Help on how to check up on outsourcers
Thread poster: neilmac

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 14, 2012

I am looking for ideas or suggestions about how to check up on outsourcers soliciting my services. Basically what I'd like to know is how to find out which country they are based in and whether they are bona fide or not.


Thanks for the suggestions folks! My problem with the BB is that we aren't allowed to mention the name of the companies, which for me kind of defeats the purpose. Basically, in the real world, I would normally say to my colleagues around here "Have you ever heard of X agency" and they'd give me their opinion either way.

This morning I received this email (names omitted to protect the innocent):
"Hi,
We have new project for translation from Spanish to English, Please tell me if you able to do this project, please send your best rate.
Looking forward to hear from you.
Kind Regards,"

I googled them, found a not-bad-looking website and tried (for about 10 minutes) to find out where they are located geographically and a little more about them, but to no avail.
In this case, I'm actually not interested in working for them (the email seems terribly sloppy for an initial approach) but in other circumstances I might have been, or known someone else who was, so just wanted to know how to check these things out in future, preferably as quickly as possible.


[Edited at 2012-06-14 20:05 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
BB Jun 14, 2012

neilmac wrote:

I am looking for ideas or suggestions about how to check up on outsourcers soliciting my services. Basically what I'd like to know is how to find out which country they are based in and whether they are bona fide or not.


Use the Blue Board and if you have any questions about any of the comments left there by other translators, contact them privately.

If they are not on the Blue Board then I would advise caution. Perhaps unfairly, I tend to avoid agencies based in the former eastern European countries and the former Soviet Union. For purely financial reasons and because of the additional difficulties connected with VAT, invoicing etc., I have recently begun to avoid agencies based in Spain. But in such cases, "to each his own".

[Edited at 2012-06-14 14:17 GMT]


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Lucia Leszinsky
SITE STAFF
Risk management for translators and interpreters Jun 14, 2012

Hello neilmac,

Perhaps you would like to check the following Wiki article to learn more about risk management for translators and interpreters:

http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Risk_management_for_translators_and_interpreters

Hope it helps!

Kind regards,

Lucia


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Derrio  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Phone numbers etc. Jun 14, 2012

Neil,
I'm guessing you're trying to find ways where the Blue Board etc. won't suffice.

An easy starting point to get an idea of the country is to ask for a land line number and google it. In addition, I know on infobel.com you used to be able to do a reverse search, i.e. put the number in and it would come up with the subscriber if they are listed - but then why would they be ex-directory if they are bona fide? The same with googling the number.

If they are EU based, asked for a VAT number. My Gestor gave me a link to the EU website which will tell you if it is a genuine VAT number, but it won't tell you who it relates to. If you want, I can find the link for you.

If they have found you via Proz, on your profile, click on the 'visitors' tab and it will tell you the IP address of anyone who has visited your profile. There are ways of checking this on line.

These are only starters, but may be a good indicator as to their validity or not. All of the above can be manipulated, but if they're doing that, then who knows what else they're into.

Steve


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
They aren't saying? Jun 14, 2012

neilmac wrote:
I am looking for ideas or suggestions about how to check up on outsourcers soliciting my services. Basically what I'd like to know is how to find out which country they are based in

Frankly, if they haven't initially given you any idea of anything at all about them (postal address, website address, link to ProZ or anywhere similar where the information is recorded, international telephone number...), then my own personal opinion is that the relationship goes no further.
and whether they are bona fide or not.

They might be bona fide in terms of being a legally registered enterprise somewhere in the world, but they aren't a company I'd wish to associate with.

But then that's just my opinion.

Sheila


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 23:06
German to Swedish
+ ...
If real money is involved Jun 14, 2012

Use a local credit analysis agency. This may be a lot cheaper than you think.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No entries Jun 14, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

neilmac wrote:

I am looking for ideas or suggestions about how to check up on outsourcers soliciting my services. Basically what I'd like to know is how to find out which country they are based in and whether they are bona fide or not.


