Working for an agency with 1,7 Blueboard points (3 entries only)
Thread poster: Vadim Kadyrov

Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 14:55
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Aug 31, 2015

I have just received a proz job alert from an agency with 3 Blueboard entries, with total rating of 1,7. Chasing of payments, arbitrary deductions, tons of papers to be filled in, geographical location of agency, job requiring PEMT - well, too many red flags.

I am not going to tell you that I see 20 paid proz members there willing to help this agency do the job AND help this agency get the money for the service they provide (which is very important thing to remember). I am also not going to grumble about the death of the industry, low rates, slaves and masters, peanuts, etc. Enough said.

This post is for those 20 prozians who submitted their CVs. This is the right way to end up having absolutely no clients at all, because these guys won`t call you the next time they have a project in your language pair. You are just a one-time "pawn", or a plug, for their current project. They are not going to store your details, and the next time they get another project in this language pair, they are going to come here once again and get CVs from another batch of translators. If you don`t think so, why on Earth would they come here this time? Shouldn`t they have already compiled a rooster of their service providers?

Think about more attractive projects/clients you will have to turn down. Think about opportunities you will have to miss when doing this job.

Personally I would spend this time searching for new clients who see the value I bring, as well as taking necessary steps to become an expert in my fields of specialization, etc.

And, by the way, they don`t pay on time! Do you think that you have some kind of magical tool to make them pay you before the payment deadline?

P.S. This is not about boycotting this kind of offers/outsourcers. Absolutely not. It is personal choice of each of us.

[Edited at 2015-08-31 07:45 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-08-31 07:46 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:55
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Ask for payment in advance Aug 31, 2015

Maybe those bidding know more about the outsourcer than you do.
I must admit that I would probably not bid for a job for anyone with that kind of record.

However, just because people bid for a job, that does not mean they accept the outsourcer's proposed terms.

As with jobs where the proposed rate is lower than the translator hoped for, anyone may make an offer to do the job, for instance at a higher rate, or for payment in advance. The client may refuse, but it is a free market.

I have heard several times of translators who have worked, on special terms of one kind or another, for clients that are in trouble.

I myself had worked for years for a particular client, and once or twice accepted slightly longer payment terms than in our original agreement. They survived two or three storms over the course of their history, and normally were an excellent client. Unfortunately they did go out of business in the end, but for different reasons. For 30 years they were an excellent agency to work for.

In other cases, the translators may think it worth their time to try and 'educate' clients and outsourcers.

I respond to job offers occasionally by making a serious proposal at a realistic rate for my language pair. I simply tell them that the rate they are offering is 20% lower - or whatever the figure is - than the average rate my other clients pay, and that I normally have plenty of work to do.

I don't normally get those jobs anyway, but it is like a few drips on a stone, and maybe others will drip on it too, so we finally wear it down....


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 19:55
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Learning curve Aug 31, 2015

Vadim Kadyrov wrote:

This post is for those 20 prozians who submitted their CVs. This is the right way to end up having absolutely no clients at all, because these guys won`t call you the next time they have a project in your language pair. You are just a one-time "pawn", or a plug, for their current project. They are not going to store your details, and the next time they get another project in this language pair, they are going to come here once again and get CVs from another batch of translators. If you don`t think so, why on Earth would they come here this time? Shouldn`t they have already compiled a rooster of their service providers?

[Edited at 2015-08-31 07:45 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-08-31 07:46 GMT]


I support your movement to study how-to about the low Blue Board points agencies.
Translators face with accelerating risk exposure due to cyberspace advancement. This type of risk is valuable to master and handle.
I will continue it under my personal ways as well.

Cheers!

Soonthon L.


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Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 14:55
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well, the thing is Aug 31, 2015

that the rate is not a problem here. We all start from somewhere.

The thing is that all 3 people who left three entries claim they had trouble getting their payments, while one of them got only 2/3 of the agreed figure.

In other words, the agency invites you to take part in a game of chance.

Even if you get 30% of upfront payment (which will never happen), you still can lose 70%.

People usually do this out of desperation. Desperation is absolutely OK, it makes us do something. But it is a bit naive to think that you will have much luck in getting your payment when 3 out of 3 service providers had troubles with this outsourcer before.



[Edited at 2015-08-31 09:10 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-08-31 09:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-08-31 09:13 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-08-31 09:16 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Wishful thinking... Aug 31, 2015

... would make me expect these 20 "bids" to be actually messages urging that agency to get a life outside translation, if possible, outside of crime as well.

In fact, I did work for one client on Proz who had only ONE entry - a very bad one - on the Blue Board. They were not a translation agency, but a video subtitling studio. They were completely unaware of that LWA = 1, and immediately provided me adequate explanation. As far as I recall, they had refused to pay for one translation job delivered late, and with thoroughly unacceptable quality, which the translator refused to fix. They are ne of the best and nicest clients I ever had, over several years.

On the other hand, I've had enough trouble with clients having an overly long list of LWA = 5s. The magic number is 100. If they have over a hundred BB entries, I take these with a grain of salt. In such cases, quite often I discover that these entries are made after a message to the tune of "Yes, we reckon that your invoice is X months past overdue, however if you give us a 5 on the Blue Board today, we'll be mailing you a check on Friday next week."

So it's a matter of risk management, a very important ingredient in freelancing.


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Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:55
English to Spanish
... Aug 31, 2015

Christine Andersen wrote:

Maybe those bidding know more about the outsourcer than you do.
...
In other cases, the translators may think it worth their time to try and 'educate' clients and outsourcers.


Defending agencies with several very low Blue Board ratings and awful comments about them is like defending serial killers and saying they are possibly innocent. It was possibly just a huge misunderstanding. Maybe they never intended to kill their victims, one after the other, right?

Also, those bidders possibly know the outsourcers better, are trying to educate them, or something else, but they are not really bidding to get those jobs at the low rates offered, right?

The number of philosophical possibilities is endless, but this is reality, and in reality things are much simpler:

Those agencies are terrible, and most of the bidders are bidding to get those low paying jobs and are willing to do them at the posted low rates.

As simple as that.


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Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:55
Serbian to English
+ ...
As simple as that? Sep 5, 2015

how nice it would be if everything was "as simple as that";

unfortunately, more often than not, it isn't.

The sad fact is that the Blueboard is far from being anything resembling a credit notation agency for translation companies - you have no ways of knowing if the plethora of 5s is due or not to "friendly persuasion" of the non-payment variety nor if low ratings come from "translators" expecting to be paid for output produced with Google Translate.

"Defending agencies with several very low Blue Board ratings and awful comments about them is like defending serial killers and saying they are possibly innocent. It was possibly just a huge misunderstanding. "

Well this Blueboard has false positives and false negatives - but no ways of knowing in advance where they are, so yes in some cases it might well be "just a huge misunderstanding".

Anyway the posting system is skewed in such a way that you get more than would be a fair share of low-paid jobs, that's a more relevant aspect of it.


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:55
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
My few cents Sep 6, 2015

I normally do not work for agencies with bad records, but it happens to me to bid - with my normal rate and asking for payment in advance if their blueboard is really bad. This might explains that you actually see colleagues bidding.

I must say that sometimes you can get low paying agencies to at least double the rate they initially proposed if they really find nobody to do the job or if it's urgent.

I also once worked for an agency with a very bad blueboard (4 ratings out of four either 1 or 2) because I knew the translators who gave them their bad ratings and already had troubles with them as well. So I did not really trust the rating they gave to the agency which told me that these translators had not even worked for them. Everything went well with that agency and since I do about 3 or 4 jobs for them per year at a correct rate, payment on time etc.


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