Working for an Indian agency + not being ripped-off
Thread poster: xxxihd
xxxihd
Local time: 23:20
Feb 14, 2010

Hello Proz members

What do you have to say about working with Indian agencies?

I'm a starting Japanese-English translator, and have passed several trials for Japanese agencies. However, as we all are aware, just because you are registered as a translator doesn't mean you have a job.

I was wondering about registering with agencies in India as well. However, I am a bit unsure about it. This is mainly because I've heard bad things about them from other translators.

I was hoping that somebody could tell me their experiences working with agencies in India, or give any tips on not being ripped-off.

Thank you


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Sumit1970  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 19:50
English to Bengali
+ ...
You may regret that decision Feb 18, 2010

Hi friend,

Don't u think it to be very mysterious that only after so many days u r at least getting a response on your topic? It indeed is so.

In fact Indians r hesitating to reply u as they don't wish to risk their reputation by telling a bare truth.

In most occasions experience will be as follows:

Firstly u will get an offer of almost 1/2, even 1/3 of the rate that u may get if u work for any non-Indian agency for exactly the same amount of job.

Secondly in most of the cases, they will ask u to translate a 'sample' text, word count of which may even be more than 1000 words. Most probably they will not pay u for that.

Thirdly, after getting the 'sample' translation done, they may not even show this much courtesy as to confirming u back that they received your translated text 'sample'. Moreover. even after repeated request they may not send u any reply at all.

In spite of all the above not-so-rare experiences, we do work for Indian translation agencies only when we don't have any other offer or option.

A bit disheartened? Never mind, India is a big country and hence a big market and many options as well.

[Edited at 2010-02-18 15:55 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-02-18 15:56 GMT]


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xxxihd
Local time: 23:20
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Feb 23, 2010

Sumit1970,
Thank you very much for your reply.
Yes, I did find the lack of reply fairly odd. Thank you for clarifying what was the issue, lol.
Well, if people do use Indian agencies and get paid, I might try them as well.

Again, thank you for your time and advice.

Best regards,


[Edited at 2010-02-23 00:32 GMT]


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:20
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
My experience Feb 23, 2010

I've been working with several Indian agencies since 1996 and I've always been paid (except my first job for someone who is recognised as a bad payer in those days when there was no internet). My first clients were Indian agencies and publishers and I still work with most of them. I get paid and always on time. And that in spite of the fact that I take some time to send the invoice. I recently told my contact in an agency that I'd be sending the invoice later and do you know the reply: We've been working together for such a long time and it's not an issue, just back-date it and we'll pay you on the normal due date.

The best thing about Indian agencies is the respect that you get. You are not just another translator. You work with them and eventually you end up being a friend As far as atmosphere is concerned, I'm really happy. And the payment may be somewhat lower but these days most of them know the rates and are willing to pay for quality translations. It's the human touch and friendliness that I appreciate.

BTW I worked for some of the worst payers in the market (from India) and got paid without any problem. Don't ask me how or why. I didn't do anything special. Once I was really upset because I didn't pay attention while accepting the job and then saw that the person was a bad payer. Tried to get out but the person really needed the translation... so I did it and was paid within the stipulated time.

Guess it's just a matter of luck. But most Indian agencies pay and pay on time.

[Edited at 2010-02-23 11:07 GMT]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 14:20
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Limited experience but OK Feb 23, 2010

I have been approached by a number of Indian agencies asking my availability for a pittance or offering to do projects cheaply, and I refuse to enter into such relationships. However, this does not apply to all agencies there. Recently I encountered an agency specializing in intellectual property translation with a very different approach. The emphasis was on quality and the rates were very, very respectable, on par with what the better class of agencies in Germany is willing to pay.

So I think it's important to keep an open mind but always exercise due diligence. I always enjoyed working with Indian colleagues in chemistry and IT, and I regret that due to different perceptions of the translation markets this is not possible more often in my current profession.

**************

Edited for typos as usual

[Edited at 2010-02-23 15:01 GMT]


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xxxihd
Local time: 23:20
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 18, 2010

Thank you everyone!
It's been a great help.


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:20
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
some are good, some are bad... Apr 23, 2010

just like anywhere else in the world
I've seen Indian companies offer 0,02 / source word, but on the other hand I have worked for an Indian company offering 0,17 / source word (they where really in a tight spot and needed 17.000 words done in 3 days), but there is no general thing going on for a whole country...

On the other hand it might still be smart to keep your eyes open and see their status on the Blue Board...

===
Ed


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xxxJ Celeita  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
it's happened to me. May 13, 2010

Wow, everything sumit 970 described happened to me!

"Firstly u will get an offer of almost 1/2, even 1/3 of the rate " CHECK!

"Secondly in most of the cases, they will ask u to translate a 'sample' text, word count of which may even be more than 1000 words. Most probably they will not pay u for that." CHECK!

"Thirdly, after getting the 'sample' translation done, they may not even show this much courtesy as to confirming u back that they received your translated text 'sample'. Moreover. even after repeated request they may not send u any reply at all." CHECK!

And also, the same company later sent me an actual translation (after I translated about three pages for free as a sample text for another document and never heard back), and I got it done right away, but I didn't receive payment (a whopping 0.02 cents per word my friends) for like six months (after several requests for payment I guess they finally felt sorry for me and payed me).

