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Agencies that ask for too much info
Thread poster: Susana E. Cano Méndez

Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:19
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 22, 2015

Good evening, dear colleagues.

How do you feel about agencies that ask for too much information and then lead you to a webpage where you have to provide your bank account number?

This week, a seemingly legitimate agency from outside the EU (I live in Spain) asked for my rates, so I sent them along with my CV, as they requested.

"I'm contacting you because we are looking for linguists to translate legal texts (Alternative Dispute Resolution), from FRE>SPA, and we would like to know if you would be interested in starting a new collaboration with us. /Would you please confirm if you have experience translating texts in this field and would you be able to send us a proof of it? / If interested and suitable, please, send us your most updated CV and rates for translation (per source word) and editing (per hour)."

Being a sworn translator, I thought that my credentials and my Sworn Translator number were enough; but they asked then for a reference letter:

"Could you, please, send me any references of previous clients/jobs?"

It's hard for a sworn translator to collect this kind of references, being subject to NDAs: many agencies are reluctant to issue references, not to speak about direct clients; so I thought it would suffice with references in LinkedIn or Proz. I told them so, but they absolutely needed a reference letter:

"Yes, I checked your LinkedIn profile and WWA from PROZ. However, the certificate or letter of reference is a requirement from the client."

I wonder which client, but however looked for and found a reference letter in my computer which I asked for in March in order to apply to a tender. At this stage, five days and seven e-mails had passed and I had lost any hope of being hired.

Then again:

"Could you, please, send us a signed copy of the attached SLA or completing the registration in our database so I can share confidential information with you? [URL adress] / Kindly ensure that you run the form in Internet Explorer 8 or above (PC platform). /The fields marked with a red asterisk are mandatory - if they are not completed, the system will not understand it needs to create your profile. Details entered may be modified at a later stage. Please do not use any diacritic characters when registering in our system, even in the CV file name. Thank you. /When completing the "Your Services" section, please bear in mind that you should click "Add Entry" (in red, on the right hand-side) after you have completed a service line entry and even if you do not intend to add another one."

I tried to complete all the forms online (being able of certifying a translation or not was not expected, among many other little inconveniences, as usual). But when it came to talk about money, they asked for my bank account number: no PayPal accepted. Of course, this was mandatory so I had to cancel the whole operation, because a) it's an unknown potential customer and b) I'm reluctant to give this info before doing the translation.

What an annoyance! I usually don't work with this kind of online-based agencies because of their low rates and their non-empathetic business. Moreover, I suspect some of them of being scams.

Do any of you have a good experience with such an agency? Do they all these formalities really pay for?

Thanks and goodnight!


 

Rui Domingues  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:19
Member
French to Portuguese
+ ...
This is for a tender Sep 22, 2015

Hi Susana,

The agency is probably participating in a tender of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (http://cdt.europa.eu/EN/procurement/Pages/Call-for-tenders.aspx?CDTID=167), that's why they need so much information.

The Translation Centre requires reference letters attesting that the linguists have translated X number of pages/words in a given domain. Without linguist with a proven experience, the agencies cannot participate in these type of tenders.


Have a nice evening!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:19
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
AFAIK they all end the same way Sep 22, 2015

I've backed off immediately during the last few years. I simply don't need the hassle. Then last month I was approached by one in a really nice, personal way. I don't know what came over me but I actually entered into an exchange of emails and even filled in their form as completely as possible.

But some of the boxes just weren't feasible. Against "How much time have you spent translating websites?" I entered "lots" or something similar - how on earth am I supposed to know? It wasn't the time since the first one that they wanted but actual time spent doing it. icon_eek.gif

So, back it came. Apparently they couldn't possibly allocate any job to me without an exact time in their files. So silly of me not to appreciate that! At least that brought me to my senses and that one has remained unanswered.

References? No way, apart from WWA and similar.
Bank details? Don't worry, they'll be on the first invoice! Until then their database will have to put up with "TBA".


 

James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:19
Russian to English
+ ...
I don't participate Sep 22, 2015

When I first became a freelancer I responded to a few requests for participation in a tender, but none ever resulted in any work beyond the considerable time spent giving the agencies all the info they wanted. So now I just tell them I'm not interested.

(Edited for bad typing on a tablet.)

[Edited at 2015-09-23 16:39 GMT]


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 03:19
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
No references ever Sep 22, 2015

No and no means no.

 

Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:19
Member
French to English
+ ...
Yes, an EU tender - but didn't the agency mention this? Sep 22, 2015

Rui Domingues wrote:

Hi Susana,

The agency is probably participating in a tender of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (http://cdt.europa.eu/EN/procurement/Pages/Call-for-tenders.aspx?CDTID=167), that's why they need so much information.

The Translation Centre requires reference letters attesting that the linguists have translated X number of pages/words in a given domain. Without linguist with a proven experience, the agencies cannot participate in these type of tenders.


Have a nice evening!


It sounds like the call for tenders mentioned here: http://cdt.europa.eu/EN/news/Pages/default.aspx?CDTID=334

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a couple of dozen requests for documents, references etc. for this call for tenders. See this previous thread about EU translation tenders which I started earlier this year: http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/283835-tender_season_again.html

Like James, I have reached the point where I simply tell almost all agencies that I am not interested in these tenders as it's a lot of effort for (very probably) no work. Last week, a project manager at an agency in Warsaw phoned me and pleaded with me to fill in a form for this tender procedure ("it's just one form!" - except it isn't, as I've had about twenty requests for this same form lately!)

What I find interesting about your post is that the agency doesn't seem to have mentioned that this is for a call for tenders, and hence only potential work. That seems a bit sneaky to me - perhaps agencies are resorting to the tactic of not mentioning this as they fear that translators will do as James and I (and, I suspect, many others) do?


