Agency blames Proz.com for its bad blueboard rating
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 1, 2016

I was contacted late last week for a large project. I checked the agency's rating on the Blueboard and found more than fifty 1s for non-payment as well as two related companies also with a poor payment history. I also discovered they had been banned from posting jobs on proz.

I replied that due to their poor blueboard rating, I would not be able to work for them.

They responded as follows:
"Is this on Proz?
We mainly have that reputation due to us sponsoring [name of another translation agency] which is their competition.
You can check our profiles on Upwrok [sic] on [sic] Freelancer to check our payment reputation."


[Edited at 2016-08-01 01:07 GMT]


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
What was that? Aug 1, 2016

LegalTransform wrote:

They responded as follows:
"Is this on Proz?
We mainly have that reputation due to us sponsoring [name of another translation agency] which is their competition.



[Edited at 2016-08-01 00:33 GMT]


Another translation agency which is the competition of Proz?
What are they talking about? Give me a break.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 05:22
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Proz's stance Aug 1, 2016

LegalTransform wrote:

They responded as follows:
"Is this on Proz?
We mainly have that reputation due to us sponsoring [name of another translation agency] which is their competition.


I understand that Proz is a marketplace. It is not a court that fairly judges the respective credentials. It welcomes all good reputation and it hesitates to announce negative information to both translators and translation agencies.

Regards,

Soonthon L.


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Laura Kingdon  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:22
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
Yeah, sure. Aug 1, 2016

LegalTransform wrote:

I was contacted late last week for a large project. I checked the agency's rating on the Blueboard and found more than fifty 1s for non-payment as well as two related companies also with a poor payment history. I also discovered they had been banned from posting jobs on proz.

I replied that due to their poor blueboard rating, I would not be able to work for them.

They responded as follows:
"Is this on Proz?
We mainly have that reputation due to us sponsoring [name of another translation agency] which is their competition.
You can check our profiles on Upwrok [sic] on [sic] Freelancer to check our payment reputation."


[Edited at 2016-08-01 01:07 GMT]


So their position is that ProZ somehow induced more than fifty translators to give bad ratings for non-payment as some sort of strategy to hurt agencies that compete with ProZ (which does not at all function as a translation agency)? I think that may be one of the least plausible excuses I've ever heard.


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Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 01:22
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
50+ negative entries??? Aug 1, 2016

BTW, freelance.com and upwork.com are the worst marektplaces for translators. These platforms are quite good for IT specialists, but translators are offered absolute peanuts there.

Which means that if a company has a good rating there, you have to eventually come to certain conclusions...


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:22
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Hmm Aug 1, 2016

If these translators, who gave the 1-ratings, are real people, then what does ProZ.com have to do with their bad reputation? And there are other sites to check an agency's reputation.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:22
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
4, 3 and 2 are often quite subjective Aug 1, 2016

The comments for those intermediate ratings are often highly subjective and personal, problems with an individual PM, poor (but not awful) communication, etc. A 1 is often highly objective, as in: they wanted my labour but didn't see the need to pay for it! There, one or two might have delivered such abysmal quality that payment wasn't due - the "translator" was a scammer. But 99.9% will be justified in complaining.

I had some experience with Freelancer.com a few years ago (although no work) and can well imagine that there their reputation would be different. Everything is managed through the site and the site is responsible for releasing, or refusing to release, the payment to the translator. Maybe in that case the translator has to chase the site rather than the client, but I imagine complaints about the site's management get squashed, making translators voiceless. If that does indeed happen, then it's the BB record that's the true reflection of the company.

Are they actually saying that ProZ.com is inventing the profiles and claiming non-payment? Or that ProZ.com is encouraging its members to make false allegations? If so, that might perhaps be something the site owners would want to act against. If I were you, I would send a copy of that email in a support ticket. It would be interesting to see how they react.


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Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:22
Serbian to English
+ ...
50+ negative entries??? Aug 1, 2016

how could it ever get to THAT number?

You would expect that after 10 or 20 negative entries other translators would take the hint and avoid that agency like the plague, wouldn't you?

All that supposing that there is no need to get into wild speculations about all sorts of dirty tricks!

