Two agencies, same job
Thread poster: Josephine Cassar

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Apr 12, 2013

Please people, I need your help. A job was posted on Proz. last week by company X which had a lot of BBs. I applied for it, but did not think i was chosen. The next day, I was sent a message by ProZ.com about a job by company Y and I realised it was exactly the same job I had applied for. I set the rates after checking that the company existed- it was on ProZ too and had a website but did not have any BBs. I asked company how it did not have rates and answer was that it was difficult to post on ProZ. and I was advised to accept rate as someone else had accepted the job at the rate of €0.05 and would be contacted if I did not accept rate of €0.04. I contacted the company X that had originally posted the job, and it said it had given the job to this company Y. As it was a long job, I had offered €0.05, then tried to come down to €0.045. Company Y did not answer at this point. Then it answered that it had given the job to someone who was doing it for €0.04, so I felt I had lost quite a lot. Today, I have just received an email saying company Y wanted me to do the job- 1st part of job was supposed to be needed for last Wednesday, 2nd part for 15th and final job for 20th. I answered asking if it was the same work, rate. and to give me some time. Company Y answered that :Quote- tell you the truth, i am waiting & waiting, from morning till noon. i did not get your email, did not know your phone,"waht a pitty" i gave to the others, the fist one rely earlier than you, but he take car accident, i want to give you job now, you did not reply(not true), pls give me your cv and next time i will call you at once, next time, waiting for me.
The mistakes are his, I will not reply. But how can company X post a job and then give it to company Y? I contacted company X which said it knew company Y on proZ. and showed me- do not knw how- the BBs company Y had as I do not find any BBs for company Y. and the BBs all have "restricted entry now.
To me, something suspicious is going on. Either company Y was banned and company X is getting it "work" if it can be called such.It is only helping it getting people hooked. And can it do that?

Cannot trust them and appreciate your feedback. Thank you


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 08:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Disregard it Apr 12, 2013

Something smells a rat there. I wouldn't even think about it. Just forget it!

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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:24
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Please read this awesome article: Apr 12, 2013

Red Flags: A Few Things to Watch Out for When Dealing with Clients

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/3616/1/Red-flags:-a-few-things-to-watch-out-for-when-dealing-with-clients

and double your rates so you don't have to deal with this kind of nonsense anymore. If you are going to work for as little as €0.05 a word, you should as least insist that all jobs will be 100% hassle free.



[Edited at 2013-04-12 14:04 GMT]


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:24
German to English
+ ...
Rates too low Apr 12, 2013

Hi Josephine,

Do not sell yourself so cheaply. Our work is worth a lot more than that, and 0.04 is slave labor. In Germany you would earn more working in a factory or as a waitress in a café! Those are honorable jobs, but you don't need an education for that.

Subcontractors of translation agencies are bottom-feeders, and out to exploit you. Don't do it, for your self-esteem and for our rates.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Don't know for sure Apr 12, 2013

Thank you all for your feedback. Usually scammers accept whatever rate you offer them, whereas this one didn't. What i did not like was the fact that the job was posted by someone else, then I was contacted via ProZ. for this same job, then he dropped me as I did not accept his rate, until today when he contacted me again with the story of his friend having an accident.
Anyway, now it is past as I will not answer him, hope he got the message.
Many companies in certain countries do not offer much but are still praised and have BBs, but I will not accept beneath a certain rate.
Thanks all and good night.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:24
English to Japanese
+ ...
Car accident... Apr 13, 2013

Yeah, how original!

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:24
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
0.04 Apr 13, 2013

Yes, it does smell fishy. I'm sure should you agree to doing the job for 0.04, they will come back to tell you that they've found someone else who was willing to do the job for 0.03. And should you agree to accept such a ridiculous rate, which I hope you don't, they will tell you that the translator who offered the 0.04 rate got lost during his/her walk in space, or whatever they can come up with. No reason seems to be ridiculous for them to at least give it a try.

Just stay clear of such "job offers" or you'll end up regretting it, perhaps by not getting paid at all.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I don't see the problem (except bad grammar) Apr 13, 2013

Josephine Cassar wrote:
But how can company X post a job and then give it to company Y?


Company X has a translation job. They search for translators in several places (one of those places is ProZ.com). They finally manage to find a translator (or a translation service provider). This service provider is company Y. Company Y now also searches for translators in several places (one of those places is ProZ.com). It may be that Company X knows that Company Y doesn't have the translators yet, but that is okay, because now Company X doesn't have to spend time searching for translators.

I don't think there is anything out of the ordinary here.

The only thing is that Company Y is now under much more pressure than Company X was. Company Y knows that they are under pressure and that is why they act more urgent and more insistent with their translators. They might even accept a rate from a translator that is exactly the same rate as the rate that Company X is paying them (i.e. they make no profit on the job, but on the other hand they gain a valuable client).

