Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Test dilemma
Thread poster: Jennifer Forbes

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:39
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Nov 2, 2011

An agency I work for only occasionally (with a good payment record) has just made me the following "offer" concerning a tender the agency is preparing.
I'm asked to "analyse the potential translation problems" of a sample Spanish text and then to analyse the accuracy of a translation of another quite lengthy contractual document and similarly point out potential translation problems. I am not asked actually to translate anything.
I would not be paid for this test.
The agency goes on to say that if the end client (an international organisation) accepts their tender I "would be the preferred translator for the whole job" starting sometime next year and totalling 300,000 words or more. The deadline for returning the analyses is 7th November.
The (unpaid) work would take many hours, I think. and I'm usually pretty busy with paid work.

I'd like Prozians' opinion of whether I could/should ask the agency if I'm the only translator to whom they've sent this offer (I doubt it) and if they have sent it to others, then to how many others.
I'm not keen to undertake this rather tedious and arbitrary task with, in my opinion, little likelihood of being the "lucky" one.
Thanks in advance for your views.
Jenny


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:39
Flemish to English
+ ...
What's the relationship? Nov 2, 2011

Isn't one of the condition for such a call for tender by the E.U. not delivering proof of at least 1000 pages of translation if youhave a degree in translation, but don't have a degree in the subject-matter and 500 pages if you have a degree in the subject-matter?
Unless the agency is competing for a call for tender for proof-reading.


 

Jan Rausch  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:39
Member (2010)
German to English
+ ...
Who are they? Nov 2, 2011

I suppose you're not keen on telling us the agency's name? Might help, but if you'd rather not then I understand.

[Edited at 2011-11-02 13:32 GMT]


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:39
Hebrew to English
Unsure Nov 2, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I'm asked to "analyse the potential translation problems" of a sample Spanish text and then to analyse the accuracy of a translation of another quite lengthy contractual document and similarly point out potential translation problems. I am not asked actually to translate anything.


So, in effect, aren't you just proofreading this (second) translation? For free :-/


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:39
German to English
Be careful Nov 2, 2011

It seems that you are being asked to provide a lot of work that will greatly benefit the agency. Although I have no objection to providing free small services to regular clients, this sounds like something that should require at least a few hours' payment.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
OK! Agreed! Nov 2, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:
The agency goes on to say that if the end client (an international organisation) accepts their tender I "would be the preferred translator for the whole job" starting sometime next year and totalling 300,000 words or more. The deadline for returning the analyses is 7th November.
The (unpaid) work would take many hours, I think. and I'm usually pretty busy with paid work.

OK, pretty simple solution here! Ask them to prepare a contract stating that you will be always asked first (for a period of three years and at a rate you can agree in the contract as well) when any work from that end customer comes around. The contract should also stipulate that, if no work comes from the end customer within the next 12 months, you will be entitled to invoice them the test work at your current hourly rate. Show the total price of the test in the contract to avoid any doubts.

If they do not agree with the contract approach, simply charge them for the work at your hourly rate, since in that case they do not really think that you are part of the deal, but a mere tool for their purposes of winning the account.

I think project managers are very quick to promise that any work from the end customer will go to you if the test is successful... and are equally quick to forget the promise once they have the customer.


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:39
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, everyone Nov 2, 2011

Jan Rausch wrote:

I suppose you're not keen on telling us the agency's name? Might help, but if you'd rather not then I understand.

[Edited at 2011-11-02 13:32 GMT]


Thank you, everyone, for your helpful opinions so far.

Jan, I believe the forum rules do not allow us to name agencies/clients, which is why I didn't name them, but if you'd like to contact me by email (see my profile), I'll gladly tell you.
Best wishes,
Jenny


 

Jan Rausch  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:39
Member (2010)
German to English
+ ...
You're right Nov 2, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:

Jan Rausch wrote:

I suppose you're not keen on telling us the agency's name? Might help, but if you'd rather not then I understand.

[Edited at 2011-11-02 13:32 GMT]


Thank you, everyone, for your helpful opinions so far.

Jan, I believe the forum rules do not allow us to name agencies/clients, which is why I didn't name them, but if you'd like to contact me by email (see my profile), I'll gladly tell you.
Best wishes,
Jenny


Thanks for reminding me Jenny, you're right, outsourcers shouldn't be named on here, only on the Blue Board.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:39
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
A contract is the best solution Nov 2, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

OK, pretty simple solution here! Ask them to prepare a contract stating that you will be always asked first (for a period of three years and at a rate you can agree in the contract as well) when any work from that end customer comes around. The contract should also stipulate that, if no work comes from the end customer within the next 12 months, you will be entitled to invoice them the test work at your current hourly rate. Show the total price of the test in the contract to avoid any doubts.


If the agency is really interested in working with you, then following Tomás' advice should not constitute a problem for this agency.

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
I think project managers are very quick to promise that any work from the end customer will go to you if the test is successful... and are equally quick to forget the promise once they have the customer.


Even "just" proofreading is legally an assigned project which you should get paid for, even more so for the analysis. If, in fact, you are their first choice translator, then they should be willing to pay you for your work, and not just promise you work that might never materialize, as would be the case if the agency doesn't get the tender.

Be careful.