BTW, no one stops you from requesting payment in advance [for the total amount or in small chunks as the work is delivered], in which case the BB score becomes irrelevant. That's a sensible practice anyway for large contracts, good payers or not.

[Edited at 2016-08-01 10:33 GMT]


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:22
Member (2014)
English to German
No reason not to work with them... Aug 1, 2016

...as long as they pay in advance, and if it is a larger project then I would accept payment in instalments - as long as it is advance payment.

[Edited at 2016-08-01 11:49 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 00:22
English to Croatian
+ ...
Down payment. Aug 1, 2016

Down payment is not always a safe way to build trust. I had an agency that readily sent me down payment on our first project (never worked with each other before) and once we built trust on a big project, they ended up owing me money for another smaller project. In other words it's not always black and white with agencies, there are grey zones too.

I have no experience with Upwork or Freelancer but I heard the running rates there were $0.01 per word or lower.


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Laura Kingdon  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:22
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
I was on Upwork for a while Aug 1, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

Down payment is not always a safe way to build trust. I had an agency that readily sent me down payment on our first project (never worked with each other before) and once we built trust on a big project, they ended up owing me money for another smaller project. In other words it's not always black and white with agencies, there are grey zones too.

I have no experience with Upwork or Freelancer but I heard the running rates there were $0.01 per word or lower.


I had one excellent client through Upwork, but most jobs there are like, "Need 5 pages translated. Pay $10." Plus, they put all the translation jobs together, so you have to sift through everything rather than sorting by language pairs you might actually be able to translate. It's not worth the trouble in our profession.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:22
Member (2008)
French to English
Discovering the BlueBoard Aug 1, 2016

Daryo wrote:

50+ negative entries???

how could it ever get to THAT number?

You would expect that after 10 or 20 negative entries other translators would take the hint and avoid that agency like the plague, wouldn't you?



Quite simple, after being burned, translators wonder what they can do about it and discover the BlueBoard.

I'm curious to know in what way they are "sponsoring" Proz.com's competition. From my observation, outsourcers with a negative rating on the BB also have negative ratings on the two other main rating websites.

I agree that a down payment or deposit is unsafe. What guarantee do you have that you will ever see the balance? IMO, it's much safer to give terms to an outsourcer with a great payment reputation than to offer any credit at all (the balance after the deposit) to an unknown or disreputable client.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:22
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There's more to a business relationship than payment Aug 1, 2016

Daryo wrote:
BTW, no one stops you from requesting payment in advance [for the total amount or in small chunks as the work is delivered], in which case the BB score becomes irrelevant. That's a sensible practice anyway for large contracts, good payers or not.

Certainly good advice for large jobs from any source - we can't live on air! But payment in advance wouldn't encourage me to work with a company with that sort of BB record. Non-payment is certainly the worst crime in the book, but it's far from the only one that really bad agencies commit. I had one horrible experience with an agency that messed me about something rotten during the entire process. What should have been a quick and relatively easy job turned into a total nightmare. True, I was kept waiting for my money for about 70 days, but I'd decided well before the payment due date that I should never have accepted the assignment. Apart from ending up earning an hourly fee of less than half my normal one due to their stupid administration, constant changes of requirements and lack of clear communication, I also felt as though I'd been abused. Money in the bank nowhere near compensates for that.


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Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:22
Serbian to English
+ ...
there surely other elements to take into account Aug 5, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Daryo wrote:
BTW, no one stops you from requesting payment in advance [for the total amount or in small chunks as the work is delivered], in which case the BB score becomes irrelevant. That's a sensible practice anyway for large contracts, good payers or not.

Certainly good advice for large jobs from any source - we can't live on air! But payment in advance wouldn't encourage me to work with a company with that sort of BB record. Non-payment is certainly the worst crime in the book, but it's far from the only one that really bad agencies commit. I had one horrible experience with an agency that messed me about something rotten during the entire process. What should have been a quick and relatively easy job turned into a total nightmare. True, I was kept waiting for my money for about 70 days, but I'd decided well before the payment due date that I should never have accepted the assignment. Apart from ending up earning an hourly fee of less than half my normal one due to their stupid administration, constant changes of requirements and lack of clear communication, I also felt as though I'd been abused. Money in the bank nowhere near compensates for that.


Agree entirely with you - having to deal with sensible and professional people is even more important than money!


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