LSPs with poor quality documents demanding quality
Thread poster: Mark Sanderson

Mark Sanderson  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 09:54
Chinese to English
Nov 20, 2015

Hello,

I have just completed the headache of a sign-up process for a large, well-known LSP. When I say headache, I mean a real headache. It took me over a day to complete all of their tests, quizes and orientation procedures, as well as provide my details multiple times over.

The thing that really got my back up was that most of the orientation was emphasising the importance of quality. I must have seen the word "quality" over a hundred times. But their orientation documents were riddled with mistakes and poor English. Some examples:

This becomes very important in printing the document. - This becomes very important when printing the document.

Thank you for submitting the answers to the quiz. - Thank you for submitting your answers to the quiz.

We best reach our translators through Skype so if you don’t have it installed into your computer, please go online and install it. - Just urgh!

These guys are a U.S. based agency so there really shouldn't be any excuse for poor quality on their end. It not only gives the clients a bad impression, it also leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of their translators who have to listen to "qualities is so important peoples" over and over again.

Sigh.

Mark


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Tacitus Nov 20, 2015

Two thousand years ago, Gaius Cornelius Tacitus already knew what was going to happen in the translation market: Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges.

 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:54
German to Swedish
+ ...
Unconvinced Nov 20, 2015

Mark Sanderson wrote:

These guys are a U.S. based agency so there really shouldn't be any excuse for poor quality on their end.


We could argue about that.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:54
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Not worth your time Nov 20, 2015

Mark Sanderson wrote:
I have just completed the headache of a sign-up process for a large, well-known LSP. When I say headache, I mean a real headache.

Mark, I'm willing to bet this is just a taste of what's to come. That insistence on dealing only on terms that are favourable to them will continue in future projects.

You'll forever be arguing over rates, or deadlines, or revision work because the people with whom you deal will be carefully incentivised by their managers to squeeze every last cent out of their service providers. That means translators like you.

Companies like this depend on otherwise smart, independent people like you not objecting to their methods and their attitudes. I would walk away (and have done in the past).

Everybody: if you have options, don't deal with firms that attempt to bully and coerce translators. If you think you don't have options, start creating them by marketing yourself to agencies that take a more conscientious approach to their relationships with service providers.

Regards
Dan

[Edited at 2015-11-20 11:50 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:54
French to English
Why? Nov 20, 2015

Mark Sanderson wrote:

It took me over a day to complete all of their tests, quizes and orientation procedures, as well as provide my details multiple times over.


You've lost a day's earnings jumping through a lengthy series of hoops. Since we don't know the name of the agency, I see no harm asking - how much are they paying you? I hope it's lots. Did you not think to yourself at any time "whoah, this is just excessive nonsense"? I'd also love to know what on earth the "quizzes" might have entailed.

If you lurk around forums long enough, you're bound to hear people say that the longer and more involved the preliminaries, the lower the chances of getting any work. This tallies with my experience. However, you say these people are "large" so presumably they must give work to some translators, sometimes! Good luck.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:54
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I guess you haven't yet received their first job "offer" Nov 20, 2015

Dan has already laid it out. You should keep a bucket handy - that bad taste in your mouth is going to get vile.

I guarantee they'll come up with a very poorly scanned PDF that will have a deadline meaning you have to burn the midnight oil. Not only will they expect the translation to be formatted identically, they will also expect you to fill in a QA form before the deadline. And for all this, they will "offer" a non-negotiable rate of almost half what you've told them you expect. But don't hold your breath: payment depends on the number of errors their non-native, non-subject-pecialist proofreader finds. The percentage left after "fines" will be paid 60 days EOM, but only after several reminders. Their bank's commission will be deducted from the invoiced sum. Or maybe you'll get a USD cheque through the post - their choice. Don't bother standing up for your right to determine these things. Plenty more translators will have jumped through all those hoops and be prepared to step into your shoes.


 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:54
Chinese to English
Agreed Nov 20, 2015

I second what Sheila, Dan, and everyone else have said. Your chances of having a successful relationship with a company decrease with the amount of work it takes to set up that relationship. The biggest LSPs almost always require the most work, and are usually the least worthwhile to work with.

As a side-note, I bet that contract has one doozy of an indemnity clause.


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:54
German to English
Not worth the hassle Nov 20, 2015

This year I stopped working for a large agency with a good BlueBoard rating. The rate was OK, but they occasionally needed a reminder – no big deal, but it was annoying. The problem was the amount of administrative work required with every delivery. The jobs were generally obtained and delivered through a server related to the required CAT tool. This was a painless process. However, I also had to send notification of completion through yet another portal. Assessments of documents I edited were sent via another process. It reached the point where I was spending almost as much time on admin tasks as actually doing the work.

From my perspective, the number of steps to complete a job should be minimal: 1) Obtain the document 2) Translate/check it 3) Deliver the document 4) Send an invoice. Each should be a single-step process.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Indeed, a growing trend Nov 20, 2015

Kevin Fulton wrote:
The jobs were generally obtained and delivered through a server related to the required CAT tool. This was a painless process. However, I also had to send notification of completion through yet another portal. Assessments of documents I edited were sent via another process.

Indeed. We increasingly take care of our customer's project management/administrative work and sometimes it does get rather annoying. I completely understand what you mean.


 


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