This was my experience though and maybe I am (or was) just naive, or maybe it was the one specific agency.


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Brian Young  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:20
Danish to English
my own personal experience with agencies based in India May 14, 2010

First, I have to point out that I do not mean to generalize for what are probably many thousands of agencies in a huge country.
However, having worked for about 6 or 7 of them, my experience has been very negative, and I would not even dream about taking a job from any agency based in India, or even those based in the UK who are obviously just branch offices.
The lowest pay is normal, constant haggling over word count, the need to almost beg to be paid, being paid late, and ALWAYS way under the agreed upon sum. They all found some way to discount the word count, saying ridiculous things like words that are repeated should not be paid for, or finding "mistakes", or telling me that they had to have the work done over. Several of my translations were never paid for. I gave up on trying to chase some of these people.
Don't take any job unless they pay in advance. I would sweep floors before working for an Indian agency.


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Charlotte Blank  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:20
Czech to German
+ ...
Just wondering Oct 10, 2011

Brian Young wrote:

The lowest pay is normal, constant haggling over word count, the need to almost beg to be paid, being paid late, and ALWAYS way under the agreed upon sum. They all found some way to discount the word count, saying ridiculous things like words that are repeated should not be paid for, or finding "mistakes", or telling me that they had to have the work done over. Several of my translations were never paid for. I gave up on trying to chase some of these people.
Don't take any job unless they pay in advance. I would sweep floors before working for an Indian agency.


Unfortunately I did not read this thread before.

End of August I got a not too big job from an Indian company, to be done within 3 days. At first the rate was 50 USD, then 70, after that 65 and finally I managed to have them agree to 80. So I did the job, only to be told afterwards that they had to re-arrange the whole work all over again because "the German text should have been besides the English one" (nobody had told me before). The next day a new mail came begging for help as there had been sent new work from the client and they did not have anyone else to do it - I'm a kind-hearted person so I agreed, for 30 USD. To cut a long story short, the first invoice has not been paid and for the second I just got 20 USD (minus Paypal fees!), as "we are working on project and not on word base and these 2 texts were one project". When I protested the answer was "you have helped us and now you want to have money?"

What do you think, is there any possibility to make them pay? It's not just those lacking 90 USD but for the principle (and also because I don't like to be insulted by clients)...



[Edited at 2011-10-10 13:58 GMT]


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:20
Hebrew to English
Just tread carefully.... Oct 10, 2011

....use intuition and common sense.

First of all, it's probably unfair to condemn every agency in India for the simple crime of being located in India. However, the overwhelmingly negative feedback from translators shouldn't be ignored either.

Personally, I have never worked for an Indian agency, but you also hear all kinds of iffy and bad things about French agencies, Spanish agencies...*insert country here*agencies. It would be difficult doing business as a translator if you decided to turn business away from every country you've ever heard something negative about, you just couldn't operate a business like that.

There are a few principles which can help:
• Have faith in the Blue Board. If an Indian agency wants to hire you and they have a glowing BB record, chances are they are legitimate and fair.
• Google is free, use it! Do your own research on any agency that approaches you. If they are not on the BB, Google them, chances are that if they have left a trail of spurned angry unpaid translators, then there will be evidence of this online somewhere.
• If they offer 0.02, then nothing is compelling you to accept it. Personally I would find this “offer” insulting and simply ignore it. Any agency asking you to practically work for free/slave labour should set alarm bells off anyway.
• Agree more forceful terms / advance payment. If you decide to accept an Indian agency’s offer of work, you can insist on advance payment, at least in part. This is just a sensible precaution, and one which, any reputable agency should understand, given the reputation of Indian agencies.
• Trust your instinct. If your gut is telling you to run a mile, run a mile. If the agency seem overly demanding, vague about payment terms, too ingratiating etc then use your judgement to decide whether it is better to err on the side of caution and lose a job, or risk getting burned.

In addition, this whole 1000 "sample" translation business is extremely dodgy. I would not do a sample translation of 1000 words for anyone, in any agency, no matter where they are located. Not only because it's ludicrously excessive, it also reeks of scam....
Here you go, translate this "sample" 1000 words (sent out to numerous translators) = Free translation for the agency.
Many translators refuse to do any sample translations, I would be a bit more lenient, but still would definitely not agree to more than 200 words at most.

There's nothing inherently wrong with doing business with Indian agencies, but you should just apply a stricter framework of safeguards given their track record. I used to work for a bank, and when dealing with certain countries (whose activities in money laundering was well documented), rather than prohibiting all business transactions with that country (as this is somewhat draconian) there was just extra protocols and procedures in place to ensure fair trade and legality.

So, just tread carefully.......


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Charlotte Blank  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:20
Czech to German
+ ...
I forgot to say ... Oct 10, 2011

[quote]Ty Kendall wrote:
First of all, it's probably unfair to condemn every agency in India for the simple crime of being located in India. [quote]


... that I have been working with another agency from India and they were just fabulous: (Relatively) good rates, very friendly and helpful and absolutely no problems with payment.

So I have no reason at all to condemn all of them but it riles me that this unfair agency I was talking about (and which is *not* on BB) should get off scot-free!


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