Dealing with agencies through TPBox
Thread poster: wotswot

wotswot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:24
Member (2011)
French to English
Nov 27, 2012

I don't know if this is the best forum for this post, please redirect me if necssary.

Three of my France-based agencies are now using an online portal called TPBox to manage their outsourced projects. Typically, they send you a direct link to your area on their system. When you click it, you reach a Welcome page with a menu top left (New offers, pending jobs, etc.) and a series of messages, one of which I find not only highly objectionable but more importantly legally debatable, namely "Your browser is known to have frequent security breaches." Like hundreds of millions of people, I use Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 and am quite happy with it. Underneath the message you are prompted to "Click here and follow the instructions to resolve the problem". When I do so, I reach a Mozilla page inviting me to download Firefox!

The three agencies I've queried are incapable ot telling me why this message is displayed, so I can only assume this is an "internal" feature of the TPBox program. Does the software vendor get a commission from Mozilla on each click (and/or download of Firefox)? Do you find this acceptable, fair game in this cut-throat e-world? Or do you find it objectionable? My view is that a reputable, businesslike agency should control all the content it displays to its valued service providers.

More generally, TPBox and similar online portals are rapidly transforming us into "form-fillers". We have to fill in endless forms, scroll through endless dropdown boxes etc., simply to be on their books, even though we've sent them our CVs and GTS in the past. They're obviously automating their outsourcing to an extreme degree and putting the onus on us to perform their administrative tasks!


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 15:24
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Further troubles Nov 27, 2012

wotswot wrote:

More generally, TPBox and similar online portals are rapidly transforming us into "form-fillers". We have to fill in endless forms, scroll through endless dropdown boxes etc., simply to be on their books, even though we've sent them our CVs and GTS in the past. They're obviously automating their outsourcing to an extreme degree and putting the onus on us to perform their administrative tasks!



In the later stages, you may deal with payment issues. You cannot discuss with human staffs for invoicing and payment.
I generally decline such job offers through the portal.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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xxxnrichy
France
Local time: 10:24
French to Dutch
+ ...
The agency has nothing to do with this Nov 27, 2012

wotswot wrote:

The three agencies I've queried are incapable ot telling me why this message is displayed, so I can only assume this is an "internal" feature of the TPBox program. Does the software vendor get a commission from Mozilla on each click (and/or download of Firefox)? Do you find this acceptable, fair game in this cut-throat e-world? Or do you find it objectionable? My view is that a reputable, businesslike agency should control all the content it displays to its valued service providers.



But the software vendor has. This kind of new software seems to be developed with Firefox and Chrome in mind, and for economical reasons, or the reasons you mentioned, or for any other reasons (for instance, do not use MS) they dropped IE9.

[Edited at 2012-11-27 13:09 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Valued service providers? Nov 27, 2012

wotswot wrote:
My view is that a reputable, businesslike agency should control all the content it displays to its valued service providers.

I agree totally

More generally, TPBox and similar online portals are rapidly transforming us into "form-fillers". We have to fill in endless forms, scroll through endless dropdown boxes etc., simply to be on their books, even though we've sent them our CVs and GTS in the past. They're obviously automating their outsourcing to an extreme degree and putting the onus on us to perform their administrative tasks!

A "reputable, businesslike agency" wouldn't do that, would it?

I didn't know about TPBox, but I'll now steer clear of agencies that use it.


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Recep Kurt  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 11:24
Member (2011)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Security issues Nov 27, 2012

I don't think it has anything to do with "pushing" any particular browser. I am guessing that it is simply a matter of preference in terms of security... I've had a job where I had to login to an online database and I could only do so with Firefox or Chrome- IE wouldn't work. Similarly, an online software bug fixing application strictly required using Firefox. I don't see any problem in such a requirement...

