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Agencies sign but never send work or cut off communication
Thread poster: Valeria Burova

Valeria Burova  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 19:01
Member (2014)
English to Russian
Apr 12, 2015

I faced this situation really many times, when you sign with many agencies but don't receive any assignments for a year or some of them cut off communication in process of hiring - like when you are already supposed to sign NDA and don't receive it and any other messages anymore and reminding of myself causes no reaction or sometimes after I see they look for freelancers again.

Which reasons may cause such? May it depend on the market and language pair I work in? rates as they could find someone cheaper?..
I guess it may also be the situation when agencies look for people for certain project that never happened but may this be the same situation for that many?.. I really don't understand why they hire freelancers otherwise...


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Same Apr 12, 2015

Signed with what feels like hundreds of agencies, only receive jobs from 2 dozen.

I figure they just do 'recruitment rounds' and hire a bunch of translators to have on their books but use only a couple. This might be a way of artificially expanding the size of their agency, or might just fall down to lack of work.

Either way, it can't hurt to sign with whoever you can. The more the better, gives you more power to say no to jobs that aren't so attractive.


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Valeria Burova  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 19:01
Member (2014)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
yes, but Apr 12, 2015

I am trying to understand perspectives and what to expect in terms of work flow - it seems to be absolutely unpredictable..

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:01
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Season's greetings Apr 12, 2015

Yes, over the years, I've been approached by dozens of these agencies which ask for copious documentation to be completed and signed but never send any actual work.

Then, when Christmas or new year comes around, they send greetings and fulsome thanks for "all my hard work and support". What a farce!


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:01
French to German
+ ...
Unpredictable Apr 12, 2015

I only work with 4 agencies and never signed anything with them... The others I actually signed with have never contacted me again after my signature. So now I only sign if one proposes me a project!

Yes, in this profession work flow is totally unpredictable, but you get used to it!


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 18:01
English to Russian
+ ...
The actual trend is totally counterintuitive Apr 12, 2015

As the experience goes, the more documents an agency makes you sign in advance, the less likely it is to send you real work after that. The very best clients ask you a few questions, send you a short paid translation as a test, and only then take care of the paperwork.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:01
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Trust grows; it doesn't come from paperwork Apr 12, 2015

Anton Konashenok wrote:
As the experience goes, the more documents an agency makes you sign in advance, the less likely it is to send you real work after that. The very best clients ask you a few questions, send you a short paid translation as a test, and only then take care of the paperwork.

So true. Timewasters will continue to do just that if you let them. Even when you've produced a ton of paperwork they'll still want more. When a job finally appears, guess what? It's a 'restricted budget' one that only pays half your rate. And if you're daft enough to accept AND work late into the night to meet the deadline, they'll come up with a million reasons not to pay until weeks after your own deadline.

Good clients offer you a real job on the basis of your past record and your emails. A small job where they assess your work and you see the colour of their money. Mutual trust grows from there. My best clients simply don't have any paperwork. They send an email with an attachment; a quick exchange confirms the details; I send the translation and get a confirmation of receipt; I send the invoice and they pay it. Job done.


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Dani Karuniawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 23:01
English to Indonesian
+ ...
It is a trick Apr 13, 2015

It is a trick to obtain your signature, name, CV, etc; then the agencies use your name to obtain project for them and then they hire the cheapest and poorest translators to complete the project, instead of you.

I prefer one-stop project without signing anything and sending application and CV. IMHO, bidding in translation market is not good for translators and has a big role in destroying translation rate. Avoid bidding.


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Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:01
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
Who knows... Apr 13, 2015

...what black databases exist about freelancers among agencies and all other LSPs and who benefits from those premature NDAs? Some jobs triple through a pool of big LSPs,where the agency from whom we might get a job from, stays just at the end of the food chain, i.e. as a third or even fourth party. Not only holding more NDAs than others, but also being able to exclude specific translators to work for other LSPs (agencies, brokers, call them what you want) can be an advantage in this game according to their rules. But it is just a guess and I recommend only assigning an NDA when it comes to a specific job at hand.

[Bearbeitet am 2015-04-13 07:15 GMT]


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mariealpilles  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:01
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
agency making you sign Apr 13, 2015

I can only fully agree with whatever has been written here. It has happened to me as well and when I saw the very self sme agencies advertising again for my language pair, I wrote back expressing my surprise and then was told that they have no work in my special subjects, yet confirming that I am on their list! What a joke. anotehr agency , after about three months' total silence, had the cheek to ask me to fill another paper, i just answered back that I would gladly sign any paper once I get work from them , but am not prepared to waste my time. Needless to say I never heard from them any longer, yet they had the cheek to contact one of my references with another load of paperwork.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:01
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Unpredictability is the name of the game… Apr 13, 2015

I have just checked that my contract folder has 22 different files! I work regularly (meaning each month) with only one of these agencies and irregularly with three others. I must say though, just like other colleagues, that most of the agencies I work with I have never signed anything with them!

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xxxbrg
Netherlands
Unpredictable Apr 13, 2015

But not always a trick to get your data.

Sometimes it is just a measure to keep a trainee busy.

I have one client who several times a year sends me a form to fill in. Their trainees stay 3 months and do not know me. They do not have the the power or the ability to give me work neither, they do not have the right to be in touch with the clients, they are just there for some administrative tasks. Keep cool. After all, they aren't paid very much either. Just like all those who call you on the phone to sell something.


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:01
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Expect nothing... Apr 13, 2015

...the more paperwork there is, the less likely you will get work.

But then again, why do you apply to loads of agencies if they don't have work, do not match your skills, experience, rates, language combinations, etc...

Do you mention your clients on your CV?
... the agency is likely to contact them and offer lower rates

If you have a good CV, it will likely be used to get jobs,... which are then send to cheaper translators...

Agencies usually recruit when they have nothing else to do... so when they don't have any jobs -- -you are better off finding agenices that do have work and are a match to al the stuff above (XP, rate, languages, ...)



...and there is a possibility of a high turnover at the agency, the TM that "hired you" (or farmed your CV) is probably doing something else now, and your CV is in a drawer or XLS file somewhere and the new TM has her own contacts...

So, in short - - direct clients are the best, but cost more enery to find... most agencies are notoriously unreliable.... (and that is why you have to cherish the good ones)...


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:01
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It *is* unpredictable! Apr 13, 2015

Valeria Burova wrote:

I am trying to understand perspectives and what to expect in terms of work flow - it seems to be absolutely unpredictable..


Apart from an occasional translation of their own web site, no translation agency has internal demand. Furthermore, they can't stockpile "finished translations" for the high season. So they have to serve their clients' needs as they come up.

Just like an agency may dump one translator in favor of one demanding lower rates, an end-client may dump an entire agency for another agency (or even a freelancer) if this will lower their costs.

What they want is to have the paperwork behind. For instance, there is one excellent agency I've been working with for years. The core team in my language pair involves three people. This has happened a couple of times; they had an urgent assignment, and all three were taken up. I had recommended a fourth member, a qualified and reliable colleague I know and have worked with. They couldn't use her because she hadn't "filed her paperwork yet". So I had to edit some pretty sloppy translation from someone else who had indeed "filed their paperwork".

Overall, it takes time. Some agencies eventually hire me years after I registered with them. Others never show up again.


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Valeria Burova  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 19:01
Member (2014)
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Apr 13, 2015



[Редактировалось 2015-04-13 11:16 GMT]


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