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5 dumb things you can do when somebody contacts you directly through Proz.com to offer a job
Thread poster: Bernhard Sulzer

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:11
English to German
+ ...
May 9, 2012

1. Automatically think because the outsourcer approached you directly through your Proz.com information, they are honest, good payers, and value you as a good translator (and not see you as an easy target for exploitation).

2. Not check the internet for other reviews of the outsourcer if it is not listed/ no longer listed on the Blue Board.

3. Think that because somebody has a consistent rating of "5" on the Blue Board means they'll pay a good price for professional work. (No, they probably have many translators working for them who don't work for adequate prices but don't mind it or don't know they are being exploited).

4. Do an unpaid test translation (know there's a very good chance that only the cheapest and halfway decent translator, not you, will get the job if indeed there is a job). That goes for any contact.

5. Accept this and whatever job you are being offered through Proz.com because you have to make a living (there are, thank God, other ways to make a good living and succeed in life).

Here's a link to one of the Proz.com Wiki articles on the issue. It contains good advice on what to do to avoid getting burned and burned out:

http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Risk_management_for_translators_and_interpreters


What prompted me to post this here is that the record of one of the worst companies listed on the Blue Board, from the UK, has very recently been removed by Proz.com because the outsourcer has had no outsourcing activity for a few years (as I was told by Proz.com staff). Did you know Blue Board records can be removed as soon as six months after the listed outsourcer's last outsourcing activity? (Contacting translators directly obviously doesn't count and neither does the fact that said translators enter bad reviews on the Blue Board). It will certainly happen if the outsourcer requests that the record be removed.

Well, first of all, the outsourcer in question had certainly been banned from posting jobs on Proz.com for years, but that didn't keep them from continuing to find translators "directly", through Proz.com profiles and, granted, possibly other sources, up until this year for sure, as victimized translators' Blue Board entries confirmed up until last month. They are still very much in business with their website, posting new information as late as of May 2012.
Now that they are no longer listed on the Blue Board where their cumulative rating over several years was a "whopping" "1.something", they can certainly still "directly" contact translators whose information they find on Proz.com, and these translators will not be able to check their record on Blue Board because none exists.

Don't become a "sl..." to the cheap translation market segment, work only for adequate compensation. Otherwise, you might regret it later.

Comments welcome.

B

Update:
When you read on, you will find out that the outsourcer to whom I am referring above and who had disappeared from the BB, is now, thanks to this forum post and quick action by staff, again listed on the BB, with all previous entries.
Proz.com has also assured me that steps have been taken to ensure this (removal of legitimate outsourcers from the BB) does not occur again.

Thank you,
Bernhard


[Edited at 2012-05-09 17:47 GMT]


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Enrique
Local time: 09:11
SITE STAFF
Please send a support request May 9, 2012

Dear Bernhard,

Thanks for posting this and for bringing forward the need of good risk management procedures.

If you have evidence of concrete risks to the community like the one you described above, please send the relevant information to staff by means of a support request.

ProZ.com has a serious and solid policy regarding the protection of the translators community.

Regards,
Enrique


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:11
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Is this statement true? May 9, 2012

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
... Did you know Blue Board records can be removed as soon as six months after the listed outsourcer's last outsourcing activity? (Contacting translators directly obviously doesn't count and neither does the fact that said translators enter bad reviews on the Blue Board). ...


If it is, it contravenes the purpose of the Blue Board. I thought BB records were here to stay, except in very specific cases of removal (as opposed to a general "six months of inactivity" routine).

@ Enrique/staff: I'd be very grateful if you replied to my question.

Steffen


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:11
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
alerts May 9, 2012

Enrique wrote:

Dear Bernhard,

Thanks for posting this and for bringing forward the need of good risk management procedures.

If you have evidence of concrete risks to the community like the one you described above, please send the relevant information to staff by means of a support request.

ProZ.com has a serious and solid policy regarding the protection of the translators community.

