Poll: Do you believe in a long term collaboration with agencies?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:29
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Mar 6, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you believe in a long term collaboration with agencies?".

This poll was originally submitted by AUFILDESMOTS. View the poll results »



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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:29
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
With all clients Mar 6, 2016

I'm not sure if I "believe in" it, but I certainly like to have a regular collaboration whenever possible. It's repeat orders that form the most valuable feedback. And the risks are lower with an established relationship. I always feel anxious the first time. I always wonder if I've been clear enough about the terms, if I understood the instructions, and of course if they'll pay!

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:29
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Other Mar 6, 2016

A long-term collaboration is always a good thing, whether it's with a direct customer or an agency.

"Believing" in it sounds more like a matter of having faith in something/someone. Not sure if it's the right term here.


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Dani Karuniawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 02:29
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Yes and No Mar 6, 2016

Yes for the good agencies.
No for the bad agencies.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:29
Member
English to French
Yes Mar 6, 2016

For those who work only with agencies, I "believe" it's the primary (if not only) factor to earn a living month-in, month-out.
Benefits to translators are minimal admin, familiarity with people and processes, no continuous switching between countless working methods.
Benefits to agencies are minimal admin and search for new translators, familiary with what the translator can handle and confidence that even sensitive projects for new customers or new audience will go well.

Long-term collaboration is beneficial to both parties, and I don't really get why some not-to-be-recommended agencies expect you to "believe" that they're entitled to lower rates for "long-term collaboration"!

One-offs are usually too far apart to mean much, but I'm fine with a handful of returning agencies.

Philippe

[Edited at 2016-03-06 10:24 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:29
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes! Mar 6, 2016

I have to believe: I have been working very regularly with one agency since I began working full-time in translation (1986) and with another one for over 20 years...

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:29
Member (2008)
English to Italian
No Mar 6, 2016

I believe long term collaboration is/should be the basis of good work. From the translators' side, we get used to terminology and style and the entire process becomes smoother and quicker, from the agencies's side, they could get very high-quality translations thanks to a constant feedback.
Unfortunately, in many cases, this is considered as not cost-efficient, and, in my opinion it is ridiculous. Many (not all) agencies prefer to "refresh" their database of translators thanks to the broad availability of cheap translators (with consequent low quality) and invest in in-house proofreaders/editors so the final cost of the translation is lower.

We can call it business..

In my experience I have also found agencies who believe in long term collaboration, and the result is clear for both of us.. for the others? well if they are happy...

So although I have had also a few good experiences, I voted NO, because I have also seen collaborations started with the best expectations which ended after 1/2 years with non communication (and after a number of positive feedbacks)

[Edited at 2016-03-06 10:33 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It often requires faith Mar 6, 2016

Thayenga wrote:

"Believing" in it sounds more like a matter of having faith in something/someone. Not sure if it's the right term here.


Many agencies require abusive bureaucracy at the outset. The prospective translator is required to fill in, print, (hopefully) read, sign, and snail-mail a sheaf of papers. This is done after having spent a few hours grappling with very complex online database entry forms that won't accept things like dashes in phone numbers and postal codes, hosted on slow servers.

I have lost count of how many of these I I gave up midway, upon discovering their "net 60-day EOM" payment term, or upon entering my rate, and getting a warning that "you don't stand much of a chance of getting assignments from us if your rate is higher than US 4¢/word".

So it calls for considerable faith to waste all the time this red tape demands, and very few such agencies will pay off over the long haul. However just a few of them will suffice to keep a translator profitably busy.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:29
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Definitely Mar 6, 2016

I know the agencies' end clients and the agencies know me.
I can simply accept jobs without checking the Blue Board and everywhere else - we can rely on each other. I have them set up in my system, so invoicing is normally fast... so it saves administration time.

They can set up groups of 'preferred translators' for a particuar client, and it can be helpful to consult colleagues on questions that go across several languages.
I have been involved in setting up terminology lists and found it very useful to coordinate with German and Swedish colleagues in particular. Sometimes one of us has a good answer to something the others are struggling with, or we can work it out together.

I don't have to keep looking for new clients. They do a lot of work I don't want to do myself... I was going to say you can't lose.

Unfortunately, you can. I have dropped two or three long-term clients along the way for one reason or another, or simply not had time for them and they have dropped me. Both sides have to work at it, and actually collaborate.




[Edited at 2016-03-06 13:21 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
No, but Mar 6, 2016

I believe in angels, something good in everything I see

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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:29
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Unfortunately, no Mar 6, 2016

You can have a very good relationship with an agency, then a PM leaves and the new one prefers somebody else.

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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:29
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Mar 6, 2016

I depends on what you consider "long time" or "long term".

I've had several agencies I worked with for over two years, and I consider those "long-time".

Then I've had several relationships of less than a year and once or twice type of clients, which I surely do not consider long time relationships.

Now, there are also two agencies I've worked with for more than two years, and still work for them, so these are doubtlessly long-term and on-going relationships.

Finally, there are another two that haven't completed two years, yet, but are on-going clients that may surely be soon qualified as long-term as well.

So I can't vote other than "yes".


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Grinding teeth Mar 6, 2016

Thayenga wrote:

A long-term collaboration is always a good thing, whether it's with a direct customer or an agency.

"Believing" in it sounds more like a matter of having faith in something/someone. Not sure if it's the right term here.


In agreement. The verb “believe” keeps popping up in unexpected and inappropriate places, like Do you believe in the law of gravity?

Absurd!


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 21:29
Member (2005)
English to German
As in other areas of my life Mar 6, 2016

... I like a good long-term relationship. I always use the same supermarket, the same plumber, the same bike repair.

What I don't like is partners who feel too sure of me, and secretly or overtly start giving me the short end of the stick because they either think I won't notice or I will have too much inertia to leave.

Everyone assumes I will react if my supermarket suddenly stops selling pistachios, or my plumber starts to leave the heater dripping water after each periodic maintenance visit. How, then, do some translation agencies think I will not react if they suddenly enable the checkbox for "internal fuzzies" without telling me, or casually dump more work on me for the existing rate, or even just flat out tell me they have unilaterally decided to lower rates by x percent?

Do they think I'm stupid, or in German: Do they think I pull up my trousers with a pair of flat pliers? (Glauben die, ich zieh mir die Hose mit der Flachzange hoch?)


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Business practices Mar 6, 2016

First, the question smacks me as infantilizing and I'll tell you why. When and where do we first learn to collaborate? In the home by helping with chores, in kindergarten by learning to share our toys, in school by teaming up with other kids to do a project or write a paper.

Second, a behavior that is obviously developed since infancy to help us integrate into society does not require belief, faith or any other nonsensical, paranormal or superstitious attitude.

That learned behavior, collaboration, involves practice over a long period of time to master. We have learned that, for example, to make friends, we share our toys and our playtime with the same kid or kids. Trust develops, they share their toys and so on.

Third, I am really getting sick and tired of hearing discussions about translation agencies by zero-sum labeling: good agencies, bad agencies; paying agencies, non-paying agencies, etc. The world, the people living on it, they are not black and white; reality is not about win-lose scenarios. We have board games and sports for that!


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