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Working with agencies portals, vendor portals, supplier's net etc.
Thread poster: Davor Ivic

Davor Ivic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 23:13
Member
English to Croatian
+ ...
Mar 4, 2017

Hi,
As you are all aware, until couple of years ago, our job was translation. Well, it seems it is not only that anymore. More and more money greed agencies are cutting down their expenses on administrative work and transferring it over to translators by insisting to use their platforms (such as Plunet, Oneworld etc.) to upload your finalized work to. Many times getting familiarized with all these different platforms is more time consuming than translation itself and I find it to be unseen exploitation of translators. Most of them insist on complicated invoicing procedures. E.g. you have delivered job on time, then you have to log on the portal to obtain certain number which then has to be included in your invoice and uploaded again to the portal. If you deliver the job on time, accept 45 days payment policy, but fail to do all the required bureaucratic work with invoice than your 45 days starts all over again upon finishing all the administration for them. I am seriously thinking of charging extra for this work, eg. my offer is xx.yy psw for delivery via email, everything else is a subject to 20% surcharge. What do you think?
Davor

[Edited at 2017-03-04 23:19 GMT]


 

Intertranslations S.A.
Greece
Local time: 00:13
Member (2002)
English to Greek
+ ...
Why not? Mar 4, 2017

I believe is a very good idea to charge more. If your clients accept the extra charge you will get more money. If they do not wish to pay extra then they will get another translator to outsource their work. It is a matter of supply and demand.

 

Davor Ivic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 23:13
Member
English to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The idea is clear, but the point is not to make more money, the point is to dedicate my time to tran Mar 4, 2017

Intertranslations LTD wrote:

I believe is a very good idea to charge more. If your clients accept the extra charge you will get more money. If they do not wish to pay extra then they will get another translator to outsource their work. It is a matter of supply and demand.

but the point is not to make more money, the point is to dedicate my time to translation in which I am professional, rather than spending my time on administrative work. Another point is that (because it is all about money), there will always be "translators" willing to accept such terms. And the closing point is that agencies are going to save (read "earn") more, and global level of the translation quality is going to seriously drop down, because ultimately most of the work will get done not by the most competent translator, but the lowest bidder instead....


 

Davor Ivic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 23:13
Member
English to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
And Mar 4, 2017

Davor Ivic wrote:

Intertranslations LTD wrote:

I believe is a very good idea to charge more. If your clients accept the extra charge you will get more money. If they do not wish to pay extra then they will get another translator to outsource their work. It is a matter of supply and demand.

but the point is not to make more money, the point is to dedicate my time to translation in which I am professional, rather than spending my time on administrative work. Another point is that (because it is all about money), there will always be "translators" willing to accept such terms. And the closing point is that agencies are going to save (read "earn") more, and global level of the translation quality is going to seriously drop down, because ultimately most of the work will get done not by the most competent translator, but the lowest bidder instead....

And at the end translators will be exploited or incompetent, agencies are going to earn more, and the end client will suffer from market response- I don't have to bid on highly technical projects, I am invited to them. After translating full technical specifications of a helicopter, special battle tank equipment for Israeli Army etc, etc. it still makes me weep when I buy a plain vacuum cleaner and manual has nothing to do with my language, so I read English instructions instead. Unfortunately, most buyers don't handle English so well. The end result (it may take years though) is going to be that next time this customer buys a simple home appliance, they will never again buy the same brand. Interests of end client will be ruined and it is a matter of time (could be years again, but it will happen) that they will realize that the problem was not in the quality of their product, but the translation. At this point, the end client is going to look for another agency after they finally realized that because of spending few hundred less for a translation they ended up losing few hundreds of thousands. And they will be willing to pay more. Again, agencies will do their best to keep most of it for them, as they all already insist on top quality and low price. Well, you just can't have both...


 

Davor Ivic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 23:13
Member
English to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
As you said Mar 4, 2017

Davor Ivic wrote:

Davor Ivic wrote:

Intertranslations LTD wrote:

I believe is a very good idea to charge more. If your clients accept the extra charge you will get more money. If they do not wish to pay extra then they will get another translator to outsource their work. It is a matter of supply and demand.

but the point is not to make more money, the point is to dedicate my time to translation in which I am professional, rather than spending my time on administrative work. Another point is that (because it is all about money), there will always be "translators" willing to accept such terms. And the closing point is that agencies are going to save (read "earn") more, and global level of the translation quality is going to seriously drop down, because ultimately most of the work will get done not by the most competent translator, but the lowest bidder instead....

