Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Freelancers Beware: "Bait and Switch" Tactics
Thread poster: Raitei

Raitei
Japan
Japanese to English
Apr 30, 2012

I recently responded to a translation job advertisement by a major translation firm. Once I passed the trial, a company representative requested that I sign and return a freelance agreement. Immediately after receiving the agreement, I was told that the project "...has already been assigned to other translators." The rep mentioned nothing about this during our correspondence, simply waiting until they received the contract.


In hindsight, I feel that I was a victim of a "bait and switch" type scheme, where a promising, high paying project, which actually doesn't even exist, is advertised in order to lure professional freelance translators, allowing the company to build up a list of "quality" service providers. I make it a rule to absolutely NEVER do business with companies that are deceptive, since cooperating with con artists will simply help further erode the freelance translation business.


If our industry keeps heading in this direction, various law enforcement agencies will find us on our computers, working in rooms also filled with hundreds of sewing machines and frowning faces.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:46
English to German
+ ...
Are you sure? May 1, 2012

Maybe they simply found an absolute specialist in the required field, and some other project will be assigned to you. I don't see any fraudulent activity in that. You signed a contract for future cooperation with the agency, not a contract for a particular project.

 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:46
English to German
+ ...
Too many fields? Wrong fields? May 1, 2012

Your clients might know better...

Addendum:

"Advertising, Chemistry, Music, Games...." Quite a mix.

Especially Advertising requires a serious university degree, involving psychology, sociology, economy, design and marketing, BA = 8-10 semesters, Master = 10-15 semesters. I am always so amazed about all those wonderful "specialists" in advertising...

icon_smile.gif


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:46
French to English
+ ...
Ones to watch out for... May 1, 2012

Raitei wrote:
In hindsight, I feel that I was a victim of a "bait and switch" type scheme, where a promising, high paying project, which actually doesn't even exist, is advertised in order to lure professional freelance translators


You could be right but I'm not sure you can necessarily jump to that conclusion here: it could just be as Nicole says that the job existed but they genuinely decided to award it to another translator in the meantime.

The cases to definitely watch out for are ones where you're told "if you can just complete this test, then there may be a 1,000,000-word job on the way"...


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:46
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
You win some, you lose some May 1, 2012

I sometimes wonder if what happens is that an agency is approached about a big project, and they cannot offer all the languages required, or they make a bid, and then don't get the job after all. It happens to one of my colleagues who sometimes bids on a job and outsources if she can't take on everything herself.

If there is a specific job, the deadline may be too short to recruit a lot of new translators, but agencies have better chances if they already have translators with the right languages in their databases.

Apart from regional specialists, many European agencies only occasionally have jobs in my languages, but once I am on their books, they can count me in fast when bidding for a project. The same may well be the case with your language pair.

I check the Blue Board and the agency's website etc. before filling out forms and giving them my data. If they look fishy, I tell them I'm busy... It's usually true!
I keep all the agreements I sign, with my impressions of the people and their comments, and sometimes they turn up again months later with a real job.

Admittedly, some of them never contact me again, but others are absolutely genuine and well worth working for.



[Edited at 2012-05-01 15:35 GMT]


 

Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:46
German to English
Often first come, first served May 1, 2012

Surely it's common practice for agencies to put out feelers to a number of translators and then give the job to the first one to jump through all the hoops (if speed is everything) or to the one they like best (if they are more quality-focused)? I don't see anything immediately suspicious in the process you describe - after all, if the company wants to build up a database of translators, they can put out a general invitation for translators to submit their CVs, to which lots of people will reply.

It would be totally unrealistic to imagine that you were the only translator with whom they were negotiating - so the only possible grounds for grumbling is that they didn't tell you immediatly the job was assigned to someone else, but in my experience that is something that just doesn't happen.


