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Poll: Would you support a Blue Board for translators?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:39
SITE STAFF
Nov 24, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you support a Blue Board for translators?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ingo Dierkschnieder

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


 

Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:39
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
What's that? Nov 24, 2009

I don't understand what a 'blue board for translators' is, please clarify.

 

Brannigan
Italy
Local time: 14:39
Italian to English
+ ...
Thread yesterday dealt with this topic? Nov 24, 2009

Dan Brennan started a thread yesterday on this, if I've understood correctly what is meant here by a BB for translators. There are some insightful replies there. See the heading "black lists for translators".

 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:39
Oh, no! Nov 24, 2009

I should have voted "No" instead of yes...

 

Maria Drangel  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 14:39
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
I think probably "no" Nov 24, 2009

I am thinking that as there is no way of checking that the person giving the rating has actually worked together with the translator there is a risk of some translator being "attacked" by competitors who give poor ratings to someone they have never worked for.

This is probably an unlikely scenario but in case it is created I think that in order to give a rating one must be a paying client otherwise one individual could register several profiles and give poor (or good) ratings in different names to the same translator.


 

PRAKAASH  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 18:09
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
It already exists Nov 24, 2009

It already exists as people commented below have reminded me too in form of WWA entries.

Giving negative feedbacks is something, I don't think should be a leisure of outsourcers in this forum of translators because of unhealthy practices and unhealthy competition in our field. At least in Indian localization industry, the unhealthy practices are at the top nowadays.

Very well said below that 'employee of the month' would be the translator sleeping for 3 hours and charging only USD 0.01 per word. Greedy (but not all) agencies will go for such cheap stuff and award him/her surely. Perfectly true!

: PRAKAASH


[Edited at 2009-11-24 10:31 GMT]


 

Maximiliano Jozami  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ridiculous! It will take us back to slavery! Nov 24, 2009

I am totally against it. Free market died centuries ago, so agencies already have a strong power when defining our rates, schedules, etc... This "BB" would only give them another option to increase our exploitation...

How many agencies have requested you to work with anti-human schedules, deadlines, etc.? How many times were you forced to say 'no' due to these working conditions?

With this "BB for translators", agencies would now be able to punish those of us who do not accept such conditions.

I even had the case of a well-known agency who lowered the rates in the middle of an important project and, when I complained... They were upset and offended!!!! If such sthing as a BB for translators existed, what LWA do you think they would have entered????

It is ridiculous! If applied, there should also be an "Employee of the Month" picture. I can already bet who will win: the guy who accepted to sleep only 3 hours a day during the last three weeks, for USD 0.01 per source word!


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It already exists Nov 24, 2009

You already have the "Willingness to Work Again" in Proz.com. I think that information is more than enough to help agencies find adequate translators.

The problem for agencies comes when they hire translators with no credentials verified in Proz.com, no positive WWA, no good Kudoz ratings, no samples posted in their profiles... just because they don't want to pay the rate of a translator with solid credentials.

If they go for the cheaper option and hire a translator without testing him/her thoroughly, it should come as no surprise if the results is not what they expected...


 

rocca_m
Italy
Local time: 14:39
English to Italian
+ ...
No, it's a matter of power Nov 24, 2009

I read in other discussions that many translators don't write negative comments in the agencies' Blue Board because they are afraid of not working again. The single translator, on the other hand, would be exposed to negative feedbacks without a chance of defending his/her job, because he/she is at the end of "the food chain" and could be attacked by anyone.

 

Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:39
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
With you Tomás Nov 24, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

It already exists

You already have the "Willingness to Work Again" in Proz.com. I think that information is more than enough to help agencies find adequate translators.
I also think it already exists with the WWA, that's why I don't understand the question...


 

Wil Hardman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good idea in theory but... Nov 24, 2009

The idea of having a list of translators who have been tried and tested would in theory be useful for potential outsourcers, however I can envisage a lot of potential problems.

There is the possibility of unfair negative comments, as others have mentioned, which could be given for purely personal reasons. Also the fact that PMs of large agencies are very often not linguists themselves and therefore not necessarily qualified to pass judgement on a translator's abilities.

