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Poll: In general, how rigorous are your clients' screening processes for new translators?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:29
SITE STAFF
May 23, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In general, how rigorous are your clients' screening processes for new translators?".

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:29
Member
German to English
+ ...
In general, they vary ... May 23, 2012

They vary between provision of CVs, completion of extensive forms, asking for references and test translations to simply offering me the job after (presumably) having read my profile on here.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Very May 23, 2012

My clients don't usually look elsewhere, but one client recently asked me to recommend translators for Italian and French. My usual French collaborators were all busy, but my Italian colleague was available, and was asked to do a test translation. In the end, they refused her the job because she made 2 very minor mistakes - I had the test revised by a qualified 3rd party who initially saw nothing wrong with the sample translation, but later detected a couple of Spanish-influenced turns of phrase which were strictly not 100% Italian-sounding.

I think their Italian branch must have had someone already lined up for the job, because otherwise they are not usually so fussy.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:29
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Agree with Mary May 23, 2012

Yes, of course, they vary. The question can only be answered in a meaningful way by translators who only have one client, or one predominant client. It seems to me that the only way most of us could answer this is "Other/NA"

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:29
Member (2008)
English to Italian
same for me and.. May 23, 2012

Mary Worby wrote:

They vary between provision of CVs, completion of extensive forms, asking for references and test translations to simply offering me the job after (presumably) having read my profile on here.



Same for me, and I add, the longest processes led to nothing, the shortest ones to very long cooperations


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 01:29
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Recommendation May 23, 2012

Most of my new clients are on the strength of my previous work.

However, there is an alarming tendency for companies to demand financial documentation in Spain (being up to date with national insurance payments etc) which is a pain to provide and galling: surely it should be me asking them for reassurance of financial stability....

So this is a case of adminstrative screening, which I understand does in fact come under the umbrella of quality control these days.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 08:29
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Very rigorous May 23, 2012

Is how I voted.

Yet, in a lot of cases, I wish that the amount of work they had sent me was proportionate to the number of flaming hoops they made me jump through.
I have often found that the size of the carrot was grossly over-exaggerated.

Small edit



[Edited at 2012-05-23 13:33 GMT]


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Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:29
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
It depends May 23, 2012

As others pointed out, some clients (in my case those who became regular clients) just assign the project and others require tons of agreements, forms, references, etc.

There are also potential clients that want to look serious and ask for test translations of texts that are available online in both languages. They are too cheap to hire an editor and probably just compare the target translation with the text available online. I had such a test once and it "didn't get a positive feedback from their editor", probably because I was one of those translators who didn't just copy the translation available online, but actually did the test.


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 01:29
English to French
+ ...
Other May 23, 2012

Varies a lot, from a simple CV or recommendation, to crosschecking translations or the administrative and financial lot (usually public bodies - the EU for instance)

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Decipherit  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:29
Portuguese to English
+ ...
In many cases TOO rigorous May 23, 2012

Clients who are 'in the business' (i.e. translation agencies) should educate their staff to know that translators with certain qualifications (e.g. the Dip. Trans.) can be reasonably trusted to produce a competent translation. Reading and signing endless 'Terms and Conditions' and NDAs probably puts the more competent translators off because they know they can get the work with less hoop-jumping elsewhere. What I really can't bear is requests for referees, which I will only provide under extreme duress when there's a (very good) job on the table. We're all busy people and hassling my valued clients for references that are only going to fall into a black hole on someone's database is just something I point-blank refuse to do. We don't ask lawyers and accountants for references, we simply trust in the value of their qualifications and so it should be for translators, IMHO.

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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:29
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with Gianluca and Lisa May 23, 2012

I have also found that initial requirements for completion of forms (which then have to be printed, scanned and sent back) and test translations typically lead to nothing.

On the other hand, I have received offers out of the blue for substantial work at good rates from new clients, merely on the strength of my ATA and/or proz.com profile. These parties have typically asked only that I complete the paperwork at my convenience after I've turned in the project.

I obviously prefer the latter agencies.

Because of these experiences, I in general don't have much patience any more for demands for upfront paperwork.


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:29
Member (2006)
German to English
Not really May 23, 2012

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

Clients who are 'in the business' (i.e. translation agencies) should educate their staff to know that translators with certain qualifications (e.g. the Dip. Trans.) can be reasonably trusted to produce a competent translation.


Hi Lisa, sorry but I do not quite agree with you there, just having a title is absolutely no guarantee about anything, bein a lawyer or any other occupation. I have had this experience with diploma doc prof translators as well as incompetent lawyers.

Trial and error.


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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:29
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Varied .... May 23, 2012

I've been picking up regular clients since I started out freelancing in 2004 and I don't remember any particular trends. I also don't seem to be taking on that many new clients right now. (e.g. This year, from 1 Jan until today I've only worked for 5 new clients). Three of them asked for samples (a test translation of a couple of paragraphs on the actual texts to be translated) - the other two approached me after personal recommendation, so for them I was already effectively 'screened'.

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Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:29
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
References May 23, 2012

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

What I really can't bear is requests for referees, which I will only provide under extreme duress when there's a (very good) job on the table. We're all busy people and hassling my valued clients for references that are only going to fall into a black hole on someone's database is just something I point-blank refuse to do. We don't ask lawyers and accountants for references, we simply trust in the value of their qualifications and so it should be for translators, IMHO.


Yes, I totally agree on that. First of all I don´t like asking for references from my clients and I cancel any application if I am asked to provide full names and contact details of my clients or previous employers. It is insane. Even if most of the times nobody contacts anybody, I don´t like the idea of somebody completely strange calling or emailing my clients for such reasons. They are all busy people and it is more probable that I would loose a good client, instead of finding a new one.

If possible, I give the link to my WWA entries and that´s all.

References should only be accepted for employment reasons, not for B2B relationships. In our cases some feedback on professional websites like this or directories like LinkedIn should be more than enough. Eventually, those who want to, can publish references on their websites.

This is also virtually unacceptable in the translation business, since confidentiality is one of the professional standards (even if you don´t sign an agreement).


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:29
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not rigorous May 23, 2012

In my experience, agencies are usually mostly interested in having you sign their contract and NDA and then you never hear from them again. I have rarely been asked to do a test and when agencies ask for references, I refer them to my profile, where there are several WWA entries. I think my profile and resume tell them everything they need to know, I have little to add to that.

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