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is it acceptable to make a BB entry for an agency you never worked for?
Thread poster: Vadim Kadyrov

Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 12:22
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Aug 7, 2012

Hi to all,

I had a very nasty conversation with an agency located in France. We negotiated the price + terms of payment (which in France is usually 60 days, as I was told). I was not going to accept both the price and the payment terms, and finally I was told (though euphemistically) that I was not in the position to very much resist this generous offer of theirs, that I was selected among 80 (!) candidates (which is a very big figure even for my language pair, I believe), that we are in France, and you are in Ukraine, and so on, and so forth. Finally I was told that their time was too expensive to be spent on rather long negotiations like these ones.

The attitude of this agency is clear enough.

Just curious: is it ethical/sound/normal to make a BB entry for this company now? Or, should we first have a negative experience (I am almost sure they won`t pay you when the invoice is due, and you will have to send them several reminders)?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

[Edited at 2012-08-07 04:33 GMT]


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Alina - Maria Chiteala  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 12:22
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
My 2 cents Aug 7, 2012

If you are almost sure they won't pay why work for them at all?
I know that this does not answer your question, but personally I only make BB entries when I do not get paid, because if I were to make an entry every time I disagree with an agency ... well I should make a lot of BBs.


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Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 12:22
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes, but the general (unacceptable!) tone of conversation Aug 7, 2012

is what is important here.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:22
English to German
+ ...
No, this is not the purpose of the BB. Aug 7, 2012

Also, BB rule #2 clearly states: "Certain conditions must be met before Blue Board entries can be made. Entries concerning the Likelihood of Working Again (LWA) with given outsourcers are allowed only when (1) commissioned work has been completed in full and delivered on time, and (2) there have not been complaints related to quality shortly after delivery. Entries may not be made on the basis of negotiations, test translations, or other preliminary or non-commissioned interactions."

http://www.proz.com/?sp=siterules&mode=show&category=blue_board_bb_blueboard

Apparently you had to deal with one heck of an arrogant / snooty-nosed newbie / PMS-ridden PM, but you can not judge an entire company based on your conversation only.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:22
Member
English to French
Against the rules Aug 7, 2012

I asked support the same question a long time ago when I found out that a new French translation agency was in fact led by the same people as a bankrupt company in 2001. Who owed me 3700 euros.
My idea was to put a 1 and warn colleagues that the management team had already experienced one bankruptcy and that bad habits die hard (and also I admit, a small revenge for lost money).
But as said above, if you have never invoiced a BB member against a purchase order, you can't rate them.

The negociation phase is always interesting to see how people interact. I've ruffled a few feathers myself with agencies who were convinced they were doing me a favour offering me "what other translators get in this language combination" (I love it: swappable resources). It's good to remind them now and again that no, their conditions are not that good for the service you provide, and no, many translators are not that desperate.

Sixty days is definitely not a standard for paying, and companies can choose to be quick or slow in paying. Us picky translators can choose who offers the best conditions and who to work with. I get paid after anything between a few days and 3 months, whatever the country.

Our time is also very expensive, which is why I encourage agencies to reveal as quickly as possible if they are interested in quality or in price. They generally can't get both.
To drive this idea home, I recently applied to a proz.com job post looking for the very best in every aspect of the trade, and stating that they had recurring issues with EN>FR partners. I quoted a rate 3 times higher than their suggested rate and explained that, as they had themselves realised, there was a lot of value in having reliability, long-term partnership, deadline-abiding, expertise, good communication flow and no-nonsense BESIDES a good translation. One week later I still have to get a reply, but it's nevertheless a good exercise.

And to leverage these encounters and create value from this information, I devise fact sheets on every translation agency I've been in contact with (circumstances, attached emails, potential jobs, speciality, outcome, rates, etc.). And it's always refreshing to see one of those contacting me 2 weeks or 5 years later with a vital project, ready to accept all of my conditions to avoid further headaches. So the Cause is not always lost forever. After some time in the business, you get more and more valuable info (from the translator's viewpoint, not the client's) about many of those LSPs, famous and unknown, large and KTA (kitchen-table agency, invented on those fora I think), periodically roaming proz.com directories and job boards.

