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Would you offer translation reviews for free to an agency?
Thread poster: apk12

apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:24
English to German
+ ...
Jun 27, 2010

Hello there. This is a question asked out of pure curiosity. There is a translation platform somewhere in the wild wild web world which started a time ago, beginning with extremely low dumping rates, but correcting this about half a year ago - now offering at least a medium rate on one of their quality levels.

Now, this platform introduced a new feature to their translators something above a week ago. They are (sorry if sounding quite straightforward here) offering something like puppy treats ("you may even get more projects in future if you submit more reviews now...") in order to let professional translators deliver reviews for free.

The platform is openly marketing this feature to their clients as an additional quality assurance step. And - the translators who in fact are as desperate and submit reviews - are forced to leave digit ratings which can be used (not only 'can' but in fact are used) for the company's own HR purposes. Not to mention that you of course find translators there being so desperate to submit 20+ reviews per day, with expectable results and translators shouting out in the forum about the quality of those 'quick and dirty' reviews made just in order to sample 'review points' treats and in order to reduce competition in their language pair.

The feature at the beginning didn't even have a reply button. So a desperate young translator could theoretically send masses of reviews claiming to see lacks of quality without the original translator even having a possibility to answer and to prove the reviewer was wrong. After several voices commented to this in their forum, they are claiming to having installed a reply function now, but still it's not really clear if this in fact was done as the translators proposed - so far, there seems not a single reply arrived at the reviewers side which lets the translators conlude that the replies are possibly blind ones, i.e. visible only to the agency itself, not to the reviewer.

Translators asking for further improvement of the process - e.g. a missing "edit" button, which would, as soon as the reply function really would work, allow a discussion between both participants - are so far ignored, the platform staff obviously hoping that something like the review of a translation can be reduced to a simple procedure resembling the complexity of ordering a big mac in a drive inn. Not to mention that it were the translators in the forum demanding clear guidelines for the review process, so far you have just a digit you can freely choose and a tiny comment field which you can't even edit.

My point is - for those translators who prefer to spend their working time on real work not crowd sourced 'reviews', but could imagine to offer a review from time to time as a pay-back for an allocated project (so something like a compromise) - for those this forced simplification in fact seems striking.

My question - how would you feel if being confronted with something like that in general? Being asked to deliver LSP and QM service to a company for free? And moreover with such a simplified procedure structure?




[Edited at 2010-06-28 11:06 GMT]


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:24
English to German
+ ...
No. Jun 27, 2010

If you want to work for free you had better do it pro bono for people in need.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
A remote chance Jun 27, 2010

Only if:

a) you are asked nicely to do it as a favour by a company that you know and respect; and
b) you're reasonably sure that this will result in well-paid and interesting assignments, which would not otherwise come your way (i.e. as an investment); and
c) it won't take long; and
d) you aren't having to pass up paid work to do it


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:24
German to Spanish
+ ...
Would you offer translation reviews for free to an agency? Jun 27, 2010

apk12 wrote:

Hello there. This is a question asked out of pure curiosity. There is a translation platform somewhere in the wild wild web are possibly blind ones, i.e. visible only to the agency itself, not to the reviewer ... / ...



No, I would not. And imho, no one responsible translator should translate neither proofread a word for such translation brokers (that only mess our market ) until they go bankrupt. Or are we going to allow them to take us back to the barter's era?



[Editado a las 2010-06-27 14:54 GMT]


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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:24
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so far - any other comments? Jun 27, 2010

Thank you Gudrun and Pablo for your prompt direct comments and Sheila for your pacifistic attitude signalizing a remote availability :]

Pablo: usually, I would probably admit. there are quite a few translation web pages - online-agencies - spread over the net which I would describe in an even more distinct way. as for the platform mentioned - compared with dumping rates still offered regularly on the ProZ jobpage, even their standard quality rates are human, at least for some language pairs. there is a 2nd quality level paid with an - as mentioned - at least medium rate, so if asked for my honest statement, I would wish them more business success than quite a few job posters on this site here.

what strikes me here is this review attitude. even if one would consider a review from time to time as a pay-back for an allocated project - even in such a case a digit rating with no guidelines at all coming with an uneditable comment field and so far not confirmed receipt of a reply on the reviewer's side... seems to be quite a 'subperfect' solution. even if you just submit a simple "agree" or "disagree" on a KudoZ question, you have an editable field... - I mean, this (to me in fact a bit shocking) simplification presents itself as a real problem. the overall style - to approach independent LSP's expecting them to take part in a run for 'review points' treats - is even more worth a critical word.

any other comments/statements? so far, this thread had 259 visitors in just a few hours - everybody else would feel ok with it? QM&HR tasks delivered for free?