 

Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:39
French to English
How badly do you want/need the work? Nov 2, 2011

How badly do you want the project? If you are "usually pretty busy with paid work", do you need all this extra work? Is there any chance that you might get bored with it after a while?

I appreciate that the request is unusual, but my response would definitely depend on whether I wanted that particular work, and that long-term projects of this type need careful consideration. (In other words, I'd probably turn it down anyway, but that is just me.)

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

OK, pretty simple solution here! Ask them to prepare a contract stating that you will be always asked first (for a period of three years and at a rate you can agree in the contract as well) when any work from that end customer comes around.

How is that enforceable in the slightest? How will Jenny ever know if the agency has allocated "her" work elsewhere? Or even, indeed, asked her first, and not second or third? There is some merit in the suggestion of an agreed payment if the bulk of the work is not forthcoming because at least it is based on facts of which Jenny herself will be aware (although again, good luck enforcing it), but I'm not sure about the above section at all. One should also be wary of having contract stipulations thrown back in return, e.g. that Jenny is not allowed to decline more than a certain proportion of what she is offered

[Edited at 2011-11-02 14:28 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Totally enforceable Nov 2, 2011

Charlie Bavington wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
OK, pretty simple solution here! Ask them to prepare a contract stating that you will be always asked first (for a period of three years and at a rate you can agree in the contract as well) when any work from that end customer comes around.

How is that enforceable in the slightest? How will Jenny ever know if the agency has allocated "her" work elsewhere? Or even, indeed, asked her first, and not second or third? There is some merit in the suggestion of an agreed payment if the bulk of the work is not forthcoming because at least it is based on facts of which Jenny herself will be aware (although again, good luck enforcing it), but I'm not sure about the above section at all.

If we made these "enforceability calculations" for every contract we signed, we would probably never sign a contract. How often have you taken someone to court because of a violated contract? Probably never. Yet the contract stipulates things black on white, and in this case, should Jenny have serious concerns about a potential violation by the agency, she can always take them to court and ask the judge to summon the company to surrender their invoices to the end customer in question.
Charlie Bavington wrote:
One should also be wary of having contract stipulations thrown back in return, e.g. that Jenny is not allowed to decline more than a certain proportion of what she is offered

I am just proposing the kind of contract I would sign. Of course the contract also means that Jenny is genuinely committed to winning the account and doing her best to serve the project, so accepting a clause stipulating that she cannot refuse more than a certain amount of work makes perfect sense to me.


 

XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:39
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I'd politely decline Nov 2, 2011

I get similar requests at least once a fortnight and all get politely turned down. The situation is of course very different if you're going through a quiet patch at the moment. However, since your current workload is keeping you busy enough I would just explain that you cannot justify turning down paid work to do a free (time-consuming) test. You should be flattered that they value your work enough to want to put that forward as evidence of their ability to secure high-quality translators, but you can be sure they will be one of many other agencies and chances of winning the contract might be slim. If and when they are awarded the contract there is no guarantee at all that the work will go to you and personally I find the prospect of engaging in a long-term contract with them potentially messy and a headache. I would say that your current workload won't permit it, however you'd be delighted if they would consider you should they win the contract. For this kind of volume they will need more than one translator anyway.

 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:39
Member (2004)
English to Italian
They don't want to invest... Nov 2, 2011

and they are asking you to invest time and money into the project... not fair, is it? They should have offered to pay you for the work. This way, they shift all the risk on to you. If they get it, fine, they make lots of money, if they don't, well, they didn't waste any money... icon_smile.gif

 

Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:39
French to English
But how can she know? Nov 2, 2011

The point is surely that Jenny cannot possibly know whether the contract has been breached or not because it depends on facts she has no access to, i.e. the end-client giving the agency work.

Any action would therefore be purely speculative - the contract might have been breached, or it might not . While I appreciate that, depending on the country involved, it might be possible to get a judge to demand to see all relevant documentation, I still have to wonder what would be the trigger? How much time without work would pass before Jenny sets the legal ball rolling? Or would that be in the contract too? And at what cost to Jenny in time and money? And then what if the agency genuinely doesn't have any work to pass on to Jenny for one, three or six months? I dunno; I can see what you're trying to achieve, but it's arguably impossible to make watertight.

Perhaps what could work would be to make it dependent on facts to which Jenny does have access, namely the amount of work the agency give her. After all, the object of your contract is to make sure that the agency does in fact give Jenny work (or some of it), is it not? So, make that the fact on which contract performance depends. I have a feeling the pros and cons of minimum workload clauses have been discussed before on here, and besides, I quite literally have to go and get my head examined nowicon_smile.gif


 

Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:39
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
My approach Nov 2, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:
The (unpaid) work would take many hours, I think. and I'm usually pretty busy with paid work.


If the unpaid work takes up to 1 hour, it's acceptable to ask for it for free. If it's a time consumming job, it's not acceptable for them to ask you to do it for free.
I would explain it to the PM. Your time is precious and valuable and PM's should not forget about that. I also find the promise of "being their preferred translator" for that job quite unrealistic. Especially since it's a company you work for only occasionally (ie they have other translators on the top of the list and contact you only when they are busy.)

Laura


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Test dilemma

Advanced search







CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search