Translation agency with poor feedback
Thread poster: Lany Chabot-Laroche

Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:27
Member (2009)
English to French
Apr 21, 2011

Hello, I've recently been contacted by a translation agency that, after answering basic questions, asked me to do a test.

Before accepting the test, I checked their Blueboard and it turns out they have been banned from ProZ in 2007. I did confront them about it and they claimed a new management. Fair enough, 4 years is a long time, it's possible. Nevertheless, I asked if they would be willing to pay part of an eventual first project in advance as a token of good will.

They asked me that I first do the test and that we can discuss it after. I refused on my side, saying that I would rather get this out of the way right now since otherwise, the test might be useless. They said that they had a new management and had nothing to prove and that 4 year old feedback was not relevant.

After explaining to them that I know nothing else about them except that they once had payment problems and that it would be unreasonable of me to disregard the only info I have about them (they didn't provide any other references, other than the fact they got my name from another agency I applied to, but never worked for).

Eventually, the person said he didn't want to argue this anymore and wished me good luck.

What do you think about the situation? Would you have done anything differently?


 

Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:27
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Rehabilitation Apr 21, 2011

Sometimes, I have a hard time believing in rehabilitation, especially that of people I do not know. It may very well be that their story is true, but they are not doing anything to dispel any lingering doubts. I'd have done exactly the same.

Yesterday, a new client sent me a proposal for proofreading a large job. I asked for a sample, a PO, references, advance partial payment, and final payment against delivery of the job. I was rejected, they did not even try to convince me of anything or negotiate any of my proposed terms. I'd say "good riddance".


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
. Apr 21, 2011

There's one significant thing that they didn't say to you. "Yes, we had payment problems before, but we're now paying all our suppliers on time". You made the right decision.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:27
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Would I have done differently? Apr 21, 2011

Lany Chabot-Laroche wrote:
Would you have done anything differently?


Absolutely not!

I think you did everything right, by the sound of it. It seems that you were prepared to work with them, but not prepared to be done over by them. What can be wrong with that?

It's good news that they're under new management and will now be able to pay their translators, but unless and until they establish a good reputation, how are translators supposed to trust them? You have to gain trust, not demand it.


 

Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 08:27
French to English
The only thing you did wrong was maybe waste too much time on them... Apr 22, 2011

Here's what I would have done...

1 - No free test (vetting vendors is part of an agency's cost of doing business, this cost should not be borne by the translator); offer to provide samples or recommendations instead

2 - Issue your price quote with your T&C and payment terms (payment at time of order given their poor track record)

3 - That's it...No further exchanges or justifications from you or them, they either sign the quote and make the payment and you do the job, or they don't!

Don't look back. This is one kind of customer you don't need!


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I would have done the same thing! Apr 22, 2011

Well done. Better safe than sorry. I would have done the same.

However, in the interest of protecting my scarce free time, when I find a similar situation I simply ask for an advance payment, with no further comments about their reliability. Since they will not accept my proposal of an advance payment... it is me who wish them good luck.


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:27
I agree Apr 22, 2011

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Lany Chabot-Laroche wrote:
Would you have done anything differently?


Absolutely not!

I think you did everything right, by the sound of it. It seems that you were prepared to work with them, but not prepared to be done over by them. What can be wrong with that?

It's good news that they're under new management and will now be able to pay their translators, but unless and until they establish a good reputation, how are translators supposed to trust them? You have to gain trust, not demand it.


Yes, I agree that you have to gain trust, not demand it. And I would have done the same as Sheila and everybody else.

If I were the outsourcer and were trying to gain my trust from you, I would have agreed to Lany's suggestion, to pay part of an eventual first project in advance as a token of good will, or I would pay for the test to show that I am not the agency I used to be before.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:27
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Don't ask about BB entries Apr 22, 2011

Lany Chabot-Laroche wrote:
Before accepting the test, I checked their Blueboard and it turns out they have been banned from ProZ in 2007. I did confront them about it...


What were you hoping to achieve by asking them why they had such a bad BB record? What kinds of answers would you have preferred getting (and more importantly, what kind of an answer would have convinced you to work for the client anyway)? If someone has a bad record, they will try to defend themselves (either by making excuses or by offering honest reasons) -- what else were you hoping for?

What do you think about the situation? Would you have done anything differently?


I can also understand why the PM gave up on you. It was a pretty long and predictable conversation, after all:

They: We have a job for you.
You: I don't trust you -- why do you have such a bad record?
They: That was long ago, we're under new management.
You: I don'really t believe you -- so, please pay me in advance.
They: Okay, but before we hire you, please do a free test.
You: No, because of your bad BB record, I refuse to do the test and I want to be accepted for the job without being tested and I want payment in advance.
They: We really do require a test translation.
You: No, I still don't believe you, and I refuse to do the test.
They: Very well, it was nice talking to you, good bye.

The fact is that either you do believe that they are under new management or you don't believe it. One little job with an advance payment won't be enough to *prove* that they have changed and that they will always pay you in future. If you do want to take a chance, treat the client like any other new client and don't keep their heads in the BB noose.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:27
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Better to put their heads in the noose than your own Apr 22, 2011

Samuel Murray wrote:

I can also understand why the PM gave up on you. It was a pretty long and predictable conversation, after all
.....
If you do want to take a chance, treat the client like any other new client and don't keep their heads in the BB noose.


To some extent, I agree with you, Samuel. I think Lany was setting off on a route that was bound not to lead to a job. However, when he spoke to them about payment terms:

Lany Chabot-Laroche wrote:
They asked me that I first do the test and that we can discuss it after.


As far as I'm concerned, a prospective client must be prepared to talk payment terms before expecting me to do a free test. Otherwise, I could be completely wasting my time. In fact, I'd go further and say that I probably would be wasting my time, seeing as clients who are prepared to accept reasonable payment terms are normally happy to discuss them at stage one of the process (and indeed would normally be prepared to pay for a test).

Maybe things could have been handled a little more diplomatically, but I seriously doubt whether a different outcome would have been possible and advantageous to Lany.


 

Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:27
Member (2009)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
BB Apr 22, 2011

Well, I chose to mention the BB record because, without it, I would have sound like even more paranoid. It would have come off like I was making advance payment requests with no reasons at all.

 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:27
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Translation agency with poor feedback Apr 23, 2011

Lany Chabot-Laroche wrote:

They said that they had a new management and had nothing to prove and that 4 year old feedback was not relevant.



It is still relevant for all the people to whom they still owe money. If they want to rebuild their reputation, how about writing some checks? They should not be allowed to post jobs on ProZ again until all previous jobs are paid in full.

[Edited at 2011-04-23 02:37 GMT]


 


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