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Agencies: Ridiculous recruitment forms
Thread poster: Anne Seerup

Anne Seerup
Ireland
Local time: 20:18
English to Danish
+ ...
Apr 30, 2009

I am just filling in this web form for an agency, who contacted me, and they are asking for the most ridiculous information, e.g. how many words I have translated in this or that area of specialization.
Who on earth keeps track on that? So how would a person with for example 25 years of experience answer that question. Is a C.V. or presentation not enough?

They are also asking for references - typical really. Some agencies really do not seem to respect that "freelancers" are actually other (smaller) businesses and such information is confidential. Maybe I should send them a form, and ask them to disclose their end clients to me in order to prove that they are doing any business. LOL


 

Victor Zagria
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
re Agencies: ... Apr 30, 2009

You might as well do that for the obvious reason of investigating whether the agency HAS any steady clients at all. Disclosure of names is not essential. Plus the info on the agency's distant staff cooperating on permanent basis also does count. For, if it has none that means they (distant contractees) ware underpaid or didn't get their fee at all.

 

Marzia Colecchia  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:18
French to Italian
+ ...
That is quite often what I encountered Apr 30, 2009

Dear Anne,

That sounds quite ridiculous to me too, because I feel myself being considered as a number (how many words/how many sentences/how much....) rather than a person and a professional translator.
I am afraid that, for the sake of simplifing their recruiting procedures, many agencies have fallen into this worrying scheme of numbers and non-sense forms that are far from being exhaustive and comprehensive.

Those people are, in my opinion, business people rather than translators or linguists, that's why they don't understand the importance of a comprehensive and detailed CV or a highly motivated covering letter.

This morning I got the same feeling when fulfilling a new form for a new agency that contacted me. I am quite bored of this procedure and I normally tend to mistrust these companies and prefer to focus on other targets.

Good luck!
Marzia


 

Anne Seerup
Ireland
Local time: 20:18
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Often a waste of time Apr 30, 2009

It is very tedious, and there are so many things I would rather do, than wasting my time on those forms, especially since the majority of my long-term clients never asked me to fill in a form, do a test, or disclose references.
I find it extra ridiculous that some clients find my CV online and contact me, presumably because they wish to work with me, but before we can go ahead they need me to fill in all these forms.


 

Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:18
Finnish to English
Agree almost entirely Apr 30, 2009

So many agencies are up their own you-know-what when it comes to their often laborious, tedious systems - the same systems that won't generate any work for you anyway probably

Don't agree about references though. I had a patio and path built - costing 6000 quid - and asked the builders for references beforehand.

I think this pracytce might also extend to translation agencies too.

best

spencer


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:18
Member (2004)
English to Polish
TPX? Apr 30, 2009

The solution might be a uniform, single form that would be acceptable to all agencies and which they might process according to their needs.

ProZ has created the excellent TPX data format for this purpose, but does nothing to promote it... Which is a shame, really!

http://www.proz.com/tpxinfo/


 

Marzia Colecchia  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:18
French to Italian
+ ...
I didn't know about TPX Apr 30, 2009

Thank you Jabberwock for the useful link provided!
I have been on Proz since last year, and never heard about it!
That's of course a mean to clear and improve our possibilities.......I will have a deep look, sure.

Marzia


 

Anne Seerup
Ireland
Local time: 20:18
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not quite the same industry Apr 30, 2009

Spencer Allman wrote:

So many agencies are up their own you-know-what when it comes to their often laborious, tedious systems - the same systems that won't generate any work for you anyway probably

Don't agree about references though. I had a patio and path built - costing 6000 quid - and asked the builders for references beforehand.

I think this pracytce might also extend to translation agencies too.

best

spencer



I know I would probably ask builders for references too, but I think translation is slightly different in the sense that we deal with information (often confidential) and over the internet. I have also signed quite a few non-disclosure agreements through the years.

[Edited at 2009-04-30 14:41 GMT]


 

Boffin Inc
Canada
Local time: 15:18
Member (2008)
English to Chinese
+ ...
about references Apr 30, 2009

Our form don't ask for words done.icon_biggrin.gif But we do have a field for "reference". I think the field is good for those who have team/full time employment experience or have publication that can be easily accessed. But to me, it is just fine to skip the field if you state your experience and strong field clearly, and most important of all, do the trial job well.

[Edited at 2009-04-30 13:46 GMT]


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:18
Member (2004)
English to Polish
No promotion, no idea... Apr 30, 2009

Marzia Colecchia wrote:

Thank you Jabberwock for the useful link provided!
I have been on Proz since last year, and never heard about it!



The problem is, very few people have heard about it... I hate to see all that hard work go to waste, but if the idea is not widely advertised and promoted, nothing will come of it.

ProZ itself could do much more to promote it - for example, the translator's profile could have an automated TPX request form, which would facilitate exchange of the data (direct download should not be possible, as the profiles contain sensitive data, e.g. mail addresses that could be spammed).

Another useful feature could be a web form for translators, which would generate their profiles (possibly, feeding most of the info from the already existing member data).

Of course, there are many ways that could be done, however, it seems that the staff is not that interested. So the translators still have to waste their time filling out almost identical forms...

[Edited at 2009-04-30 14:14 GMT]


 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:18
German to English
+ ...
Re: references Apr 30, 2009

I also totally disagree with the requirement to provide references. What is better in my opinion, and I know many translators are totally opposed to this as well, is doing a short test translation. When I worked at a translation company we combed through many applications from translators with stellar-sounding educations and references who then fell down on the test translation. That doesn't mean they are awful translators in all fields, but it gave us a pretty clear picture on who would do well with the type of texts we had to offer. I've posted about this many times before, but I also see test translations as a way for translators to gain insight into an agency's procedures and the type of work they might offer to see if the relationship will be a good fit or not. Something more personal like that is surely more helpful than a form. None of those forms that I filled out in my early days ever led to any work!

 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:18
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Just because they ask for info doesn't mean you have to give it Apr 30, 2009

I filled out one of these agency forms yesterday. In the "references" box, I wrote: "Out of respect for my clients' time and privacy, I do not provide references except for projects over 50,000 words."

Under Social Security/Tax ID number, I put "N/A." (The client is outside the U.S. and my Social Security number is therefore none of their business.)

I generally also skip irrelevant, intrusive questions such as date of birth and marital status.


 

Samuel Hunt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:18
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Tell them your're under NDA May 1, 2009

One approach for these application forms requiring references with extensive information is simply to say that all of your work is done under non-disclosure agreements, so you are not at liberty to divulge who you have worked for nor any particulars of the work.
This might even have the side effect of making you appear more proffessional in the eyes of the agency in question.

I've often wondered how an agency can expect you to sign a confidentiality agreement while requiring you to spill your guts about your other clients in the same application form. It seems like a catch 22.

Simply stonewalling them by maintaining the complete confidentiality of your work is one way out of this.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Asking for references: isn't it a test? May 1, 2009

I wonder whether agencies keep asking for references as a test, as they know quite well that most agencies and direct customers require us to sign an NDA, and thus giving out information about contact people, volumes, and types of work is not an option.

I agree with Steve: they may ask whatever they like, but you should only give them the information you consider necessary in a healthy business relationship.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A test: a good option May 1, 2009

Daina Jauntirans wrote:
What is better in my opinion, and I know many translators are totally opposed to this as well, is doing a short test translation.


I agree: tests are useful and also allow an agency to know about responsiveness, ability to honour deadlines, communication skills, ability to understand applicable rules, and good use of glossaries, as well as the quality of the text itself. I also think tests are a good thing. Ideally they should be paid, though...icon_smile.gif


 
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