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Non-paying agencies who pay, on condition that you remove or alter your negative BlueBoard entry
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:49
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Oct 25, 2008

I now have evidence of at least two agencies who do this.

Anyone who hasn't been paid and posts a negative comment and a low score is contacted by the agency, which offers to pay in exchange for the translator changing the low score to a high score, and a negative comment to a positive comment.

Hence the glowing comments along the lines of "an excellent agency, a pleasure to work with you, prompt payment".

If you want to know which specific agencies I'm talking about, email me. So far I've only found two for sure, because other translators have told me they've done it, but I suspect the practice may be widespread.

I've discussed it with admin but as far as admin is concerned, as far as I can understand their replies, what goes on between a translator and an agency is a matter for them and them only, even if it affects a BlueBoard rating.

For this reason I only trust negative comments on BlueBoard, not positive ones!

[Edited at 2008-10-25 19:16]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:49
English to German
+ ...
Contact a Jobs/BB moderator Oct 25, 2008

Hi Tom,

I now have evidence of at least two agencies who do this.

Anyone who hasn't been paid and posts a negative comment and a low score is contacted by the agency, which offers to pay in exchange for the translator changing the low score to a high score, and a negative comment to a positive comment.

I would appreciate if you could contact a Jobs/Blue Board moderator, so we can look into this.

If you want to know which specific agencies I'm talking about, email me. So far I've only found two for sure, because other translators have told me they've done it, but I suspect the practice may be widespread.

Don't you think two cases provide a rather insufficient basis for generalisation?

I've discussed it with admin but as far as admin is concerned, as far as I can understand their replies, what goes on between a translator and an agency is a matter for them and them only, even if it affects a BlueBoard rating.

Yes in principle - except where outsourcers exert pressure on getting an entry changed. In fact, Jobs/BB moderators regularly contact members/users who request the deletion of their entry when we see reasons such as "requested by outsourcer".

For this reason I only trust negative comments on BlueBoard, not positive ones!

If you don't trust a positive entry, why don't you contact the person who posted it?

Best regards,
Ralf


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:49
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
My responses Oct 25, 2008

I would appreciate if you could contact a Jobs/Blue Board moderator, so we can look into this


I had an exchange of messages with staff on this matter, who clarified the official position for me.

Don't you think two cases provide a rather insufficient basis for generalisation?


I personally suspect the practice may be widespread.

If you don't trust a positive entry, why don't you contact the person who posted it?


Ralf, I prefer to contact those who make a negative entry

[Edited at 2008-10-25 19:58]


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Caryl Swift  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:49
Polish to English
+ ...
A danger of generalisations? Oct 25, 2008

Hi, Tom,

If this happens, it is, of course, appalling practice - and thank you for calling attention to it.

But, you publicly state:

Hence the glowing comments along the lines of "an excellent agency, a pleasure to work with you, prompt payment".


I wonder how many others here will feel, as I do, rather upset by the suggestion that their genuine praise of people who are professional to the hilt and a pleasure to work with has been called into question, with an implication of having been 'bought off'.

Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive, but to me this

If you don't trust a positive entry, why don't you contact the person who posted it?

Ralf, I prefer to contact those who make a negative entry


seems to publicly imply that you don't trust any of us who have made a positive comment, which is something that I also find rather upsetting.

Best wishes,
Caryl

[Edited at 2008-10-25 20:48]


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 11:49
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Blue Board Rule # 8: Attempting to influence another's use of the Blue Board is prohibited Oct 25, 2008

Hi Tom,

was it really a Jobs/BB moderator? Sorry if I ask, but I'm a little bit surprised, as Jobs/BB moderators deal with Jobs/BB matters daily and know the relative rule quite well.

From your words in your first posting I seem to understand that there is a misinterpretation of the "bilateral dispute" point. ProZ.com and its Jobs/BB moderators cannot interfere in a bilateral dispute strictly speaking, i.e. going beyond what is disciplined by the Blue Board Rules, but what you reported hasn't anything to do with the concept of bilateral dispute and it goes against Rule # 8:


Attempting to influence another's use of the Blue Board is prohibited. Exerting pressure on someone to change a Blue Board entry or reply, or to make a new entry or reply of a specific nature, is forbidden. (Inviting service providers or outsourcers to make entries or replies is acceptable, as long as there is no attempt to influence the content of those postings.)


Also,
the Blue Board may not be used to to threaten outsourcers


Giuliana


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Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:49
English to French
+ ...
Not so far Oct 25, 2008


seems to publicly imply that you don't trust any of us who have made a positive comment, which is something that I also find rather upsetting.


I think he did not deny that there were genuine entries in the BB. He just said that he doesn't know which ones, as far as I understand it.

