Received an e-mail sollicitation - advice please
Thread poster: Simon S

Simon S  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:41
English to French
Dec 10, 2007

Hi,

I know we should stay away from these kinds of offers but it comes from a proz job poster which has a great LWA score (i checked). So I told him I was interested, then he sent me a test (one page) and a form to complete (rates, etc.).
They say they would be able to provide me with a great work load over time.
Sounds genuine and the e-mail is very detailed and they sound interested in my specializations, etc. But how could I know they're trustworthy in this case? They want me to send my bill once a month.... so I don't want to end up not being paid.

Thanks for your insights...

Simon


 

Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:41
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
e-mail contacts via ProZ.com bring in most of my work Dec 10, 2007

Hi Simon,

What's wrong with accepting work via e-mail contacts? That's how I get my best long-term jobs: people find my profile, like what they see, and contact me. Then I check on them, of course: their Blue Board record is a good place to start. There are also other lists where outsourcer payment records are discussed.

This outsourcer is giving you plenty of time to check them out: no rush, overnight translation of an entire manual, no secrecy about their whereabouts or payment terms.

You might want to take a look at this article in the ProZ.com Knowledgebase, just to get a feel for whether this is an opportunity you'd be comfortable pursuing:

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/84/1/Managing-Business-Risk

And a couple of sections of the Knowledgebase with other relevant articles:

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/categories/Business-of-Translation-and-Interpreting/Business-Issues/
http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/categories/Business-of-Translation-and-Interpreting/Financial-Issues/

Yolanda Broad

[Edited at 2007-12-10 23:28]


 

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 09:41
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Limit your risks... Dec 10, 2007

The best that can happen is to get a customer, who'll keep you happy for the rest of your life. The worst? You have to decide yourself, how much risk you are ready to take on, so - suggestion - you tell them how happy they made you etc etc, but that you would not like to do more that say 300 CanD of work before the first payment is made. If they are reasonable, they'll know there's the other side of the coin as well.

If you feel 300$ is too much of a learning fee (in case it sours up 100%), then start lower - if your work is OK, they'll be ready to go along.

regards

Vito


 

Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 09:41
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
With Yolanda on this one... Dec 11, 2007

Yolanda Broad wrote:

Hi Simon,

What's wrong with accepting work via e-mail contacts? That's how I get my best long-term jobs: people find my profile, like what they see, and contact me. Then I check on them, of course: their Blue Board record is a good place to start. There are also other lists where outsourcer payment records are discussed.



Roughly over 50% (in revenue terms) of my current customers contacted me through the Proz.com directory. I am very happy Proz.com offers this facility.

Of course, I always check carefully, mainly against Blue Board, and am never 100% sure until I am paid, but it's worth it.

Setting a threshold amount you would be prepared to wave good bye to in case things went wrong, as Vito suggested, is a good idea.

Long thing short: be cautious, but go for it!

Maciek


 

Buck
Netherlands
Local time: 09:41
Dutch to English
Welcome the work with open arms Dec 11, 2007

Hi. There is only one way to really find out: do a job for them. As for payment once a month, that is how I invoice all my clients.

 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:41
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree Dec 11, 2007

Yep - most of my new clients contact me directly through my profile here on Proz and other translator websites. The remaining few come through word of mouth. I never bid for jobs, here or elsewhere.
A good BB record isn't a 100% guarantee but I've never been fleeced yet. And like Buck, I too only invoice once a month.


 

Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 03:41
English to Spanish
Sound advice Dec 11, 2007

Vito Smolej wrote:

u have to decide yourself, how much risk you are ready to take on, so - suggestion - you tell them how happy they made you etc etc, but that you would not like to do more that say 300 CanD of work before the first payment is made. [...]

[/quote]

As a rule, I rarely risk more than XXXUSD for first-time clients, regardless of whether they pay on delivery or once a month. To me, that is the sum I can afford to lose, both moneywise and time-wise, in case things crash.

If you feel unsure, set a sum that you think you can risk without being left in the cold (take in consideration both the money and the time invested in the job amounting to that sum) and diplomatically do as Vito suggested.

Good luck!!


 

James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:41
Russian to English
+ ...
Go ahead, take a chance Dec 11, 2007

Simon, I notice you're a relatively new ProZ member, as I am. I suggest you think about why you joined. If you're like me, it was probably to improve your chances of getting work. If the oursourcer's Blue Board entry checked out, I recommend you go ahead and take a short test when you have some free time. I would. Naturally, if you don't have any free time, you probably don't need any more work anyway.

That said, however, I have to admit that, while I've responded to similar requests, I have yet to receive any work as a result. The oursourcers usually say I did fine on the test, but that's the last time I ever hear from them. One outsourcer even wanted me to keep them informed about my schedule!

I suspect that one reason outsourcers solicit translators in this manner is that they want to be able to provide CV's for a large number of translators when they're bidding on a large contract. If they don't win the contract, you never hear from them.


 

Simon S  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:41
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot! Dec 11, 2007

The treshold idea is a very good one. As one member pointed out, I'm fairly new to this kind of business as a freelancer, so these advices are very helpful to me.

One thing I did learn so far is that it takes a lot of patience... One day you get your hopes up because one client contact you, you do a test, they like it, and for some reason they vanish in thin air and here you are keeping on "begging" other agencies/clients.

And I might be new to freelancing but I never work at a ridiculous rate just to get a job (not with the level of experience I got in-house), which surely doesn't play in my favour with some clients/agencies.

Thanks for your insights.


 


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