Let's carry on fighting for our profession and our right for good money, quick payment, pleasant communication and higher consideration in any publishing/authoring/publicising/advertising process. Provided that we deliver.

Philippe


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:22
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Even free tests don't count Aug 7, 2012

As Nicole says, it would be against the rules. It's also against the rules to post about a company you've "only" done a free test for. That's a shame, IMO.

If they've already said on a job post that they'll need a test, I always say in my quote that I'll only do one if they are happy to agree to my terms as stated. Twice now, I've had a reply saying they're very interested and would I do the test, yet their next email says "Congratulations! You passed the test and we will be offering you work at [half the agreed rate]".

That sort of time-wasting really annoys me. Do they not bother to read my quote or do they simply ignore what I say and feel sure I'll work for whatever peanuts they throw in my direction? I would dearly love to post my comments on these agencies: I didn't accept to do a free test in those circumstances, and I didn't get paid for my work!

Sheila


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No! Aug 7, 2012

It is clearly against the rules.
http://www.proz.com/siterules/blue_board_bb_blueboard/2#2


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Simple Aug 7, 2012

Vadim Kadyrov wrote:
I had a very nasty conversation with an agency located in France. We negotiated the price + terms of payment (which in France is usually 60 days, as I was told). I was not going to accept both the price and the payment terms, and finally I was told (though euphemistically) that I was not in the position to very much resist this generous offer of theirs, that I was selected among 80 (!) candidates (which is a very big figure even for my language pair, I believe), that we are in France, and you are in Ukraine, and so on, and so forth. Finally I was told that their time was too expensive to be spent on rather long negotiations like these ones.

Quite clearly, if this agency's style is not your kind of fish... you simply let them go and work for other people.


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Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 12:22
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Crime and punishment Aug 7, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Vadim Kadyrov wrote:
I had a very nasty conversation with an agency located in France. We negotiated the price + terms of payment (which in France is usually 60 days, as I was told). I was not going to accept both the price and the payment terms, and finally I was told (though euphemistically) that I was not in the position to very much resist this generous offer of theirs, that I was selected among 80 (!) candidates (which is a very big figure even for my language pair, I believe), that we are in France, and you are in Ukraine, and so on, and so forth. Finally I was told that their time was too expensive to be spent on rather long negotiations like these ones.

Quite clearly, if this agency's style is not your kind of fish... you simply let them go and work for other people.


Personally I believe such behaviour should be 'punished', if you like.

(nonetheless, it appears that BB is not the place where all this, okay, filth should be spilled over into (it may soon turn into something it was not meant for).

Seriously though, I will of course let the matter go - nothing to speak about any more. But the general trend is quite clear - some PMs (or even agencies) think that those 80 who have quoted for a job are equals in terms of professionalism. They are not.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not punishable Aug 7, 2012

Vadim Kadyrov wrote:
Personally I believe such behaviour should be 'punished', if you like.

Not at all. When confronted with such behaviour, any sensible translator will steer away from the agency. You cannot punish someone for being rude or arrogant to you, or jails would be filled with people (maybe myself too).


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:22
Member (2002)
English to German
The rules should be changed Aug 7, 2012

It's against the rules but in my opinion it makes perfect sense to publish BB entries about companies you haven't worked for.
In the end it's only about the translator's call, answering the question: "Would you ever work for this company?" I can sometimes answer this question without having worked for an agency.
There's one agency for instance that keeps sending me job offers and I know they're not paying their translators. I have told them over and over again to take me off their list but they don't even answer and keep sending their bogus emails. I know that I'll never work for them and I'd love to add a BB entry but I can't.

