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Translation agencies and translators: where are the courtesy rules gone?
Thread poster: Bruno Depascale

Bruno Depascale  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:14
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
Jan 30, 2014

Hi everybody,
I just wanted to share with you my experience with a translation agency that at the moment has a job offer advertised on proz main page regarding the medical and pharmaceutical field.
I had replied to such agency two days ago, through proz connect feature.
I answered different questions they requested on the application page.
Yesterday at 8.00 pm (CET time), I have been contacted from a PM of this agency who proposed me a medical translation (900 words) using their web-based cat tool, to be delivered today by noon at the latest.
I replied in 10 minutes to such PM, confirming my availability, my use of their web-based cat-tool (which I luckily had already used with other agencies) and informing them I would apply my rush rate of 0,10 € per source word (which I know is pretty low).
Till now I haven't received any answer.
What makes me think however, is how can someone pretend to have a MEDICAL translation job done at a low rate, delivered in a speedy fashion, and what's worst using a web-based cat tool that is not very user-friendly (I am talking about XTM). Indeed, I have used this cat-tool and it took much time for me to get to understand its basic functionalities.
So where is the professionalism such agencies advertise on their profiles? They even didn't care to reply to my email. Maybe I pretend too much, to apply basic courtesy rules? Or in the technology era courtesy is not a must?
What if after their email I had received other offers from other agencies? What do I had to do? Wait to their reply?
Thank you for your opinions, any suggestions on how to behave in such circumstances are welcome

[Edited at 2014-01-30 10:42 GMT]


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:14
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Partial answer Jan 30, 2014

Bruno Depascale wrote:
… how can someone pretend to have a MEDICAL translation job done at a low rate, delivered in a speedy fashion, and what's worst using a web-based cat tool that is not very user-friendly … ?


Well, at least that's easy to answer: Because obviously there are translators willing to accept these conditions (in this case: you, and probably lots of others, too).



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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:14
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Some more thoughts Jan 30, 2014

Bruno Depascale wrote:

It would be useful to know how other would have behaved in such situation dear efreitag.
Maybe do you live in a hermitage where you deal only with ideal clients?


Certainly not, not at all. It's just market economy 101.

Bruno Depascale wrote:

So where is the professionalism such agencies advertise on their profiles? They even didn't care to reply to my email. Maybe I pretend too much, to apply basic courtesy rules? Or in the technology era courtesy is not a must?


Their professionalism and courtesy do indeed leave a lot to desire. IMHO, all you can do is to ignore them, and try to identify similar agencies beforehand, so you needn't bother with them. If you think an agency has heavily unrealistic expectations, this can be a hint to that effect. Of course, you can't know beforehand how they do in the courtesy department.

Bruno Depascale wrote:
What if after their email I had received other offers from other agencies? What do I had to do? Wait to their reply?


Your offer is valid only for a limited period of time. Some people say that if you're indicating your availability, they are only talking about the present moment, and that the situation can change any time. However, some common sense has to be applied here. In any case, you certainly wouldn't have to wait for their reply. Normal courtesy would probably require you to send a second email, informing them that you need a confirmation of the job within x hours or even minutes, otherwise you will not be able to promise availability.

HTH,
kind regards,
Erik




[Bearbeitet am 2014-01-30 11:51 GMT]


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DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 21:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Just ignore them Jan 30, 2014

Bruno Depascale wrote:

They even didn't care to reply to my email. ... Or in the technology era courtesy is not a must?
What if after their email I had received other offers from other agencies? What do I had to do? Wait to their reply?
Thank you for your opinions, any suggestions on how to behave in such circumstances are welcome

[Edited at 2014-01-30 10:42 GMT]


Occasionally, I see an interesting project on ProZ and very occasionally I apply. Typically, I get no response.

I then add the agency or individual to my personal blacklist of people not to be worked with in the future. Sadly, it's a growing list!


