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Too many victims of notorious non-paying agencies on BB
Thread poster: Yasutomo Kanazawa

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:52
Jun 6, 2009

The other day, I happened to notice numerous victims falling prey to non-paying agencies notorious in the industry (not only on Proz, but other translation sites) even after they have been banned from posting jobs on Proz many years ago. I was wondering why these translators/interpretors falling victims of these agencies. Are they indifferent to reading other translator's comments, or do they have this certain confidence that non-payment could never happen to them? I could understand 4 or 5 entries with 1's due to non-payment, but the list goes on like 20 or more, and the most recent ones are in May or June 2009. I wouldn't give names of these agencies, but my simple question is why don't these victims avoid these kind of agencies from the beginning?

 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Naive newcomers, perhaps? Jun 6, 2009

I agree, Yasutomo. It does seem strange that so many translators fall victim to these unscrupulous agencies. The only explanation I can think of is that there must be a constant stream of translators entering the market for the first time who know nothing about the hazards of working for untested clients and who learn the hard way about the precautions one should take before doing so.
Although not a naive newcomer myself, it was my experience of working for one notorious defaulting client (who has since gone bankrupt) which led me to discover Proz and its Blue Board, among other translators' sites.
As I'm a fan of Proz, the experience had its bright side, said Pollyanna!
Best wishes,
Jenny


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Survey? Jun 6, 2009

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:
...but my simple question is why don't these victims avoid these kind of agencies from the beginning?


I wonder if ProZ.com rules would allow one to make a study of such people. I mean, if it would be allowed to contact the translators who "fell prey" to these agencies who had been getting poor reviews for ages, and ask them to fill in an online survey with questions like "why did you do it???" etc. The results can be anonymous and be announced in this or a similar thread. Who knows... you might learn a lot about what it takes to be a preying agency.

Edited:

I just did a quick check for hopeful candidates in three countries (UK, US and India). By the way, I only chose these three countries because they have lots of agencies in general. I looked at all agencies with an average score of less than 3. I then took only the agencies with 10 or more ratings of 3 of less since January 2008. So in other words, these are agencies that have scored lots of low entries in the past 18 months. I found 3 in the UK, 1 in the US, and 2 in India. So there aren't that many of those agencies... but they are there. Tis a pity ProZ.com doesn't allow one to do this type of search from a single search field.

[Edited at 2009-06-06 12:04 GMT]


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:52
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Revenue lost Jun 6, 2009

It would also be interesting to calculate the total amount of revenue lost by translators and the industry over the last five to ten years.

[Edited at 2009-06-06 12:20 GMT]


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:52
TOPIC STARTER
Part of them are newcomers, I believe Jun 6, 2009

Dear Jenny and Samuel,

Maybe you are partly right. Some of them may be newcomers. I was thinking about two agencies, in particular, one in Germany and one in India. There are even Pro-certified translators falling prey to these notorious agencies.
I was just curious why not all, but even some of them not having checked the BB or other translation sites for their notoriety. I have also been a victim of a notorious agency in the past, and like you said, since then, I have been very careful when accepting jobs from new agencies. I would check the BB records even before I send them a reply.

I think a survey or study of such people would be a good idea. It's so sad that these people fall victims to, but moreover, these agencies have the audacity to recruit translators registered in their database which keeps them running a fraud business without going bankrupt.


 

Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 23:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO ACCESS THE BLUE BOARD Jun 7, 2009

I understand only paying members can access the Blue Board. Am I wrong? If that it the case, it's probably non-paying members or colleagues in no way connected with translators sites who fall prey of these "birds".

 

Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 23:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
BB Jun 7, 2009

Mónica Algazi wrote:

I understand only paying members can access the Blue Board. Am I wrong?


You are right, Mónica. The BB is free for paying members. This is one of the benefits of being a member. Same in similar sites.

However, Proz non-paying members can acess the Blue Board too by "paying" about 300 Browniz.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:52
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's one of the reasons Jun 7, 2009

If a translator can spare him/herself from one delinquent client who has a job worth more than a Proz yearly subscription, it will be well worth it. IMHO it's a sensible business proposition.

Nevertheless, I see strange phenomena on the Blue Board, totally apart from consistently good outsourcers on one end, and hardcore rogues on the other. I noticed that some agencies started bad, and went good afterwards. Maybe they had problems with payment methods in the beginning. However I also see agencies that started well, and later "got bad". Maybe they became greedy over time.

