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Poll: Would you work with an agency you can't find in the Blue Board?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:07
SITE STAFF
May 12

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you work with an agency you can't find in the Blue Board?".

This poll was originally submitted by Yongrae Kim. View the poll results »



 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:07
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends May 12

I always exercise due diligence in researching a new client and looking at their Blue Board record is usually the first step. So working with an agency with no entries will depend on the warning signs I might get from other sources and on my gut feeling (over the years I developed a sixth sense when it comes to bad payers). I must say though that some of my long-standing customers (agencies) are not listed in the Blue Board…

Liena Vijupe
Oscar Romagnone
Ricki Farn
MariaOG
Philip Lees
Angie Garbarino
Kevin Fulton
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other May 12

I already do work - but only very occasionally - with one agency which is either banned from posting on the site or has a really lousy BB rating. Most of the complaints seem to be about their payment, which is supposed to be at 90 days, but sometimes they used to pay even later than that. Nowadays that sort of thing doesn't really bother me much, as long as I know they're going to pay up eventually, but I understand it can be a real pain in the neck for someone on a tight budget. I did one small... See more
I already do work - but only very occasionally - with one agency which is either banned from posting on the site or has a really lousy BB rating. Most of the complaints seem to be about their payment, which is supposed to be at 90 days, but sometimes they used to pay even later than that. Nowadays that sort of thing doesn't really bother me much, as long as I know they're going to pay up eventually, but I understand it can be a real pain in the neck for someone on a tight budget. I did one small job for this agency in January, but forgot to bill them for it until around the end of March, after which they paid me within two weeks. Before that, I hadn't done anything for them for at least two or three years, but not because of their payment policy, simply that I was either too busy or didn't fancy the type of translation they were offering. I'd consider recommending them to a colleague, but their deadlines are usually too pressing.

In general though, if I ever receive requests from agencies, the first thing I do is check to see if they are on the Blue Board, just in case, although I'm usually not interested in what they have to offer.

[Edited at 2019-05-12 11:12 GMT]
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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:07
Member (2018)
French to English
Several May 12

They are all run by people I have known for a long time and had no need of checking for them on the Blue Board.
A new agency recently contacted me on LinkedIN and I did check here and found nothing, so I presume they are OK.


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 08:07
Member (2016)
English to German
Yes May 12

Starting work with a new agency or client always requires a certain degree of blind trust. I would probably not start out with a huge project, but I can risk some hours of work and see what comes of it, and when repeat business comes and payments are regular, we have a new business relation. I would assume that the agency, on the other side, takes the same stance and does not invest unlimited trust in a new translator.

The Blue Board is one piece of information, and a negative Blue
... See more
Starting work with a new agency or client always requires a certain degree of blind trust. I would probably not start out with a huge project, but I can risk some hours of work and see what comes of it, and when repeat business comes and payments are regular, we have a new business relation. I would assume that the agency, on the other side, takes the same stance and does not invest unlimited trust in a new translator.

The Blue Board is one piece of information, and a negative Blue Board record might prevent me from starting work with an agency, but a non-existent record would simply mean to take it slow, as with every other new contact.
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Teresa Borges
Yongrae Kim
Jennifer Forbes
Ricki Farn
Philip Lees
Vera Schoen
Christel Zipfel
 

IanDhu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:07
Member (2005)
French to English


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Tight deadlines, slow to pay: a clear sign to avoid May 12

If a client's deadlines are urgent, so must be his alacrity to pay. That to me is a clear criterion of discernment. Payment at 90 days is too long. A reputable agency should have a sufficient cash flow from its established business to honour professional and honourable payment times. That consideration apart, I've found "blind-dating" agencies rather a mixed bag, and like other contributors, I look for a "nothing-against" Blue Board record. One agency that approached me from the cold proves, how... See more
If a client's deadlines are urgent, so must be his alacrity to pay. That to me is a clear criterion of discernment. Payment at 90 days is too long. A reputable agency should have a sufficient cash flow from its established business to honour professional and honourable payment times. That consideration apart, I've found "blind-dating" agencies rather a mixed bag, and like other contributors, I look for a "nothing-against" Blue Board record. One agency that approached me from the cold proves, however, to be well run and businesslike, with a boss who thinks like a translator - a good, workable relationship.

With kind regards,

Adam Warren
(IanDhu - translator 41189)
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Robert Forstag
Maja_K
 

Barbara Cochran, MFA  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Only If... May 12

...they go out of their way to clarify everything about and related to the particular project (an intelligent approach), and like somebody else mentioned, offer a feasible deadline that will actually allow me to get a good night's sleep. Those that do not offer those kinds of deadlines are only treating translators like hacks.

Rita Utt
Lisa Grayson
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:07
Member (2012)
French to English
It depends May 12

on several factors. I think it's mainly a gut feeling that they might be good to work with. I'm often disappointed, but I prefer to keep an open mind.

 

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 08:07
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Narrow focus May 13

This question makes it sound as if the Blue Board is the Alpha-Omega of databases.

It's not, in the slightest. Now, I'm not knocking it by any means. It can prove extremely useful and I often check it. But there are a million agencies (TBH, perhaps a tad fewer) out there who aren't on the BB which are great, and many will have never even heard of it.

I believe that in a similar thread not long ago, Sheila Wilson spoke about developing an instinct for spotting the dodgy
... See more
This question makes it sound as if the Blue Board is the Alpha-Omega of databases.

