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Low Blue Board ratings due to low outsourcer rates -- what do you think?
Thread poster: Maciek Drobka

Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:17
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Sep 21, 2007

Hi,

(Not sure this is the right forum to post this.)

There's one thing that never fails to amaze me when I browse Blue Board entries for outsourcers on ProZ.com, and I would like fellow Prozians to share their views on the matter.

The amazing thing that I fail to grasp with my limited mental capability is that some translators will rate an outsourcer 4, 3, or even 2 (one instance) PURELY because the outsourcer's rates are, let me use a general label, 'on the low side'. I specifically mean comments that include NO OTHER complaint than low rates.

Please note I also do not mean comments about rates lowered after completing a job for one reason or another, or while the job was still in progress.

The general tone of the comments I'm talking about is somewhat like this, 'I like them, done several projects for them, (the PMs are nice, nice communication, etc.), but their rates are too low/are on the low side/could be higher, etc.'

I think it is utterly unprofessional AND dishonest to complain about an outsourcer or criticize them for rates that you have agreed to. If you don't like your rates with an outsourcer, negotiate up or dump them. Why lower their BB rating using criteria I believe BB wasn't made for? It's as simple as that for me.

Now, what do YOU think?

Maciek


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:17
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
I agree with you Sep 21, 2007

Maciek Drobka wrote:
I think it is utterly unprofessional AND dishonest to complain about an outsourcer or criticize them for rates that you have agreed to. If you don't like your rates with an outsourcer, negotiate up or dump them


And never gave a low BB rate for a reason like that,
but I think this is in the purpose of the BB (together with late payments) since BB is intended "Likelihood of working again" with a given outsourcer.

bye bye

[Edited at 2007-09-21 10:44]


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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 08:17
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
Agree Sep 21, 2007

Yes, Ive noticed this characteristic too - overall an outsorcer has great reviews but somebody has given lower rating just because the rates are not as high as they would want. I completely agree - if you dont like the rates, dont work for the agency/client. I mean, an outsorcer should be judged by other criteria (job ethic and things like that). When you accept a job from an outsorcer you obviously have done some research and should be aware what their rates are like.
Talking of ratings, there is one other phenomenon which puzzles me: some outsorcers seem to have "excellent" periods and "dreadful" periods. I mean some freelancers are extatic and name it the best agency ever while others claim its the worst ever outsorcer which should be avoided at all costs. I wonder how is that possible - does an outsorcer pull their act together for some time and then suddenly for some reason they fall to pieces?


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 07:17
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Likelyhood to Work Again Sep 21, 2007

The general tone of the comments I'm talking about is somewhat like this, 'I like them, done several projects for them, (the PMs are nice, nice communication, etc.), but their rates are too low/are on the low side/could be higher, etc.'

... so it not very likely I will work again for them. So?
I think it is utterly unprofessional AND dishonest to complain about an outsourcer or criticize them for rates that you have agreed to.


Huh?! My LWA - and so is the whole idea of LWA thought out - is not a critique, neither is it a complaint or a revenge.

My first order paid 3 (US!) cents per word and it was somewhere close to 50 thousand words. This price I see as a market price, discounted for my learning curve, so, looking back, it's fine with me. However, I did pay my learning dues and I do not think I would ever work for this client again. Not at this price. (*).

Every second a sucker is born. I admit I am one. I just do not intend to be a sucker reborn again and again and again. And why not let my colleagues know about it?


* No, they're not in BB, they would probably roll on the floor laughing if faced with this possibility. Btw, I'm sure you would recognize the client if I just wrote down say two letters from their name

[Edited at 2007-09-21 11:12]


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Catherine Piéret  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:17
English to French
+ ...
Agree too Sep 21, 2007

I find this valuation "abusive" as no freelancer is forced to work with an outsourcer proposing low rates.

To my opinion, the criteria to valuate an outsourcer is his organization, the availability in responding to potential questions to clarify some points, the courtesy (personally I don't like people who let you feel as their slave, I chose to work as freelancer not to have boss, if not the client...) and, least but not last, the respect of payment delays.

In some word, BB should be used to indicate outsourcers who don't respect the terms and conditions initially agreed with the freelancer.

These negatice ratings are excessive and reflect some frustrations from people who, after accepting a badly-paid job, want to attract attention of the others of a practice they previously agreed.

Wish you the best, Maciek.

Catherine


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:17
English to German
+ ...
LWA = likelihood of working again Sep 21, 2007

Here's what the site glossary says:


Blue Board LWA - Likelihood of Working Again (with a given outsourcer.) A number from 1 to 5 that refers to the numerical portion of an entry, with 1 being the least likely and 5 being the most likely.


This is all there is to it.
The BB is not a payment practices list, but prices paid and orderly settlement do play a role, obviously. If the prices paid by an outsourcer are low in comparison to others, but you still like to work for them again (for whatever reason - good cooperation and support, steady flow of business, etc.), it's perfectly feasible for the LWA to be high. Likewise, if you don't like to work for that outsourcer again, LWA will be low(er).

Best regards,
Ralf


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:17
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Look historically Sep 21, 2007

Vito Smolej wrote:

(...)

My first order paid 3 (US!) cents per word and it was somewhere close to 50 thousand words.

(...)


But you were happy with the 3 cents/word you got at the time, weren't you?

My point is that if you decide at some point that the rate an outsourcer offers is too low for you and you cannot move up, the more appropriate decision is to quit rather than criticise them.