 

Raitei
Japan
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Understandable, however... May 2, 2012

Armorel Young wrote:

Surely it's common practice for agencies to put out feelers to a number of translators and then give the job to the first one to jump through all the hoops (if speed is everything) or to the one they like best (if they are more quality-focused)? I don't see anything immediately suspicious in the process you describe - after all, if the company wants to build up a database of translators, they can put out a general invitation for translators to submit their CVs, to which lots of people will reply.

It would be totally unrealistic to imagine that you were the only translator with whom they were negotiating - so the only possible grounds for grumbling is that they didn't tell you immediatly the job was assigned to someone else, but in my experience that is something that just doesn't happen.



I was in contact with the coordinator on a daily basis. As soon as I signed the contract, I was told that the job had been already assigned. Because of the particular field, project size, and lack of qualified translators, it would have been virtually impossible for the other translators to "beat me to the finish line" in such a short time frame. Unfortunately, I cannot get into the specifics.

I have no problem with projects coming and going since I have a steady flow of work. However, I DO have a problem with having someone lead me on for over a week and then delivering the bad news immediately after I sign the contract. As with you, I had never experienced this situation before. Although I was asked not to, I nullified the contract because I do not do business with companies that treat their subcontractors like cattle.


 

Raitei
Japan
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Hmmmm Apr 30, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Maybe they simply found an absolute specialist in the required field, and some other project will be assigned to you. I don't see any fraudulent activity in that. You signed a contract for future cooperation with the agency, not a contract for a particular project.



No fraudulent activity? Not everything has to be illegal to be fraudulent.



[Edited at 2013-05-01 05:57 GMT]


 

ExScientiaVera
Faroe Islands
Local time: 20:46
Danish to English
+ ...
Specifics? May 1, 2013

You do not need to tell us the specifics of this one job to explain what specialties lack qualified translators.

 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Another "Bait and Switch" May 1, 2013

I recently sent in a response to a ProZ job offering $20/hour for correcting student papers, and the "acceptance" letter I received in return told me the rate was $18/hour (typical bait and switch). As I had planned to do, however, I countered with my actual hourly rate, and never heard back, of course.

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:46
English to Polish
+ ...
Not necessarily foul play May 1, 2013

Raitei wrote:

Armorel Young wrote:

Surely it's common practice for agencies to put out feelers to a number of translators and then give the job to the first one to jump through all the hoops (if speed is everything) or to the one they like best (if they are more quality-focused)? I don't see anything immediately suspicious in the process you describe - after all, if the company wants to build up a database of translators, they can put out a general invitation for translators to submit their CVs, to which lots of people will reply.

It would be totally unrealistic to imagine that you were the only translator with whom they were negotiating - so the only possible grounds for grumbling is that they didn't tell you immediatly the job was assigned to someone else, but in my experience that is something that just doesn't happen.



I was in contact with the coordinator on a daily basis. As soon as I signed the contract, I was told that the job had been already assigned. Because of the particular field, project size, and lack of qualified translators, it would have been virtually impossible for the other translators to "beat me to the finish line" in such a short time frame. Unfortunately, I cannot get into the specifics.

I have no problem with projects coming and going since I have a steady flow of work. However, I DO have a problem with having someone lead me on for over a week and then delivering the bad news immediately after I sign the contract. As with you, I had never experienced this situation before. Although I was asked not to, I nullified the contract because I do not do business with companies that treat their subcontractors like cattle.




Well, the information coming already after you signed your contract does look suspicious. However, the stress in on "looks". Plenty of things in life or business look suspicious out of coincidence. Coincidences each have a very low probability of happening, so they look very improbable and implausible when they do happen, but the truth is that there are so many possible coincidences that for any one of them to happen every now and then is not implausible at all. Your situation may have been an honest misunderstanding or perhaps a small communication failure.

This said, it's not like agencies don't use foul play in negotiating or otherwise dealing with translators, but in my experience freelance translators do have a tendency to be a bit too suspicious. As a criminal trial scholar I can tell you that to reconstruct the facts of a situation, along with everybody's motives and intentions, is a very difficult task and quite impossible to achieve on the basis of intuition and just a fact or two without very detail further investigation and research. In short, the kind of data we normally have to base our opinions on are very rarely sufficient to form a reliable reconstruction of facts. Therefore I'd let it go.

