Applying to agencies with no BB record
Thread poster: Maja Źróbecka, MITI

Maja Źróbecka, MITI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:50
English to Polish
+ ...
Mar 8, 2012

Dear all

I wanted to ask you if you ever applied to agencies with no BB record and what the outcome was?

I have been working on my marketing recently and in the first instance contacted agencies with positive feedback recorded, but, at the same time, noticed that just for the UK there are about 17 pages of results with companies who have no record. Some of them have been established 10 years ago and their websites are working. Why would no one post a Blue Board record for them for 10 years? Do you think this is something to be suspicious about? How else could I verify an agency?

I am curious about your experiences.

Thanks
Maja


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Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:50
Danish to English
+ ...
No BB Mar 8, 2012

Funnily enough, an agency with no BB record advertised on ProZ yesterday (I think). Their advertisement seemed rather aggressive, i.e. something about YOU WILL BE DELETED if you don't comply with our application instructions.

I decided to take a look at their website. On the Home page, they stated how 'picky' they were with their selection process and what a fine professional outfit they were running.

The website was a generic template affair, with poor text layout and riddled with typos and arrogant-sounding copy. It was obvious that this was a two-person band with 'conglomeratitis' claiming to have offices in three cities in the UK. Their telephone numbers were non-specific free-call numbers and they didn't provide a postal/registered address on their website.

All those things stink to high heaven to me - so I decided not to contact them...

Tina

[Edited at 2012-03-08 15:44 GMT]


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Maja Źróbecka, MITI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:50
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Tina Mar 8, 2012

Many thanks for your input. I wouldn't apply to the mentioned company either, yet the ones I reviewed looked legitimate which makes me wonder even more how come they have not had any entries for 10 years.

Maja


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:50
Member
English to French
The Blue Board is only a tool Mar 8, 2012

Maja Zrobecka wrote:
I wanted to ask you if you ever applied to agencies with no BB record and what the outcome was?

I worked in 2007 with a company without any BB record (although their details were entered) who contacted me privately through Proz.com : everything went smoothly.
I have also been in contact with agencies with outstanding BB records, but who didn't really fit my requirements...
I was recommended in 2010 by a trustworthy fellow translator to a sole trader who disappeared (nervous breakdown followed by personal insolvency) after a first smooth project...
Maja Zrobecka wrote:
Why would no one post a Blue Board record for them for 10 years?

Not all translators are aware of/use Proz.com. I personally know quite a few of them. And even if they do, some don't see why they would bother.
Maja Zrobecka wrote:
Do you think this is something to be suspicious about?

Not at all. In a recent thread, a translator wrote about how he was told off for entering an agency's details and a enviable comment, by the agency themselves. Some agencies, and not the worst ones, just don't want any publicity. And I don't blame them: they're not going to find end customers on Proz.com, and they probably have their own reliable team of top-notch translators from before the Internet age.
Maja Zrobecka wrote:
How else could I verify an agency?

Googling everything from registration numbers to company/individual names, contacting anyone who dealt with them, general tone of their communication, how they handle negociations, getting insights on their websites (company size, end customers, how long in business...), calling them from their number in the phonebook, etc.
For instance, I discard any agency whose website boasts a database containing tens of thousands of translators or the cheapest service in the universe. You can define your own criteria...

Fortunately, they are far more honest agencies than crooks, but as we report only about bad experiences, we may feel like we're surrounded by thieves and unfair customers.

However, although I like to believe I am sensible when conducting business, I haven't found any watertight procedures to avoid non-payment: I've had 2 such issues in 2001 and 2010, both from French customers, and lost EUR5200 in total. It may be peanuts in a 10+year turnover, but I learned that being lenient about payment delays can lead to larger bad debts!

Whatever you do to lower the possibility of unpaid invoices, risk management is part of our job and should be accounted for in our rates.

Good luck,
Philippe


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Maja Źróbecka, MITI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:50
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Philippe Mar 9, 2012

for your comprehensive response.

I do agree that BB is only a tool and whenever I am contacted by an agency I do not know, I start my research with BB and depending on what I find there, I purse my checking further.
I guess no BB record should not be a reason for not offering my services to such a company, but, as you suggested, it is wise to verify an outsourcer in some other way, e.g. Google, Companies House etc.

As for non-payment, yes, it did happen to me too, but I was able to resolve it with the help of BB and proz.com support. I posted a message on this in the Polish forum, but to cut a long story short upfront payment made via PayPal was cancelled 5 days later (I was not aware they could do that) after I already delivered. Luckily, after over a month the due amount was paid, but this taught me a lesson that an advance should always be paid into my bank account, and even then you cannot be 100% sure it won't be cancelled on the grounds of identity theft, as I have heard...

Thanks.
Maja


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:50
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
There is definitely a world outside Poz.com! Mar 9, 2012

I have worked for several really good agencies that are not on the BB.

The only ones that I have ever had trouble with ARE on the BB...

Check out their websites, and if they look like the one Tina described, forget them. But if they look reliable and professional, then no news on the BB is very probably good news.

You could add them yourself if you are satisfied with them, and please do if you are not.

Best of luck!


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Maja Źróbecka, MITI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:50
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Further search Mar 12, 2012

Christine, many thanks for your comment. Just one more thing I would like to observe: I recently visited the ATC's website to review a list of their members and it struck me that some of their members are reported as non-payers on BB. I don't know the ATC's policy, but do you think this should be highlighted to them? They surely must have some selection and membership criteria.

Or is it none of their business?

Maja


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:50
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Payment issues should be the concern of the ATC Mar 13, 2012

Maja Zrobecka wrote:

...I recently visited the ATC's website to review a list of their members and it struck me that some of their members are reported as non-payers on BB. I don't know the ATC's policy, but do you think this should be highlighted to them? They surely must have some selection and membership criteria.

Or is it none of their business?

Maja


This is one of the items on the ATC code of professional conduct:
http://www.atc.org.uk/code_conduct_atc.html

7. Member companies have a general duty of fair dealing towards their existing and past clients, fellow members, other members of the translating profession and members of the public.

I don't know how they deal with members who do not comply, but it could damage their reputation if they do not take action.

See also items 9 and 10 in the code of professional conduct.


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