And at the end translators will be exploited or incompetent, agencies are going to earn more, and the end client will suffer from market response- I don't have to bid on highly technical projects, I am invited to them. After translating full technical specifications of a helicopter, special battle tank equipment for Israeli Army etc, etc. it still makes me weep when I buy a plain vacuum cleaner and manual has nothing to do with my language, so I read English instructions instead. Unfortunately, most buyers don't handle English so well. The end result (it may take years though) is going to be that next time this customer buys a simple home appliance, they will never again buy the same brand. Interests of end client will be ruined and it is a matter of time (could be years again, but it will happen) that they will realize that the problem was not in the quality of their product, but the translation. At this point, the end client is going to look for another agency after they finally realized that because of spending few hundred less for a translation they ended up losing few hundreds of thousands. And they will be willing to pay more. Again, agencies will do their best to keep most of it for them, as they all already insist on top quality and low price. Well, you just can't have both...

As you said "supply and demand", all about money, what had happen with the quality? Isn't the goal in this business make people understand each other, or the point stays like in any other business "take money and run)?


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:13
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
It's extra time Mar 4, 2017

It is an extra time of ours. I have already refused several collaboration proposals solely on the factthe agency requires to work on their platform. It takes my extra time and it makes my PC slowlier. To access some platforms; I em even not allowed to have my own password, it has to be the one created by the agency. And that eans that each time before accessing the platform, I will have to rummage my emails looking for that password. And I need to go all those multiple steps of connecting, accessing, entering, reaching one area, then the next one... and so on... until I reach the text to just evaluate it - sometimes to find out it has been already cancelled.
Adding up several agencies working like this, it's a hell of my time that doesn't provide me with any added value.
Thanks but no thanks.
However, I am thinking of a surcharge rather than discarding such collaboration at all.
Working on my rate policy now.


 

Davor Ivic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 23:13
Member
English to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
demand and supply Mar 4, 2017

Davor Ivic wrote:

Davor Ivic wrote:

Davor Ivic wrote:

Intertranslations LTD wrote:

I believe is a very good idea to charge more. If your clients accept the extra charge you will get more money. If they do not wish to pay extra then they will get another translator to outsource their work. It is a matter of supply and demand.

but the point is not to make more money, the point is to dedicate my time to translation in which I am professional, rather than spending my time on administrative work. Another point is that (because it is all about money), there will always be "translators" willing to accept such terms. And the closing point is that agencies are going to save (read "earn") more, and global level of the translation quality is going to seriously drop down, because ultimately most of the work will get done not by the most competent translator, but the lowest bidder instead....

And at the end translators will be exploited or incompetent, agencies are going to earn more, and the end client will suffer from market response- I don't have to bid on highly technical projects, I am invited to them. After translating full technical specifications of a helicopter, special battle tank equipment for Israeli Army etc, etc. it still makes me weep when I buy a plain vacuum cleaner and manual has nothing to do with my language, so I read English instructions instead. Unfortunately, most buyers don't handle English so well. The end result (it may take years though) is going to be that next time this customer buys a simple home appliance, they will never again buy the same brand. Interests of end client will be ruined and it is a matter of time (could be years again, but it will happen) that they will realize that the problem was not in the quality of their product, but the translation. At this point, the end client is going to look for another agency after they finally realized that because of spending few hundred less for a translation they ended up losing few hundreds of thousands. And they will be willing to pay more. Again, agencies will do their best to keep most of it for them, as they all already insist on top quality and low price. Well, you just can't have both...

As you said "supply and demand", all about money, what had happen with the quality? Isn't the goal in this business make people understand each other, or the point stays like in any other business ("take money and run)?


[Edited at 2017-03-04 23:17 GMT]


 

GermanLaw1  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:13
English to German
+ ...
Don't agree Mar 4, 2017

Actually, I don't see your point. I really prefer vendors who allow me to invoice them via their platform rather than having to draw up my own invoices. Because this means copying the PO number, date, project name and rate for each job from my excel file into an invoicing form. With a vendor-provided platform I just log in, check some boxes and, voilà, all the jobs I did for this vendor in the past month are invoiced in one go, and mostly I even get a PDF with all relevant information for my tax declaration. This really helps to cut down on administrative work and saves a lot of time.

What I really dislike about these platforms is that it's all so completely impersonal and I don't get a feedback on the job done, no "thank you, we appreciate your work". I upload the file and never hear from the vendor again until the next job is due.