The car accident excuse may or may not be legitimate. Remember, translators who are freelancers may accept a job and then something might happen to them and then they have to cancel the job. Anyway "car accident" might mean a slight bump which requires him to go someplace to make declarations or fill in forms -- it doesn't have to mean that the translator is incapacitated.

In fact, depending on language difficulties "car accident" may actually mean "car trouble" (i.e. the car didn't start, and now everything is running late). When I accept a job, then that job gets priority over almost all of my other chores, but I know of translators who prioritise jobs and chores differently.

What the PM from company Y is saying to you is that he would appreciate a more swift response from you next time. When a PM says that, you can either ignore it (the poor wretch doesn't know that you're not a 9-to-5 worker) or you can tell the PM that you will try your best. Either way, don't respond negatively to such insensitivities unless you don't want to be in business.

The fact that he asks for your CV even though he's not going to give you a job says that he hasn't written you off completely. Send him your CV. He might even look at it. He might even see something that interests him so much that he himself will make more effort in getting hold of you next time.


[Edited at 2013-04-13 08:04 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My second thoughts Apr 13, 2013

Josephine Cassar wrote:
1. A job was posted on Proz. last week by company X which had a lot of BBs. I applied for it, but did not think I was chosen.
2. The next day, I was sent a message by ProZ.com about a job by company Y and I realised it was exactly the same job I had applied for.


1. In other words, there was a jobs post, and you responded to it by bidding/quoting for it, but you did not hear anything back from them, is that right?

2. In other words, this time there was no jobs post, but the company contacted you directly. They problably got your contact details by doing a directory search. Sometimes, contacting translators directly is quicker than posting a job.

At this stage you have had no agreement with Company X yet. In fact, Company X hadn't even contacted you. This means that you owe Company X nothing. If the same job was offered by someone else, you would be under no obligation to wait for Company X to get back to you to say that you are now free to accept that job elsewhere. Also, there was absolutely no need to ask Company Y about company X, or to ask Company X about Company Y: they are separate clients, and as long as you haven't started negotiating with Company X about the job, there is no conflict of interest if you accept the job from Company Y.

I set the rates after checking that the company existed -- it was on ProZ.com too and had a website but did not have any BBs. I asked company how it did not have rates and answer was that it was difficult to post on ProZ.com...


What do you mean by "did not have rates"? Do you mean "did not have any BBs"? Did you ask them why they did not have any BBs or did you ask them why they did not have any rates? I'm trying to make sense of their answer, you see.

If you had asked them why they don't have any BBs, then perhaps they are under the impression that only companies who post jobs or only companies who have a profile page at ProZ.com can have BBs. Or, if you had asked them why they don't have any rates, then perhaps they thought you meant to ask why they did not post a job instead of contacting translators directly, and then the solution to the puzzle is easy: when outsourcers post jobs on ProZ.com, it is not always easy to include rates in the jobs post (due to the design of the jobs post form on ProZ.com).

I was advised to accept rate as someone else had accepted the job at the rate of €0.05 and would be contacted if I did not accept rate of €0.04. I contacted the company X...


This was your error. The PM from Company Y was in a hurry, and he already had an offer that he was willing to accept, but he was giving you a chance because he had you "on the line" (i.e. you were at your computer and he expected you to be able to write back immediately). But then... then... then you contacted Company X, and of course you had to wait until Company X replied, and meanwhile the PM from Company Y is sitting at his computer wondering when you are going to reply to his mail. Did you write back to the PM of Company Y to tell him that you'll give him a final answer as soon as you had heard from Company X (or, did you write to him to tell him more or less when he could expect an answer from you)?


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 13:24
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Few comments Apr 13, 2013

Josephine Cassar wrote:
A job was posted on Proz. last week by company X which had a lot of BBs.

Irrelevant data. The BlueBoard is just a very rough indication that this outsourcer pays as agreed. It reflects nothing about the rates, payment terms or the overall conduct of that outsourcer. Furthermore, the BB record could be very easily manipulated and abused, by both the outsourcerers and translators, so always take it with a grain of salt.

I applied for it, but did not think i was chosen;
and I was advised to accept rate as someone else had accepted the job at the rate of €0.05 and would be contacted if I did not accept rate of €0.04;

As an independent translator you are a business owner and therefore do no a apply for a job, because you are not seeking employment, but offer your services in a B2B model.
Also, as a business owner you do not just arbitrarily accept any rates or terms dictated to you. You quote your rate and terms depending on the project at hand.
I contacted the company X that had originally posted the job.....I had offered €0.05, then tried to come down to €0.045.

