References for Agencies
Thread poster: jtucci

jtucci  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:16
French to English
Jan 7, 2008

I'm just getting started in the translation business and have sent my resume to a few agencies. They often send back an application which asks for references. As a newbie I have no references in translation, but also I thought it was bad to give references to agencies as it provides them a lead to potential new clients.

What should I write when they ask for references?


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:16
English to Dutch
+ ...
Depends.... Jan 7, 2008

I got my first job by quoting on a job posted at ProZ, no references asked. That agency liked my work, so they told me I could use them as a reference. I've only done so twice, but never got a single job from either of the agencies that asked for it.
I then asked for a WWA in my profile from people I established a good working relationship with. I have two - I'm usually asked to provide three references, but I refer these people to my profile anyway. Most agencies seem to accept it.

In addition, I tell the client that I do not give references, because I've signed Non-Disclosure Agreements with quite a few clients and have made non-disclosure my general rule. I usually add that I will be treating them and their end-clients with the same confidentiality. This has been accepted by quite a few agencies.

If not - and I think this is your best option - you can agree or even offer to do a test translation. Set a limit, though. Personally, I do not do test translations that exceed 500 words. Other people have other limits. As soon as you get more jobs, you can ask for WWA's or permission to use them as references.

If you want to make sure your references do not get used in a way you don't like, it would be advisable to only use other agencies as references.

Good luck!


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
I almost never give references Jan 7, 2008

There are lots of reasons not to give them, of which the two most important are:

1) As a freelancer, I'm "selling" myself two to three times a week. I don't want to pester my best clients constantly; they have better things to do with their time.

and

2) Some agencies request references so they can try to woo your clients away from you. My client list is confidential. It took me years to build up and I'm not about to share it.

The only time I provide references to potential clients is for book-length projects, and even then I provide them only under certain circumstances.


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Fabiana Papastefani-Pezzoni  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 21:16
Member (2003)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Completely agree :) Jan 7, 2008

Margreet Logmans wrote:

I got my first job by quoting on a job posted at ProZ, no references asked. That agency liked my work, so they told me I could use them as a reference. I've only done so twice, but never got a single job from either of the agencies that asked for it.
I then asked for a WWA in my profile from people I established a good working relationship with. I have two - I'm usually asked to provide three references, but I refer these people to my profile anyway. Most agencies seem to accept it.

In addition, I tell the client that I do not give references, because I've signed Non-Disclosure Agreements with quite a few clients and have made non-disclosure my general rule. I usually add that I will be treating them and their end-clients with the same confidentiality. This has been accepted by quite a few agencies.

If not - and I think this is your best option - you can agree or even offer to do a test translation. Set a limit, though. Personally, I do not do test translations that exceed 500 words. Other people have other limits. As soon as you get more jobs, you can ask for WWA's or permission to use them as references.

If you want to make sure your references do not get used in a way you don't like, it would be advisable to only use other agencies as references.

Good luck!


Hello jtucci and Margreet,

At first I wanted to welcome you in this community, as a new user. Second, hello again Margret, and I completely agree with you.

Our stories are very similar. I was working with clients in Albania that were not on the web and who had me signed Non-Disclosure Agreements. They work very differently from any agency so could not really ask them for references. But then I established the WWA, which is in reality a very cool tool. The feed back given there is checkable at any times and I do not see any reason why they cannot be accepted. I was aked once to give a written document from a client to prove collaboration and good quality of my services. I did not refuse but I very kindly told them that I have in my proz.com profile: a) test translations; b) project histories; c) WWA and that I was willing to take a test for them as well (limited to 250 words). If they wanted to be ensured more, they were free to contact these organizations, and supplied contacts.

One of the steps you could take is to fill your profile, being helpped also by the Profile Updating Tool. As e new translator, you can start putting samples of translations of your main areas of specializations and update this section once a year, with better and neater work. I am sure you agree with me that we all learn and improve with time.

Good luck

Kind regards,

Fabiana


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Offer a test translation Jan 7, 2008

jtucci wrote:
What should I write when they ask for references?

I tell them that on principle I do not provide references (for the reasons given by others above, particularly Steven Capsuto), but I am prepared to do a test translation.

There is a world of difference between asking for a reference when you leave a company, and asking an agency for whom you expect to go on working.

It is much healthier to have a strictly commercial and arms' length relationship with an agency, albeit friendly and professional, than to be under an obligation to them for the favour they have done you in providing a reference. I would rather lose a new agency than sour the relationship with an old one.


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