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:13
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Not always legal Mar 4, 2017

GermanLaw1 wrote:

Actually, I don't see your point. I really prefer vendors who allow me to invoice them via their platform rather than having to draw up my own invoices. Because this means copying the PO number, date, project name and rate for each job from my excel file into an invoicing form. With a vendor-provided platform I just log in, check some boxes and, voilà, all the jobs I did for this vendor in the past month are invoiced in one go, and mostly I even get a PDF with all relevant information for my tax declaration. This really helps to cut down on administrative work and saves a lot of time.

What I really dislike about these platforms is that it's all so completely impersonal and I don't get a feedback on the job done, no "thank you, we appreciate your work". I upload the file and never hear from the vendor again until the next job is due.


In the case of Portugal, such invoices would be illegal. To my knowledge, there is another country where it would be illegal, too. I presume, there must be more countries like that.
Therefore, it implies duplicating invoicing for a translator that happens to live in one of such countries.


 

Davor Ivic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 23:13
Member
English to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I don't think you got the point Mar 4, 2017

Very few of them just make you create invoice on there platform, most insist creating it there just in order to obtain reference number to be incorporated to your invoice and then uploaded to the platform again. Not to mention those who insists on working on their platform. Unlike most of EU countries, when we talk about invoicing, Chinese companies are the best. Although their prices are below market value they pay on time and mostly don't care about an invoice at all. EU mentioned, beside Switzerland of course, the only countries you can expect fair and timely payment are Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. Unfortunately, (again for the price of labour sake) most of translation work in EU is done in Romania, Hungary, Spain, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Don't get this wrong, I have nothing against above mentioned countries, it is just that things work different there- It is (again) all about money... Worldwide it is only Canada and Israel. With anyone else, you are going into risk.
GermanLaw1 wrote:

Actually, I don't see your point. I really prefer vendors who allow me to invoice them via their platform rather than having to draw up my own invoices. Because this means copying the PO number, date, project name and rate for each job from my excel file into an invoicing form. With a vendor-provided platform I just log in, check some boxes and, voilà, all the jobs I did for this vendor in the past month are invoiced in one go, and mostly I even get a PDF with all relevant information for my tax declaration. This really helps to cut down on administrative work and saves a lot of time.

What I really dislike about these platforms is that it's all so completely impersonal and I don't get a feedback on the job done, no "thank you, we appreciate your work". I upload the file and never hear from the vendor again until the next job is due.


 

Davor Ivic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 23:13
Member
English to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
non equally treated EU countries Mar 5, 2017

As an example, even though you are invoicing from within EU, certain countries have special rules for taxation (stupid, but that was impose to them by EU). For example if you worked with Baltic countries they may insist on sending an invoice via postal mail, and in order to avoid double taxation, when working with Romanian agencies it is compulsory to obtain recently issued tax residence certificate which ca not be obtained by email but you need to go across the city and wait in line sometimes for an hour or two to avoid taxation for a 70 EUR invoice. In these case I just tell the client to charge me taxes. I don't have time or nerves going through all that...
Inga Petkelyte wrote:

GermanLaw1 wrote:

Actually, I don't see your point. I really prefer vendors who allow me to invoice them via their platform rather than having to draw up my own invoices. Because this means copying the PO number, date, project name and rate for each job from my excel file into an invoicing form. With a vendor-provided platform I just log in, check some boxes and, voilà, all the jobs I did for this vendor in the past month are invoiced in one go, and mostly I even get a PDF with all relevant information for my tax declaration. This really helps to cut down on administrative work and saves a lot of time.

What I really dislike about these platforms is that it's all so completely impersonal and I don't get a feedback on the job done, no "thank you, we appreciate your work". I upload the file and never hear from the vendor again until the next job is due.


In the case of Portugal, such invoices would be illegal. To my knowledge, there is another country where it would be illegal, too. I presume, there must be more countries like that.
Therefore, it implies duplicating invoicing for a translator that happens to live in one of such countries.


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:13
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Yes, provided that... Mar 5, 2017

GermanLaw1 wrote:

Actually, I don't see your point. I really prefer vendors who allow me to invoice them via their platform rather than having to draw up my own invoices. Because this means copying the PO number, date, project name and rate for each job from my excel file into an invoicing form. With a vendor-provided platform I just log in, check some boxes and, voilà, all the jobs I did for this vendor in the past month are invoiced in one go, and mostly I even get a PDF with all relevant information for my tax declaration. This really helps to cut down on administrative work and saves a lot of time.

