Ok to contact other translators with client?
Thread poster: Vibeke Koehler

Vibeke Koehler
Norway
Local time: 21:45
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Jan 26, 2007

Dear all,

I have been working for a "difficult" client lately.

My question is: Is it considered appropriate for me to try to contact other translators who have been working for the same translation agency, to hear about their experience, and possibly join hands to put some pressure on the agency to "behave"?

The only way I can think of to get hold of other translators is to open a topic in the forums asking if any others have worked for this particular agency, as the outsources has no entries on the blue board.

I would appreciate any comments.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:45
English to German
+ ...
I would say so. Jan 26, 2007

Agencies asking for references are contacting each other to find out about you.

I don't see why it shouldn't be appropriate to contact colleagues regarding their experience.

My only concern: We are not supposed to discuss outsourcers in a forum.

Best,

Nicole


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:45
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Post a call for entries Jan 26, 2007

Hi Vibeke,

If the outsourcer is listed on the Blue Board and there are no entries yet, you can post a call for entries. Hopefully somebody might then make an entry. That is the only way open to you really.

Astrid


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Solfrid Lokslid  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:45
Member (2006)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Email Jan 27, 2007

Hei Vibeke,

One way to find out is if fellow translators who are experiencing similar problems with one of their clients, send you a private email/message to inquire whether you are talking about the same company. I think this could work if enough people read this thread.

I would do that in a heartbeat, but (cross my fingers) I haven't had any problems so far.

Solfrid

P.S. But for this to work I think you would have to give us a little more information to what the difficulties are. Is it late payment, verbal abuse, projects that never materialize after being promised, etc.?

[Edited at 2007-01-27 02:06]


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Vibeke Koehler
Norway
Local time: 21:45
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, won't discuss in forums Jan 27, 2007

Thanks for your replies.

My idea was of course not to discuss the outsourcer in the forum, just to mention their name, and ask for others who have worked with them to contact me.

So that would be acceptable then, I suppose?

Then I won't go into more details here


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:45
English to German
+ ...
No discussion of specific outsourcers in the forums, please Jan 27, 2007

Hi Vibeke,
Thanks for checking.

Vibeke Breivik wrote:

Thanks for your replies.

My idea was of course not to discuss the outsourcer in the forum, just to mention their name, and ask for others who have worked with them to contact me.

So that would be acceptable then, I suppose?


I'm afraid not - please refer to the forum rules, specifically rule no. 8:


Outsourcers may not be discussed specifically.
Posts or comments regarding a specific outsourcer (identified by name, reference, link or other means), whether positive or negative, are not permitted. (To indicate their likelihood of working again with a given outsourcer, site users should use the ProZ.com Blue Board.)

As Astrid correctly pointed out, you should trigger a call for entries (note that one call for entries is possible every 30 days).
Assuming that you fulfil the conditions, you may also want to post an entry yourself.

Best regards,
Ralf


[Edited at 2007-01-27 13:08]


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Vibeke Koehler
Norway
Local time: 21:45
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ok, will not mention specifics Jan 27, 2007

Ok, thanks for reminding me!
I'll go about it another way then

VIbeke


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Vibeke Koehler
Norway
Local time: 21:45
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Letting off steam :-) Jan 27, 2007

Then I'll just have to let off some steam here, and mention some of the difficulties I had with this client:

The first point on the list being that they advertised a large, ongoing project and negotiated a discount price on account of that, then the project turns out to be half the size of what they presented it to be, and not ongoing at all.

Secondly, they've been mistaking me for being both the other translators several times, sending files in wrong languages, and sending me other people's mail - then denying doing this and basically accusing me of not cooperating.

Then the project was delayed for almost two months, while they were saying "We will start shortly, please reserve your time" - which I fortunately didn't, or I would have had no work during that time. But still, my anticipated income for the time they advertised the project to go on, was drastically reduced.

They have also wrongfully, and for absolutely no reason, accused me of using an online translation tool instead of doing a manual translation, and tried to correct my work based on spellchecker tools, while they have absolutely no knowledge of my language or how to write it.

Communication has generally been difficult, each two contact persons at the outsourcer not knowing what the other one is doing. And they often seem to not have read my mails to them at all.

Even though I have requested it several times, they have not been able to provide word counts for the files they have sent. And now, they ask me to do the final word count for the whole project myself, while normally that should be their job. (At least after all the other trouble).

The only positive thing I can say is that they were a bit patient while I had network trouble because of moving and had to delay one delivery - but they had also been notified of that in due time beforehand.

Now I just hope that they will pay me, and pay on time!

Ok, steams out.. now shoot me


[Edited at 2007-01-27 14:12]


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:45
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Search forums Jan 27, 2007

My first message didn't get through, so let's try again.

Although in Proz.som it's not allowed to discuss agencies/clients by name, there are other sites and forums where you can do that. I'm apparently not allowed to mention any names, so you'll have to figure them out yourself. If the agency you mentioned always works like that, they must have made many other freelancers unhappy, too. So most likely you will find someone, who has had a similar experience.

[Edited at 2007-01-27 15:13]


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:45
German to English
Not a good situation Jan 27, 2007


My question is: Is it considered appropriate for me to try to contact other translators who have been working for the same translation agency, to hear about their experience, and possibly join hands to put some pressure on the agency to "behave"?


After reading your longer post, I can only conclude that the translation agancy in question has incompetent project managers. Unless you are willing to take a severe financial risk, namely loss of payment, you are probably at their mercy. If you even manage to discover and contact the owner of the agency as well as the other translators, your leverage is minimal. Collectively the translators can threaten to withhold further submissions unless the agency starts acting more professionally (which is really in their best interest. Incompetent project management affects the bottom line). The counter-threat is withholding of payment for services rendered. Since there are more translators than jobs, even in some of the less common languages, unhappy translators can be replaced. Non-payment will, of course, benefit the agency, so they have little to lose.

I wish you the best of luck in this unfortunate situation.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:45
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
You could name the country, perhaps? Jan 28, 2007

Hullo Vibeke,
Perhaps it would be permissible for you to state the country or city where this agency is based? It would narrow the field. Then other translators who have had similar difficulties and think they can recognise the agency concerned could contact you privately by email and thus you might get the information you are seeking.
Just a suggestion,
Good luck,
Jenny.


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Cecilia Falk  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:45
English to Swedish
Check the e-mail headings Jan 30, 2007

Since you mention that you have received mail intended for other translators, the chances are good that their e-mail addresses are present in the e-mails, maybe further down if there has been a few messages sent back and forth before it ended up with you.

On the other hand, you do not know if these translators are closely linked to the company, so you should use a cautious approach initially (not spill all the beans at once ).

On the whole my advise would be to be very strict with the agency, and not tolerate any nonsense from them. If you act professionally, they might clean up their act a bit. Having said that, they are probably not capable, or they would have long ago.

Good luck!
Cecilia


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