Poll: What do you do when an agency you've been working with regularly doesn't send you any more work?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:53
SITE STAFF
May 11

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What do you do when an agency you've been working with regularly doesn't send you any more work?".

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Marguerite Storm
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other May 11

This happened to me, but not with a translation agency, rather a direct client. This person used to contact me every two months to translate articles for a business-related journal/magazine. About a year and a half ago, he suddenly stopped. However, it's no skin off my nose, as I considered it a bit of an extra rather than part of my core client base, and the rates were rather low. The only thing that would worry me would be if I thought the reason were the quality of my translations, but I don'... See more
This happened to me, but not with a translation agency, rather a direct client. This person used to contact me every two months to translate articles for a business-related journal/magazine. About a year and a half ago, he suddenly stopped. However, it's no skin off my nose, as I considered it a bit of an extra rather than part of my core client base, and the rates were rather low. The only thing that would worry me would be if I thought the reason were the quality of my translations, but I don't think that's the cause; he also stopped sending work to at least one other colleague I know of. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he popped up again out of the blue at any moment if his current team of translators are unavailable or understaffed.

In general, it's not an issue for me because I don't work with a lot of agencies, just occasionally with one or two. And in general, if any of my regular direct clients stop sending work, it's no big deal, because someone else usually turns up to take their place. Some of my regulars may disappear for a couple of years before popping up again.
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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:53
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I let it go, unless ... May 11

... it's one of my regular mainstay clients. They aren't agencies, though. Twice, if I recall correctly, I have noticed a rather long silence and dropped them an email saying that "I'm back from my vacation." Both times it did the trick. The head of a translation service once told me: "Never hesitate to check in if you haven't heard from us lately. Names can slip from the top of the list for a number of reasons." In other words: "Don't take it personally if you haven't heard from us."

... See more
... it's one of my regular mainstay clients. They aren't agencies, though. Twice, if I recall correctly, I have noticed a rather long silence and dropped them an email saying that "I'm back from my vacation." Both times it did the trick. The head of a translation service once told me: "Never hesitate to check in if you haven't heard from us lately. Names can slip from the top of the list for a number of reasons." In other words: "Don't take it personally if you haven't heard from us."

With agencies, I think the situation is different. They will drop you if they find a client with a similar profile and quality of work who charges less money.

[Edited at 2019-05-11 08:57 GMT]
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Teresa Borges
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:53
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I let it go May 11

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have built a good client base but nothing is set in stone. I’ve been working with a translation agency since 2011: projects have been large-scale and interesting, always paid on time. Recently, they asked me if I was willing to reduce my rates, I said no and as a result they are sending fewer jobs. Some years ago, a very regular customer (on a monthly basis) started sending less work and then filed for bankruptcy. I have at least a dozen repeat c... See more
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have built a good client base but nothing is set in stone. I’ve been working with a translation agency since 2011: projects have been large-scale and interesting, always paid on time. Recently, they asked me if I was willing to reduce my rates, I said no and as a result they are sending fewer jobs. Some years ago, a very regular customer (on a monthly basis) started sending less work and then filed for bankruptcy. I have at least a dozen repeat clients (translation agencies and direct clients), so if one disappears for whatever reason (in general, rate-related) I take on a new client…Collapse


Muriel Vasconcellos
Julio Madrid
 

Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 21:53
Member (2005)
English to German
All of the above May 11

... and which one I do in any given situation, is determined by pure unreflected intuition. Just as with any other online or offline contact that falls by the wayside.

Christine Andersen
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:53
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
All or any of the above May 11

Some agencies have a series of connected jobs, and then nothing in my language pairs, so I let them go when the series ends. Occasionally they come back, months later, with a follow-up, which of course I try to fit in.

Some I don't miss, so of course, I let them go.

If I have enjoyed working with a client, I send them a Christmas greeting or a mail to say 'now I'm back from my summer holiday', or possibly a brief mail that I have been studying and now I'm back, just to
... See more
Some agencies have a series of connected jobs, and then nothing in my language pairs, so I let them go when the series ends. Occasionally they come back, months later, with a follow-up, which of course I try to fit in.

