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Source + Google Translate = Proofreading Price :/
Thread poster: Eric S.
Eric S.
Taiwan
Local time: 07:22
Chinese to English
Jul 18, 2016

First time forum poster... not sure where to post this, but to be honest, to me it's little more than a scam.

Basically, I've run into an agency that consistently requests proofreading services, but rather than have a human translator translate the document from source to target, they run it through google translate and give it to a proofreader, requesting the translation be done at proofreading price.

I don't think I need to explain to other translators why this is so scandalous... obviously any translator can use google translate; it adds absolutely no value. And there's no way to do a decent translation without... well, doing a translation! So basically, it's just a request for translation at proofreading price, with a little bit of deceit on top (They didn't tell me ahead of time that they were using machine translation, though they did admit it when it pointed out that it was obvious; also, they claim to run the machine translation by a special 'translator,' but it was obviously untouched, as it still had plenty of the source language in the text.)

Obviously, I've rejected all of these projects.

Still, I'm curious, has anyone encountered this before? I have an NDA with the client, so I probably can't even name names. At best, I may be allowed to give them a poor review. Any advice, other than just cutting ties


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:22
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
BB Jul 18, 2016

Do they have a BB entry? And if so, what is it? Do other ratings mention this "little detail"?

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Eric S.
Taiwan
Local time: 07:22
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Reply Jul 18, 2016

To be honest their bb rating is 4.6, not a bad rating at all really. It's a mix of 5's with a couple of 1's and no real in-betweens, though I can't view the comments myself as I currently don't have a premium account.

[Edited at 2016-07-19 00:15 GMT]


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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:22
French to English
+ ...
Sadly, Jul 19, 2016

the BB record is usually not much good as a guide, due to various factors.
Oh, and you're not meant to name such offenders, so you may be asked to edit the thread.


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:22
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
That's precisely why I asked Jul 19, 2016

Rachel Fell wrote:

the BB record is usually not much good as a guide, due to various factors.


To make a point.


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Eric S.
Taiwan
Local time: 07:22
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, Jul 19, 2016

you're correct, it's not reflected in the profile.
And i've edited it out already.

Any other advice?


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:22
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Tell them... Jul 19, 2016

Shihaoheng wrote:

you're correct, it's not reflected in the profile.
And i've edited it out already.

Any other advice?


Personally, I think I'd ditch them, but if you REALLY want to keep working with them (for whatever reason), why don't you just just clearly tell them you won't accept similar projects (involving MT) in the future?


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Eric S.
Taiwan
Local time: 07:22
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Yeah, Jul 19, 2016

I don't have any particularly strong inclination to continue working with them. I requested that they note that I wouldn't be willing to accept these projects from them, and when they kept coming back I reiterated that I would never accept this type of project.

I guess if they keep asking me about it the best I can do is just block their e-mail domain.


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Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:22
Polish to Czech
+ ...
No mercy with crooks like that! Jul 19, 2016

Shihaoheng wrote:

Any other advice?


Naming them on websites where it's allowed.
There're all kinds of translator blogs and blacklists where this would fit, just do a google search. It doesn't even have to be any "famous" website, anything would do, just so that their name pops out in a google search.
I wouldn't care much about the NDA, they don't play by the rules so why would you do. Obviously you won't publish your name along with that info, so how would they know... and what should actually be the sensitive information here, that they cheat on translators? As their protected know-how? Laughable. Just go ahead and shout it out to the whole internet!


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Natanael de Paula Sousa  Identity Verified
Brazil
Member (2016)
English
+ ...
It's just another scam Jul 19, 2016

I've also worked with an agency which did the same thing. What I do now is this: every job that the outsourcers declare as "profreading" I consider and quote as a translation job. That's it. If they accept my bid, great! If not, I try another job.

Just another scam: beware those "send-me-a-test-first" jobs. Almost a month ago, one agency said that I'd have to sent a sample translation. I've sent a bunch, but they said that it would have to be from a scanned certificate and delivered within one hour. Of course, I've noticed the catch and said that I couldn't do it. My conclusion was this: they say that they need a test, however what they ask you to do is the real thing. Imagine 10 translators sending 10 different certificates as a test. The outsourcer has the job done without spending one nickel. After some time, they contact the translator thanking him for sending the test and saying that he'll be contacted later. So don't send a test text from a scanned text, or that has more than 100 words and isn't published with the job (at least, they can't get away with many free words in this manner).

Bye.


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Ahmed Girach
India
Local time: 04:52
Gujarati to English
+ ...
Proofreading-Machine Translation Jul 19, 2016

I have experience of such proof reading. Yes, the best solution is to charge the translation rate or to avoid it.

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Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:22
German to English
Charge hourly rate Jul 19, 2016

I would tell them that in the future I would be charging an hourly rate for proofreading - charging by word/line/page is difficult with proofreading because the quality can vary so greatly, so charging by a time unit makes more sense anyway. If they agree, then you no longer have a problem because you can take as long as you need to correct the poor MT. If they don't agree, then tell them you will not be accepting any more post-editing jobs. Personally, I refuse to post-edit since the kinds of texts I translate (academic) are so complex in their sentence structure that MT makes a huge mess out of them and I end up having to translate from scratch anyway.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:22
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
BB record Jul 19, 2016

Shihaoheng wrote:

To be honest their bb rating is 4.6, not a bad rating at all really. It's a mix of 5's with a couple of 1's and no real in-betweens, though I can't view the comments myself as I currently don't have a premium account.

[Edited at 2016-07-19 00:15 GMT]


Have you cross-checked their BB entries? With agencies like the one you describe it's not an uncommon thing to "reward" positive BB entries with... positive LWA's. One well-known scammer does this all the time, as soon as they get a 1-rating, they offer their translators a positive entry in return for... a positive entry. A BB record of 1's and 5's is not really a reliable source.

There are some agencies that call it proofreading even though, in reality, it's post-editing. If you need these jobs, then be firm and quote your hourly rate, perhaps explaining that it's not a proofreading but a post-editing job.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:22
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There are good agencies and poor agencies Jul 19, 2016

And then there are diabolical ones.

I'm afraid they aren't going anywhere. They have a business model that's working just fine for them at the moment. Plenty of "translators" will pick up that particular ball and run with it a few times before they become disillusioned. And if your name gets linked to theirs as a long-term collaborator then you may find you do your reputation little good.

But there's an easy solution: Request, then demand, to be taken off their books immediately, or you will treat further emails as unwanted and unsolicited and report them for harrassment. They will find a way to stop those emails coming. Then you can distance yourself totally from them and all agencies with similar business models and spend your time far more fruitfully, forging relationships with good agencies and with direct clients. Leave them to the "hobby" translators and those who are desperate enough to accept anything.


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Eric S.
Taiwan
Local time: 07:22
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Sheila Wilson Jul 19, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:
But there's an easy solution: Request, then demand, to be taken off their books immediately, or you will treat further emails as unwanted and unsolicited and report them for harrassment. They will find a way to stop those emails coming. Then you can distance yourself totally from them and all agencies with similar business models and spend your time far more fruitfully, forging relationships with good agencies and with direct clients. Leave them to the "hobby" translators and those who are desperate enough to accept anything.


Good advice, I hadn't thought of it affecting my reputation! I will definitely take your advice.


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