M


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:17
English to German
+ ...
Change in behaviour and/or perception Sep 21, 2007

Hi bramasole,

Talking of ratings, there is one other phenomenon which puzzles me: some outsorcers seem to have "excellent" periods and "dreadful" periods. I mean some freelancers are extatic and name it the best agency ever while others claim its the worst ever outsorcer which should be avoided at all costs. I wonder how is that possible - does an outsorcer pull their act together for some time and then suddenly for some reason they fall to pieces?

Sadly, that happens: during the almost five years of Jobs/BB moderator coverage, we have seen several examples of outsourcers whose average LWA deteriorated rather sharply. In some cases, they managed to get their act together again - in others, the story ended with insolvency.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:17
French to English
As others have said Sep 21, 2007

Maciek Drobka wrote:
But you were happy with the 3 cents/word you got at the time, weren't you?

My point is that if you decide at some point that the rate an outsourcer offers is too low for you and you cannot move up, the more appropriate decision is to quit rather than criticise them.



And if you "quit", then your likelihood of working again with them is pretty low. wouldn't you say?

Altho' the BB is sometimes perceived as being somekind of payment blacklist in disguise, this example is actually a very good example of why there is more to it than that. And quite frankly, if agencies pay low rates, why not draw attention to it?


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 08:17
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
The system works like it should Sep 21, 2007

I agree with Ralf. LWA is not simply "black and white" and that is why there are five different levels instead of just two.

When the client's communication, payment practices, projects and rates are all fine, I *prefer to work for them* and I give them a 5. If I find their rate on the low side, or they sometimes have delays in payments, I do not necessarily drop them, but they are not as high on my "priority list". In my opinion, the LWA rating reflects this.

By the way, I do not think 4 is a bad rating, but it does say there is room for improvement in some respect. And there is a difference between a 4 that consists of all 4's and a 4 that consists of some 5's and some 1's to 3's. Which one do you think is more trustworthy?


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 07:17
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
The question is - should one write about it or not? Sep 21, 2007

My point is that if you decide at some point that the rate an outsourcer offers is too low for you and you cannot move up, the more appropriate decision is to quit rather than criticise them.

You let BB out here - and the question is of course, why put it on BB first of all.

Imagine I am an agent that asks you to do 50.000 for nothing , for zilch, nitchevo, nada cents - it comes up late into discussions and your eyes are all glassy and you are all pumped up for the most important job of the century. Later - after learning your lesson - you may have a different opinion. And some experience to report on.

I think you would do others a favor to warn them "I was suckered in and shortchanged" - because so may be you, dear BB visitor. If the comments are written this way, I think it's fine. See my few BB entries by the way.

If, however, it sounds like "that sob ... I swear I'll never ever ..." that it just missed big on the whole idea. And I have a reason to believe our guardian angels nip this kind of BS in a bud anyhow.

Would you agree to this either / or?

Regards
[EDIT] and of course there's a grey area between the two. Has to do with human greed, self-esteem, fear, need of appreciation ... Quite a Rashomon, if one starts to think about it.

[Edited at 2007-09-21 11:58]


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 07:17
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I've give a rating on this basis before Sep 21, 2007

I have given a customer of mine a "4" rating before. I don't work for her often, but sometimes if she phones up and has something and I'm in between jobs, then I take on work from her, normally small jobs just to "keep me out of trouble". She's a pleasure to work with - always helpful if I have any questions, always polite on the phone, always pays on time. But her rates per word are slightly lower than my standard rates.

That's the only reason I gave her a "4" and not a "5".

I think that this it is perfectly reasonable to factor the price into account when rating your customers on the blue board. As Ralf said, this rating expresses your likelyhood of working for this customer again.

So if she phones up with work, but I've already got an enquiry from a higher paying customer, then I'm less likely to work for her than for the other customer. Simple as that.

My 2 Cents.

Alison


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:17
English to German
+ ...
I disagree ... Sep 21, 2007

as long as people rate a low LWA and then explain that it is only due to low rates, which means everything else was just fine.

The rate is what I can negotiate up front, so I know what I will be paid. On the BB, I am far more interested in how a client handles communication and payment.

What I do not like, are low LWAs without explanation, why they are low, because they always leave you with a bad taste in your mouth and you wonder: What went wrong that they could not tell here?

And on the other hand: Open words enable you to take action. If you know that translators, you co-operate with, are not content with the money you pay and are not happy with taking a job from you, you just look for someone else, who is happy with what you have to offer.

So in the end it all works out.


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:17
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I do not understand your example? Sep 21, 2007

Vito Smolej wrote:

Imagine I am an agent that asks you to do 50.000 for nothing , for zilch, nitchevo, nada cents - it comes up late into discussions and your eyes are all glassy and you are all pumped up for the most important job of the century. Later - after learning your lesson - you may have a different opinion. And some experience to report on.


Please excuse me, Vito, but I said earlier my mental capabilities were limited.

I do not understand why I should wet my pants over a job that pays nothing.

I understand the either/or later on in your posting, but fail to see the link with the zero pay job example above.

M


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:17
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More or less my point of view Sep 21, 2007

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:

The rate is what I can negotiate up front, so I know what I will be paid. On the BB, I am far more interested in how a client handles communication and payment.


That's more or less how I see things. I understand BB is for giving feedback on your business relationship with an outsourcer WITHIN what you have agreed.

Rates as agreed = likely to work again; otherwise, unlikely to work again.
Payment terms as agreed = likely to work again; otherwise, unlikely to work again.
Communication prompt and smooth = likely to work again; otherwise, unlikely to work again.
... etc.

M


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