ProZ questionable
Thread poster: Logan5

Logan5
United States
Local time: 19:43
English to German
Nov 5, 2015

I am confused. I wanted to know more about a specific agency, about their practices etc.

ProZ says, I cannot discuss vendors directly here, neither can I post a BlueBoard entry if I haven't actually worked for that one company.

So, in essence, I first need to accept, let's say a $0.01 rate, and deliver the work before I can leave a review of that agency for paying too little? And even then, I cannot "discuss" this practice with any fellow translator.

Can somebody explain to me why that is? Because all I ever see are generally favorable BlueBoard ratings. Probably because nobody would accept jobs of black sheep and thus cannot rate any agency negatively.

Thanks for explaining.


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:43
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Try paymentpractices.net Nov 5, 2015

Logan5 wrote:

I am confused. I wanted to know more about a specific agency, about their practices etc.

ProZ says, I cannot discuss vendors directly here, neither can I post a BlueBoard entry if I haven't actually worked for that one company.

So, in essence, I first need to accept, let's say a $0.01 rate, and deliver the work before I can leave a review of that agency for paying too little? And even then, I cannot "discuss" this practice with any fellow translator.

Can somebody explain to me why that is? Because all I ever see are generally favorable BlueBoard ratings. Probably because nobody would accept jobs of black sheep and thus cannot rate any agency negatively.

Thanks for explaining.


Try here: http://www.paymentpractices.net/Default.aspx

Michael


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I'm confused too Nov 5, 2015

Why do you want to know anything more about an agency that pays €0.01? Surely that's enough information to make you stay well clear. The BB is a record of translators' satisfaction with a client. If they've accepted a rate they can't really complain about it, can they? Only if they don't get paid.

 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
What do you need the Blue Board for if they only offer $0.01 Nov 5, 2015

Just curious, if they offer you $0.01 per word (or any other bottom-scraping, abusive rate), then what do you need the Blue Board for? If they don't accept to pay a decent rate, then a quick goodbye is all you need.

As for why it's not allowed to discuss agencies elsewhere, I guess it's to prevent problems with defamation and litigation if an agency feels it's been unjustly criticised. In the Blue Board, the agency concerned is notified about comments about it. In a forum it isn't, so it wouldn't even know if it was being smeared, and Proz moderators and staff would have to spend a lot more time monitoring what exactly was said about whom.

I've sometimes wanted to add a Blue Board comment before working for an agency because of how they behaved, but maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to blend that in with the comments from those who have actually worked for them. There could be a separate score for that, perhaps, but features don't evolve quickly on this site (for whatever reason, budgetary or otherwise), so we can probably forget about that.


 

Logan5
United States
Local time: 19:43
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Don't be confused Sheila Nov 5, 2015

I'm only asking to see if anybody has worked with them before (on other projects). If, for example, the agency at hand is generally a reliable agency for transcriptions, but have otherwise no idea about translation business, I'd like to know. After all, I would consider other work from them and not plainly disregard them as being ridiculous.

Like I implied already, the agency in question receives generally positive feedback on the Blue Board which makes me wonder. But we can't all be Sherlock Holmes, can we?

Thanks, Michael, for the hint. I'll check it out.

[Edited at 2015-11-05 23:43 GMT]


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:43
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Try Linkedin Nov 6, 2015

There are other sites where agencies can be discussed by name, whether or not you have actually worked for them, or where inquiries can be made about them.
There are two "groups" on Linked in where this is possible.
I think it's possible here on Proz to start a new Blue Board record for an agency which does not yet have a record here and issue a "call for entries" to see if any Prozians have experience of them.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:43
English to German
+ ...
Real versus fake pros (fakes) Nov 6, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Why do you want to know anything more about an agency that pays €0.01? Surely that's enough information to make you stay well clear. The BB is a record of translators' satisfaction with a client. If they've accepted a rate they can't really complain about it, can they? Only if they don't get paid.