Amazingly, there are several cases where the translator gave a low score, and the agency replied asking them who they were, and what kind of work had they done that required payment.


 

chica nueva
Local time: 14:52
Chinese to English
Non-paying members and access to BB: have a look here ... Jun 7, 2009

Non-paying members and access to BB: have a look here ...
http://www.proz.com/faq/3001#3001 http://www.proz.com/faq/3004#3004
2.2 - How much does it cost to access Blue Board records?
2.3 - I am not a (paying) member of ProZ.com... can I still see Blue Board records?

[Edited at 2009-06-07 23:59 GMT]


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:52
TOPIC STARTER
One translation site which you can check the non-payers list free Jun 8, 2009

Mónica Algazi wrote:

I understand only paying members can access the Blue Board. Am I wrong? If that it the case, it's probably non-paying members or colleagues in no way connected with translators sites who fall prey of these "birds".


Dear Monica,

You are right regarding only paying members have access to BB. However, there is one site where you can access their non-payers & good outsourcers list for free. It is similar to the BB for free. I'm not a member of that site, but I sometimes browse their list, and the translation agencies which I wanted to actually raise in the forum are also listed there, both having bad records a mile long. So, there are ways where you could find out even if you are not a paying member of Proz.

[Edited at 2009-06-08 11:19 GMT]


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Probably, the victims are unaware of the existence of Proz etc. Jun 8, 2009

My earlier point was that, until they suffer a bad experience, new translators probably don't know of the existence of Proz, Go Translators, etc., and thus get caught by the birds of prey.
Having once been snared, their search for solutions to their non-payment problem may lead them to discover these valuable sites and to be more cautious in future.
How Proz and other such sites can alert the unaware to their existence I'm not sure. One of the problems for freelancers is our isolation and shortage of contact with others in the same line of business.
Best wishes,
Jenny


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:52
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for pointing it out to me, Samuel. Jun 8, 2009

[quote]Samuel Murray wrote:

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:
However, have you heard of a translation site called XXXX? quote]

Are we now allowed to mention ProZ.com competitors in the forums?


I have edited my posting. Would you kindly delete the name of the site which I mentioned earlier?

Thank you very much.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Interesting point about access to the BB Jun 8, 2009

Mónica Algazi wrote:
I understand only paying members can access the Blue Board. ... If that it the case, it's probably non-paying members ... who fall prey of these "birds".


This seems like a very good point, if you don't investigate it.

Non-paying members can contribute to the Blue Board but they can't get access to it (well, not without paying). The arguments that ad hoc access to the Blue Board is affordable or a good investment doesn't fly -- it it aint free, then you're going to find a certain number of people not bothering. It may be an idea, therefore, to check how many of the victims are non-paying members.

Even so, I checked the three UK and one US agency I mentioned previously, and here is what I found:

Agency A: 10 bad ratings since January 2008, 6 of them are paying members.
Agency B: 14 bad ratings since January 2008, 11 of them are paying members.
Agency C: 10 bad ratings since January 2008, 9 of them are paying members.
Agency D: 10 bad ratings since January 2008, 6 of them are paying members.

Of course, it is not possible for me to check quickly whether these members were paying or non-paying at the time that they made the BB entry.


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:52
TOPIC STARTER
One agency in Germany, and one in India Jun 8, 2009

Like Samuel did, I just checked one agency in Germany, by the way, still sends me job offers using mass mailing by the same PM. This agency was banned from posting jobs in 2007.

Results: 23 paying members (including partial members), 20 non-paying members, and 1 corporate member. The latest entry made was today, and of course the rating entered was 1.

Agency in India:
This agency used to send me a few mails asking for jobs which were physcially impossible to complete. For example, 60,000 words in 5 days with very low rates (rates don't matter, since they won't pay you whether you complete the job or not). Banned in 2006. Total entries 27, where out of 27, 25 are 1s, one 3 and another 4. The agency started out with an entry of 1 and has been banned already when the third entry was made. 12 were members, which 2 out of these 12 were Corporate members. Two other people who entered a 3 and a 4 are not paying members. Last entry made was June 2, who entered a 4.

Like Samuel wrote above, I cannot assure if these paying members were really paying members when they made their entries.

So, after two or three years of being banned from Proz, I wonder why there are people still tricked by these non-paying agencies which you can cross-check them on other sites including Proz.


 
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