Another issue is that the Blueboard, I'm guessing, was fundamentally set up to protect freelancers from bogus agencies that do not pay, as freelance translators very often have limited means to chase up such agencies and are in a vulnerable position. By introducing a Blueboard for translators it could potentially put them in a more vulnerable position and even damage people's careers.

Do we really need it? I think the means currently available to someone looking to outsource work are ample - e.g. translator profiles, CVs, WWA, Kudos, verification of qualifications, pro-status, etc. Personally, I'm quite happy selecting translators to work with based on the information that is currently available to me.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:39
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The downside of it Nov 24, 2009

There is already, the WWA. I think that first the present Blue Board for outsourcers should undergo some improvement. How about benchmarking with ... on this specific aspect? I guess I'm not allowed to mention Proz competitors' names here. I think I've mentioned somewhere what I think should be done, won't repeat it here.

What are the pitfalls of a Blue Board for translators?

1. It opens the door for undue retaliation by agencies. Everything was okay, but the agency wants to pay the translator less and much later than agreed. Translator doesn't like it, and gives the agency a LWA = 3. Agency resents that, and gives translator a WWA = 1, saying that s/he is money-hungry.

2. Evaluator not knowledgeable and/or biased. Job was okay, delivered on time. The agency, unfamiliar with the target language, hires a proofreader, who hapens to be a translator riding a low tide. That proofreader wants to market their wares as a translator, so s/he makes a gazillion cosmetic changes to assert that the translator is as bad as it gets. This proofreader starts getting translation jobs from that agency, and a possibly good translator's record is unduly tarnished.

3. Translator forced out of their specialty. An agency needs a translator specialized in some subject, but that's too expensive. So they lure a standard nonspecialist to translate, saying that competent editing will be available (while they know it won't). The outcome is predictable, so agency gets in trouble with end-client who won't take that dreck. While that agency never bothered to post anything on the translators Blue Board, this time they'll certainly do it, to morally recover their loss.

This could go on and on, and the point here is that a somewhat large e-courthouse would be required to examine evidence and rule on alleged abuse. Not worth the trouble.


Considering what I wrote above, it may seem that I consider all translators "good", and all agencies "evil". Definitely wrong! What I meant was that a translators' Blue Board would cause trouble if and when such were the case.

I think a "good" agency would have - and most of them do - an effective screening device to keep "bad" translators away. That's one duty they really owe to their clients


 

PRAKAASH  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 18:09
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
An absolute no to such an idea! Nov 24, 2009

Wil Hardman wrote:

There is the possibility of unfair negative comments, as others have mentioned, which could be given for purely personal reasons. Also the fact that PMs of large agencies are very often not linguists themselves and therefore not necessarily qualified to pass judgement on a translator's abilities.

Another issue is that the Blueboard, I'm guessing, was fundamentally set up to protect freelancers from bogus agencies that do not pay, as freelance translators very often have limited means to chase up such agencies and are in a vulnerable position. By introducing a Blueboard for translators it could potentially put them in a more vulnerable position and even damage people's careers.



That's perfectly true. PMs and managers of large agencies are not the perfect linguists to pass a judgement on a translator's abilities. They should not be allowed a liberty to exploit their hardworking freelancers or translators by threatening them to have negative feedbacks, especially by Indian agencies. Let them search for good translators as good translators always are in a search of good clients, who pay good money and that too, promptly.

: PRAKAASH


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
-= NO =- Nov 24, 2009

As I've already mentioned I find this idea quite ridiculous.

IF an agency tested and proved that a translator is ok,
+
the translator looked at the sample and said he would cope with it on time
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
how it's possible that he appeared to be a 'bad' translator?


IMO it's initially the very agency fault and liability.
Please, no excuses are accepted! Even just to save ones' face.

But if you really like more BB's then consider adding BB for client, BB for the staff, BB for the forum, BB for jobs, BB for BB and so on.

Cheers


 

Cecilia Civetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:39
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
To that 52% answering YES and not posting here... Nov 24, 2009

Could you explain what the advantages would be?
To me, it sounds like an obnoxious idea.


 
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