You're right Sheila, but we know what most of these agencies pay, in particular those that keep posting all the cheap jobs. And I understand the poster's frustration about being approached by a company with clearly unprofessional behavior and, on the other hand, their fantastic blueboard record. Why should they deserve such praise when they are just scam-like operations? And why should it not be possible to rate them negatively when they suggest such ridiculous rates? Some colleagues have suggested some other sites where you can add your outrage I suppose.

But what about the great blueboard rating? Does it mean you are dealing with a professional company? In the poster's example, obviously not. They clearly don't deserve the praise and why aren't there any (more) negative assessments on the blueboard for that and many other companies? Because the people leaving the comments don't think there is anything wrong. Who are they?

Since they often leave their positive feedback on the blueboard and other feedback sites elsewhere, it says a lot about those feedback sites and the people listed or commenting there. To any serious translator, it reveals the absolute meaningless of the aforementioned praise and certainly reveals something about the trustworthiness of the site itself - with regard to professional behavior by translators and agencies. And before anyone says that you don't know what the average charge/rate is, you don't have to know. This is a well-established pattern on job portals, especially for posted jobs, but also for many direct contacts by agencies: Everything "at the best rate."

My short advice: the blueboard record does not show you whether a translation agency is professional, or whether this is true of the many translators who left the glorifying assessments. The validity of the blueboard in general for professional behavior is subjective at best.
The people on it who rave about cheap agencies are in a very "special" group because they find nothing wrong with rates of USD .01/word (well not many I hope, that is just idiotic) but even well above that (USD .05/word for example). I would call that group the fake pros, and even though it seems there are a lot of them, they are still fakes and it will show I hold. You need to go mostly after end-clients, and only work with professional agencies.

So there are many people working at the rock bottom of our industry, I assume many of them newcomers. But it does help newcomers to point out that working like that is not professional, it makes a mockery of any display of best practices or professional guidelines and it is, in the long run, a sure recipe for business failure. So all I can say is that this is a dark segment of our industry and you just don't want to go there or accept any such offers, not even when you are just starting out. The more people stay away from it and the lower the rates on the bottom become, the better. The difference between real pros and fakes will be ever more clear. Soon, they'll be suggesting USD 0.00/word for translation and a small fee (USD .005/word) for editing machine translations.

[Edited at 2015-11-06 02:21 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Yes, but you have that information Nov 6, 2015

Logan5 wrote:
I'm only asking to see if anybody has worked with them before (on other projects). If, for example, the agency at hand is generally a reliable agency for transcriptions, but have otherwise no idea about translation business, I'd like to know. After all, I would consider other work from them and not plainly disregard them as being ridiculous.

You know exactly who has worked with them, or at least a small subset of those who have, because they've made entries on the BB. If they have all given top scores then you can suppose that the agency does at least pay out its peanuts. But to address your point above, you can contact those particular translators individually, through their profiles, for more information on their experience. You'll probably find that they are 'hobby' translators (Bernhard's 'fake pros') doing work for peanuts to make ends meet, who are employed elsewhere, unemployed, stay-at-home parents, full-time students, or active retirees doing it more for stimulation than pay. But I hardly think that any agency would be naive enough to be in a business where they have absolutely no idea of the going rate. It amazes me that there are freelancers in that position; surely not agencies tooicon_eek.gif?

Whenever people are able to discuss other people openly, without that person having the right of redress, it ends up with open abuse and unfounded accusations being thrown around. Slander, libel... it just ends in a slanging match and nobody ever knows what's true, what's gossip and what's downright malicious lies. We don't want that here, do we? The forums on LinkedIn etc are good but they take a lot of moderating and I've seen a fair amount of dubious claims on there that I'd be very unhappy about if I were the one being talked about.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:43
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You can ask BB posters directly Nov 6, 2015

Logan5 wrote:
ProZ says, I cannot discuss vendors directly here, neither can I post a BlueBoard entry if I haven't actually worked for that one company.


Yes.

However, if you have full access to the Blue Board, then you can also see which translators posted previous comments about them, and you can mail those translators privately with questions.

So, in essence, I first need to accept, let's say a $0.01 rate, and deliver the work before I can leave a review of that agency for paying too little?


Yes, because you can't know whether an agency pays less than the invoiced amount until you have actually worked for that agency and experienced the underpayment.

