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Threatened by outsourcer
Thread poster: Olli Leroy

Olli Leroy
Other
Local time: 23:22
English to Dutch
+ ...
Aug 2, 2007

I have been working on a freelance basis for a translation company since shortly. Have done quite a few projects for them and now, a few days ago, they asked me if I "could" start handing in the translation memory as well (next to the translation).

I friendly replied that I preferred just handing in translations (that is my job). Then they said that I "have to" hand it in. I asked them why and they said because they AND the clients demand this.

I said that if it is so mandatory why was that not stipulated from the beginning on and in the terms and conditions? Also in the field where you can upload the TM it says 'optionally'...And that still is not mandatory. I also added that it seemed highly unlikely to me that clients demanded this, most laymen don't even know what a TM is (I don't like it when people beat around the bush, why can't they just be honest).

And then they called me on the phone and the tone became very agressive saying that I had no right to be asking about what they wanted to do with TMs. I said it is my right because it's mine and if you want to use it, I do think I have the right to honestly know why you need it so badly.

And then they said that that belongs to their part of the job and I said if that's your part of the job then I should not be doing it for you.

Anyway, to make a long story short: the conversation sort of ended in what I perceive as a threat: either I hand in my translation memory or no more jobs for me. After all, I'm not the only translator on the planet (No, I'm not making this up)

They added that they were just doing me a favour, giving me a chance as I am a beginner and that they have never met this problem in the whole existence of their company.

Ok, I know I messed up, but at this point I'm more shocked about the way they talked to me than about what really happened. My motivation to work with this company has entirely disappeared and they haven't even paid me yet, for none of the jobs. Does anybody recognize this situation? What is this really about?


[Bijgewerkt op 2007-08-02 22:04]


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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 01:22
English to Russian
some experience Aug 3, 2007

Dear JB, I work mostly in IT and Telecommuications areas for both agencies and end customers. I assure you, customers DO require maintaning translaion memories.
The reason is very simple - they can't afford translating the same material over and over. When new version of the document is issued, they take most of it's translation from TM and make all necessary additions/corrections based on TM material. Also, documentation is often created in sophisticated content management systems from standard modules. It means, that the portions of the text are reused in multiple documents. Of course they want translated portions to be reused the same way.
All this TM management stuff is quite complicated, one of my customers maintains 5 TMs for different types of documentation.

Anyway, I think you've overreacted. They have a good reason to ask for it.

[Edited at 2007-08-03 12:59]


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Anita Cassidy  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2005)
English to German
It's normal for agencies to request TMs Aug 3, 2007

Anyone can create a TM by aligning the source text and your translation in their CAT software anyway - it's just that the agency will save time by asking you to provide the TM together with your translation so that they don't have to spend additional time on it. It's quite a common request - nothing unethical about it, really!

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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:22
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Uncleaned text is the same Aug 3, 2007

You just upload the TM that you used for that specific job - they probably provided you with one to start with.

They can also update the existing TM with your (uncleaned) translation - which would be more logical as there should be a next (proofreading) step first before updating the TM.

But it is nothing out of this world - you hand in the translation and/or the TM for that job, what is the problem?

I have a client that prefers cleaned files and the TM - ok, they get the cleaned files and the updated TM. Other clients prefer just to receive the uncleaned files.

FWIW ...


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 17:22
English to Russian
+ ...
Then what? Aug 3, 2007

Will they keep sending it to other translators and pay them half and much less than half because of repetitions and fuzzy matches? I do not use CATs at all but to me a TM created by the translator from scratch should be paid for separately at least once rather than presented to an agency in a gift wrap. As a minimum, 1 translator, the originator, must gain some profit from what was supposed to be a translator tool and not the agency gold mine.

Just my 1 cent. Life is beautiful with cats but without CATs:-)


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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 01:22
English to Russian
=) Aug 3, 2007

IreneN wrote:

Just my 1 cent. Life is beautiful with cats but without CATs:-)


Sounds like Ned Ludd's approach, to be respected, but we all know what happens with luddites. You can't fight the flood.
At least they don't require us to proof machine translation.


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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:22
English to German
+ ...
Did they ask you to work with a CAT tool? Aug 3, 2007

If they specifically requested you use a CAT tool for this job then you should have known right from the start what they were looking for. Of course, their sudden change of opinion does not speak in favour of their organizational skills.

Rarely does any outsourcerer who requests a job to be done with a CAT tool do without the TM - their request is solely a way to tell you that they want the translation plus TM.

Only once did a client ask me to do a job with CAT tool and not ask for the TM afterwards. The job was highly repetitive, and all they were interested in was a consistent translation.

A bit off topic, but sometimes I come across clients who request the translation, clean and unclean, plus the TM. I don't bother anymore to ask why on earth they need the TM if they have the unclean file. I guess they don't know the answer themselves.

