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translation agency posting joboffers on the internet = legal?
Thread poster: Benjamin Korn
Benjamin Korn
Germany
Local time: 19:23
French to German
Dec 21, 2008

Hallo,

I am a new member on pro-z and I have a question. A friend of mine recently told me, he had seen a translation offer on another website (wasn't pro-z obviously). It was described like: file to translate from french into german, 1942 words. Due date 28th of december, topic business etc.
To get more information on the file, my friend wrote an email to the adress indicated in the offer. As he got a response, he noticed the signature at the bottom of the email with the adress of a company. He followed the link and got to a website of a translation agency.

Now my question, is it legal that an agency posts singular joboffers (as this one) on the internet?

Thanks for responding in advance,
Benjamin


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erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:23
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Why not? Dec 21, 2008

...

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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:23
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Why would this be illegal? Dec 21, 2008

Happens all the time:

http://www.proz.com/forum/lighter_side_of_trans_interp/112529-translators_wanted_extremely_funny_posts.html


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 19:23
English to Hungarian
+ ...
??? Dec 21, 2008

I cannot think of anything that anyone may percieve to be wrong with that.
Do you think they were trying to hide the fact that they are a company (by cunninngly advertising it in the signature)? Or that companies should only use in-house translators? Or that they are tricking their client? Or that they won't report it in their tax papers?

It may be an unprofessional practice depending on how thoroughly they test the candidates they find online, but illegal... Why?


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Benjamin Korn
Germany
Local time: 19:23
French to German
TOPIC STARTER
my point on this Dec 21, 2008

Why would this be illegal?

Well, I thought this could be illegal because on the one hand the agency will 'resell' the translators work to the customer who originally put the work into order. The agency will presumably not tell the translator how much commission she took and at what price the work was reselled.

On the other hand I am not sure whether the customer who contacted the agency knows that the agency would transmid the order to a translator on the internet who is not under contract by the agency (maybe the one with the cheapest fee in reference to € per word).

?


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RichardDeegan
Local time: 12:23
Spanish to English
By Jove Dec 21, 2008

"... on the one hand the agency will 'resell' the translators work to the customer who originally put the work into order. The agency will presumably not tell the translator how much commission she took and at what price the work was reselled.

On the other hand I am not sure whether the customer who contacted the agency knows that the agency would transmid the order to a translator on the internet who is not under contract by the agency (maybe the one with the cheapest fee in reference to € per word)."
By Jove, I think he's got it!!!
Translation Economics 101!!!!


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Benjamin Korn
Germany
Local time: 19:23
French to German
TOPIC STARTER
unprofessional vs. illegal Dec 21, 2008

FarkasAndras wrote:

It may be an unprofessional practice depending on how thoroughly they test the candidates they find online, but illegal... Why?



-> that is what I was thinking about. Maybe illegal is a little bit too harsh here. What are translation companies usually expect from their translators? What do they do to ensure a good quality of translations? I'm new in this field and would appreciate to get information on this.

Thanks,
Benjamin


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:23
English to French
+ ...
welcome to translation world ! Dec 21, 2008

Benjamin Korn wrote:
n the one hand the agency will 'resell' the translators work to the customer who originally put the work into order. The agency will presumably not tell the translator how much commission she took and at what price the work was reselled.

On the other hand I am not sure whether the customer who contacted the agency knows that the agency would transmid the order to a translator on the internet who is not under contract by the agency (maybe the one with the cheapest fee in reference to € per word).
[/quote]

This is just the way it works ;-o)

Clients outsource their translations to agencies, and agencies outsource to freelancers.
In the process agency get a (bog) portion of the cake.

Of course you can work directly for the client - it's just a matter of finding them and sell your services at the best price.

Ages ago, big companies had their own translation departments with translators typing on a Remington surrounded by piles of dictionnaries...


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Isn't that what an agency exists for? Dec 21, 2008

Benjamin Korn wrote:
Well, I thought this could be illegal because on the one hand the agency will 'resell' the translators work to the customer who originally put the work into order. The agency will presumably not tell the translator how much commission she took and at what price the work was reselled.


But... Isn't the work of any agency (not only in translation, but in all industries) to get work from a person interested in having something done, outsourcing it to someone who can do the job, and keep a commission?