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 02:19
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
ISO standards Sep 23, 2015

Peter Shortall wrote:

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a couple of dozen requests for documents, references etc. for this call for tenders. See this previous thread about EU translation tenders which I started earlier this year: http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/283835-tender_season_again.html

Like James, I have reached the point where I simply tell almost all agencies that I am not interested in these tenders as it's a lot of effort for (very probably) no work. Last week, a project manager at an agency in Warsaw phoned me and pleaded with me to fill in a form for this tender procedure ("it's just one form!" - except it isn't, as I've had about twenty requests for this same form lately!)



Agencies also say they work under the ISO standards for translation quality. That is why they need much information. But they actually link to no actual jobs.

Soonthon L.


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:19
Romanian to English
+ ...
Agencies in desperate need of forms Sep 23, 2015

Rui Domingues wrote:

The Translation Centre requires reference letters attesting that the linguists have translated X number of pages/words in a given domain. Without linguist with a proven experience, the agencies cannot participate in these type of tenders.


Yup. During this same tender season, 2 agencies I first replied to with a 'no thanks, not interested in EU tenders' came back saying explicitly that I wouldn't need to accept jobs from them if they did win the tender, but please just fill in the forms so that they could participate. No comment.

I may be misjudging them, but I believe that European agencies that don't have regular translators in the usual language pairs of the EU and have to hunt for subcontractors here on ProZ probably don't have the capacity to win. They can't be big players. Or if they do work with translators in those pairs who can't provide the paperwork, they will probably let them have the jobs anyway, so why bother? I assume that's the case even more so with Spanish, French, German to/into English.

[Edited at 2015-09-23 04:53 GMT]


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:19
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Not worth the trouble Sep 23, 2015

Agree with the others - applying to tender offers is a lot of work that usually ends up not being compensated by a concrete job offer. I generally do not even reply to such requests, because they are only interested in affirmative responses anyway, not negative ones. These types of email are mailed out to dozens or hundreds of translators, so if I were you I would just write off the time spent to experience, and end the time-wasting communications.

 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:19
German to Swedish
+ ...
Hm Sep 23, 2015

Annamaria Amik wrote:

Or if they do work with translators in those pairs who can't provide the paperwork, they will probably let them have the jobs anyway (...)



Why? That would reduce margins.
Credentialed translators are useful in the tendering process, after that they're a liability.


 

Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:19
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not a tender Sep 23, 2015

Rui Domingues wrote:

Hi Susana,

The agency is probably participating in a tender of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (http://cdt.europa.eu/EN/procurement/Pages/Call-for-tenders.aspx?CDTID=167), that's why they need so much information.

The Translation Centre requires reference letters attesting that the linguists have translated X number of pages/words in a given domain. Without linguist with a proven experience, the agencies cannot participate in these type of tenders.


Have a nice evening!


Thank you, Rui, but they don't say it's a tender. I would have say no, thank you; for me they have been a waste of time so far. But they only talk about a future collaboration. It looks like an online-based agency, where everything (including payment issues) will be dealt with on the Internet.


 

Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:19
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Absolutely Sep 23, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I've backed off immediately during the last few years. I simply don't need the hassle. Then last month I was approached by one in a really nice, personal way. I don't know what came over me but I actually entered into an exchange of emails and even filled in their form as completely as possible.

But some of the boxes just weren't feasible. Against "How much time have you spent translating websites?" I entered "lots" or something similar - how on earth am I supposed to know? It wasn't the time since the first one that they wanted but actual time spent doing it. icon_eek.gif

So, back it came. Apparently they couldn't possibly allocate any job to me without an exact time in their files. So silly of me not to appreciate that! At least that brought me to my senses and that one has remained unanswered.

References? No way, apart from WWA and similar.
Bank details? Don't worry, they'll be on the first invoice! Until then their database will have to put up with "TBA".


Dear Sheila, this is my attitude, but I was just wondering if I was out of tune. Thank you for your comments, I feel relieved, being as you are an experienced translator!


 

Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:19
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not a tender Sep 23, 2015

James McVay wrote:

When i first became a freelancer I responded to a few requests for participation in a tender, but none ever resulted in any work beyond the considerable time spent required giving the agencies all the info they wanted. So now I just tell them I'm not interested.


Same experience here. But they don't say it's a tender. Do you think they simply are not telling me?


 

Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:19
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No Sep 23, 2015

Lincoln Hui wrote:

No and no means no.


Understood!

Greetings.


 

Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:19
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Right Sep 23, 2015

Peter Shortall wrote:

It sounds like the call for tenders mentioned here: http://cdt.europa.eu/EN/news/Pages/default.aspx?CDTID=334

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a couple of dozen requests for documents, references etc. for this call for tenders. See this previous thread about EU translation tenders which I started earlier this year: http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/283835-tender_season_again.html

Like James, I have reached the point where I simply tell almost all agencies that I am not interested in these tenders as it's a lot of effort for (very probably) no work. Last week, a project manager at an agency in Warsaw phoned me and pleaded with me to fill in a form for this tender procedure ("it's just one form!" - except it isn't, as I've had about twenty requests for this same form lately!)

What I find interesting about your post is that the agency doesn't seem to have mentioned that this is for a call for tenders, and hence only potential work. That seems a bit sneaky to me - perhaps agencies are resorting to the tactic of not mentioning this as they fear that translators will do as James and I (and, I suspect, many others) do?


Dear Peter, no the agency hasn't told me it is a tender. They talk about a "client", that's all. Probably you are right, if they had told me it was a tender I would have rejected the "job"; I'm not interested anymore in filling lots of forms and not getting a real translation.


 
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