[Edited at 2012-11-27 13:45 GMT]


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:24
English to Dutch
+ ...
I actually have a problem with system requirements in general... Nov 27, 2012

Recep Kurt wrote:

I don't think it has anything to do with "pushing" any particular browser. I am guessing that it is simply a matter of preference in terms of security... I've had a job where I had to login to an online database and I could only do so with Firefox or Chrome- IE wouldn't work. Similarly, an online software bug fixing application strictly required using Firefox. I don't see any problem in such a requirement...

[Edited at 2012-11-27 13:45 GMT]


Same as many translators are 'up in arms' when a translation agency starts demanding the use of a certain tool (yes, I am one of them, too), I also object when a client demands the use of a certain browser or other software. I feel that such choices about my hardware/software set-up are best left to myself and not to somebody who stands to financially gain from our collaboration or, even worse, to an agency that did not think far enough ahead to understand that acquiring an on-line portal should not restrict the translators they have working with them. When push comes to shove, such policies invariably lead to a translator selection based on having certain software/hardware/browsers, even before the rates or qualities of a translator are discussed. It seems to narrow the playing field for both parties, to the detriment of the end customer and the joy of the portal provider.

How about a slogan for such portal providers: Our portal takes the "free" out of "freelance"!


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wotswot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:24
Member (2011)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
@theo - nice to know I'm not alone Nov 27, 2012

I love your slogan, taking the 'free' out of freelance.

When you say "to the .... joy of the portal provider", I take it you mean the provider of the portal software/system (in this instance TPBox). They're obviously targeting the agencies (because that's where the money is). I contacted TPBox recently to humbly suggest that they could also add functions to make OUR life easier (such as 'save my profile' or even - dare I say it - import my Proz profile, to avoid all this repetitive and time-consuming form-filling), and guess what, no reply! To be fair, they did reply to my intial query regarding a drag and drop function (which they said was only available agency-side for now but would soon be made available to us), to avoid having to click buttons to download the project files, the purchase order, etc.
But they never replied to my follow-up mail advocating more translator-friendly functions - no money in it for them I assume.

And re: "requirements", one of them I see so often on Proz job offers is Trados, so I just don't bother quoting, let alone explaining to airhead PMs/secretaries that if the objective is simply to have a TM in return then any decent CAT tool can provide one in the universal TMX format.

I could also rant on about how SDL have effectively locked out their bilingual format (sdlxliff) to many other CAT tools, but that may be off-topic in this forum.

Long live the 'free' in freelanceicon_biggrin.gif


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:24
English to Dutch
+ ...
If that only were true... Nov 27, 2012

wotswot wrote:
I love your slogan, taking the 'free' out of freelance.


Thanks, I couldn't resist this opportunity to show my unique slogan writing qualitiesicon_wink.gif .


When you say "to the .... joy of the portal provider", I take it you mean the provider of the portal software/system (in this instance TPBox).


I did indeed.

Now to the reason of the title of this message:

... re: "requirements", one of them I see so often on Proz job offers is Trados, so I just don't bother quoting, let alone explaining to airhead PMs/secretaries that if the objective is simply to have a TM in return then any decent CAT tool can provide one in the universal TMX format.


Unfortunately, CAT-tool manufacturers seem to have a habit of adding their own stuff to the universal TMX format. If TPBox would add a facility that allows the outsourcer to create a TMX format TM by offering to align source document and target document, that would be an improvement, in my opinion. Barring that, the best option is to tell PMs to alighn source and target through their preferred CAT-tool. Avoid explaining such things to secretaries, air-headed or otherwise: they will take extensive notes of your explanation but subsequently omit - unwillingly - a crucial detail when they relay your massage. You'd look stupid in the eyes of both the secretary (for telling her something that obviously doesn't work) and the PM (who thinks that you cannot even explain a simple procedure to a secretary without making a silly mistake).

Long live the 'free' in freelanceicon_biggrin.gif


To paraphrase the illustrious Mr. Boris Johnson, now mayor of London but then token politician participating in "Have I got news for you": I couldn't possibly disagree less...


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