[Edited at 2010-06-27 19:47 GMT]


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Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:24
Member (2008)
English to French
Wow. Jun 27, 2010

No.

Wow. No.

Let me rephrase that... never! To paraphrase a recent post "Everyone can English"... and that's not the kind of person you want reviewing your text...

About people who would rack up thousands of "review points", you would think that it would be a red flag and not a good thing since it would seem that person either had A LOT of time to kill or seem to have something to prove (à la doth protest too much). Yes, there are retired professor/translator angels out there but chances are they'd rather pick & choose their protégés than indiscriminately "review" work on the web for free. It's like the old riddle about going to a new town one afternoon and there are only 2 barbers, one with a bad haircut and dirty store and one with a good haircut and spotless store... which one do you go to? The answer is the first one since his bad haircut was given by the second barber and his story is dirty because it's busy.

I know the rules are that you're not supposed to post competitors' sites - could you pm it to me? I'm really curious now


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JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:24
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
me 2 Jun 27, 2010

Arianne Farah wrote:

I know the rules are that you're not supposed to post competitors' sites - could you pm it to me? I'm really curious now


and me!


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Inge Meinzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:24
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
Absolutely not! Jun 27, 2010

I think there are ample legitimate ways to establish yourself as a provider of professional translation services. Part of the task is to the hard work of acquiring clients, something any independent business person must do. It requires courage and self-reliance in addition to the skill set of a language professional. If the essential ingredients to independent business success are missing, the best alternative is indeed to go out and find a job as an in-house translator/reviewer. IMHO, the kind of endeavor you describe is nothing short of yet another outfit trying to get something for nothing and thereby devaluing the professional service we provide. If we play along, we have only ourselves to blame for not commanding professional respect.

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Aude Sylvain  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:24
English to French
+ ...
what about the agencies? Jun 27, 2010

I will not add anything from the translator's side, I agree with most of the comments above
What worries me as much is the position of the agencies that use that kind of "services" (??).

How could a proper agency rely on that sort of anonymous and non documented reviews?

Apk12, I'm very curious also to know what this site is. I would be grateful if you could send the name by pm (I'm afraid you're going to have to send a mass mailing!)


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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:24
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not really anonymous Jun 27, 2010



How could a proper agency rely on that sort of anonymous and non documented reviews?



they are not anonymous for the agency itself. can't be, because the translators are allured with the mentioned "maybe even more projects in future". and in order to believe in this, they have to collect their "review points" ;]

re. 'how about the quality of such desperate 'service'' - I think no one could answer us this question better than the staff itself. so far, I only hope that an answer they gave in their forum a few days ago still is valid: "We are still receiving feedbacks to the Beta. We will answer all those questions in detail after we analyze everything."

what about the others? willing to donate your working time to a company, delivering QM&HR tasks for free? and in case you feel like maybe even willing to offer a compromise, i.e. a review paid back for an allocated project: willing to do such a 'review' without even a clarified visibility of the reply the translator gave, willing to type it into an uneditable field, as a kind of 'McReview', forced to leave a digit rating with no guidelines at all?




[Edited at 2010-06-27 19:17 GMT]


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Aude Sylvain  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:24
English to French
+ ...
indeed Jun 27, 2010

apk12 wrote:


they are not anonymous for the agency itself. can't be, because the translators are allured with the mentioned "maybe even more projects in future". and in order to believe in this, they have to collect their "review points" ;]


Indeed, my mistake!
I am still doubtful about the criteria the agency could use to assess the quality/fairness of the review though...


