Secrecy about business
Thread poster: rehtsep

rehtsep  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:38
German to English
+ ...
Dec 8, 2011

I recently did a high volume translation at a fairly low rate. The client spoke highly of the quality of my translation, paid very early and was overall a good communicator. So- I left him a positive (5) feedback on the BlueBoard. Almost immediately he emailed me saying he wanted no reference to him and/or his translation business online. Which I thought was odd because he had a ton of positive BlueBoard entries about him- one made just 2 days before! Many of the entries mentioned him by first name ("thanks, _____!") and of course the business name was part of the entry as well. Nevertheless, he wanted me to remove my positive entry, which I did. It felt very bizarre doing so and I must say I can't stop thinking about it. It has not affected our working relationship- I went on to do more projects for him. More than anything, I'm insanely curious about why someone would want a positive BlueBoard entry taken down, especially when there are already many years' worth of entries there. What are some possible reasons?? Shady business? Trying to operate tax-free? Changing business name?

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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:38
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Unauthorized subcontracting? Dec 8, 2011

Perhaps your client didn't have the end client's authorization to subcontract this and feared they might see the BB entry and figure out that the project was indeed subcontracted?

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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:38
Italian to English
Ask? Dec 8, 2011

rehtsep wrote:

More than anything, I'm insanely curious about why someone would want a positive BlueBoard entry taken down, especially when there are already many years' worth of entries there.



Why don't you just ask the PM?

G.


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rehtsep  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:38
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
not comfortable Dec 8, 2011

I'm not really comfortable asking, as he was quite abrupt about it and made me feel like *I* had made some kind of ProZ faux-pas. Also, if he is up to something shady, I'd rather not give him the impression that I am digging around. I decided to let it go and take it as a lesson learned (though I'm not sure what the lesson is...lol). I think Mikhail is probably right- unauthorized subcontracting- but my positive entry was no different than others on his BlueBoard, and certainly made no mention of the project itself. His admonition of me seemed more general, like I should never post anything - even something positive - without first asking.

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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:38
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Anonymity Dec 8, 2011

rehtsep wrote:
His admonition of me seemed more general, like I should never post anything - even something positive - without first asking.


I've met with this attitude before, though it was with a colleague of mine working in the same language pair, not an agency. They refused my offer to post a nice BB rating "just in case it draws unnecessary attention." The answer made me glad I asked!

[Edited at 2011-12-08 10:26 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Most likely Dec 8, 2011

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

Perhaps your client didn't have the end client's authorization to subcontract this and feared they might see the BB entry and figure out that the project was indeed subcontracted?


This sounds the most probable reason for the outsourcer's reticence, and the low rate may confirm it. Poaching like this goes on all the time. I'd advise you to say no more about it to this person and try contacting the agency/end client in question directly the next time.

Of course, another possibility is that with the several BB entries mentioned, your contact has been inundated with CVs from translators seeking work, or other companies offering goods and services, clogging up his emails and stuff like that. It's hard to tell.

[Edited at 2011-12-08 10:31 GMT]


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:38
Italian to English
You should not be pressurised! Dec 8, 2011

The Blue Board is our resource - and Outsourcers have no business expressing any views about our decision to make entries, (though they can respond).

Site Rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/blue_board_bb_blueboard/8#8 says:
"Attempting to influence another's use of the Blue Board is prohibited. Exerting pressure on someone to change a Blue Board entry or reply, or to make a new entry or reply of a specific nature, is forbidden."


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:38
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Unauthorised subcontracting Dec 8, 2011

My view too. Just forget it and go on with your life! Next time... charge a bit more!

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Russel Dec 8, 2011

Russell Jones wrote:
The Blue Board is our resource - and Outsourcers have no business expressing any views about our decision to make entries, (though they can respond).

Site Rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/blue_board_bb_blueboard/8#8 says...


Nope, I disgree strongly.

BB Rule #8 does not supersede Translator Rule #1, i.e. "Apart from legally required disclosure, client confidentiality is absolute. It is for the client to say how much may be revealed to anyone else."


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:38
Italian to English
Samuel Murray Rule #1 Dec 8, 2011

Samuel Murray wrote:

BB Rule #8 does not supersede Translator Rule #1, i.e. "Apart from legally required disclosure, client confidentiality is absolute. It is for the client to say how much may be revealed to anyone else."



I think we should make it clear that this is Samuel Murray Rule #1 and nothing to do with ProZ.com.

I fully respect your decision to give this priority but mine would be to my fellow freelancers (over a client who behaved like this).


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:38
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Maybe they had a bad experience Dec 8, 2011

As you say they already have many good ratings, maybe they've had an incident of some of their clients having bypassed them to hire their happy translators, and decided to stop it.

I see this as the worst fear outsourcers have, if their end-client finds a way to outsource to one of their prized freelancers via another agency.

Imagine this:
ACME = the end client
Jane = the freelance translator
ABC = the agency depicted in this case (suppose high fixed costs, high local taxes)
XYZ = a one-person agency, located in a country where taxes are low

ACME got great translation work from ABC, but the cost was high. They see on ABC's Proz LWA record that Jane works in the pair they need, has all the qualifications they want, and has praised them, so she is up to ABC's standards.

Most of all, they see that Jane has received high WWAs from several other outsourcers, among which XYZ, which charges significantly lower rates than ABC. So they decide to divert their translation work to XYZ, specifically asking that they hire Jane to do it, which should be no problem, since she already works for them.


This could be the main reason why many outsourcers praise my work privately, however they don't dare to publish their WWA with me here.


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