had been done but this way is very unflexible.
- You leave it up to the client to select his translator according to CVs. He/she may not have the experience to really know what he wants and again, if he had to select from CV, why not contracting the translator directly.
- You impose a penalty on the translator for not delivering like the sample translation. What about the fee of the client? Is it reduced (since he had paid upfront?).

Personally I don't see the point of hiring a third party for such conditions.
You are paid for not selecting the translator, not checking yourself the credibility of the client and assuring the translator but collecting money in advance.

The question is: is such a business sustainable?


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 09:16
German to English
Not for $120 / year Feb 20, 2007

Apart from the EU, every country has its own rules for permissible business practices and debt collection. Assembling an army of debt collectors to cover the world would be enormously time consuming -- and prohibitively expensive. The American Translators Association offers at best a discount of the initial fee of a major US-based collection agency. In my experience this fee, which is higher than the annual membership fee for Proz, includes enrollment in the database and an initial letter to the debtor.

Judging by the messages on the various Proz fora, it appears that a significant number of translators follow what may be charitably called haphazard business practices. Combine that with unscrupulous behavior by a minority of outsourcers, you have a situation that would make global debt collection a task that would exasperate even Hercules.


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