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Bruno Depascale  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:14
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jan 30, 2014

Dear Erik and DLyons,
thank you for your advices.
Erik, please forgive me if I have been satirical about your answers but here on proz I often see a scornful attitude in the forums.
So, as I see from your replies, it seems that I should try to re-target my potential clients, although it is not always feasible to know beforehand their professionalism level.
So maybe the next time I will insert a phrase like "if I get no confirmation from you in 2 hours, please consider me unavailable".
Thank you again.


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:14
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Don't complain when you accept Jan 30, 2014

Bruno Depascale wrote:

efreitag wrote:

I honestly didn't mean to be scornful. I just think that it really is that simple.



So let me sum up your simple opinion and please correct me if I have understood wrong:

1) a translator shouldn't accept jobs based on online cat-tools
2) a translator shouldn't accept rush jobs
3) a translator shouldn't even deal with agencies that offer him a rush job, not even for accepting it at his/her own conditions.
4) there is no room for negotiation.



You have misunderstood me on all four points:

1., 2.) By making an offer to this agency, you basically have already accepted all their conditions (specialised text, rush job, internal CAT tool etc.) The only thing left to negotation is your rate. It just doesn't make sense to complain about the conditions they set after you've accepted them.
3.) I never said that.
4.) Dito.

The point you're trying to make isn't entirely clear to me. Are you complaining about the expectations of that particular agency, or about their lack of good manners? As I said, the former doesn't make much sense to me after agreeing to their conditions. The latter however is an abolsutely valid point, but I'm not sure what you can do about it except for what I wrote in my earlier post.

Kind regards,
Erik






[Bearbeitet am 2014-01-30 11:52 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Bruno Jan 30, 2014

Bruno Depascale wrote:
I replied in 10 minutes to such PM ... Till now I haven't received any answer. ... They even didn't care to reply to my email. ... What if after their email I had received other offers from other agencies? What do I had to do? Wait to their reply?


If you replied to agency A telling them that you're available, and then hear from agency B, write to agency B and tell them that you're available, but write also to agency A to ask if they have received your mail and what the status of the job is. If things look good with agency B, write to agency A and tell them that unfortunately you've just landed a large job and you're no longer available. If you don't get the job with agency B after all, write back to agency A and tell them that the oher job was cancelled and that you are now available again.


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Mihailolja
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:14
Ukrainian to English
+ ...
Dlyons has the right attitude Jan 30, 2014

Occasionally, I see an interesting project on ProZ and very occasionally I apply. Typically, I get no response.

I then add the agency or individual to my personal blacklist of people not to be worked with in the future. Sadly, it's a growing list!

Ignore them, in the bin, straight away...


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Bruno Depascale  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:14
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Translators like sherlock holmes? Jan 30, 2014

Mihailolja wrote:

Occasionally, I see an interesting project on ProZ and very occasionally I apply. Typically, I get no response.

I then add the agency or individual to my personal blacklist of people not to be worked with in the future. Sadly, it's a growing list!

Ignore them, in the bin, straight away...


Ok but I think this is an extremely drastic attitude.
A translator should became a detective to detect potential clues that an agency is not professional..


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DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 21:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Detective ??? Jan 30, 2014

Bruno Depascale wrote:

Ok but I think this is an extremely drastic attitude.
A translator should became a detective to detect potential clues that an agency is not professional..


Life's too short to waste time with unprofessional agencies. Non-response to translators is unprofessional.

If you want to be a detective, take up a different profession


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:14
Japanese to English
+ ...
Broader implications Jan 30, 2014

DLyons wrote:

Bruno Depascale wrote:

Ok but I think this is an extremely drastic attitude.
A translator should became a detective to detect potential clues that an agency is not professional..


Life's too short to waste time with unprofessional agencies. Non-response to translators is unprofessional.

If you want to be a detective, take up a different profession


Non-response by a business (in the case of solicited communication) to anyone is unprofessional in my opinion. But what do I know.


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