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Job posting and Professional Ethics at present
Thread poster: Ritu Bhanot

Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Apr 1

I am shocked because I just saw a job posting and one of the requirements is "Provide Samples of previously completed projects".

Here is what I copied from the job posting on Proz -
If available and interested please:
(1) Provide copy of your resume
(2) Samples of previously completed projects

I don't have the right to do that.

A professional secret remains a professional secret.

If they want to test my knowledge then they can ask me to do a sample text translation.

But why do they want to have a look at others' business project?

Strange and shocking.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
plain and simple Apr 1

Ritu,

1) Is your resume/CV/cover letter something confidential for you, you don't have one, or just don't want to provide? If you know the purpose, then you should also see no prob at all. On the other hand, why should a company work with a twice shy secret stranger?

2) Do you translate NDA-only projects; you never have translated nor are willing to present a sample in your fields, right? I'm sure that even a tiny relevant extract from a previous job devoid of sensitive data/names should do--or just make a sample!

Why, even a relatively reasonable demand to use a certain piece of software/ to have a specific skills/ to live in a region/ or to type some 60w/minute is neither invidious, nor strange or shocking.

[Edited at 2018-04-01 21:30 GMT]


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:51
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Actually, it is quite welcomed by many Apr 2

Ritu,
It is quite common to compile a collection of short translation samples in various areas of our expertise. There is even a section on our ProZ profile to showcase those (see "Portfolio"). These samples can come from previous projects (that are not covered by strict NDAs and/or have all identifiable info redacted), or projects that were done for practice, hobby, competition or simply out of interest (without copyright issues).
Many of us prefer that potential clients look at these samples, instead of asking for free translation tests (that are in many cases only a waste of time).
There is nothing shocking about it, many professionals have portfolios.

Update: I just looked at your profile, you have 8 sample translations there, posted in public view, and you have 28 projects entered into your project history - so I am not sure why you are so "shocked" that an outsourcer is actually interested in that sort of information.

[Edited at 2018-04-02 01:58 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Ritu and @Katalin Apr 2

Ritu Bhanot wrote:
A professional secret remains a professional secret. ... Why do they want to have a look at others' business project?


Perhaps they are just testing you. In that case, the correct reply would be to politely refuse to provide it, and explain why. You can also use that opportunity to provide alternative evidence of your skill.

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:
It is quite common to compile a collection of short translation samples in various areas of our expertise.


Yes, but this client isn't asking for publicly available sample translations. The client specifically asks for samples from previous projects, i.e. actual samples from actual paid projects. Even without a signed NDA, professional secrecy exists in such translations.

[Edited at 2018-04-02 09:06 GMT]


 

Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Samuel Murray Apr 2

Dear Mr. Murray,

Thank you for your message.

Yes, this person is asking for work that I did and which is subject to Professional Secrecy Agreements.

I do not have the right to provide this work to anyone.

I do not provide work that I did. It is a client's original work from legal point of view. I can not send it.


 

Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Ms. McClure - difference between pleasure and Professional Work of some other client Apr 2

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:

Ritu,
It is quite common to compile a collection of short translation samples in various areas of our expertise. There is even a section on our ProZ profile to showcase those (see "Portfolio"). These samples can come from previous projects (that are not covered by strict NDAs and/or have all identifiable info redacted), or projects that were done for practice, hobby, competition or simply out of interest (without copyright issues).
Many of us prefer that potential clients look at these samples, instead of asking for free translation tests (that are in many cases only a waste of time).
There is nothing shocking about it, many professionals have portfolios.

Update: I just looked at your profile, you have 8 sample translations there, posted in public view, and you have 28 projects entered into your project history - so I am not sure why you are so "shocked" that an outsourcer is actually interested in that sort of information.

[Edited at 2018-04-02 01:58 GMT]


Yes, you are right.

That is my original work but not a client's work which is subject to professional secrets law.

This person wanted the translation of the work that I did for a another client.

IT IS A CRIME.

I'll never do that.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:51
English to Portuguese
+ ...
This doesn't add up Apr 2

Ritu Bhanot wrote:
Here is what I copied from the job posting on Proz -
If available and interested please:
(1) Provide copy of your resume
(2) Samples of previously completed projects


Ritu Bhanot wrote:
Yes, this person is asking for work that I did and which is subject to Professional Secrecy Agreements.


It's likely for most translators to have some of their translations published.
On such a request, I could offer:
- My entire web site, mostly bilingual
- A couple of clients' web sites
- Videos I've translated and subtitled on YouTube
- Books that were published
- Clients' product catalogs available for download
(I hope this triggers ideas on publicly available translations you did)

The second request sounds as preposterous as demanding the serial/license/registration numbers of the software you use.