I think the genuine entries are not part of the topic here.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:49
Portuguese to English
+ ...
So here's what you do... Oct 25, 2008

Tell them, "Sure, I'd be happy to do that," and then put a glowing review on the BB. As soon as you get your payment, go back to the BB and tell the truth.

Sorry, I'm terrible...it's been a long day.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:49
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Positive comments Oct 25, 2008

I make positive comments myself on BlueBoard, occasionally. Nevertheless, recent experience and private discussion with colleagues have given me documentary evidence that two unscrupulous outsourcers, for certain, are persuading some translators into changing a negative comment into a positive one, in exchange for payment of an outstanding amount. This is in direct infringement of Rule No. 8 cited above by Giuliana.

I have no reason to suppose that this practice is limited to those two outsourcers. It cannot, however, be inferred from this that I am making, or intend to make, a generalised condemnation of all those who make positive comments. That would be absurd, not least because I continue to do it myself.

Giuliana, my previous discussion of the matter, as mentioned in a previous post, was with Proz. staff, not forum moderators.

[Edited at 2008-10-25 21:31]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:49
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Not only this.... Oct 25, 2008

I have also recently seen a new agency calling for translators to send in their CVs, and in the space of 5 minutes that agency's new BlueBoard page **already** had its first comment: 5 stars from a particular translator and a positive comment along the lines of "it has been great to work with you".

That translator could not possibly have done any work for the agency, so I'm wondering what the deal was there, too. It isn't possible that the translator had previously worked for that agency outside Proz.com - since the agency did not exist.

But that's a concern for another day and another thread. Just to say: unfortunately there are dishonest people out there (or should I say, in here). Not many, I'm sure, but they do lower the tone of a website, and a service, that continue to bring me good work and delightful friends.

[Edited at 2008-10-25 21:53]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:49
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
It is only possible to make one Blue Board entry per year Oct 25, 2008

Hi Tom,

In view of the fact that it is only normally possible to make one Blue Board entry per outsourcer per year, and that any changing of a Blue Board entry therefore has to be negotiated at length with a jobs moderator, it is hardly possible for a translator to keep changing the entry, and therefore there is also no point in the outsourcer trying to get the translator to change it for any reason. Some years back it used to be possible to change an entry every two minutes, and in those days there may have been odd cases of outsourcers trying to put pressure on a translator to change Blue Board entries, but those practices - to the extent that they ever existed - disappeared once a Blue Board entry could only be made once per year. Therefore, I suspect that any stories of the kind that you still hear refer to some time in the past.

As for the new agency that had a Blue Board rating simultaneously with posting a job, could it be the case that the agency was not so new that it had never outsourced work to translators before? I take it that any entry made at that point in time referred to work outsourced at an earlier date.

Astrid


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 11:49
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Calls for entries (when jobs are approved by Jobs/BB moderators) Oct 25, 2008

Hi Tom,

I don't know if this is the case, but whenever a job is approved by a Jobs/BB moderator, a call for entries is triggered by the very same Jobs/BB moderator, if we see that the most recent entry dates back a few months and no call for entries was made in the past month.

In the case at hand, a call for CVs, no colleague can have completed an unassigned job, but still have worked before for the very same agency.

New to ProZ.com does not mean new in the translation business...

Giuliana


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:49
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
not so... Oct 25, 2008

it is only normally possible to make one Blue Board entry per outsourcer per year, and that any changing of a Blue Board entry therefore has to be negotiated at length with a jobs moderator


Not so, Astrid; I fear you may be wrong.

I've recently changed one or two particular entries a couple of times. Of course I had to give a reason each time, but I was certainly able to change the entry.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:49
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
off topic Oct 25, 2008

no colleague can have completed an unassigned job, but still have worked before for the very same agency


That agency specifically announced that it was a new agency, inviting translators to submit their CVs as they wanted to start building up their own database. Perhaps I didn't make that sufficiently clear.

Anyway, I was just mentioning it en passant to illustrate that not everyone is an angel. It isn't the main topic of the thread.

[Edited at 2008-10-25 22:14]


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 11:49
English to Czech
+ ...
Yes Oct 25, 2008

Amy Duncan wrote:

Tell them, "Sure, I'd be happy to do that," and then put a glowing review on the BB. As soon as you get your payment, go back to the BB and tell the truth.

Sorry, I'm terrible...it's been a long day.



I'd do exactly the same...


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xxxglidinpelica
Spain
Local time: 11:49
English to Italian
+ ...
why all this secrecy about the two agencies? Oct 26, 2008

If you're sure it happened, and you have the names, why can't we all know them?

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