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Poll: Are you comfortable with bidding on jobs that require three or more references?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:46
SITE STAFF
Jun 11, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are you comfortable with bidding on jobs that require three or more references?".

This poll was originally submitted by ravi kumar. View the poll results »



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xxxchristela
No Jun 11, 2012

Cannot give my references. Am under NDA.

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Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not even one reference Jun 11, 2012

I am not even comfortable about providing one reference.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:46
Member (2006)
German to English
Dito Jun 11, 2012

Noni Gilbert wrote:

I am not even comfortable about providing one reference.


And for those that have requested one, I have not worked with them.


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Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:46
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
references Jun 11, 2012

- I never ask references from my clients.
- I am not comfortable sending my clients' full names and contact details to third parties.
- I would not like it at all if my clients/collaborators would be bothered by phone or email for such things. It is annoying and time consuming and it could cost me a client.
- I grew up in a country where most reference letters aren't reliable. Since school and university, if I would ask a teacher to give me a reference letter, they would ALL tell me directly to write it myself (because they don't have time apparently) and then they would only sign it. In my first translation months I asked a client to give me a reference letter as well and the process was the same. For this and other reasons I can not trust reference letters of any kind.
- I do believe that ProZ.com WWA's or feedback on LinkedIn or other similar directories are way more reliable and should be more than enough for any potential client or any job.

Answering the question, I don't apply for jobs if I am asked to provide references.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:46
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Absolutely not Jun 11, 2012

I regard it as a breach of confidence to inform my clients about each other.

Admittedly, one or two have kindly given me references in the past, and did not appear to object, but in principle it is not their business who else I work for. Now I refer to the LWA entries on my profile, and leave it at that. Two out of three were unsolicited.

I am totally loyal to the client whose project I am working on at any time, but as soon as it is delivered, my loyalties move to the next client. In the end, I am loyal to my own principles and the codes of conduct I have signed, and those must be sufficient.
_____________________________

That is one difference between freelancers and employees. Oddly enough, I have just read a very good blog in Danish about references for those seeking employment. The writer (Bodil Damkjær) gives some very good advice.

If a client wants to see my style, then there are samples in my portfolio and I am willing to do short tests. They should not take longer than the business of getting a reference, for those with scruples about 'working for free'. Don't foget the time the referee has to spend checking your work and deciding what to say in a reference.
Paying for that time would be inappropriate!

Check my exam certificates and credentials all you like, but no references.


[Edited at 2012-06-11 08:52 GMT]


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Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:46
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
No Jun 11, 2012

Veronica Lupascu wrote:
- I am not comfortable sending my clients' full names and contact details to third parties.
- I would not like it at all if my clients/collaborators would be bothered by phone or email for such things. It is annoying and time consuming and it could cost me a client.

Answering the question, I don't apply for jobs if I am asked to provide references.


For the reasons that Veronica stated I find jobs that ask for references extremely off-putting. I don't consider it appropriate to be asked to provide references when I'm being applying for work as a freelancer. It would be a different matter if I was to apply for a permanent in house post.

In addition, it is a hassle for what may well turn out to be a short one-off piece of work. Accordingly, I would be extremely unlikely to bid for such jobs.


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Filipa Plant dos Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:46
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
Never. Jun 11, 2012

I would not apply for jobs requiring references from clients. Firstly, I have only worked with direct clients twice in my entire career, and secondly, the very idea of bothering them with requests of this type are completely barmy. They're busy people, and how I get my jobs is not their problem. I find the very idea ridiculous.
I have been asked by agencies to provide references, and apart from the one reference that I am able to provide (from my old employer), I explain the situation - that I've never really worked with direct clients, and that seems to be ok. If they insisted, I'd give up on that agency.


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:46
German to English
+ ...
No Jun 11, 2012

I have a two degrees, accreditation to an FIT-affiliated translators' institute, 25 years' experience. All this information is available here on ProZ, LinkedIn, and my website.

A request for additional validation of my translation skills from a non-translator client indicates to me a certain degree of mistrust on the part of the person asking for the information, and takes us into the realm of sheer illogicality.

Besides which, one hundred references attesting to my excellence, etc. are not worth a dime if (God forbid!) I happen to make a major blunder on a single 1,000-word translation because of a major unforeseen personal crisis, or some such.

All of the above does not mean I do not appreciate unsolicited words of enthusiasm and appreciation from clients for work that I have done. That sort of thing makes my day, but I see no need to formalise it, or publish and distribute such things for those curious for trivia which becomes meaningless out of context.

Coming to think of it, one could argue that my ProZ profile is somewhat misrepresentational, since my best work, and my best clients get no mention there, nor do they mention me.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:46
Hebrew to English
It's just not standard practice, is it? Jun 11, 2012

Not in this line of work....and Christine is right, this is what LWAs are for and if the detailed minutiae of my life posted online isn't enough, then a few hackneyed references won't make a difference anyway.

So, no I wouldn't apply/bid on jobs requesting ANY references and I wouldn't lose sleep over it either.

[Edited at 2012-06-11 09:02 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jun 11, 2012

In fact, at the risk of sounding pompous or worse, I am not even comfortable with the notion of "bidding" for work per se, which I equate more with buying material goods and properties than "selling" oneself, and perceive as somehow unseemly.

Basically, I prefer to offer my services directly and if competition arises, bow out gracefully. As for requests for references, nowadays my reaction tends to be "google me", which is probably not all that sensible or professional a policy ... but hey, a leopard can't change its spots.


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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:46
Portuguese to English
+ ...
What other self-employed professionals provide references? Jun 11, 2012

When you hire a lawyer or accountant do you ask for a reference?

[Edited at 2012-06-11 11:25 GMT]


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dasein_wm  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:46
Member (2009)
Italian to English
+ ...
Other - I don't bid on jobs Jun 11, 2012

I provide a quote for a specific job upon direct request.

Also upon request I will provide copy of my CV which contains two references, one from a person who once ran a translation agency but has since moved on to other employ in telecommunications and, the other from an author whose work I have translated. Both of these individuals gave me their consent to list them on my CV and I feel that this is sufficient for reference purposes - and it always has been.

I don't much get the idea of references though, who is ever going to list a bad one?


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:46
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No pat downs, polygraphs or Rorschach tests, either Jun 11, 2012

Quite agree with Ty

Ty Kendall wrote:
So, no I wouldn't apply/bid on jobs requesting ANY references and I wouldn't lose sleep over it either.


and everyone else, too. Echo my thoughts exactly!

After all, bidding on translation work -- which I must add I do not do -- is not the same as applying to MI5 or the CIA for a full-time job and therefore is not subject to this kind of revealing scrutiny. So, there!


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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:46
Member
German to English
+ ...
waste of time Jun 11, 2012

I wouldn't waste my time or my clients'. Why should I reveal who I work for anyway? I have also signed a number of NDAs.

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