Regards,
Enrique


Hi Enrique,

I was thinking of additional alerts to translators when they first create a profile page with proz.com to make them aware that they have to be very careful when being directly approached by outsourcers, especially with regards to those outsourcers who are not or no longer listed on the Blue Board. I think it would be a good idea to include this particular warning in the welcome letter. Let me know if you still want me to send a support request. I am aware of links provided at times such as the Wiki article I posted above.

Thank you,

Bernhard


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Enrique
Local time: 09:11
SITE STAFF
An established BB procedure May 9, 2012

Steffen Walter wrote:

@ Enrique/staff: I'd be very grateful if you replied to my question.



Hi Steffen,

This procedure is described in a dedicated FAQ and it is not new.

Regards,
Enrique


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:11
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other agencies may still be there, even if they never used the site May 9, 2012

I know one that has gone out of business, and practically never used the site. It is still there; I have just checked!

I will send a support request about it, because it might as well be removed.

But records of agencies that are still operating are highly relevant - I hope they can be left for a much longer period than six months after the last outsourcing activity. I am sure you CAN trace all the 'not logged in' outsourcers, but how often are checks actually run to see who they are?

Please leave the Blue Board records in place! Removing them reduces its value.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:11
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Since when? May 9, 2012

Enrique wrote:

Steffen Walter wrote:

@ Enrique/staff: I'd be very grateful if you replied to my question.



Hi Steffen,

This procedure is described in a dedicated FAQ and it is not new.

Regards,
Enrique


Actually, this was new to me. Since when has this procedure been in place?

Steffen


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
@Enrique May 9, 2012

I don't understand the purpose of the rule (which vaguely and unhelpfully refers to the removal of "certain contact details" rather than specific entries). In general, I see entries from as long ago as 2003-2004. So I join in the call for clarity as to what the rule means, and its underlying purpose.

To me, the rule that would make sense is that everything stays in place unless the original poster requests removal.

If the rule instead means that such-and-such agency can contact proz.com and request removal of a rating/entry that it doesn't like, then this indeed (as Christine points out) defeats the purpose of the Blue Board.

Given that this issue has arisen in the wake of my having a number of entries rejected on the grounds that they were "not in line with the rules" (even though they were similar to many other entries from other freelancers which have recently been accepted) and having been told in response to my request for clarification as to what constitutes appropriate "negative" entries that "comments need to reflect only willingness to work for an outsourcer" (a nonsensical explanation that would reduce comments to a mere reflection of the numerical ratings along the lines of "1 - I really don't think I want to work for this outsourcer again"), I think the time has arrived for some transparent guidelines as to the functioning of the BB.

[Edited at 2012-05-09 15:48 GMT]


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 09:11
SITE STAFF
Since 2006 May 9, 2012

Steffen Walter wrote:

Enrique wrote:

Steffen Walter wrote:

@ Enrique/staff: I'd be very grateful if you replied to my question.



Hi Steffen,

This procedure is described in a dedicated FAQ and it is not new.

Regards,
Enrique


Actually, this was new to me. Since when has this procedure been in place?

Steffen


Hi Steffen,

This has been in place since March of 2006.

To be clear, it is not about removing records upon request, which would defeat the purpose of the Blue Board. If you are aware of a specific record which either is no longer visible or you are unable to find it, please do contact site staff via the support system with the details.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Willing exploitees May 9, 2012

Bernhard wrote:

Think that because somebody has a consistent rating of "5" on the Blue Board means they'll pay a good price for professional work. (No, they probably have many translators working for them who don't work for adequate prices but don't mind it or don't know they are being exploited).

****
A string of "5"s accompanied by laudatory comments for a given outsourcer doesn't necessarily mean anything in terms of the acceptability of the rates offered by these outsourcers. In fact, just an hour ago, I was contacted by an agency that boasts "a perfect rating," (with rhapsodic comments to match) and which informed me that it offers a rate that is less than half the going fee for an experienced translator in my language pair.

So, indeed, I think that there are plenty of translators out there who are not only willing to work for low rates, but who are only too happy to contribute to the positive image of the companies offering said rates.

So beware!