However, in your future dealings with agencies, especially in the fields where specialists are so scarce that an end client could actually recognise you from a blinded CV, you may want to have a conversation about the use of your data before you invest your time in the paperwork. There are many agencies that base their advertising on a network of, say, a thousand translators, who are really freelancers that may have never received a single job from them. They might even go as far as saying they "employ" several dozen or hundred translators world-wide while being little more a single freelance PM with a laptop and internet connection. Identity fraud, such as replacing contact data in CVs (this one by fellow translators rather than agencies), has occurred, and there are some allegations of agencies using specific reputable translators as bait to attract clients with or win public procurement bids, while the cheaper translators get the actual business. I wouldn't live in a constant fear of that, as the rumours are probably exaggerated and largely based on not knowing how little business the agencies and PMs actually get from their clients, but it's probably safe to expect such things to happen from time to time.


 

Raitei
Japan
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Good for you! May 1, 2013

Jessica Noyes wrote:

I recently sent in a response to a ProZ job offering $20/hour for correcting student papers, and the "acceptance" letter I received in return told me the rate was $18/hour (typical bait and switch). As I had planned to do, however, I countered with my actual hourly rate, and never heard back, of course.


That's the way it should be done. There are too many forces working against us that want to turn professionals into bottom feeders, including the struggling souls who have attempted to troll this thread.

Respect goes both ways. Whenever agencies or clients throw a large amount of rules and policies at me, I throw a bunch of my own right back at them! They are simply looking for sheep, and everyone knows what happens to sheep!


 

Raitei
Japan
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
May 1, 2013

ExScientiaVera wrote:

You do not need to tell us the specifics of this one job to explain what specialties lack qualified translators.



Good morning! How are you today? Could you kindly explain a little more about what you are attempting to convey in English?


Thank you very much! Have an absolutely splendid day!

[Edited at 2013-05-01 15:29 GMT]


 

ExScientiaVera
Faroe Islands
Local time: 20:46
Danish to English
+ ...
Elaboration, thank you May 1, 2013

Raitei wrote:

ExScientiaVera wrote:

You do not need to tell us the specifics of this one job to explain what specialties lack qualified translators.



Good morning! How are you today? Could you kindly explain a little more about what you are attempting to convey in English?


Thank you very much! Have an absolutely splendid day!

[Edited at 2013-05-01 15:29 GMT]


You said, in short, no one could have submitted a winning bid before you, and explained this is because of a set of circumstances, which include your field and lack of translators, which I assumed means a lack of translators in that specific field. I asked you to elaborate in a way that does not disclose specific information about the client, such as company name, their partners, the size of the project, how much money they would have paid you. No NDA would bar you from disclosing to us, which field you specialize in, that also has a sever lack of qualified translators. It would be interesting to know.


 

Raitei
Japan
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Bid? May 1, 2013

ExScientiaVera wrote:

Raitei wrote:

ExScientiaVera wrote:

You do not need to tell us the specifics of this one job to explain what specialties lack qualified translators.



Good morning! How are you today? Could you kindly explain a little more about what you are attempting to convey in English?


Thank you very much! Have an absolutely splendid day!

[Edited at 2013-05-01 15:29 GMT]


You said, in short, no one could have submitted a winning bid before you, and explained this is because of a set of circumstances, which include your field and lack of translators, which I assumed means a lack of translators in that specific field. I asked you to elaborate in a way that does not disclose specific information about the client, such as company name, their partners, the size of the project, how much money they would have paid you. No NDA would bar you from disclosing to us, which field you specialize in, that also has a sever lack of qualified translators. It would be interesting to know.


I never bid on anything. There was no bidding involved at all. The field that I specialize in is irrelevant; it could happen in any field out there.


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Freelancers Beware: "Bait and Switch" Tactics

Advanced search







Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search