Use the Blue Board and if you have any questions about any of the comments left there by other translators, contact them privately.

br>
[Edited at 2012-06-14 14:17 GMT]


They do have a profile as a jobs poster since late last year, but no BB entries. I'm not really interested in their offer and just wanted to know how to find out more about outsourcers other than through the BB.

Cheers


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jun 14, 2012

Lucia Leszinsky wrote:

Hello neilmac,

Perhaps you would like to check the following Wiki article to learn more about risk management for translators and interpreters:

http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Risk_management_for_translators_and_interpreters

Hope it helps!

Kind regards,

Lucia


Very useful, thanks for the link


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Laurie Price  Identity Verified
Mexico
Spanish to English
+ ...
how to check for the country origin of an email Jun 15, 2012

Neilmac,

Open the email they sent you and in gmail, anyway, click the down arrow next to the reply button. Then select "Show original" and another window will open which will give all kinds of info about the email route to you.

You should be able to figure out what country it originates from that way.

Was there no address line at the bottom of the email?? Strange. I don't mean the co. website, but a physical address?

Good luck -- I'm with you on this point and find that I'm turning down all job offers that arrive via email with no history or not in response to my inquiries. I've grown extremely skeptical.

So skeptical in fact that I left off the period at the end of the sentence, so edited to fix that!



[Edited at 2012-06-15 10:08 GMT]


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xxxjacana54  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
Check the physical address with Google maps Jun 15, 2012

Besides all of the above, this is a suggestion from Enrique Cavallitto: check the physical address with Google maps (maps.google.com) and really zoom in to see the street itself.

In one happy case, a wonderful outsourcer who contacted me in a hurry, on a Sunday (which would have been danger signals if he hadn't been recommended to me by a close friend) even had an "X Agency" sign by the door of a very impressive building in New York. He paid within minutes of receiving my invoice.

However, this week I was contacted by what appeared to be an agency in Florida with a BB rating of 5. The email did come from Florida, from a domain that seemed right, but the person was not writing from their Proz profile. So I looked a bit more and was surprised to see that the main profile had been deleted. Second, their web page had no email address in the contact details... I started to wonder if they're so exclusive that they don't want to be bombarded by email, and only receive regular mail and phone calls from new contacts. Strange in this day and age. Then it turned out that their physical address was very similar but did not correspond to a real address on Google maps (where I saw a building with a very similar name but the names of the nearby roads were quite different). So I don't really know what that was, maybe everything was perfectly legitimate... but I prefer not to work for them until I do know.

Think for a minute that you're a detective working for your favorite client: does the information you have feel right?

Good luck!


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:06
English to Czech
+ ...
Whois Jun 15, 2012

You can also try the Whois service to look up the domain and/or IP owner. That might tell you more about the domain registrar. If they claim to be located in Australia and their IP leads to a proxy in Canada, there's a chance that they will try to take you in.

[Upraveno: 2012-06-15 11:37 GMT]


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:06
Member
English to French
email IP address Jun 15, 2012

You can find it in the message properties (in Outlook 2010, File tab>Properties), under Message header. Look for "Received: from" not far from the top, and enter the IP address found in http://www.melissadata.com/Lookups/iplocation.asp? for example.
If the sender claims to operate from the UK and the email IP address is Nigeria or Ukraine, you may ask yourself why on earth they are working while on holiday (or playing football).

However, this info should be taken with a grain of salt: with my satellite connection, my IP address is in Torino, Italy, where the earth station is. But I really do send emails from Spain.

Philippe

Edit: Laurie has already addressed, so to speak, the IP address, sorry

[Edited at 2012-06-15 17:20 GMT]


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Richard Foulkes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:06
German to English
+ ...
What about direct clients? Jun 18, 2012

Any thoughts on how to 'vet' direct clients? Beyond checking out the VAT number, contact details and maybe searching on Google / social media for any adverse publicity, I'm wondering whether I'm missing out on any simple means of checking the trustworthiness of direct clients, who obviously won't appear on the likes of BB.

Has anybody tried credit insurance as per the proz wiki article? The ability to run a free credit check on a potential client could certainly be useful in this climate.


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