Negotiations with an agency which is not on blue board
Thread poster: Vitor Visconti

Vitor Visconti  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Feb 10, 2014

Hello,

I've been negotiating with an agency which is not listed on the blue board and I couldn't find any good or bad information about it on the web. Nevertheless, they have a website and one of the members has a profile on Linkedln. I have informed them about my rates and now they sent me an email saying that no one will do the proofreading and I should guarantee the quality of the work. Of course this is an obligation for any kind of translator, but in this case, should I raise my rates? Also, they said they will pay by the end of the month, is this a commom practice? Should I ask for some payment in advance?

Thank you very much.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Play it safe Feb 10, 2014

Victor,

Any fly-by-nite individual operation can easily build a web site depicting it as a multimillion-dollar operation. On the other hand, I've worked for years with some first-class translation agencies whose web sites are pretty dull.

If you can't find any reference - good or bad - about this agency, and they can find some good references (e.g. WWAs) on you, it's fair that you split the risk, and demand 50% of the payment made (and cashed in) up front.

Beware of PayPal, since it is reversible. As it is owned by and intended for eBay, the buyer has, I think a couple of weeks, to say that they didn't get the goods, or that they were defective, so that the funds, if already withdrawn by you, will be charged to your credit card.

Bank transfers, Moneygram, and Western Union are not reversible after the transaction has been completed.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Risk management Feb 10, 2014

I think you'd do well to go a little further with your investigations. Not every outsourcer has a BB record, but you really need to make sure this agency does actually exist. Having a website doesn't count for anything. There are some tips here: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Risk_management

It sounds an extremely strange agency, if it doesn't want to check your work itself. How on earth does it know what it's delivering to its own client? An agency should be doing a lot more than simply passing your translation to its client. They're supposed to be the go-between, playing an active role to ensure that the translation is as good as it possibly can be. And the ultimate responsibility for quality, in terms of litigation etc., must be theirs. Their client can't sue you if you provide rubbish (though I'm sure you wouldn't) so that there is an enormous loss (e.g. if you translate an amount, a medical diagnosis, a safety leaflet... incorrectly); their client will sue them, the agency. And all you can be held responsible to the agency for is the price of the job plus a little compensation for the wasted time.

Personally, I wouldn't work with such an agency, but if you choose to then you should really pay a proofreader to check your translation - that second pair of eyes is invaluable, no matter how good a translator you are. And you must factor in that cost when you quote. I do work with agencies who are not translation agencies (communications/marketing ones, often setting up multilingual websites), but I give them the choice of paying for a 2nd proofreading (of course, I check my own work), or I state very clearly on the invoice that that has not been included.

Regarding payment terms, it's really up to you to set them, as you've done with your rates, but it can be open to negotiation. We all have different ideas, but I think the general consensus is: 30 days is considered "normal" for many B2B transactions; 30 days month end is also common; 60 or more is unacceptable to most translators; earlier payment is always welcome; advance payment in full is unlikely to be accepted by a company, though normal for a private individual; partial advance payment is sometimes accepted by agencies for first or very large jobs.

Hope that helps.


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vika rusakova
Italy
Local time: 16:44
Italian to Russian
the agency which is not on blue board Feb 10, 2014

You can invite them to join the Proz.com.

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:44
Member (2008)
French to English
Ask for information Feb 10, 2014

Not all agencies are on or even know about the BlueBoard. I have several good clients who are not on the BlueBoard and depend rather on fairly traditional methods of doing business - outside salespeople, a close-knit team of trusted translators, etc. In some cases I have told such clients when new that I couldn't find information about their payment experience from other translators and asked could they explain why. Legitimate agencies won't mind being asked such a question and will usually come up with some reasonable answers. It's quite normal in business, when you're going to extend credit terms (i.e., not payment in advance) to ask for some credit references of other vendors to the business who can relate their history of on-time payment. This is all part of "due diligence" in business and the response to such questions will quickly identify whether the client is trustworthy or not.

[Edited at 2014-02-10 11:59 GMT]


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Facebook Feb 10, 2014

is a useful resource for information about potential customers, not least because it's not subject to the same rules as ProZ about what you can and can't say. I belong to this very entertaining group for translators:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Watercoolernetwork/

and there are lots of others.


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Vitor Visconti  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Feb 10, 2014

The information you gave me will help me a lot in the process, thank you!

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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:44
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Please create a Blue Board record for the agency Feb 10, 2014

Anyone with a profile on ProZ.com can create a Blue Board record for any outsourcer (whether an agency or a direct client). Here's the link for adding an outsourcer: http://www.proz.com/blueboard/?sp_mode=add

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