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About "potential EU tenders" - how do you like that?
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 18:11
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Nov 22, 2007

Well, I think that the issue about the "potential EU tenders", agencies that insistingly request/ask translators to provide their CVs, proof of experience and other docs has been discussed a lot. So, nothing new here neither about this, nor the upcomes of that.

But I just decided to share one specific case from my practice.

Several weeks ago I had email attacks from one agency (and several other agencies) - "Please send us your CV + plaplapla for us as we want to take part in the tender". They agreed to anything - to really big rates I offered, and any other conditions just to receive the docas. If was really not so easy to get rid of them when I said at the end that well, I refuse.

Now, after some time, the post of the agency on a competing website:

"Dear All,
We have won a large new tender for translations and are currently looking for qualified translators. If you would like to participate, you MUST provide the following:

• copy of your university degree (either linguistic or scientific)

• proof of your medical expertise (this can be either a degree/certificate/specialisation in or letters of reference which have to include your name, the subject matter and the amount of pages translated - you need to reach a total of 500 pages=500,000 words)

PLEASE NOTE: we can’t accept any applications if you can’t provide any of the above."

How do you like this "practice"? Seems these people collected good CVs from one group of translators promising whatever. And now they are posting a job as a real job - i.e. looking for the second group of fools to work on a 1/2 rate basis.

Also - can we consider making the names of such agecies public? Both for the benefit of decent proz members, public to the EU institutions about such "practices", public to other institutions (like translator associations, etc.)?


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C. Roman
Spain
Local time: 17:11
Romanian to Spanish
+ ...
Loss of time Nov 22, 2007

For me, a loss of time…

I am glad that somebody raised this issue. I am fed up of receiving this kind of “proposals”, although I have to admit that some tenders are tempting….I think that we do their work by sending all this information. After all, the agencies are like any other company form another sector (construction, let’s say) that have to prepare the documentation for a tender. The companies have a specific administrative department for that, exclusively dedicated to this type of work.

Do you ever sign the agreement of availability?

And anyway, have you ever received any communication of the award?

I have ceased to lose time over it. If they need me, I guess they will call if they are awarded the tender.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 18:11
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
well, it becomes more like an abuse... Nov 22, 2007

Dear Consuela,

I fully agree with you - we simply can ignore such proposals. But I think we should take some steps to put an end to this "practice" because it becomes an abuse already.

What if the EU gets to know that agencies attack free-lancers, get the CVs of the best ones to win the tenders, and when they win the tenders, they publish a job post to find OTHER translators to do the job for cheaper? I think it is already unethical. Nor the EU will allow that.

And, at last, WHY are these docs needed for quality assurance (I understand it is simply a formal procedure when the EU requires the tender agency provide a documented proof about qualification of their translators) if these agencies fish for people in turbid water (like spammers sending email to buy viagra to anyone) - the ones they never ever knew (just found somewhere in the sea of internet and emailed "please send our docs - we need it for the tender")? Let alone that many free-lancers never ever knew about such agencies (let alone - never worked for them)...And then the permanent topic about EU translations quality. But can it really be otherwise?







[Edited at 2007-11-22 14:54]


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Emina Popovici  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 17:11
English to Romanian
+ ...
Not only this agency, indeed Nov 22, 2007

My personal opinion is that they simply have used the good resumes to win the bid, and now they are looking for the translators who will actually do the job (at half the price, of course). There are many agencies who do the same and this is indeed anything but ethic. It's pure business speculation. As translator, one has two options: either to ignore such offers or to waste his/her time compiling the necessary documents. It's kind of nightmarish, though, to think that after all the trouble the job will be given to some low quality ttranslators who might not even have the necessary qualifications, but they sure will earn some money with the "little help" of your resume.
Anyway, I doubt there can be done anything to stop them, and after all, there might be a small percentage of agencies who really intend to offer an actual job.


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Melzie
Local time: 17:11
French to English
+ ...
wishful thinking? Nov 22, 2007

Emina Popovici wrote:
and after all, there might be a small percentage of agencies who really intend to offer an actual job.


I do like to believe in human nature but...


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Something is wrong somewhere Nov 22, 2007

The system seems to be broken. My first reaction is to blame it on the bureaucracy. I'm usually right when making that assumption.

The agencies are doing what you would expect them to do given the rules that are imposed on them.

How might the EU change their rules to prevent this? Not that I would expect them to listen.


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Emina Popovici  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 17:11
English to Romanian
+ ...
it's only money :-) Nov 22, 2007

I forgot to mention: not all the translators working for lower rates are offering poor quality translation. This is not always the issue.
The issue is a more serious one: this type of agency wins the bid at high rates based on strong resumes, and then it pays less to other translators, while taking the rest of the money into its pocket.
An example:
1.agency X wins a bid with 20 strong resumes of translators charging 0.12EUR/word.
2. agency X must take its own "bite", so the rate might reach, let's say 0.15EUR/word (at least).
3. agency X hires another 20 translators who charge 0.07EUR/word.
4. 0.15EUR - 0.07EUR = 0.08EUR/word goes into agency's pocket
As simple as that.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 18:11
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
maybe, but... Nov 22, 2007

Edward Potter wrote:

The system seems to be broken. My first reaction is to blame it on the bureaucracy. I'm usually right when making that assumption.