Some I don't miss, so of course, I let them go.

If I have enjoyed working with a client, I send them a Christmas greeting or a mail to say 'now I'm back from my summer holiday', or possibly a brief mail that I have been studying and now I'm back, just to let them know I am here and interested.
I try to inform regular clients of when I am available and when I am not, and I include any whom I would like as regular clients.

On the whole, however, you have to accept that clients come and go - that is what it means to be a freelancer.
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Ricki Farn
Julio Madrid
Jennifer Forbes
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Other May 11

It appears that one translator is enough to cope with two-three small/mid projects from several direct clients simultaneously, so I doubt all those middlemen with almost the same 1,500,000+ outdated "pure translators" lists (aka database) are really required.

Business is risk management. How come unlike a remote employee working steady one-to-one, a freelancer working one-to-many is not under siege by low-ball PEMT offers, but rather heavily depending on other
... See more
It appears that one translator is enough to cope with two-three small/mid projects from several direct clients simultaneously, so I doubt all those middlemen with almost the same 1,500,000+ outdated "pure translators" lists (aka database) are really required.

Business is risk management. How come unlike a remote employee working steady one-to-one, a freelancer working one-to-many is not under siege by low-ball PEMT offers, but rather heavily depending on others' "favor" or sheer good luck?

One could invest a grand in buying such a list of unwitty bottom-feeders and... A notorious know-how.
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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:53
Member (2006)
German to English
After a couple of months May 11

I have been working with most of my customers nor for more than 10 years. In the past there have been a couple of occasions where no work has come for a while, but because I was busy with work from my other customers, I only got back to them after several weeks and it was just because their customers had changed their strategy and GB was put back a bit because they were trying out other "cheaper" markets. But because the quality there was, so to say, "crap", and they had so many complaints from ... See more
I have been working with most of my customers nor for more than 10 years. In the past there have been a couple of occasions where no work has come for a while, but because I was busy with work from my other customers, I only got back to them after several weeks and it was just because their customers had changed their strategy and GB was put back a bit because they were trying out other "cheaper" markets. But because the quality there was, so to say, "crap", and they had so many complaints from their own staff, they came back and everything was Hunky-Dory again.

But I must admit if things were quiet, I would have asked them a bit earlier though.

[Edited at 2019-05-12 10:37 GMT]
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Andrénise Aimé
 

Andrénise Aimé  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:53
Member (Jun 2019)
English to Haitian-Creole
+ ...
I let it go May 12

So, you think you have a good relationship with an agency that stops sending you work, and that same agency has posted an ad on Proz looking for translators in your pair. What do you do?
Thanks!


 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
German to English
+ ...
diversification May 12

Demand for particular language pairs goes up and down depending on client needs, so a given agency may simply not be getting requests. You need to have a diverse client base. That way the work keeps flowing in, from different people at different times.

That said, if the pause is unusual, it may be good to check. For example, a few months ago Sympatico seems to have decided that one of my regulars was spam and simply filtered out their messages. It wasn't even in the spam box. W
... See more
Demand for particular language pairs goes up and down depending on client needs, so a given agency may simply not be getting requests. You need to have a diverse client base. That way the work keeps flowing in, from different people at different times.

That said, if the pause is unusual, it may be good to check. For example, a few months ago Sympatico seems to have decided that one of my regulars was spam and simply filtered out their messages. It wasn't even in the spam box. We got together about this and I forget how it got solved. They had also found it unusual that I "wasn't responding". Silence can be a sign of something amiss. (or not)
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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:53
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Let go. Anything else is 100% useless. May 13

I used to ask why, or send e-mails trying to "push" it, in the beginning.
In time, I realized it's 100% useless, 100% of the time.
Plus, I let go several times, and six months later, they show up again, then disappear again, then show up again nine months later.
We must understand they had a reason to disappear, and questioning them will most likely have an adverse effect instead of a positive one.


 


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