 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:51
Member
English to Italian
Published work vs. Public domain/Available to the public Apr 2

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

It's likely for most translators to have some of their translations published.


Yes it is, but 99% of the NDA clauses I've read state that confidentiality doesn't apply to texts which are in the "public domain" or are "available to the public", not to "published translations". For instance, IMO a piece of software is not generally "available to the public". It's a product you have to purchase a (limited) license for. Besides, even if the translation has been "published" somewhere, isn't the "Confidential Information" the fact it was you who translated it? If you haven't been publicly credited by your client as the translator of that text, or received permission from the client, can you really claim to be the one who translated it?

In other words, think of "Ghostwriter".


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:51
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Clients, work done, confidentiality and NDAs... Apr 2

Quite recently another poster had a similar requirement to which I answered that in order to protect my clients’ confidentiality, I do not submit, in principle, any translation samples, but I was willing to do a translation test, if needed.

Anyway, my profile portfolio has 5 samples [FR + EN -> PT(pt)] and my website contains some project samples of work done over the years (http://www.bpt.com.pt/index.php?a=samples〈=en)

P.S. I have never signed a NDA with most of my long-standing clients…


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Ritu Apr 2

Ritu Bhanot wrote:
I do not provide work that I did. It is a client's original work from legal point of view. I can not send it.


But... you're in France, right? Then surely, "from a legal point of view", the translation is your original work. (This fact does not alter professional secrecy, though.)


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:51
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
They just said completed projects - it can be any projects Apr 5

Going back to the original wording in the job description:
Here is what I copied from the job posting on Proz -
If available and interested please:
(1) Provide copy of your resume
(2) Samples of previously completed projects


To me, "Samples of previously completed projects" does not specify what kind of projects, as long as you completed them. It could be any project that would show them how you handle texts in your area of expertise. It could be a project you did as a sample. A project is a project, they do not require you to disclose who the client was (and that would not be right to ask for). Samples are meant to be short excerpts, a few paragraphs at most. You can change the text (both source and target) to disguise the identity of the client, the product, the system or whatever the topic is. In addition, you can also give them a very generic list of projects including info such as "12,000 words of user manual material for a major electronics manufacturer", etc. etc.
But if it is completely out of question for you, then tell them that you want to do a translation test instead.

Interestingly, there is another thread about the opposite problem:
https://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/324215-why_do_some_agencies_want_free_tests.html

[Edited at 2018-04-05 04:51 GMT]


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 11:51
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Samples Apr 5

A project is a project, they do not require you to disclose who the client was (and that would not be right to ask for). Samples are meant to be short excerpts, a few paragraphs at most. You can change the text (both source and target) to disguise the identity of the client, the product, the system or whatever the topic is.

If the translation is something that appears online, how much would you have to change for it to not show up in a search?


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Mr Hui Apr 5

On the other hand, how many zillion of false positive entries one would get considering the variety and no specific data/dates/names/figures/keywords and so on?

Anyway, I don't think it's so impossible to make a quick translation within reason of a public and relevant extract to demonstrate one's proficiency and competence. The only possible drawback is a neutral style, which is common for biz/tech, yet might be for a specific audience or format.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:51
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Public domain Apr 6

Lincoln Hui wrote:

A project is a project, they do not require you to disclose who the client was (and that would not be right to ask for). Samples are meant to be short excerpts, a few paragraphs at most. You can change the text (both source and target) to disguise the identity of the client, the product, the system or whatever the topic is.

If the translation is something that appears online, how much would you have to change for it to not show up in a search?


If the translation appears online, then it is in the public domain, and not protected by NDAs anyway.


 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:51
Member
English to Italian
Based on what? Apr 6

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:

If the translation appears online, then it is in the public domain, and not protected by NDAs anyway.


Maybe it's just me, but the definition of "public domain" is "the realm embracing property rights that belong to the community at large, are unprotected by copyright or patent, and are subject to appropriation by anyone" ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/public%20domain ). In our case, translated material is basically always covered by copyright, and for technical translation, translators usually cede those copyrights to their clients.

That said, I have always asked my clients for permission before naming names, that is to say, to say exactly on what projects I have worked on, including product names and/or (especially end) client names, but unfortunately in most cases I was told I couldn't, or that they should've discussed it with their legal depts before granting permission, or that I could do it, but only in specific and limited circumstances, etc. etc. (totally exaggerated and unnecessarily "punitive" for translators, IMHO, but the client's always right, right?)

As I was saying in my previous comment, if you're not explicitly given credits as translator for a specific work, then I believe you shouldn't really be going around claiming to have translated W for X, also considering that in some cases X may be totally unaware you were the one who translated W for them (through Y)... Same goes for using translations you've done for others as samples, whether they are "published" somewhere or not.


 
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