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Poll: Do you prefer to receive projects via email or through a project management platform?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 06:34
Oct 21, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you prefer to receive projects via email or through a project management platform?".

This poll was originally submitted by Carla Lopes. View the poll results »


Barbara Carrara  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Other Oct 21, 2015

It doesn't really matter, as long as projects keep coming.

Edited to add that my experience with platform-based projects only includes smooth systems with human interaction. Like most of the colleagues who have expressed their thoughts here, I avoid the other ones like the plague!

[Edited at 2015-10-21 11:03 GMT]


tilak raj  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:04
Member (2012)
English to Panjabi
+ ...
I prefer to get email Oct 21, 2015

It has become a habit to keep this way.


Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
French to Spanish
+ ...
Email Oct 21, 2015

Because some of these platforms don't work as expected. Moreover, interaction with customer is nonexistent and I feel lonely.

I believe many agencies set up translation platforms in order to work less, not in order to make work easier.

TWB translation platform is very good, though. It is a good example of how to make a relevant translation platform.


Odile Stuart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:34
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
Human aspect Oct 21, 2015

Maybe ideally email and platform communication should be combined. There is nothing worse than dealing with automatized systems.
But being able to have a more or less immediate feedback with a person with a real name (and not purely 'project manager') makes business acceptable.
I literally rage when I am taken for granted or the receiver of an end-process without any say in the matter. Most of the time I react with a pronounced sense of justice to be upheld if this is the feeling I get.
Platforms are great for downloading/uploading though and shouldn't be knocked.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 21, 2015

I agree, some of those platforms are a pain!

One of my absolute favourite clients combines mails with a platform that works smoothly every time, and that is what I like best.

A PM sends a mail about the client and type of job, with a link to the server.
If I am potentially able to take the job, I have a look at it, or if I need to negotiate the deadline or ask questions, I can do so.

Of course, I can ask for help or make comments along the way, or simply deliver the job with a smiley if it all goes smoothly. Invoicing is half done at the same time, and simply has to be checked and finalised at the end of the month.

If the platform does not work simply and smoothly, or I need to spend half an hour logging in and struggling to invoice, then of course, I prefer e-mails!


Teresa Borges
Local time: 14:34
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Email Oct 21, 2015

I do prefer email by far because, as Christine says, some of those platforms are a pain! My experience so far has been that clients are more likely to answer any questions by email than through those platforms…


Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:34
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
Email every time Oct 21, 2015

I hate translation platforms. Remembering passwords is a pain and it adds an extra layer to the process, which, in turn, wastes time. Unfortunately, however, it seems that more and more agency clients are going down this route, which is a pity, IMHO. Perhaps I'm just being an old fogey though!


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I only saw one good platform for translation work so far Oct 21, 2015

As people talk freely about pros and cons of different CAT tools here every day, I guess it is okay to mention a brand.

The only good translation project management system I've seen in all these years was TPBox. I worked for some 3-4 agencies using it, and it really organizes the translation project work, without creating any additional hurdles for any of the parties involved.

All others I had contact with may impress end-clients for their complexity and apparent security, however they merely spare PMs from being minimally organized, while forcing translators to endlessly jump through countless hoops to comply with pointless requirements.

The worst such platform I ever tried had me log in to a large and crammed FTP site, to rummage numerous folders looking for some file they implied that was worth translating in their assignment.

Another agency using a complex portal assigned me a job with a deadline. I delivered it one week early. Had to read a ton of detailed instructions on how to log in and upload it to the right place. Followed them to the dot. Two weeks after that agreed deadline, the PM wrote me asking when I'd be delivering it. I told her I had uploaded the file exactly as instructed three weeks before. Then she asked me, "Just for safety, could you e-mail those files to me as well?"

One thing these platforms should be expected to streamline is the delivery - work approval - clearance - payment sequence. Most don't. When the translator complains about not having been paid as agreed, all the PM can say is, "I can't do anything, talk to the system!". After a translator has talked to the system a few times, received automated answers, AND finally placed a bad note on the Blue Board, s/he is contacted by some human being from the agency, "It is not our fault. Had you read the instructions, on (date) you should have requested your payment through the system to get paid last month." - (They assume most translators don't care about getting paid unless they specifically state so.) - "If you wish, I can do that for you today. Your payment will be scheduled for the next cycle, so you'll get paid on the last business day of next month."

From my experience so far, apart from the aforementioned TPBox, all these platforms serve nothing other than to make a disorganized translation agency look impressive and cause significant unnecessary hassles to the translator. Of course, I worked only once for each agency involved in the "bad" incidents above and others, so my experience is somewhat limited.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
E-mail every time Oct 21, 2015

Words like "platform/cloud/project management/team" give me the willies. The only team I really like working with is my own, i.e. myself and 2 or 3 trusted colleagues.

My clients have my phone number, but they all know that I prefer to be contacted by e-mail as first resort.

[Edited at 2015-10-21 10:09 GMT]

PS: I prefer to keep Skype for friends and family too, and although some clients do have my Skype contact details, we rarely use it.

[Edited at 2015-10-21 10:10 GMT]


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:34
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
A mixture of both Oct 21, 2015

I prefer overtures and inquiries about new work/projects to be made by e-mail. It's always the personal touch that sets the tone at the outset.

Subsequent processes such as handoffs, updates, downloads/uploads, delivery and billing can be made via the customer/client's platform.

Like some of you have voiced here, platforms can be impersonal and, quite frankly, a pain in the whatsit to work with. However, due to the nature of work I handle (tech trans), projects can be really heavy with lots of big reference files, which means receiving and sending big files around 50 MB or more in size. This necessitates some kind of facility or functionality for handling big files - so a dedicated secure platform is a good answer.

I just love some platforms where all you have to do to upload a file for delivery is to just drag and drop onto a certain area. Niiiiice icon_smile.gif


Ikram Mahyuddin  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:34
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Good question Oct 21, 2015

I myself prefer to receive projects via email because sometimes I find difficulties with those project management platforms.


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:34
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I'm so relieved! Oct 21, 2015

I thought it was my encyclopedic ignorance of IT technology that made me so dislike these "platforms". Now I see that I'm far from alone and - perhaps - it isn't my fault that they give me so much woe.
Yes, email, please, every time.

[Edited at 2015-10-21 13:00 GMT]


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
On the fence Oct 21, 2015

Why send me a ******* email to tell me there is a potential project on your ******* portal when you could just have attached the ******* file in the first place?

And even if you had, if it's a ******* xliff file then there is no ******* way I'm going to look at the ******* thing anyway.

Especially as you're never going to pay my ******* prices anyway.


Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Speaking of platforms and managers Oct 21, 2015

Yesterday I received an email from a vendor management manager of sorts (from Mumbai) representing a Minnesota-based translation company (I'm glad to see that diversity sees nothing wrong with outsourcing American jobs).

This email was not for a job or an introduction. It was a “tirada de orejas” (Triston Goodwin will know this expression) or mild reprimand for not following the company's rules about in-country reviews. I was not at my home office at the time, so I thought “What is he talking about?” and waited to get home to check my records before responding.

As I suspected, I had not done a single job for this company. Yes, they approached me years ago, I filled in the paperwork, etc. but they never engaged my services. So I wrote to them to check their facts first, assuming this was all a clerical error (theirs) and that I expected an apology.

The apology arrived by email soon enough.

That's what happens when companies rely too much on project management platforms.

I'm not anti-technology, but I don't fall in love with technology either. I think electronic, online, web-based platforms have a place, but over reliance on them spells disaster and is dehumanizing.

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