Sonja


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:22
Dutch to English
+ ...
Alignment Aug 3, 2007

IreneN wrote:

Will they keep sending it to other translators and pay them half and much less than half because of repetitions and fuzzy matches? I do not use CATs at all but to me a TM created by the translator from scratch should be paid for separately at least once rather than presented to an agency in a gift wrap. As a minimum, 1 translator, the originator, must gain some profit from what was supposed to be a translator tool and not the agency gold mine.

Just my 1 cent. Life is beautiful with cats but without CATs:-)


They can create the TM anyhow Irene, whether you give it to them or not.

You don't use CAT tools - from what you've said here and in the past and that's your choice, I used to feel the same - but there is a feature called Alignment (or its equivalent) in most CAT tools which enables anyone with a bit of time of their hands to align any source and target text and create a TM anyhow.

Anyone can take one of your translations, align it with the source text, create a TM and use it for future jobs. You wouldn't even know if your clients are doing it, unless it was a one-of-a-kind job that no-one else could do and you suddenly had competition.

So there is really no point, as Anjo says, in not providing it.

Just mentioning it because if you don't use CAT tools, you might not realise this.

JB, I'm afraid you shot yourself in the foot on the TM issue - on the other hand if someone spoke or tried to threaten me (for any reason) the way you allege the agency did, I'd be happy to send them packing anyhow. Just bear alignment and what the others have mentioned in mind for the future if you get asked again.


[Edited at 2007-08-03 14:22]


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Olli Leroy
Other
Local time: 23:22
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I see. Aug 3, 2007

The point is clear, but still very offended by the pretentious speech on the telephone. I feel it has entirely damaged the relationship.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TM not so easy to recreate Aug 3, 2007

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:
They can create the TM anyhow Irene, whether you give it to them or not. ... there is a feature called Alignment (or its equivalent) in most CAT tools which enables anyone with a bit of time of their hands to align any source and target text and create a TM anyhow.


It aint that easy or simple to create a TM via alignment. To create a TM by alignment, the punter needs to understand both source and target languages, to begin with. And sometimes there is no one-to-one sentence match between two texts, which means that the alignment will take some time. Okay, it may take as little as half an hour for a 2000 word document, but it still takes time.

And not everyone knows how to use an alignment program.

And... although I've never worked with Trados' aligner, and only seen it in action once, I understand it is a rather poor tool to begin with, right?

The OP never did say which CAT tool he uses, though.


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Shaunna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
English to Chinese
+ ...
I think you are right Aug 3, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

It aint that easy or simple to create a TM via alignment. To create a TM by alignment, the punter needs to understand both source and target languages, to begin with. And sometimes there is no one-to-one sentence match between two texts, which means that the alignment will take some time. Okay, it may take as little as half an hour for a 2000 word document, but it still takes time.

And not everyone knows how to use an alignment program.

And... although I've never worked with Trados' aligner, and only seen it in action once, I understand it is a rather poor tool to begin with, right?

The OP never did say which CAT tool he uses, though.


I once tried to create a TM from my past work with the Trados align program, and had to gave up after some 40 min-- after first 10 sentences or so, the pairing became problematic, and then soon turned into a disaster. It really was not much fun trying to correct every connection manually.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
PlusTools Aug 3, 2007

Shaunna wrote:
I once tried to create a TM from my past work with the Trados align program, and had to gave up after some 40 min-- after first 10 sentences or so, the pairing became problematic, and then soon turned into a disaster.


Try PlusTools from Wordfast, and let us know if it was any better.


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Shaunna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
English to Chinese
+ ...
I dont' have that gear Aug 3, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

Try PlusTools from Wordfast, and let us know if it was any better.


And the Trados TM I built ever since already has most of what I could have got from that alignment anyway.

Thank you for the suggestion, though.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:22
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Depends if there is a relationship Aug 3, 2007

JB wrote:

The point is clear, but still very offended by the pretentious speech on the telephone. I feel it has entirely damaged the relationship.



You say they have not paid you for any of the jobs yet - sounds like multiple jobs. How much credit are you going to let them run up, anyway, before they start paying you? The normal code of business ethics is that they either (a) pay you for one job and do not send you a second one until they have managed to pay you for the first one; or (b) send you work regularly and also pay you regularly, i.e. they have to pay for each job quite fast.

My impression is that you have already lent them too much money, which is not a good way to encourage them to respect you.

Astrid


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Olli Leroy
Other
Local time: 23:22
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You read minds Aug 3, 2007

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

JB wrote:

The point is clear, but still very offended by the pretentious speech on the telephone. I feel it has entirely damaged the relationship.



You say they have not paid you for any of the jobs yet - sounds like multiple jobs. How much credit are you going to let them run up, anyway, before they start paying you? The normal code of business ethics is that they either (a) pay you for one job and do not send you a second one until they have managed to pay you for the first one; or (b) send you work regularly and also pay you regularly, i.e. they have to pay for each job quite fast.

My impression is that you have already lent them too much money, which is not a good way to encourage them to respect you.

Astrid


Just what I was thinking.


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