Don't do that, as simple as that. Don't try to undercut anyone else just because you somehow became privy to the terms of their agreement. I think that it is unethical. Moreover, never try to "win" a job by reducing your rate. Its sends all the wrong messages about you and your professionalism. An interested party should choose your for your qualifications, experience, skills, track record or any other professional value. If the rate is the sole criteria for "choosing" a professional, save yourself a lot of time, effort, and disappointment by not participating in the race to the bottom. No matter how low you will go, there will be always someone else who will charge less. Even when ignoring rates for a minute, because all the participants are fighting for scraps there is no honor, ethics, or professionalism involved in those bidding wars.
so I felt I had lost quite a lot.

You actually earned quite a valuable lesson from this event and gained experience that in turn could be invaluable for a better future. You also saved yourself quite a lot of hassle and grief comes payment time (if you feel that you have lost quite a lot by not getting this project, imagine how you would have felt after completing it and not getting paid for your service).

Today, I have just received an email saying company Y wanted me to do the job....tell you the truth, i am waiting & waiting, from morning till noon. i did not get your email, did not know your phone,"waht a pitty" i gave to the others....but he take car accident...you did not reply(not true)....ls give me your cv and next time i will call you at once, next time,

They are toying with you. Not that otherwise should be expected given the rate and circumstances in which this project was passed along and dangled around.

The mistakes are his...

There is no mistake, actually. I wouldn't go as so far as calling that thoroughly thought over or planned, but they just went through the motions with the goal of trying to squeeze as much money for themselves as they possibly can. Therefore, their "opinion" changed with every email they received from the other participants, and the 'please-exploit-me' offers that they have received.

But how can company X post a job and then give it to company Y?

Exactly like they can contract an individual.

To me, something suspicious is going on.

Nothing suspicious, really. Unethical, unprofessional, not very smart and others such descriptions, most certainly, but nothing suspicious in the sense that one cannot really expect professionalism and honesty when participating in all those bidding wars to the bottom.

I'm not criticizing, I sympathize with you. I'm only commenting to point out what I think is wrong in all of that back and forth between you and them and the mindset involved, and to support the advices others have given in this thread.

[Edited at 2013-04-13 08:48 GMT]


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Valuable lesson Apr 13, 2013

True, especially from your feedback. @ Samuel, it was the BBs rating I was referring to, not rates/prices for job. I hope you refer to His bad grammar, not mine. I write informally here, but with no bad grammar.
Company Y did not have long to wait, as company X answered very soon.Maybe I was mistaken in contacting it, I see it now, but thought there was something fishy as I was offered the same job posted by company X and wanted to check/ensure I would not be tricked.
Anyway, as you say, one learns, best to take it that way, at least I got other viewpoints, thank you all.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Disagree with Shai on several points Apr 13, 2013

Shai Nave wrote:
Josephine Cassar wrote:
I applied for it, but did not think i was chosen...

As an independent translator you are a business owner and therefore do no a apply for a job, because you are not seeking employment...


Oh, please, this is just nitpicking on semantics. We all know what Josephine meant. She is not under the impression that she is applying for employment. You can see from Josephine's post that her English isn't perfect, so why focus on the finer points of meaning of one of her words?

For example, in my native language, the word used for offering to do a freelance job is the same word that is used for offering to work for a company permanently. There is no distinction in my language, and everyone knows what you mean by the context of what you say.

Also, as a business owner you do not just arbitrarily accept any rates or terms dictated to you. You quote your rate and terms depending on the project at hand.


Actually, there is nothing wrong with accepting offers on an arbitrary basis. As a freelancer, you are free to accept a high offer for one job and a low offer for the next job. As a freelancer, you are free to accept an offer that is higher than or lower than the rate you quoted or estimated. That is part of what it means to be a freelancer.

As a freelancer, you are not subject to a rule that says that you have to first state what range of offers you would be willing to accept before you can consider any offers.

Never try to "win" a job by reducing your rate. Its sends all the wrong messages about you and your professionalism. An interested party should choose your for your qualifications, experience, skills, track record or any other professional value.


Only clients with unlimited funding can afford to choose translators based on "your qualifications, experience, skills, track record or any other professional value". I've never had such a client. Have you?

Don't try to undercut anyone else just because you somehow became privy to the terms of their agreement. I think that it is unethical.


I'm undecided on the exact definition of "undercut", but I agree that it is generally not considered morally right by translators to drop one's rate just because there is another translator whose rate is known to you, in order to steal the job away from them. In this case, the client was perfectly willing to pay 0.05. It is not as if the client has realised that it can no longer afford 0.05 and is now shopping around for a better deal.

...nothing suspicious in the sense that one cannot really expect professionalism and honesty when participating in all those bidding wars to the bottom.


There is nothing on Josephine's story to indicate a bidding war.