Because all I ever see are generally favorable BlueBoard ratings.


I see many agencies with unfavourable ratings. You can sort the agency list in the Blue Board by rating.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:43
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Call for BB-entries Nov 6, 2015

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

But what about the great blueboard rating? Does it mean you are dealing with a professional company? In the poster's example, obviously not. They clearly don't deserve the praise and why aren't there any (more) negative assessments on the blueboard for that and many other companies? Because the people leaving the comments don't think there is anything wrong. Who are they?

Since they often leave their positive feedback on the blueboard and other feedback sites elsewhere, it says a lot about those feedback sites and the people listed or commenting there. To any serious translator, it reveals the absolute meaningless of the aforementioned praise and certainly reveals something about the trustworthiness of the site itself - with regard to professional behavior by translators and agencies. And before anyone says that you don't know what the average charge/rate is, you don't have to know. This is a well-established pattern on job portals, especially for posted jobs, but also for many direct contacts by agencies: Everything "at the best rate."


The answer is often really simple: These companies trade feedback entries. There is one agency in particular that "trades" a positive BB entry for a just positive (and meaningless) WWA's.icon_eek.gif


 

Camille Beaupin
Peru
Member (2010)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Rates and Blue Board Nov 6, 2015

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

The people on it who rave about cheap agencies are in a very "special" group because they find nothing wrong with rates of USD .01/word (well not many I hope, that is just idiotic) but even well above that (USD .05/word for example). I would call that group the fake pros, and even though it seems there are a lot of them, they are still fakes and it will show I hold. You need to go mostly after end-clients, and only work with professional agencies.

So there are many people working at the rock bottom of our industry, I assume many of them newcomers. But it does help newcomers to point out that working like that is not professional, it makes a mockery of any display of best practices or professional guidelines and it is, in the long run, a sure recipe for business failure. So all I can say is that this is a dark segment of our industry and you just don't want to go there or accept any such offers, not even when you are just starting out. The more people stay away from it and the lower the rates on the bottom become, the better. The difference between real pros and fakes will be ever more clear. Soon, they'll be suggesting USD 0.00/word for translation and a small fee (USD .005/word) for editing machine translations.

[Edited at 2015-11-06 02:21 GMT]

Some people should realize that in some parts of the world you can live comfortably working for USD 0.05/word. Some linguistic skills are also better paid than others and not everyone speaks German!
Being a "real" professional translator does not mean that you have to charge what other translators deem suitable for them. It is related to the quality of the work you deliver. Many professional translators charge "low" rates in comparison with what an American translator charges. But so do doctors and engineers. Are they less professional for not being paid in euros or in dollars?
So yes, somes agencies pay low rates in comparison with others. But if they give clear instructions to the translators they work with and pay them on time, there is no reason why they should not receive a 5. Translators are free to look for better paying agencies if they think the rates offered by some of them are too low. To me, the Blue Board is just a way of checking that agencies are reliable partners to work with, that pay their translators.

[Modifié le 2015-11-06 14:02 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:43
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The Blueboard is not about rates Nov 6, 2015

Logan5 wrote:
So, in essence, I first need to accept, let's say a $0.01 rate, and deliver the work before I can leave a review of that agency for paying too little? And even then, I cannot "discuss" this practice with any fellow translator.

The rate is something every translator knows or can ask before accepting a job. We all can thus decide whether it makes sense to work for the customer or not.

The Blueboard, therefore, is not about rates: it is about the desire of a translator to work again for someone, which is of course influenced by how the customer behaved in the business relationship, i.e. whether the customer was a reliable business partner.

If you consciously accept a rate of $0.01 for translation work and your customer sets reasonable expectations, helps you out quickly with any issues or questiones you may have in the process, and honours their commitments (pays the agreed amount on the agreed date), you are not really entitled to give a low score on the Blueboard for them, are you? If would compare to complaining because the $1 hot dog from a street merchant does not taste as good as a $20 steak at a restaurant. You chose the hot dog, the merchant served the hot dog correctly and in the expected sanitary condition... end of the story. Choose the steak next time!


 


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