What I really dislike about these platforms is that it's all so completely impersonal and I don't get a feedback on the job done, no "thank you, we appreciate your work". I upload the file and never hear from the vendor again until the next job is due.

... the platform is user-friendly enough, and that the agency accept their own invoice - I had a case when they rejected their own form as non-compliant! And I have to create a "for record" invoice in my own system anyway (but only with minimum information).
How many agencies ever say they appreciate your work?
When you work with several dozen agencies and every one has a different system, it's hell.


 

Agnes Lenkey  Identity Verified
German to Spanish
+ ...
The best "joke" I've heard today (Sunday)! Mar 5, 2017

EvaVer: “I had a case when they rejected their own form as non-compliant!”

This makes me smile, thanks for this on a Sunday morning! It is incredible, though. What do they think? I have the same problem here in Spain as Inga in Portugal, Spanish tax authorities do NOT accept any other invoice, I have to issue my invoice anyway. And I certainly understand Davor that he prefers to pay the tax instead of loosing so much time for obtaining the certificate of tax residence. In my opinion, for those of you who work with lots of agencies that require compliance with complicated systems, the best pricing policy would be to charge extra for the time that is consumed in such tasks. However, in my opinion, it is better to look for clients who:
1. Give feedback, are not only machines.
2. As a result, make you feel appreciated. (Yes, I know many of you don’t agree, but personally, feeling appreciated is a key factor for my professional well-being and development, it motivates me and motivation is important – only money does not motivate me enough. Yes, money is important, it is our means of living, but that doesn’t mean automatically that money can give me enough motivation; in my case I need more than that in order to feel accomplished and develop my skills continuously. What I need is exactly the opposite of automated, impersonal systems: What I need is communication, interaction and feedback; this makes it possible for me to create added value to my clients.)
3. Do not impose complicated and time-consuming systems on you.

So, in my opinion, everyone has to find the system that best works for it. I can easily imagine that some translators like these portals and their access, working and invoicing rules. I don’t know, because I mostly work with direct clients on a local level (and know 80 % of them personally), but I do not think that poor quality issues (like Davor described with the user’s manual) are a result of these systems and vendor portals, just as he said, “...as they all already insist on top quality and low price. Well, you just can't have both...”. Yes, you really can’t have both, with maybe a very few exceptions. And it does not depend on the portal or the system used, it depends on other factors, I think.

Have a nice Sunday and inform us if you have succeeded to charge extra for admin time to these companies, it would be an interesting precedent to follow, and an incentive for this companies not to complicate things too much and do their admin work without our help. If we help them with quality translations, they should squeeze their brains to offer us (AND their clients) added value in turn, not more tasks that consume our time.


 

Vi Pukite  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:13
Member (2009)
Latvian to English
+ ...
And then there's the marvelous exception that proves the rule. Mar 5, 2017

Among all the fiddly and maddening non-user friendly portals and invoicing systems, which I hate as much as everyone else, there is one I work with that is perfect, to wit:

I accept a job request from a PM, I get a purchase order containing all the information one would ever need, I do the job and return it as an attachment to the PO email, I get an automatic reply acknowledging receipt (and sometimes also one from the PM), I get payment in 30 days.

Brilliant!

It's great for both translator and agency. I cannot fathom why all agencies don't use this system.


 

GermanLaw1  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:13
English to German
+ ...
Still don't agree Mar 5, 2017

I seem to be lucky with my agencies, as I can't confirm any of the before-mentioned issues. I get an email notification that a job is waiting for me, I reply by email that I am available, they send me an email link to their platform, I go in there (password is automatically remembered), accept the job and download the files. When done, I deliver via the platform (upload my files) and get an upload confirmation.

At the end of the month I go to their platform, enter the invoicing section, tick some boxes and enter my own invoice number for this specific invoice. Then I can generate a PDF which is my invoice, with my address, company tax number, invoice number etc. I do not have to create additional invoices.

I fully agree with Agnes Lenkey that feeling appreciated is an important factor for being happy with your work, it's not just about money. I also work for one vendor who does not have a sophisticated platform, but live PMs who actually correspond with me. They ask me nicely whether I would be willing to help them out with a job, they thank me when the job is done and once in a while they even tell me how much they appreciate my work. I love working for them and accept jobs at lower rates than I usually do.


 
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