The agencies are doing what you would expect them to do given the rules that are imposed on them.

How might the EU change their rules to prevent this? Not that I would expect them to listen.


Dear Edward,

But do you think EU will allow such a practice when agencies get best CVs to win the tender and then hire OTHER people to do the real job? Having in mind that chosing the winner of the tender those CVs and experience of those people is the Nr1 criteria for selecting the winner. So, all in all, the agencies actually cheat the EU during the tender process. And if it turns out with a proof, I think agencies can have very serious consequences.

Of course, no one from the EU can track who actually did the translation, but I am speaking in general - about the general principles of simple "business ethics"...And if the EU officials create the formal requirements, what sense does it make to have these if, in real life, no one follows these requirements (not even speaking that such formal requirements about quality have nothing to do with quality)...And if these formal requirements are disregarded, then a simple question - what they are for? Maybe for other reasons (that are not oficially told to us)?

Br
Marius

P.S. Or, maybe, I am too naive and idealistic about the EU and the transparency of the things at the EU end?

[Edited at 2007-11-22 15:17]


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Aleksandra Kwasnik  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:11
Polish to German
+ ...
Contact Translation DG ? Nov 22, 2007

Hi Marius,

I suppose that the agency must have won one of the recent tenders published by the Translation DG:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/workingwithus/freelance/tender/close_tender_en.htm

Maybe it would be worthwhile to contact the Translation DG and describe your special case?
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/navigation/contact/contact_en.htm

If possible, I will raise this topic during the Proz.com-Conference in Dortmund next week on the occasion of the opening speech, which is being given by Klaus Ahrend, Head of Unit "External translation".

Regards,
Aleksandra



[Edited at 2007-11-22 15:21]


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 18:11
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes, but I think it is simply cheating Nov 22, 2007

Emina Popovici wrote:

I forgot to mention: not all the translators working for lower rates are offering poor quality translation. This is not always the issue.
The issue is a more serious one: this type of agency wins the bid at high rates based on strong resumes, and then it pays less to other translators, while taking the rest of the money into its pocket.
An example:
1.agency X wins a bid with 20 strong resumes of translators charging 0.12EUR/word.
2. agency X must take its own "bite", so the rate might reach, let's say 0.15EUR/word (at least).
3. agency X hires another 20 translators who charge 0.07EUR/word.
4. 0.15EUR - 0.07EUR = 0.08EUR/word goes into agency's pocket
As simple as that.



Say, I offer you a description of a very good product to get you interested, and when it comes to a real transaction, I sell some other product (still a good one, but a cheaper one)?

Can agencies to like that (for whatever reason) - win tenders with CVs of one group of people (giving a proof that they are the best of the best) and then use other people (despite that they have won the tender "on the merit" of the 1st group)?


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:11
German to English
+ ...
Really? Nov 22, 2007

MariusV wrote:

Of course, no one from the EU can track who actually did the translation


In that case, what's the point of the whole exercise?

Marc


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 16:11
the voice of experience ;-) Nov 22, 2007



Of course, no one from the EU can track who actually did the translation


Hate to nit-pick but they can. Often, you can work out who did it via File>Properties.

The EU treats agencies the exact same way as they would with a freelancer, it is all the same to them. Should there be an issue with the translation, the EU informs the agency and it is up to the agency to sort it out after that.

I used to get loads of these soliticing mails when I was a freelancer (still get a few even now actually)... there is plenty of work there, but you have to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops to get a piece of it.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 18:11
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
the point is... Nov 22, 2007

Marc P wrote:

MariusV wrote:

Of course, no one from the EU can track who actually did the translation


In that case, what's the point of the whole exercise?

Marc


The point is that such agencies with such "practices" actually cheat the EU in tenders - they provide docs of experienced translators and the tender winners are selected ON THAT basis whereas the actual work is done by OTHER people. Moreover, those translators who provide the docs for such agencies to win the tender, agencies use their "good name", and all the best such translators receive from these agencies is a negative reply "Sorry, we did not win". Most often - they do not receive any feedback. So, these people are cheated too.

And the summary of the point is that such practices are not fair. It is not an "exercise", it is a concern about a tendency that becomes really weird.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:11
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Contact your translator's association Nov 22, 2007

If you are resident of an EU-country your association will have the contact to the responsible instances.
As far as I know the quality assurance practices in the EU are quite strict, so I hope cheaters will get sorted out eventually.
Regards
Heinrich


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tinageta  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:11
English to Latvian
+ ...
They just bite their own tail Nov 22, 2007

If the quality of the translations supplied is not satisfactory, they lose their position in the list and eventually the contract can be even terminated.
I myself used to work for an agency that at the beginning was the last in the list because it charged higher prices (and therefore paid their translators more), and now is in the first or the second position because the translations are always (well, most of the time) of good or very good quality. Being in the top position means it has the first hand for any announced project. If it does not want the project, the second, the third etc. can apply for it.

I myself revise an awful lot of freelance translations (not to my liking at all), and believe me, I am not merciful.

P.S. This applies only to one EU institution. I do not know what are the procedures for the others, but I believe they might be similar.


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