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erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:23
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Strange Ideas Dec 21, 2008

Benjamin, you have a very wrong idea of, how an agency works. Of course an agency earns money with translators, putting something on top. This is the clue of this business. How much this is, is the matter of the agency and not of the customer or translator. Where an agency looks for their translators, is also a matter of an agency.

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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Or even on an IBM Selectric Dec 21, 2008

nordiste wrote:

Ages ago, big companies had their own translation departments with translators typing on a Remington surrounded by piles of dictionnaries...


(Owned several of them myself...)

Seriously - no offence meant here - where do you think translation companies nowadays find their translators, especially if they have a job in language pairs they normally don't handle? Surely not looking up yellow pages and sending out letters and waiting two or three days for the answer...:-)

To say the truth, I often see agencies looking always for the same languages and wonder why they haven't been able to build up their own database with good translators, but that is off topic..

[Bearbeitet am 2008-12-21 19:50 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not paying enough? Dec 21, 2008

Christel Zipfel wrote:
To say the truth, I often see agencies looking always for the same languages and wonder why they haven't been able to build up their own database with good translators, but that is off topic.


Maybe they don't pay enough, they can't manage to retain good translators, and they keep wondering why good translators never have time for them... So they try to find other translators who accept their low rates but can't provide the quality their customers demand, then they occasionally manage to get hold of a good translator and this person asks for a higher rate --which they won't accept-- and the cycle starts all over again.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:23
Flemish to English
+ ...
Pay enough and on time Dec 21, 2008

Benjamin Korn wrote:

Why would this be illegal?

Well, I thought this could be illegal because on the one hand the agency will 'resell' the translators work to the customer who originally put the work into order. The agency will presumably not tell the translator how much commission she took and at what price the work was reselled.

On the other hand I am not sure whether the customer who contacted the agency knows that the agency would transmid the order to a translator on the internet who is not under contract by the agency (maybe the one with the cheapest fee in reference to € per word).

?


There are 2 kinds of customers: Agency-customers and direct customes. The average mark-up of an agency is 20%. The advantage of an agency is that you don't have to look for customers yourself and that normally they review your translations before passing it on to the end-customer + do the DTP.
Ideal if you don't have time to search yourself and there is nothing wrong with that as long as the agency pays enough and on time, even if their end-customer does not pay them on time. Your relationship is with the agency.

But it is not that difficult to find direct customers. You may find them through the transator sites, but there are other ways....


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
This type of practice accounts for the majority of offers on the internet Dec 21, 2008

Sometimes you find jobs posted by the end-client - a company or private individual who needs something translated, but these are in the minority.

Why? Firstly, private individuals often can't afford the rates of a professional translator. Secondly, many companies prefer to go through agencies as they offer a one-stop supplier whatever the language pair and whatever the lead-time. A freelancer may well provide a good translation, cheaper, but sometimes that person will be too busy for repeat work, or they don't offer a particular language pair, or can't handle a particular document, etc.

The agency provides a link between end-clients and freelance translators - that's their reason for being.


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Benjamin Korn
Germany
Local time: 19:23
French to German
TOPIC STARTER
work of agencies and payment terms Dec 21, 2008

Well, what I was thinking about the working of an agency in the first part was that an agency has a database with more or less translators who work for the agency. I was thinking that an agency forms several contracts with the 'best' translators who work for it. These contracts don't have to be severe, maybe covering only that a translator has to take over a small amount of translation jobs of the agency in a defined period of time. That way, the agency could ensure a several quality of translations AND make sure that an amount of jobs is covered.

But, as I see from the posts, this doesn't seem to be the point in many cases of agencies. I thought it would be very reputable for a translator being able to say, look I'm working for these agencies because this would show his qualities. But, I gain the feeling from these posts, that very good translators are very independent. They seem to find work here and there and seem to be very out of time usually. May be they work even for customers directly instead for agencies - because they like the direct (and may be even friendly) relationship to different customers and because they earn more.

Am I on the right path here?

As far as payment conditions are concerned, I'd like to know how translation jobs usually are brought to account. Do you create a bill? And if so, after how many days that the customer (agency or end-customer) has received the bill is it to be paid by him? Do you indicate the value added tax, and if so is it the tax of your home country or the tax of the customer's country you are working for?

Best regards,
Benjamin


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