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What can an outsourcer do when the translator disappears?
Thread poster: xxxEve Wongrave
xxxEve Wongrave
English to Greek
+ ...
Feb 1, 2010

I recently assigned a project to a translator, but she is now disappeared. The deadline set to her was yesterday and she hasn't returned any of my emails. Can I do anything about it apart from re-assigning it?

By 'anything', I mean if there is an option like a BlueBoard for translators, because I would like to protect other outsourcers.

Regards


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:52
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Well.... Feb 1, 2010

Eve Wongraven wrote:

I recently assigned a project to a translator, but she is now disappeared. The deadline set to her was yesterday and she hasn't returned any of my emails. Can I do anything about it apart from re-assigning it?

By 'anything', I mean if there is an option like a BlueBoard for translators, because I would like to protect other outsourcers.

Regards



(a) don't pay her (b) never give her any more work (c) ensure in future that the translators you hire are reliable people.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:52
English to German
+ ...
Before you try to protect other outsourcers Feb 1, 2010

Have you called her to make sure that she didn't have a car accident and is in hospital, for example?

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Shashi Kant Singh
India
Local time: 21:22
English to Hindi
+ ...
Nicole may be right! Feb 2, 2010

Nicole may be right! Otherwise I don't think any translator may be so careless. If he/she is in any trouble, eventhen one may expect that the translator must report the cause of delay to the outsourcer. This is an ethical practice.

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Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:52
English to Dutch
+ ...
Does happen unfortunately Feb 2, 2010

Lang Junction wrote:

I don't think any translator may be so careless.


If only that were true.... It doesn't happen that often, but happen, it does. But indeed, first find out whether any emergencies came up.


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Yvonne Schulmeistrat  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
English to German
+ ...
please find out about the reason for her silence before warning others Feb 2, 2010

Dear Eve,

don't you have her mobile phone number? Doesn't she have yours? There can be 1001 reasons why she does not reply to your e-mails... Just one week ago the German Telecom had a problem with all phone lines in my district. I didn't have any internet anymore, but I had to return a project. So I had to drive to a friend of mine in another town about 50 km from here just to send the translation to my client. Another possibility might be the weather. Some years ago a weather condition similar to the one we are experiencing right now in Germany caused whole towns to be cut off from electricity for many days. There are so many possibilities for the silence on the side of your translator. Please try to find out why she does not reply before warning others.

Best regards,

Yvonne


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xxxAlfa Trans  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:52
English to Finnish
+ ...
Two explanations Feb 2, 2010

I've heard about cases like this. The outsourcers contacted me and told me that the translators had disappeared, did not reply to emails or answer the phone, etc. When I saw the texts, I immediately knew why that had happened. They were pdf files, extremely difficult, the terms could not be found in dictionaries or the Internet - nobody could pay you enough for doing them, and the result would be substandard.

The outsourcers mentioned the translators' names and it was easy to see that they were inexperienced and their rates were extremely low.

IMHO there are two reasons for the disappearance: the oursourcers look for the lowest rates and they never take "No" for an answer.

The truth is that most translations I receive are difficult (the result of the financial crisis) - but manageable. A few of them are impossible in the sense that they would require too much time - and outsourcers seldom agree to pay twice the usual rate because the job is difficult... They do their utmost to force you, whatever the reason.

Probably this is not the case here, but I encounter the latter problem every time I turn down a job offer. I have even stopped working for certain outsourcers for this reason.

Money isn't everything; it's the only thing.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Reassign the job, then clarify the matter Feb 2, 2010

Eve Wongraven wrote:
By 'anything', I mean if there is an option like a BlueBoard for translators, because I would like to protect other outsourcers.

In my opinion you are jumping to conclusions. No translator simply disappears without a reason.

In my opinion, if a full working day has elapsed without a reply, you should of course reassign the job immediately, since you have to deliver this to your client as well.

