Suspicious job offers and tips to combat them!
Thread poster: Michelle Kusuda

Michelle Kusuda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 16, 2014

I would like to compile a list of "tips" for proz members to help us navigate the job board. I will start with three that raise my suspicions and would appreciate if you would add to it so we can compile a list.

1. Job posted by outsourcer at 2 a.m. in the morning local time for them or during the weekend.

Interpretation: Insomniac unemployed freelancer who wants to find out other people's rates, needs to improve his/her own resume or is working on a website that counts visitors.


2. (Potential) indicated on job offer.-

Interpretation:

The outsourcer does not have enough work to hire you. It means it is a company that needs to demonstrate to potential clients that they have a given number of translators willing to work for them. This sort of agency uses your resume to indicate that they have translators with subject matter expertise but when (and if they get the contract) hire newcomers to the profession without your skills.


3. No reply to your quote.

Interpretation: They do not respect your time, why even consider working for them in the future?



Please add your tips. Thanks in advance.





[Edited at 2014-06-16 10:09 GMT]


 

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:32
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Give us your best rate... Jun 16, 2014

Give us your best rate...
- whoever is the cheapest gets it...

Long term project...
- we are looking for the cheapest rate on this one and all future projects

It's for a EU tender
- yes we would like your great CV, but if we win the job, we'll contact a cheaper translator

Our client is on a restricted budget
- we don't know what the h*ll we are doing, but in order to win this job we need the cheapest translator

: )

Ed


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:32
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
No information about the job itself Jun 16, 2014

If I am planning to accept a job offer, I want to know about the job itself. What is the subject matter of the text? How long is it (ideally the number of words, not pages)? In a perfect world, it would be nice to know something about the purpose of the translation in order to tailor the language to suit the target reader. Some people very thoughtfully include a sample of the text, or even let me see the document beforehand, if it is not confidential.

Job offers which mention only rates or deadlines make me very suspicious as the customer does not appear to be interested in the quality of work. They are only looking for something quick and cheap and I can only assume that they will end up with a poor quality translation, machine or otherwise.

[Edited at 2014-06-16 11:14 GMT]


 

Michelle Kusuda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your replies! Jun 16, 2014

Thank you for your contributions to this thread. I hope this will help make make the Proz job board more effective and less of a waste of time.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:32
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Not sure I agree Jun 16, 2014

I do agree with the responses - they all ring true; but I'm not sure the ones you've chosen are the ones that ring warning bells for me, Michelle.

Michelle Kusuda wrote:
1. Job posted by outsourcer at 2 a.m. in the morning local time for them or during the weekend.

Interpretation: Insomniac unemployed freelancer who wants to find out other people's rates, needs to improve his/her own resume or is working on a website that counts visitors.

Although this can be true, there are other possibilities. One is that this is a peanut-payer who has been searching for days - so OK, they're to be avoided at all costs. But it could be a legit outsourcer who has been let down by circumstances totally outside their control: maybe the chosen translator rang in sick or had an accident or a major power failure. Maybe they're just insomniacs who are hoping to bring their job to the attention of freelancers in other time zones (who may just be on the point of signing off for the day).


2. (Potential) indicated on job offer.-

Interpretation:

The outsourcer does not have enough work to hire you. It means it is a company that needs to demonstrate to potential clients that they have a given number of translators willing to work for them. This sort of agency uses your resume to indicate that they have translators with subject matter expertise but when (and if they get the contract) hire newcomers to the profession without your skills.

I've actually met a lot of my regular and best clients this way. Even good outsourcers lose translators for whatever reason, and they also try to expand both in terms of volume and services/sectors/languages covered. There are also start-ups who may have nothing concrete yet - and if you're in there from the beginning then you'll be a valued partner.


3. No reply to your quote.

Interpretation: They do not respect your time, why even consider working for them in the future?