There were two (or possibly three) translators here, namely Josephine and one or two other translators (let's call them A and B). Josephine and translator A had offered 0.05. Translator B had offered 0.04 (there is a possibility that translator B is simply translator A who had reduced his rate, but since we don't know, I'll treat them as two separate translators). At one stage, the agency considered using translator A (for a reason we don't know), and at some stage Josephine offered 0.045, but eventually the agency decided on translator B, whose quote was the lowest and who was deemed suitable for the job. There was no bidding war.

When translator B announced that he wasn't available after all, the agency contacted Josephine for the job again, but she did not respond quickly enough, and so they gave the job to someone else again. Now they ask for her CV (which would contain her phone number), so that they can phone her next time instead of waiting for an e-mail to be replied to. This means (very likely) that they want her as one of their first-call translators. It would be a grave mistake to take offence.


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 13:24
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
To each their own, I guess Apr 13, 2013


Oh, please, this is just nitpicking on semantics.

I strongly believe that semantics create mindset. As translators we should know the power that words and phrasing have on forming and conveying an idea and message, yet in our own business related communication, both internally and externally, we often fail to do just that.
My intention was not to nitpick on anyone or anything, but to say that in a business environment one should adopt and develop an appropriate business mindset, and that this business mindset is supported in a way by the way we communicate our profile and values.
And if we are already on the topic, the use of terms such CV, references, proof-of-qualifications and other terms borrowed from the corporate world of employment and found their way into our marketplace should be avoided just as much and for the same reason.
As a freelancer, you are free to accept a high offer for one job and a low offer for the next job. As a freelancer, you are free to accept an offer that is higher than or lower than the rate you quoted or estimated. That is part of what it means to be a freelancer.

True. But where is the business sense in doing that?
And just in case my intention was not clear enough. I meant that one should determine the worth of their work, and not just arbitrarily accept what others are dictating. This is part of that business mindset I have previously referred to. Note that I was very careful not to classify what is considered an "acceptable" rate or business term because they vary from one person to another (although there are some universal guidelines that apply, and assuming we are talking about a professional service provider), but if one won't establish them, others will do it for them, and more likely than not it will be to one's disadvantage.

As a freelancer, you are not subject to a rule that says that you have to first state what range of offers you would be willing to accept before you can consider any offers.

Did I say otherwise? One doesn't have to announce his/hers rate margin to the world, but one has to know them and not establish them based on the "price" others put on them.

Only clients with unlimited funding can afford to choose translators based on "your qualifications, experience, skills, track record or any other professional value". I've never had such a client. Have you?

I don't believe that I have ever had a client with unlimited budget, but at complete disagreement with you about the part in Bold.
I had and still have clients with limited budgets that chose to use my services, at least to my best of knowledge, because they appreciate the value I bring to the business partnership, and so do many other translators. Would some clients drop me if a cheaper opportunity presents itself? Maybe and for some probably; but nothing in the relationships so far has indicated that their sole criterion for keeping using my services is the rate. Rate is and always will be part of the equation and decision making, but should never be the sole criterion.
I agree that it is generally not considered morally right by translators to drop one's rate just because there is another translator whose rate is known to you, in order to steal the job away from them.

You said it!
And in my opinion a good business practice is never to lower one's rate after one has already quoted just as a final attempt to "win" a project after-all. Once one has quoted it is take it or leave it in my book. Slight modifications and adjustment to the terms of agreement are possible after the tentative acceptance of the quote and before the work has actually commenced, but they are very rarely made as a direct reduction of the rate itself, and are certainly not in the lines of "OK, thank you but we have decided to go with someone else", to which one replays "I will lower my rate from Y to X". Sorry, but any other way doesn't make any business sense to me.

There is nothing on Josephine's story to indicate a bidding war.

The entire chain of events is a classic case of bidding wars, if I have ever seen one.

Now they ask for her CV (which would contain her phone number), so that they can phone her next time instead of waiting for an e-mail to be replied to. This means (very likely) that they want her as one of their first-call translators. It would be a grave mistake to take offence.

As I've mentioned above, I don't think that we should use the term CV to describe our business profile. But leaving that aside, I honestly don't understand how can you recommend someone to keep pursuing any type of collaboration with this kind of bottom feeding translation services reseller in light of their lack of professionalism and general behavior. It is not about taking offence or personal pride, it is a simple case of due diligence, risk assessment, and common business sense. At least to me.

I guess that we can sum it up as each to their own. I gave my advice and tried to clarify it in this post. One is free to agree or disagree with me as he/she sees fit.

[Edited at 2013-04-13 13:02 GMT]


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My English isn't perfect Apr 13, 2013

Please, just because I did not put "submit quote" instead of apply for the post- at least someone, thanks realised the meaning, does not mean my English isn't perfect- wrong terminology for a novice. I wanted help- which was given- not nitpicking. My English has got me all my exam results including a degree and now doing MA, plus an entry into a translation course- my English was never an issue, period, thanks

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