Poll: Do you ever outsource work to your colleagues?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:42
SITE STAFF
Aug 16, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you ever outsource work to your colleagues?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ravshan K.M.. View the poll results »



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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:42
Member
German to English
+ ...
A long time ago Aug 16, 2015

I did a long time ago when I wasn't so good at estimating capacities. I checked them myself afterwards. Now I know what my capabilities are and if I am unable to do a job, I may put forward a name.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 06:42
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No thank you Aug 16, 2015

It's not economically viable when you consider that you have to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb. Ultimately, it's my credibility that's on the line and on the chopping block, after all. And, I've often found that I could have done a better job in the time it takes to proof and review the outsourced translation after delivery to me. So, all round, I'm rather loathe to outsource unless I can negotiate a really good rate to make it financially worthwhile and an extended deadline that allows both the translator colleague and myself to perform at our best.

And, more importantly, it's crystal clear in almost all of the contracts and business agreements that I have signed with my customers, direct or indirect, that I am not allowed to outsource or subcontract under any circumstance.

Customers come to me with a good idea of what I can deliver them. I have standards to uphold. Frankly speaking, in the majority of cases, it's just impossible to get others to deliver something that meets my expectations and I am not going to deliver a sub-par job to a customer just because I chose to outsource it.

Small edits. It's late over here and I'm tired.



[Edited at 2015-08-16 13:55 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-08-16 13:56 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-08-17 03:27 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:42
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Two cases Aug 16, 2015

If I can't do a job myself for any reason whatsoever, I'll refer the prospect to one or two colleagues I know that can do it properly, wish them all good luck, and step out.


Specifically on video work, viz. dubbing or subtitling, some clients want a turn-key project including the translation from/into languages that I don't cover.

If they don't want/need translation in any language pair that I cover, it will be handled like the previous case. Also, if it involves languages/character sets that I have no clue about, I'll decline.

I offer them the option of hiring my carefully selected partners directly to do the part of the job I don't cover; we'll handle the technical details between us, without involving the client. So far, not one ever accepted it; they all want to have me accountable for the entire outcome.

The downside here is that I demand up-front payment for the part I'll be outsourcing. I don't make a penny on the outsourced part of the job, otherwise - especially if my client is an agency - the total price will not be competitive, and we'll lose the order altogether. On the other hand, I need assurance that, in case the end-client cancels the order under way on a whim, my partner will get paid COD (my standard) for their work, no matter what. This enables me to keep them happy and available for my next request.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:42
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No Aug 16, 2015

Not yet, anyway. If I have a vote in it, it will stay this way.

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Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 22:42
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
the best option Aug 16, 2015

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

If I can't do a job myself for any reason whatsoever, I'll refer the prospect to one or two colleagues I know that can do it properly, wish them all good luck, and step out.


I did it in the past and had horrible consequences. It took 2 more times to correct the work I received...
Better to take anything you can do yourself or
recommend 1-2 colleagues but and leave a choice for the client.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:42
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Maybe you got me wrong Aug 16, 2015

Erzsébet Czopyk wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

If I can't do a job myself for any reason whatsoever, I'll refer the prospect to one or two colleagues I know that can do it properly, wish them all good luck, and step out.


I did it in the past and had horrible consequences. It took 2 more times to correct the work I received...
Better to take anything you can do yourself or
recommend 1-2 colleagues but and leave a choice for the client.


I do it when I have requests for languages I don't cover. Typical examples are DE and FR. I happen to know personally colleagues who can do great work in these. Otherwise, I'll tell them, "Sorry, can't help you" and suggest they search on Proz.

I also do it when a technical translation job involves specialization in areas I specifically don't cover, namely five: medicine, biology, accounting, finance, and sports. I have two specialists in my pair for med/bio, and two others for acct/fin. All four are widely acclaimed for being the best in their specialties/pair. If they ask for technical translation in sports, the "sorry" option applies. If they require translation in the opposite direction, I have one colleague for med which I can only suggest them.

If I am overloaded, no time to meet their deadline, I have a few same-LP colleagues I refer the client to, on the grounds that I know their work as being about or at least as good as mine. No disappointments so far.

When I outsource video work myself, I use very carefully selected colleagues, and only in languages that I speak-but-don't-translate (IT/FR/ES), so I have a general idea on what I'm getting. It took me quite a while until I got the assurance I needed (by having the end-client check their output) to rely on these few.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:42
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Don't outsource but... Aug 16, 2015

When I am on vacation, or have too much work, or if I receive work that is outside my areas of expertise, I refer the client to one or two trusted colleagues. That is the extent of my involvement.

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Gudrun Maydorn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:42
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Yes Aug 16, 2015

But mostly only in my own area of expertise and my own languages. I occasionally outsource work to a few trusted colleagues (such as my regular proofreaders) with whom I have had a longstanding cooperation. It means that I know and appreciate their quality and style.

If a request comes for a language pair or an area of expertise that I don't cover myself, I usually pass on the contact details of a suitable colleague from my network and leave the rest to the two of them.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:42
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes! Aug 16, 2015

I‘m part of a team (we are a small cooperative of 4 freelance translators who translate exclusively to their mother tongue: Portuguese). I do outsource when I have requests for languages we don't cover and I have been working with the same tested, approved and trusted translators for ages.

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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:42
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
If requested by the client, only, Aug 16, 2015

It happens many times: the client has a very large project with a short deadline, so it becomes necessary. Although many times I mobilize a group of people and the client disappears, as well.

What is absolutely wrong, and I see why many collegaues anwered "no", is to outsource a job you accepted and then realized you can't handle it alone. In that case, it's a matter of ethics. That is, it's absolutely unethical, unless you inform the client/agency you're doing that.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
The reverse Aug 16, 2015

I do not outsource work to my colleagues, but they often outsource work to me, or recommend me directly to the client, when they cannot do the job themselves.

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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:12
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
No Aug 17, 2015

I am content working as a solo translator. Outsourcing brings in a whole lot of headaches that are beyond me. I am happy just translating.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:42
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other - not any more Aug 17, 2015

My contracts with my main clients say I'm not supposed to. The first time, though I felt a little guilty, worked out OK. I reviewed the translation and was able to deliver a decent job without too much extra effort on my part. I paid my colleague the full amount that was paid to me. So in the end I lost some time but I managed to keep my client happy.

The next two times were a disaster. Both jobs were difficult to review. The first translator deviated a lot from the original structure so it took time to figure out if the meaning was preserved and sometimes it was faster to re-do it; the second one skipped words, phrases, sentences, and whole paragraphs. In both cases I took a cut for myself to partially compensate for the time spent and they were both furious. One of them denounced me to my client and they took me off their roster.


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