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Thread poster: Jean@LA

Jean@LA  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:33
English to Chinese
+ ...
Aug 9, 2012

but wait, fill out all the paperwork before you're on board...

I’ve been through different test requirements, but this is something worth sharing—even with experienced translators. A US agency on the East Coast with a perfect blue-board score put out an ad here sometime ago, I answered the ad because of their excellent records here. The PM got in touch with me and asked me to take the test. I told her unless there's a client for this ad, I don't take general tests. I've had enough cases of passing the tests, not hearing from these agencies ever, but turn around and find their ads placed here again.

We corresponded back and forth a few more times until she agreed to my pricing. Then she was silent for a few weeks until last week. This time, she brought up the sample test again--from the client's regular project, she promised. I happened to have just completed a huge one-month project, so the timing was right. I took the test. Along with this test, this agency had some very specific requirements about filling out the "on-board" paperwork, including the NDA, down to the Trados file formats (clean and unclean) and naming convention for files.

After I turned in the whole test “package” as instructed, she told me she'll let me know their “final decision”. I wrote her back and protested for this unusual recruiting practice where they ask potential candidates to fill out paperwork (out of the convenience for their agency) before making up their mind, which is just like a company asking potential candidates to fill out their personnel paperwork before hiring. She responded: "This is how we chose to proceed. We evaluate not only the quality of the translation, but also other aspects such as communication skills, responsiveness, or the ability to follow instructions.” After I wrote back and told her they should incorporate all the above requirements into the test, instead of asking us to fill out the paperwork ahead of time, she “respected my choice of not working with them" afterwards. I don’t feel any regrets because I probably won’t “choose” to work with them anyway.

The waste of my time might be the opportunity cost that can be regarded as an investment in this business deal. However, the feeling of not being respected as an equal partner but an elementary school student is the definitely the deal-breaker. I'm sharing this experience here with all Proz colleagues who would like to be treated as a professional.


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xxxValerie35
Local time: 03:33
German to English
100% Aug 9, 2012

I absolutely agree with your sentiments.

Lots of agencies are just downright nasty with regard to any respect for the "prospective translators" as human beings.

I am frankly thankful that I have been able to develop another line of work and am slowly inching out of this business.


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Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:33
Member (2004)
English to Polish
In defense... Aug 9, 2012

Well, I would like to defend their position - obviously they have the right to choose their suppliers as they see fit. They were looking for a specific set of characteristics and you failed the test... You are not a pushover, you mind doing senseless paperwork and you are not afraid to speak your mind or even speak from the position of a partner - you're not the person they were looking for!

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Jean@LA  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:33
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agreed...Jabberwock and thanks...Valerie35 Aug 9, 2012

@Jabberwock

I'm grateful that you shed lights in this perspective. You're absolutely right. I'm probably not the usual "yes-woman" that they're used to because I'm not desperate for whatever business out there. They probably think I'm just an idealistic freelance translator with too much opinion. Indeed, you've made me see that we'll definitely not a good fit. Whatever happened is a blessing in disguise.

@Valerie

I'm kind of lucky that all my regular clients are fair, courteous and my equal partners. This testing process might be just another mechanism for me to separate the wheat from the chaff. Great minds think alike. Even though I'm getting a lot more business from my regular clients, I'm contemplating another line of business because I have a feeling I won't be a good fit to even more "five-star" agencies.


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 22:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Been there Aug 9, 2012

I had a similar situation.

In my case, I replied the agency that I would gladly sign the NDA and fill out all those forms when there is an actual job. They understood, ok, thank you.

Anyway, time to time I receive a new email from them saying they are updating their data base or the like, would I fill those forms and NDA? Again I say no and remind them I had said so and so on such and such date.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 03:33
English to Croatian
+ ...
NDA + a free test = a deal breaker Aug 10, 2012

I generally have bad experience with this type of agencies (even when/if they resulted in some paid work), and therefore I am avoiding them now completely.

My best agencies would either usually review my samples and then hire me, or they would give me a small job as a paid test. And they would extract my information from my CV and enter them in their database themselves (they are paid to do that, I am not).

[Edited at 2012-08-10 09:37 GMT]


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Ana Myriam Garro  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Congratulations! Aug 10, 2012

I think exactly the same. I was also sent a bunch of documents to sign, including a NDA and a form where I was requested to submit personal information including bank account. This was sent by a translation agency from India, and I also refused to fill in and sign those documents just to be included in their database. I believe that those issues can be idscussed if there is a possibility of getting a project, but giving your personal information "just in case you are needed" seems too much for me. So again, congratulations!

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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:33
French to German
+ ...
Agencies showing how big & good they are Aug 11, 2012

amgtranslations wrote:

I think exactly the same. I was also sent a bunch of documents to sign, including a NDA and a form where I was requested to submit personal information including bank account. This was sent by a translation agency from India, and I also refused to fill in and sign those documents just to be included in their database. I believe that those issues can be idscussed if there is a possibility of getting a project, but giving your personal information "just in case you are needed" seems too much for me. So again, congratulations!


These agencies just want to show how big and good they are ("1 million translators in our database, covering 4,539 languages").

Obviously they try to attract clients with good references and then give away the jobs to semi-professionals and amateurZ.


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