Should you register with a company before they give you any work?
Thread poster: Paula D

Paula D  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:27
Member (2013)
Turkish to English
Jul 23, 2015

Recently, I have received a number of emails from various companies which start with a basic enquiry about my rates and availability for work. Normally, they specify a particular job that is supposedly coming in soon. I reply by sending my CV and rates and then receive another email asking me to register on their site so they can assign work to me when it comes in. These forms ask for personal information, including bank details, address, tax ID number, sometimes my UK NI number, and on top of that take time to fill in the numerous fields about experience, references etc.

So far my approach has been that I am not prepared to give all this information to a company with no concrete offer of work, even if their website does look professional and impressive. The information they ask for is very sensitive and could be used for ID fraud so why take the risk when there is not even a promise of work? On the other hand, am I missing out on something? Is this the way the industry is heading?

I wanted to ask what other translators feel about this practice and whether they are also experiencing the same thing.


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:27
Romanian to English
+ ...
Depends, but generally no Jul 23, 2015

Occasionally I've had good business relationships with the form-loving agencies, but generally the ones that had actual jobs (an actual file with an actual word count and an actual time limit/range of time) only wanted me to sign a contract and NDA, and asked me to fill in other profile information on their portal later at my convenience. I think many colleagues can confirm that the length of the registration process is generally inversely proportional to the amount of work from that agency.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:27
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Only if you know them Jul 23, 2015

A translation agency for which I do a great deal of work recently asked me to let them have my complete CV, including many of the details you mentioned, set out in accordance with the approved European Union format.

They explained that they need to have this on file as part of their own accreditation system and for use when they bid for translation contracts etc.

As I completely trust this agency and have a very good working relationship with them, I have no problem about doing this. It is, nevertheless, slightly puzzling because none of the other agencies with which I work have ever asked me for anything like this. But I'll only do this CV when I have time (i.e. not soon).

In the case of an agency with which you've never worked before and with which there isn't even any prospect that you might work for them, I'd be cautious about letting them have all this information, not least because they might use it to get lucrative work for themselves, but then wouldn't pass on any of that work to you!


[Edited at 2015-07-23 09:10 GMT]


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Graeme Waller  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:27
Finnish to English
+ ...
Agree Jul 23, 2015

Annamaria Amik wrote:

........I think many colleagues can confirm that the length of the registration process is generally inversely proportional to the amount of work from that agency.


That made my day! I can definitely confirm this.

It has become the norm in the last few years.

Sometimes they say something like "it will only take five minutes". I think some must live in a different universe from most of us with different laws governing time etc.

In my experience, most can be trusted but it is always a good idea to the check the company out on the blue board first as well as scrutinise their website and do a web search. However, I draw the line at giving out my Social Security (UK NI) number and/or passport number, which a few have required.


If you have a valid tax number or VAT registration, there is no justification for giving out such information.

[Edited at 2015-07-23 08:28 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-07-23 08:29 GMT]


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:27
Danish to English
+ ...
Let them do their own admin Jul 23, 2015

I hate online registration forms and have only ever completed a couple and never do this nowadays. Nor can I be bothered to set up a Europass CV, as I don't have any use for that and don't want agencies to use my information to participate in EU bids.

Instead, I send relevant (potential) clients my company details and refer them to my website, suggesting that I am sure they can complete their registration with the general information I make available to them. If they need any additional information, they should feel free to ask me for this.

Banking details will appear on the first invoice they receive from me and they can then add that to their accounting system if they want to.

I would NEVER submit personal data information such as my Danish personal identity number, passport number, driving licence ID or similar. These things have no relevance to the business I run. For that purpose, I have a company registration / VAT no., which is all they need. Nor do I send copies of my university credentials, I simply point out that I am a member of the CIOL and that I trust they will accept that this is proof that my credentials are valid.

From time to time, I suggest to hopeful agencies that they do their own admin and let me do mine... Strangely, I never hear from such agencies again... icon_biggrin.gif


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:27
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
No Jul 24, 2015

No, I never registered with agencies who actually gave me work. They did either find me via the directory or I answered to a job offer on the job board and they came a long with a project straight away.

It has happened to me to register with three or four other agencies because they asked me to and I had never any news again. I do not send my CV neither if there is no concrete job proposal (and even if I only do send it if it's requested, because I am not an employee searching for a job...).

I do concentrate on direct customers though.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No Jul 24, 2015

No customer in their good senses would ask you to go through a registration process, sign agreements, etc. unless there is real work at hand and a firm agreement about the deadline and cost.

However, offering/asking us to register and sign papers seems to have become commonplace among project managers in many translation agencies. Apparently they are requested to tell us that, unless we register beforehand, there can be no further dealings.

In these situations, I always explain that it would not make sense for any of the parties to spend time in a process that might not be needed. Sensible people do understand my point of view and often come back when they have real work in my areas of expertise. If they are not sensible and do not come back, it's good news for me as well.


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Paula D  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:27
Member (2013)
Turkish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for taking the time to reply! Jul 24, 2015

Dear colleagues, thank you so much for your words of wisdom! I think you have all confirmed what I was thinking anyway but I just wanted to check I wasn't just being old-fashioned about the form enigma. All the best to you all and have a fruitful form-free weekendicon_smile.gif .

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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:27
English to Polish
+ ...
... Jul 24, 2015

Paula D wrote:

Recently, I have received a number of emails from various companies which start with a basic enquiry about my rates and availability for work. Normally, they specify a particular job that is supposedly coming in soon. I reply by sending my CV and rates and then receive another email asking me to register on their site so they can assign work to me when it comes in. These forms ask for personal information, including bank details, address, tax ID number, sometimes my UK NI number, and on top of that take time to fill in the numerous fields about experience, references etc.

So far my approach has been that I am not prepared to give all this information to a company with no concrete offer of work, even if their website does look professional and impressive. The information they ask for is very sensitive and could be used for ID fraud so why take the risk when there is not even a promise of work? On the other hand, am I missing out on something? Is this the way the industry is heading?

I wanted to ask what other translators feel about this practice and whether they are also experiencing the same thing.


I don't give them too sensitive information, and I'm reluctant to spend too much time on formalities before getting any work from them.


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