I prefer it if they explicitly apologise for this in the posting, but I don't hold it against outsourcers. I've sometimes been late looking at posts that require you to use the ProZ.com interface, and in my pair the numbers of quoters can be crazily high. A personalised rejection is worth a lot (not as much as an acceptance, of courseicon_wink.gif), but a stock one-liner sent to everyone is no better than silence in my book. I can interpret silence.

The thing I hate most is what Helen's complaining of: lack of information on the job.

"- Pair: French to English
- Service: Translation
- Deadline: Tomorrow
- Description: If you can do this, please send your CV"

I just click on the "X". As someone who only deals with marketing-type translations, it will likely be a waste of time to follow it up. But even if I dealt with most texts, why would a serious outsourcer post that and expect serious translators to bother to reply? Why should we have to ask whether they want 50,000 words of highly technical translation, or a one-page letter from a bank to a client? Our time is money, too.


 

Michelle Kusuda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Your lens is different from mine. Jun 16, 2014

@ Sheila,

I posted what for me are "warning bells". It is not meant as an absolute.

I think if we all share our "warning bells", some might benefit from it.

I can only speak for what I have experienced. Thanks for sharing your experience!

While you prefer "silence" as a reply, to me it is rudeness. When we start accepting rudeness as standard operating procedure we open the door to abuse.

[Edited at 2014-06-16 13:27 GMT]


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 13:32
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Free translation test before/without confirming your rate Jun 16, 2014

Any translator willing to do a free translation test for a prospective new customer should first have said customer confirm his/her target rate before doing any such test.

Not doing translation tests for free is an even better alternative, but a luxury for some less-than-established freelancers.


 

Little Woods  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Member
English to Vietnamese
Very good TM, lots of repetition Jun 16, 2014

I really like the 3 tips Kusuda wrote because it fits so well with what I experienced.

2. helped them win a potential job because the client like my test sample best (what they said). They insist on me being the editor and later replace me when I refused to be the editor since for that project I just want to be a translator.

3. I found it rude when I dont receive a reply even when my quotes were turned down. I can spend time to draft the email and especially send them my CV as requested and I can't even receive a template email, it is just a click away.

I dont know if this is a tips but when agencies told me they will provide a "good" TM or the translation I need to review/edit is very good or the translation has a lot of repetition and very few new words, I think I should be very careful.




[Edited at 2014-06-16 15:55 GMT]


 

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:32
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
oh yeah the large test ... Jun 16, 2014

Please do this 900 word press release as a test.... that is a good one!


or you must do a test first, this will be checked by one of our top translators, then you need to inscribe and sign lots of paperwork, and NDA, a contract and some more stuff... and then we'll enter you in our system where our translator managers can select you to bid on our assignments that we'l l send you a notification off and usualy gets picked of after 3 seconds.. and no we will not confirm our rates/budget before you do the test...

BUT what is absolutely a dead give-aways is the client who accepts any rate (even ridiculous ones) - they will never pay you...

So:
- the large test client
- the lots of paperwork client
- the client with the online bidding system
- and the one that does not discuss prices before hand
- and the one who accepts your rate and uses some common name like Dave and has an free e-mail account (gmail, hotmail, ...)

Ed


 

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:32
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
and the one from a country far far away.. Jun 17, 2014

... from both the source and the target language, by agencies and people who neither speak, nor read or write any of the source or target languages...

==> recipy for low rates & bad payments conditions

Ed


 

Tatiana Bejan  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 13:32
Member (2014)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Wonderful! Jun 17, 2014

Edward Vreeburg wrote:

Give us your best rate...
- whoever is the cheapest gets it...

Long term project...
- we are looking for the cheapest rate on this one and all future projects

It's for a EU tender
- yes we would like your great CV, but if we win the job, we'll contact a cheaper translator

Our client is on a restricted budget
- we don't know what the h*ll we are doing, but in order to win this job we need the cheapest translator

: )

Ed




Perfectly true! Well done!


 


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