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Blue Board: appreciation where it's due
Thread poster: Jenny Forbes

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:26
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Jul 22, 2009

These forums sometimes contain criticisms of the Blue Board or discussions about its usefulness. I just want to express my appreciation of it on this occasion.
By email today, I received the offer of a longish translation from an agency in the UK that I'd never heard of. Before replying, I checked it on the Proz Blue Board and found that its record, both recent and in past years, was absoluely appalling and that it had been banned from posting jobs at Proz. (I later found that its record was equally appalling on other websites).

I replied informing the agency of that fact and said I'd be prepared to accept their job only if they paid me in advance by bank transfer. I've heard nothing more from them. Quelle surprise!
They must be running out of victims.

Thank you, Blue Board. You've saved me from a lot of hassle and a considerable loss.
I write this only to demonstrate, perhaps to sceptics or "newbies", the value of checking the Blue Board and similar lists on other translators' websites before accepting work from an unknown agency.

Jenny

P.S. Forgive me if this post is under the wrong topic. I couldn't find "Blue Board" in the list of forum topics. Staff, please move it to the right topic as you think fit.


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-07-22 11:53 GMT]


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:26
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Ditto Jul 22, 2009

The same thing has happened to me more than once. I even remember posting a similar "thank you note" in a forum like this a few years back.

The Blue Board really is an invaluable tool for freelancers worldwide!

[Edited at 2009-07-22 11:33 GMT]


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:26
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Blue Board... Jul 22, 2009

the only reason I'm a member...icon_smile.gif

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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:26
French to German
+ ...
I am only skeptical about BB... Jul 22, 2009

Jenny Forbes wrote:
I write this only to demonstrate, perhaps to sceptics or "newbies", the value of checking the Blue Board and similar lists on other translators' websites before accepting work from an unknown agency.

Jenny



when the agency rated has nothing but 5er's but behaves as if translators owed them something for being contacted at all and have to accept low rates for reasons linked to the agency's "prestige" and high ratings on ProZ (this is aimed at one French agency in particular).
Otherwise, the BB is always quite useful and I would have save time and nerves had I looked at it before doing test translations (this too is aimed at yet another French agency in particular).

Laurent K.

[Edited at 2009-07-22 11:48 GMT]


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Dutch to German
+ ...
Decrease their average Jul 22, 2009

ScottishWildCat wrote:
when the agency rated has nothing but 5er's but behaves as if translators owed them something for being contacted at all and have to accept low rates for reasons linked to the agency's "prestige" and high ratings on ProZ (this is aimed at one French agency in particular).

Laurent K.

[Edited at 2009-07-22 11:48 GMT]


Why don't you rate them your way? After all, the Blue Board is not only about payment practices, but about your own feelings when it comes to working for them again.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:26
French to German
+ ...
Hmmm, let's say Jul 22, 2009

Wolfgang Jörissen wrote:

Why don't you rate them your way? After all, the Blue Board is not only about payment practices, but about your own feelings when it comes to working for them again.


I see your point, Wolfgang, and for sure can appreciate it. But who am I (objectively speaking) for entering subjective comments about the way I feel re a given outsourcer, especially when the good reputation of said agency is established by 20+ positive ratings?

Laurent K.

Edited to add: AFAIR, my "problem" had its origins in the dealings with translators of a certain PM working for that agency , leading me to write them a letter asking for a general agreement on tariffs etc. This letter was never answered.
As usual, PM's do a lot for the good/bad reputation of an agency and the PM I am talking about NEVER was in charge of posting jobs on ProZ (they posted on another website only), so a negative rating would have been "a shot in the oven"...

[Edited at 2009-07-22 12:15 GMT]


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Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 05:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
The Blue Board Jul 22, 2009

Totally agree with Jenny. The Blue Board is a fantastic tool indeed.
However, IMHO it is by no means the only asset of being a member of Proz.com.
How about networking, sharing, challenging translation skills AND learning continuously?


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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:26
French to English
+ ...
Same here Jul 22, 2009

Jenny Forbes wrote:

By email today, I received the offer of a ... translation from an agency in the UK that I'd never heard of. Before replying, I checked it on the Proz Blue Board and found that its record, both recent and in past years, was absolutely appalling and that it had been banned from posting jobs at Proz.



And a rather scruffily written email at that!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thank you Blue Board! Jul 22, 2009

Indeed, the same situation has happened to me already twice. When confronted with a proposal to be paid in advance at least a 50%... the agency with a bad BB record simply disappears.

So thank you Blue Board and thank you to all people who bravely publish honest comments!!!


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conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:26
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Yep Jul 22, 2009

The Blue Board has saved me a lot of hassles. It is the #1 major benefit of being a member of ProZ.

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Lydia Foster  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
BB is great, but with limitations Jul 22, 2009

I have to say I do agree that the BB makes ProZ membership worthwhile, but don't rely on it as the only way of checking out outsourcers' solvency.

I've come across one outsourcer that expressly indicates in its confidentiality clause that translators cannot enter comments in BB or other similar sites (neither good comments or bad). So until recently they had a good rating (4.8) despite being six months late with payment!!

Thankfully another translator dared to indicate the 'real' truth, although he is having major problems with the outsourcer as they say that he is 'blackmailing' him into payment. (No doubt, had the shoe been on the other foot, the outsourcer would have threatened legal action!).


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Michael Mestre
France
Local time: 10:26
English to French
+ ...
Your posts make me regret not having posted 'subjective' thoughts about an agency Jul 22, 2009

Your posts are very interesting and I have to say that I agree wih Wolfgang about rating an agency the way you feel.
I will add that nothing prevents you from giving a low or average mark, without any insulting comments or even without saying anything really negative.

Here is a little story that your discussion has made me remember :
A few months ago, an agency asked for freelance translator applications. After receiving my CV, they sent me a document to translate as a 'translation test' in order to be selected as a translator. It had something like 1000 words !
I replied politely but without leaving any doubts about what I was thinking of it. I said in particular that I wouldn't accept unpaid tests of more than 100 words.
I received very promptly an email apologizing about a "mistake" and telling me that the assignment would be paid as a normal job.
I ignored that email and minded my own more serious business.

In conclusion, now that I think of it, I should have reported this on the Blue Board. No serious agency would dare behave in this manner, would they ?


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:26
French to German
+ ...
A precision Jul 22, 2009

Michael Mestre wrote:

In conclusion, now that I think of it, I should have reported this on the Blue Board. No serious agency would dare behave in this manner, would they ?


As a precision, there was no actual work relationship with this agency and your report would not have been eligible for a BB entry, sad as it may seem.

Laurent K.


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Michael Mestre
France
Local time: 10:26
English to French
+ ...
Some tips about translation tests from Alex Eames Jul 23, 2009

ScottishWildCat, thanks for this useful precision.

I found some helpful tips about translation tests in Alex Eames's first newsletter issue (it has probably become a classic by now) :
http://www.translatortips.net/tranfreearchive/tf01.html


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:26
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Good and bad Jul 24, 2009

BB has its good and bad aspects

On the bad side, I have come across non-paying agencies who try to manipulate bad ratings into good ones by (a) paying and then (b) asking the translator to change their bad rating into a good one. Dear Colleagues, please don't do this!

On the good side (which far outweighs the bad side) it was thanks to Blue Board that - on several occasions - I was able to compel non-paying agencies to pay me.

IN my experience, outsourcers take their BlueBoard ratings very seriously.

Translators should also make sure they enrich BlueBoard by always adding their own ratings.

BlueBoard is one of the best things about Proz but it's only as good as we, the translators, make it.

[Edited at 2009-07-24 11:36 GMT]


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