It's not, in the slightest. Now, I'm not knocking it by any means. It can prove extremely useful and I often check it. But there are a million agencies (TBH, perhaps a tad fewer) out there who aren't on the BB which are great, and many will have never even heard of it.

I believe that in a similar thread not long ago, Sheila Wilson spoke about developing an instinct for spotting the dodgy ones and I believe she's right.

In four decades I've only been ripped off once.

So, Qui audet adipiscitur.
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Robert Forstag
Chris S
Elizabeth Tamblin
Fiona Grace Peterson
Christel Zipfel
Christine Andersen
Gibril Koroma
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:07
German to English
+ ...
have done so for years - perspectives below May 13

I suspect that the types of agencies that are listed on Blue Boards and similar places may be the ones that post jobs, the kinds one bids for, in such places - not sure. There are several agencies I have worked for over 20 years. None of these agencies are listed here or the other places, and some of them, if I ask, have never heard of ProZ or recall a vague mention. My agency clients tend to be small organizations who use the same translators all the time. We usually start with a small job ... See more
I suspect that the types of agencies that are listed on Blue Boards and similar places may be the ones that post jobs, the kinds one bids for, in such places - not sure. There are several agencies I have worked for over 20 years. None of these agencies are listed here or the other places, and some of them, if I ask, have never heard of ProZ or recall a vague mention. My agency clients tend to be small organizations who use the same translators all the time. We usually start with a small job to test each other out, so if there is a loss, it would be a small one. When you're established that testing phase is less likely.

Actually, I'm not sure that I have full access to the Blue Board. I know that one of the two clients who cheated me when I was newer to the field is listed, and my input should be in there.
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Chris S
Christel Zipfel
 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:07
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Remember that you can always create a BB record for any agency/entity May 13

For an agency with no BB record or a minimal BB record, I would look to see if they have a website that at least gives the appearance of a legitimate concern. If that is the case, then I would request payment within 10-15 days for a job of interest to me - and make it very clear that the time proposed is a firm deadline.

My general rule for initial collaborations involving rush jobs (irrespective of BB record) is that I expect payment within 10-15 days. I think this is fair,
... See more
For an agency with no BB record or a minimal BB record, I would look to see if they have a website that at least gives the appearance of a legitimate concern. If that is the case, then I would request payment within 10-15 days for a job of interest to me - and make it very clear that the time proposed is a firm deadline.

My general rule for initial collaborations involving rush jobs (irrespective of BB record) is that I expect payment within 10-15 days. I think this is fair, and agencies usually agree to it.

I have no problem with tight deadlines and losing sleep - as long as I am compensated accordingly.

Finally, it is important to remember that you can create a BB record for an agency (or other entity) where none has previously existed. This is important to bear in mind, since (justifiably) damaging an agency’s reputation by reporting non-payment is often the only realistic leverage you have in the event of their noncompliance. (Yes, you can take them to court, but this involves a great deal of time, energy, and stress.)

So, at least to me, it boils down to whether I think that I am dealing with an outfit that cares about their reputation enough not to risk having non-payment reported on the BB (or in other similar directories).
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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:07
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends on several factors May 13

The BB is not the only requitsite, that's for sure.
There are several other factors that could end up in a decent commercial relationship. Experience teaches us how to identify reputable and reliable potential clientes, and above all, to identify the ones who are not worth even replying.
The message and the format of the e-mails are a big sign. You have to know how to "detect" the postive and negative traits, but they've been mentioned repeatedly in the forums, so I'm not repeating t
... See more
The BB is not the only requitsite, that's for sure.
There are several other factors that could end up in a decent commercial relationship. Experience teaches us how to identify reputable and reliable potential clientes, and above all, to identify the ones who are not worth even replying.
The message and the format of the e-mails are a big sign. You have to know how to "detect" the postive and negative traits, but they've been mentioned repeatedly in the forums, so I'm not repeating them all over again here.
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Philip Lees
Thayenga
Chris S
Lisa Grayson
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:07
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I like working with small agencies May 13

There are some small agencies with glowing records on the Blue Board, but there are also many excellent agencies who live a quiet existence, pay on time, and treat their translators well, but somehow never get to the Blue Board.

Colleagues check on mail lists, and there are other ways of finding out whether an agency is good to work with. A good BB rating is certainly a plus, but it is not the only thing you should check about a client!


Teresa Borges
Chris S
Michele Fauble
Philippe Etienne
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:07
French to English
Yes May 13

Absolutely, quite simply as it is not the only source in the world providing information about agencies, and even if I were to limit myself to the country where I live, then the Blueboard most certainly does not have every single agency listed. All the usual obvious checks need to be made whenever considering working with a new client, agency or direct client. The Blueboard is of course a welcome addition to the landscape, particularly for checking contacts that come via ProZ but also for checki... See more
Absolutely, quite simply as it is not the only source in the world providing information about agencies, and even if I were to limit myself to the country where I live, then the Blueboard most certainly does not have every single agency listed. All the usual obvious checks need to be made whenever considering working with a new client, agency or direct client. The Blueboard is of course a welcome addition to the landscape, particularly for checking contacts that come via ProZ but also for checking out larger agencies. More often than not though, those contacts are in fact mass mail and not the type of offer I would consider anyway.Collapse


 

Nikolay Novitskiy  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:07
Member (2018)
English to Russian
+ ...
No May 23

It's just a matter of risk and reward. If I start working with an agency of "unknown" quality, I risk losing my time and money. But if it's a good partner, those who start working with them first will be their preferred translators.

As for me, I think that it's smart enough to let other bold "pioneer translators" take this risk.


 
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