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:24
German to Spanish
+ ...
Would you offer translation reviews for free to an agency?" Jun 27, 2010

apk12 wrote:

Thank you Gudrun and Pablo for your prompt direct comments and Sheila for your pacifistic attitude signalizing a remote availability :]

Bablo: usually, I would probably admit. there are quite a few translation web pages - online-agencies - spread over the net which I would describe in an even more distinct way. as for the platform mentioned - compared with dumping rates still offered regularly on the ProZ jobpage, even their standard quality rates are human, at least for some language pairs. there is a 2nd quality level paid with an - as mentioned - at least medium rate, so if asked for my honest statement, I would wish them more business success than quite a few job posters on this site here.

what strikes me here is this review attitude. even if one would consider a review from time to time as a pay-back for an allocated project - even in such a case a digit rating with no guidelines at all coming with an uneditable comment field and so far not confirmed receipt of a reply on the reviewer's side... seems to be quite a 'subperfect' solution. even if you just submit a simple "agree" or "disagree" on a KudoZ question, you have an editable field... - I mean, this (to me in fact a bit shocking) simplification presents itself as a real problem. the overall style - to approach independent LSP's expecting them to take part in a run for 'review points' treats - is even more worth a critical word.

any other comments/statements? so far, this thread had 259 visitors in just a few hours - everybody else would feel ok with it? QM&HR tasks delivered for free?



I think that many translators have a certain fear of losing their job and finally have to go for these kind of providers. Obviously, little or no no work at all they will provide to people like me, with the above referred and published opinion about them. So they prefer to remain silent.

But, as translators we should definitively understand that we are business-people, that we must assume risks and, in addition to all the translation tasks we do, we should make an intensive effort in marketing not to get carried away by the current.

Seen from this perspective, it does not seems the ideal job, right?

However, If we decide to work for free or for peanuts at least let 's do it correctly. Tere isn't such thing as first, second or third quality levels in translation. A translation is well done or it isn't. In the long run, admitting this we are only throwing stones on our own roof. Then, we complain ...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Not free Jun 27, 2010

apk12 wrote:
My question - how would you feel if being confronted with something like that in general? Being asked to deliver LSP and QM service to a company for free? And moreover with such a simplified procedure structure?


Your question relates to the situation you described (otherwise you would not have described it in such detail). The problem with your question is that this service you're talking about isn't asking for free reviews. They offer payment in kind (points, to be redeemed somewhere for something). The fact that you do not recognise the client's currency doesn't mean the client is asking you to do it for free... unless the client was fully aware that you don't accept his currency before he asked you.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Is this your real question, then? Jun 27, 2010

apk12 wrote:
What strikes me here is this review attitude. ... Even if you just submit a simple "agree" or "disagree" on a KudoZ question, you still have an editable field. ... I mean, this (to me in fact a bit shocking) simplification presents itself as a real problem.


Are you asking us if we would participate in a system of review where we were asked to submit reviews in the form of a simple grade? Or are you asking us if what we would feel if our translators were subjected to such a review process?

If the question is "how good do you think this translation is", I think one would get a too varied ranges of answers. Other questions may help get more consistent answers, like "if you had recommended this translator to a good client of yours, and this is what that translator produced, would you feel happy about the translation". Also, I would prefer a sliding grade scale, of about 5 grades instead of just "good " and "bad". Also, I think it would be better for reviewers to grade individual sentences or paragraphs, and not whole texts.

The overall style (to approach independent LSP's expecting them to take part in a run for 'review points' treats) is even more worth a critical word.


This is a separate issue. The web site has to encourage people to do reviews somehow. What kind of encouragement (except money) would you regard as fair and/or free of most problems?


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:24
French to German
+ ...
Anyway, no monetary compensation Jun 28, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

Your question relates to the situation you described (otherwise you would not have described it in such detail). The problem with your question is that this service you're talking about isn't asking for free reviews. They offer payment in kind (points, to be redeemed somewhere for something). The fact that you do not recognise the client's currency doesn't mean the client is asking you to do it for free... unless the client was fully aware that you don't accept his currency before he asked you.



While I could agree that there are all kinds of currencies one can think of, the "standard" as per today is to receive monetary compensation for work done in a business environment.

Furthermore, "redeeming points somewhere for something" is not exactly ascertaining any kind of payment, even in points.

This is exactly (wording inspired by the ATA's code of ethics) what I would call requiring translators or interpreters to do unpaid work for the prospect of a future compensation.

The danger here, from my point of view, is that everything goes more and more virtual... Virtuality, however, does not pay anybody's bills and does not boost anybody's self-esteem.

[Edited at 2010-06-28 06:28 GMT]


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