Andy
www.interlations.com


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A support ticket Aug 7, 2012

Philippe Etienne wrote:
I asked support the same question a long time ago when I found out that a new French translation agency was in fact led by the same people as a bankrupt company in 2001. Who owed me 3700 euros.
My idea was to put a 1 and warn colleagues that the management team had already experienced one bankruptcy and that bad habits die hard (and also I admit, a small revenge for lost money).
But as said above, if you have never invoiced a BB member against a purchase order, you can't rate them.


Philippe & ALL,

In this case you can submit a support ticket here, and the Proz staff will publish on the their new, immaculate BB page, a link to the older BB page showing their shady past.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Spam Aug 7, 2012

Andy Lemminger wrote:
There's one agency for instance that keeps sending me job offers and I know they're not paying their translators. I have told them over and over again to take me off their list but they don't even answer and keep sending their bogus emails. I know that I'll never work for them and I'd love to add a BB entry but I can't.

The Blueboard is not about spam, and spam is what you are getting. If there is a data protection agency in the country of that agency and you can file a claim against the firm, I would do so. Make sure you first write a registered letter to them asking them to cease their spamming.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:22
Member
English to French
Off-topic: I did Aug 7, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
In this case you can submit a support ticket here, and the Proz staff will publish on the their new, immaculate BB page, a link to the older BB page showing their shady past.

I had an extensive exchange with Ralf Lemster at the time about my issue. The old company had been down the pan for 4 years or something, and their BB had long been squashed and blown into thin air.
I was really upset (red angry, should I say) to see him back in business, so you can be sure that I tried to be as persuasive as poss to have their new company somehow associated to the old one. Before that, I had had a animated phone discussion with the boss, but basically, his stance was that customer bankruptcy was a business risk I should be prepared for as a professional.

Now, the boss himself states in his blog bio that he used to run that company and had problems and went bankrupt. What he doesn't say is how many translators his previous company owes money to. I seem to remember 160keuros of debt overall.

Anyway now my personal vendetta is over, I no longer monitor their public Web activity (although they may still monitor mine) except their BB, and have him beaten up by bad boys would no longer bring me any satisfaction. If anyboby's interested, they pay EUR0.08 or less at 60 days end of month or more. At least with the old company, conditions were far better. And that was in 2000-2001.

Philippe


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I've had similar experiences Aug 9, 2012

Sheila Wilson wrote:

As Nicole says, it would be against the rules. It's also against the rules to post about a company you've "only" done a free test for. That's a shame, IMO.

If they've already said on a job post that they'll need a test, I always say in my quote that I'll only do one if they are happy to agree to my terms as stated. Twice now, I've had a reply saying they're very interested and would I do the test, yet their next email says "Congratulations! You passed the test and we will be offering you work at [half the agreed rate]".

That sort of time-wasting really annoys me. Do they not bother to read my quote or do they simply ignore what I say and feel sure I'll work for whatever peanuts they throw in my direction? I would dearly love to post my comments on these agencies: I didn't accept to do a free test in those circumstances, and I didn't get paid for my work!

Sheila


Two experiences that particularly irritated me, but that I was not able to make Blue Board entries about:

1.
I took a four-hour unpaid test, and was given positive and enthusiastic feedback. Some five months later, having heard nothing, I wrote a courteous letter asking if there were realistic prospects for work in the future. No response.
[In my view, this lack of basic courtesy, after having wasted so much of my time, was inexcusable, and merited a negative Blue Board rating and comment.]

2.
An agency contacted me, asked if I would be available to work one month hence. I agreed to do the work. The time came and went, and an e-mail I sent asking whether the job was still available went unanswered.
[Another breach of basic courtesy and good faith, but no rating or entry of said agency allowed under current Blue Board rules.)

Clearly another forum in another place is needed to take such offending agencies to task in a forthright manner (and one that, I should add, does not require circumlocution to avoid [often capriciously applied] censorship or haiku-like brevity).

[Edited at 2012-08-09 02:55 GMT]


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