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Agencies' reactions to being asked for references
Thread poster: Nesrin

Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:43
English to Arabic
+ ...
Dec 15, 2004

From your experience, how do agencies react to being repeatedly asked to provide references?
As I'm preparing to send out a new batch of applications, I'm a bit worried about the fact that I've mentioned certain agencies again and again (the ones I've worked with most over the past year). Are they going to feel irritated? Is it a routine job they do on a daily basis? Are they going to worry about me wanting to work for other agencies? Would it be wise to just send off the applications without mentioning references? Thanks in advance for your feedback.


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 02:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
I don't understand your title Dec 15, 2004

Hi Nesrin

I don't understand why you say "how do agencies react to being repeatedly asked to provide references" if you're going to send your references.

What is the "routine job they do on a daily basis"?

Of course, I think that you can send applications mentionning the agencies you work for or have worked for, but I don't understand your questions.

Claudia


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:43
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification Dec 15, 2004

Hi Claudia

What I mean is: I send an application off to Agencies A, B and C (and others) citing Agency D, with whom I have worked over the last year, as my reference. Agencies A, B and C will get in touch with Agency D, asking them to comment my work. Should I expect Agency D to respond to those requests, is it something that agencies routinely do and consider a normal part of their work? (etc)
I'm sorry if there was anything unclear about my original posting!

Nesrin


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 06:43
good relationship Dec 15, 2004

If you have had a good relationship with your regular project manager at the agency, it really should not be a problem.

Orla


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:43
Member (2002)
English to German
Wouldn't do it Dec 15, 2004

Honest opinion: If they are often asked to provide references, sooner or later they will be annoyed. It's not their job to do it and they have to spend time for every single incidence.
That's why I never (!) provide any reference. I just think that it is my job to help my clients and not to keep them busy...

Good luck

Andy


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:43
German to English
+ ...
First of all, Dec 16, 2004

did you ask the agency's permission to cite it as a reference?

Second, if the agency agrees, don't worry about it too much, because chances are that most of the companies you send applications to won't bother to check out the references. (At least, that's been my experience as an agency owner. I've only gotten one inquiry in over 15 years!)

Trudy


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
As long as you warn the agency beforehand Dec 16, 2004

(and if you have a good working relationship with them, that's no problem), I don't see how they would be upset. It's not a routine job for an agency, and as Trudy says, few people actually check - but here we have another mechanics at work: if a competitor was cited, it would be a mite intimidating to ask it for references!

On this principle, the references you cite might just spark various reactions (best to make sure they are good and solid).

The best references, if you can swing it, are clients who publish your work on-line or in book form and give you credit.

The best (read, most prestigious) may sometimes not be cited due to varying degrees and forms of non-disclosure. For instance, if you ever work for defence, a personal (not institutional) reference is better.

A client who makes his own client roster public is less likely to object to the practice. Go to the agency's website and see if they cite the companies they've worked for (note that this may be culturally-determined).


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Selçuk Budak  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:43
English to Turkish
+ ...
Prior consent Dec 16, 2004

Seeking prior consent is a good practice to follow. In fact, it would be better not to specifically mention such references in every application submitted unless explicitly required, saving your valuable references from responding too frequently to inquiries, a situation that can easily turn into an annoyance for the agencies in question.

Another good practice is to ask for a short "letter of successful completion" for major projects. This implies, by and in itself, that you would use such letters if and when required. It serves both as a reference as well as a prior consent to use it.
h.i.h.
SB


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 06:43
test translation Dec 16, 2004

Agencies are more likely to ask you to do a test translation so they can assess your work directly, instead of asking for a reference.

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:43
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone Dec 16, 2004

Thanks to all for your responses!

I actually never volunteer to cite references, but only do so when the agency asks me to do so, or the application form includes a "references" field.
I wouldn't feel so good about leaving this field blank - the agency might think I'm not confident enough about my previous work.
It is a good idea to get the agencies' permission first before citing them. And it's up to them to respond to the other agency's request or to simply to ignore it.
Selçuk's suggestion that I ask for a letter of successful completion of projects is great. I know many agencies will be a bit reluctant to do that, but it's worth giving it a try.

)


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xxxHirschmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
English to German
+ ...
I would never provide references Dec 16, 2004

Translators should become aware that they, as any other freelancer, are entrepreneurs.

As an entrepreneur, you shouldn't apply for translation jobs but provide quotations.

As an entrepreneur, you shouldn't provide references. Why should you? Do the freelancers who provide services to you such as dentists, lawyers or tax consultants provide you with references?

No, they don't, and they never will.

So, why should free-lance translators?

We as entrepreneurs should rather ask translation agencies for bank references because we should know if they are at all able to pay our invoices.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
agree Dec 16, 2004

Andy Lemminger wrote:

Honest opinion: If they are often asked to provide references, sooner or later they will be annoyed. It's not their job to do it and they have to spend time for every single incidence.
That's why I never (!) provide any reference. I just think that it is my job to help my clients and not to keep them busy...

Good luck

Andy


Precisely, I feel terrible about asking clients to provide references, they are most of them run off their feet, like me (and I resent anything that keeps me at the computer longer than absolutely necessary).

In my CV etc I state that I will do a sample, and ONLY in very particular cases, provide a reference.

And when I need a reference, I contact someone with whom I have worked with recently, whose (hopefully!) positive memory of me is still with him/her, and politely ask them, giving the name of the requester.


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MonikaSojka  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:43
English to Polish
+ ...
my experience Dec 16, 2004

I don't know about other countries but in the UK agencies very often require that a translator provides them with references and they verify it rather thoroughly, at times by sending some form out to them to be filled out. This form might be rather lenghthy and requires that your client gives detailed information about your work for them.
I used to work for an agency briefly and know how irritated clients get when they have to spend 15 mins by filling the form out.
I even asked some of my clients to provide me with written reference and give me consent to send this reference to any other potential clients but very very often it is not enough.


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:43
English to German
+ ...
Agree to the fullest extent!!! Dec 16, 2004

Translators should become aware that they, as any other freelancer, are entrepreneurs.
>>> When will translaters eventually become aware of that and behave accordingly??????


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xxxHirschmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
English to German
+ ...
I'm fed up with brazen-faced translation agencies Dec 17, 2004

Who do these xxxxxx think they are?

I have just sent the following e-mail message to a translation agency:

---

Subject: http://www.proz.com/job/68088

Hello,

before I make an offer to your company, please have your bank send a signed bank reference to my fax number, +49 89 28674786.

Kind regards,

Dieter Hirschmann

---


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