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Blog post: What freelance translators want from translation companies
Thread poster: Mike Donlin

Mike Donlin
Local time: 23:26
SITE STAFF
Apr 22

Recently in the Translators and Interpreters (ProZ.com) facebook group feedback was given for what criteria should entitle an agency to a ribbon.

A list was started from the discussion.

A good agency...
Pays on time, pays decent rates, makes freelancers feel part of the team, commits to revising work before sending on to clients, accepts responsibility for quality, maintains an excellent communication system with freelancers, has reasonable expectations of freelancers, issues clear and precise briefs with every job, sets realistic delivery times, sets appropriate non-compete terms, makes fair requests, makes any in-house software easy to use, never sets unpaid tests, avoids group mails to multiple translators wherever possible, distinguishes between variants, and applies human touch in its dealing with freelancers and issues clear POs for every task.

What would you add to this list?

This list is also available in the blog post here: https://go.proz.com/blog/what-freelance-translators-want-from-agency

Mike

====

Additions from forum replies

Pays within 7 days
Gives thoughtful feedback
Addresses freelancer by name
Does not send mass emails


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:26
Member (2008)
Italian to English
My thoughts Apr 22

Mike Donlin wrote:
What would you add to this list?



Pays within 1 week of receiving an invoice


[Edited at 2019-04-22 18:50 GMT]


Deborah do Carmo
Andrew Morris
tr@doc&tech
 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Would be nice.. Apr 22

It would also be nice to receive feedback. Just getting repeat translation jobs is nice but sometimes, I would like to know how Reviewer would have tackled certain phrases, etc. not as criticism of my work but for improvement. At least, in my opinion. Also, I now no longer answer to mass general emails so it would be nice or is nice to be addressed by name as it means the agency might assign you the translation whereas when issuing mass emails, the agency shows it probably has no intention of assigning you the translation.

Roy Williams
Birta Hrafnhildardottir
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:26
Member
Italian to English
I don't think I would add anything Apr 23

That's pretty sizable and exhaustive list in my opinion! If an agency succeeded in fulfilling all of those conditions all of the time, I don't think anything else needs to be added.

Andrew Morris
Andy Watkinson
 

Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 05:26
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
All necessary information together with the query Apr 23

I sometimes receive queries like “We have a DE-SE translation, are you available?”
What I love is when the query comes with the information below without me having to ask:
Number of words
Subject matter/target group
End client (if applicable)
Required CAT (if applicable)
Preferred delivery date

And a preview of the original text.
Most of my agencies provide this information in the first e-mail, but alas not all of them.


Kay Denney
Laura Kingdon
Andy Watkinson
Michele Fauble
Tina Vonhof
Matthias Brombach
sam@fr-uk
 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
Horses for courses Apr 23

Writing this with staff member hat on and as the initiator of the discussion on Facebook.

***

I'm delighted that the Facebook group came up with these extensive answers. In fact there were over 160 comments, some very interesting differences of opinion (between agency owners and translators – but all in good humour) and a great deal of consensus.

The FB group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProZcom/) serves this kind of purpose very well. There are debates here in the Forum which require longer, more reflective answers, but for quick-fire responses, consensus-building and the ability to see multiple replies at a glance, (not to mention the potential to reach 25,000 people at once), then other social media can make a great contribution.

So I think it's a good thing if we keep using all the means at our disposal in 2019 to communicate back and forth between ProZ.com and its audience(s).


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 05:26
Member (2016)
English to German
Bureaucracy Apr 23

I would like to add two points to the list:
- minimize bureaucracy (particularly, the bureaucratic overhead per single assignment)
- ban checklists


Teresa Borges
Mirko Mainardi
Andrew Morris
Vera Schoen
Kay Denney
Laura Kingdon
Matthias Brombach
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:26
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
One more point to the bureaucracy list: Apr 23

Ban the so-called welcome packages having X multi-page documents to read and sign.

Tom in London
Mirko Mainardi
Carolina Finley
Kay Denney
Laura Kingdon
Angie Garbarino
Jan Jug
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:26
Member (2008)
Italian to English
YEs! Apr 23

Teresa Borges wrote:

Ban the so-called welcome packages having X multi-page documents to read and sign.



... followed by NO WORK.


Matthias Brombach
Andrew Morris
Teresa Borges
Kay Denney
Laura Kingdon
Baran Keki
Angie Garbarino
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:26
Member (2004)
English to Italian
I would like to take part in the discussion on ProZ's Facebook page... Apr 23

but I can't see Andrew's posts... I guess because I must have been blocked personally by him in the past on FB?

As a ProZ's paying member, shouldn't I be able to see all the posts on ProZ's FB page?

I have already asked Jared for clarifications on this, but I got no reply...


 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
Consider yourself unblocked Apr 23

@Giovanni

I have unblocked you this very minute. I understood you'd joined and left the FB group.

As to the reasons why, shall we go into them here? I think not. Please let's not turn this into a post about me.

Happy to provide an explanation in private. andrewmorris@proz.com or +34689020727


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:26
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Thank you, Andrew Apr 23

I don't remember what happened exactly (it was such a long time ago) and I don't particularly wish to "unearth" the whole thing again. It's water under the bridge, as far as I'm concerned. I don't bear grudges either. Also, not sure to what FB group you are referring to... and it doesn't matter. But I'd like to follow the debates on ProZ's FB page and now I can...

G


Andrew Morris wrote:

@Giovanni

I have unblocked you this very minute. I understood you'd joined and left the FB group.

As to the reasons why, shall we go into them here? I think not.

Please let's not turn this into a post about me. Happy to provide an explanation in private. andrewmorris@proz.com or +34689020727


 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
No worries. Apr 23

Then we're good. I don't bear grudges either. Sometimes I forget who is on the blocked list. Given recent er...events... it is considerably longer than it used to be.

But once anyone gets in touch, especially in such a decent manner, I unblock them instantly. Look forward to your contributions on https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProZcom/

Apologies: deleted my earlier message (exact same text) because I got the "quote" mechanism wrong. Will sort it out.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:26
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Tom, you're right! Apr 23

Tom in London wrote:

Teresa Borges wrote:

Ban the so-called welcome packages having X multi-page documents to read and sign.



... followed by NO WORK.


My most unpleasant experience was with an USA translation agency which first of all asked me if I was willing to do a short medical test. OK! No problem! After this was done and approved, asked for a photo (?), a signed NDA and a long list of other requirements and to top it all emailed me a so-called welcome pack having 34 pages for me to read, sign and return. Some companies seem driven by bureaucracy! This one seemed surprised when I declined…


Andrew Morris
Angie Garbarino
Birta Hrafnhildardottir
 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:26
Dutch to English
+ ...
decent rates Apr 23

I think demanding 'decent rates' a completely subjective, unworkable and even undesirable rule.
Agencies should be able to adjust rates as they see fit, and so should translators for that matter, and how exactly would who decide what are fair rates? The average rates according to the stats on this site are way out, there's no way I can get 11 cents a word for Dutch/English, and even so I earned a considerable K euros last year working 40 hours a week getting much less per word.

The main issue is companies sticking to their word. That means paying whatever they agree within the time agreed, and being fair in the event of any disputes. All the Dutch and Belgian agencies I work for are great in any case.

[Edited at 2019-04-23 14:09 GMT]


 
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