As for what happened, I would try to call this translator at least thrice at different times of the day. You surely have her postal address: you could also send a registered letter asking for an explanation. If there is an important reason why this person cannot read her email, another person might be thus be able to contact you and explain.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is this really true? Feb 2, 2010

Marju Galitsos wrote:
I've heard about cases like this. The outsourcers contacted me and told me that the translators had disappeared, did not reply to emails or answer the phone, etc. When I saw the texts, I immediately knew why that had happened. They were pdf files, extremely difficult, the terms could not be found in dictionaries or the Internet - nobody could pay you enough for doing them, and the result would be substandard.

Sorry Marju, but I just cannot believe a translator simply stops responding because the job was more difficult than expected. Are you saying that in these cases the job was already assigned to the translators or that they did not respond to a job proposal?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Did she confirm acceptance of the job? Feb 2, 2010

Eve Wongraven wrote:
I recently assigned a project to a translator, but she is now disappeared. The deadline set to her was yesterday and she hasn't returned any of my emails. Can I do anything about it apart from re-assigning it?

On a second thought Eve, did this translator confirm to you that she accepted the job? I hope this is not a situation in which you THINK that the job was assigned even if you did not receive a confirmation.


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xxxAlfa Trans  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:52
English to Finnish
+ ...
The translators disappeared Feb 2, 2010

Tomás, you understood me correctly. As I said, the outsourcers told me the names, too, so it was really true.

The jobs were assigned to them and the deadline was in 14 days. They both simply disappeared. One of them is not on ProZ.com any more, his profile was deleted ( xxx in front of his fake name). He was actually sentenced in court for fraud - his clients made advance payments and he never delivered the translations, for example. He still has a profile on other sites, though.

The other one still has a profile on ProZ.com.



[Edited at 2010-02-02 09:55 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-02-02 10:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-02-02 14:15 GMT]


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Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:52
English to Dutch
+ ...
Some reasons Feb 2, 2010

Translators aren't holy beings. Some "reasons" to disappear:

"Another outsourcer came up with an offer I couldn't refuse. I didn't expect too much return business from the other one, so I just dropped them."

"I botched up my time management and didn't dare inform the outsourcer."

or, Tomás, indeed: "I said yes too quickly and cannot deliver upon my promises, so I just don't deliver at all."

Not saying that this is the case here, but just don't assume that every translator upholds the same biz ethics as you.

@Eve: no, you can only make positive WWA entries.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:52
French to English
Interesting contrast Feb 2, 2010

If an outsourcer (which can take the form of a single individual, as well as a multi-national behemoth) is 10 minutes late with payment or so much as raises a quizzical eyebrow about the position of a semi-colon, this forum starts foaming at the mouth and pretty much consigns them immediately to the same category as satan and all his works.

A translator behaves in an equally (albeit different) unprofessional way, and suddenly the collective intellectual might of the forum is brainstorming on the possible fate of the poor wretched soul and coming up with one sorry and pathetic excuse after another. Unless the translator is actually a hermit who has lost the power of speech (or indeed any other form of communication), then to go incommunicado like this is utterly unacceptable.

Susan van den Ende wrote:

Translators aren't holy beings. ..... but just don't assume that every translator upholds the same biz ethics as you.
Exactly

@Eve: no, you can only make positive WWA entries.

Which, my ever-so-empathetic chums, is why the whole set up is as pointless as an ashtray on a motorbike.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
You exaggerate Feb 2, 2010

Charlie Bavington wrote:
If an outsourcer (which can take the form of a single individual, as well as a multi-national behemoth) is 10 minutes late with payment or so much as raises a quizzical eyebrow about the position of a semi-colon, this forum starts foaming at the mouth and pretty much consigns them immediately to the same category as satan and all his works.

Sorry Charlie, but this is a clear exaggeration and does not reflect reality at all. People make Blueboard entries and comment on fora when they see no solution at all after weeks trying to get paid and receiving reassurance but no action at all... or after being ignored for weeks over email and telephone.


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Valery Kaminski  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 18:52
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
To be or not to be... a Nostradamus Feb 2, 2010

My take is that the situation is too dim to make any guesses.

There are numerous reasons why a translator may get out of touch because of some force majeure circumstances.

There are other reasons, too: drinking bout, irresponsibility. man of her life finally found just after assigning the job, you name it.

But there is no info for an educated guess as to what happened in this particular situation.


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