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Stefan Blommaert  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:11
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Agree May 9, 2012

I wrote an argued opinion, but have removed it....for there is probably some rule that forbids me to write a relevant opinion. I am coming to the conclusion that participating in these forums is absolutely pointless. Sorry people, I have got better things to do.

[Edited at 2012-05-09 15:54 GMT]


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Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:11
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
consistent rating of 5 May 9, 2012

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:


3. Think that because somebody has a consistent rating of "5" on the Blue Board means they'll pay a good price for professional work. (No, they probably have many translators working for them who don't work for adequate prices but don't mind it or don't know they are being exploited).



B

This is so true.
I "follow" (or should I say cyberstalk) one company that kept sending me jobs at ridiculous rates, and several times asked me to "proofread" texts that were clearly machine translated. I turned them down every time.
They only stopped after I actually opened one of these machine translated documents, and I realized I knew who the end client was (that I had worked with several times), and that there was no way the end-client would have given out the translation unless they thought it was done by a competent human translator. I promptly warned the end-client and notified the outsourcer I had done so. That was the last I heard from this outsourcer, but they're still permanently close to top of the list of agencies with consistent rating of 5.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:11
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Thank you, Jared, but... May 9, 2012

Jared wrote:

Steffen Walter wrote:

Enrique wrote:

Steffen Walter wrote:

@ Enrique/staff: I'd be very grateful if you replied to my question.



Hi Steffen,

This procedure is described in a dedicated FAQ and it is not new.

Regards,
Enrique


Actually, this was new to me. Since when has this procedure been in place?

Steffen


Hi Steffen,

This has been in place since March of 2006.

To be clear, it is not about removing records upon request, which would defeat the purpose of the Blue Board. If you are aware of a specific record which either is no longer visible or you are unable to find it, please do contact site staff via the support system with the details.


... in this case, I believe the related FAQ is worded ambiguously and leaves room for the interpretation that records are/may be routinely removed after six months of inactivity.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
@Jared May 9, 2012

Jared wrote, in response to Steffen:

Hi Steffen,

This has been in place since March of 2006.

To be clear, it is not about removing records upon request, which would defeat the purpose of the Blue Board. If you are aware of a specific record which either is no longer visible or you are unable to find it, please do contact site staff via the support system with the details.

***
Okay. But if such removal is not "about removing records on request" then what, exactly, is it about?


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:11
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
removal of company identity on the BB May 9, 2012

Jared wrote:


Hi Steffen,

This has been in place since March of 2006.

To be clear, it is not about removing records upon request, which would defeat the purpose of the Blue Board. If you are aware of a specific record which either is no longer visible or you are unable to find it, please do contact site staff via the support system with the details.



Just to be clear as well: what I was referring to in my post was not the removal of one particular entry of a translator on an outsourcer's blueboard page per outsourcer request by Proz.com but the removal of the outsourcer's identity from BB altogether, at the earliest possible within 6 months of the outsourcer's last outsourcing activity.
The outsourcer I was referring to above was listed on the BB for many years under several names and on different BB pages but has now been completely removed from the BB. It was not removed six months after its last outsourcing activity (note that outsourcing activity only means posting jobs on Proz.com), I know removal would have been possible many years ago per Proz.com rules (because the outsourcer had been banned for years from posting jobs on Proz.com and thus had no outsourcing activity (= job posting activity) on Proz.com although it did continue to recruit translators directly), but I believe the outsourcer must have made the request to be removed from the Blue Board very recently, and that's why Proz.com removed it, according to their rules.
Removal seems to happen when the outsourcer becomes aware of that possibility and then requests it. There might be other reasons to remove an outsourcer as Christine noted above.

B

Update:
As you will learn below, and contrary to my initial opinion which I had formed yesterday based on information I had then received from Proz.com staff, it should not be possible for legitimate outsourcers to be removed from the Blue Board. Nevertheless, the outsourcer in question was removed and I had brought this to Proz.com's attention yesterday. Thanks to this post, clarifications (see below) and action by Proz.com, the outsourcer has now been "reinstated" on the BB.

[Edited at 2012-05-09 18:18 GMT]


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