Blue Board validity and pursuing payment
Thread poster: euroword

euroword
Germany
Local time: 06:40
Member
German to English
May 23, 2012

Hello all,

This is the response I recently wrote to a moderator questioning my Blue Board entry.

(Note: names have been deleted to protect the offending agency and prevent this post from being deleted.!)

"Yes, indeed, I was wondering how to contact you as I also want their post hidden.

I do not recall my translation being late or of poor quality and I most certainly had no response from them citing either of these complaints. And this is an invoice from over six months ago. Not one response. And NOW they are claiming it was late or of poor quality.

In general I am getting a little suspicious of this Blue Board business as it does not take many factors into account, for example, that even if a translation is "late" what that means. Is it late by ten minutes? Did the translator in fact warn the agency that it would be late but the agency nevertheless assured the translator this was acceptable, accepted the translation, but then refuses to pay? Who determines the quality?

Psychologically most freelance translators are made unsure about themselves and their work in such a situation and are thus at a distinct disadvantage. Most of us sit here slaving away alone all day. But as I too have begun to realize, how does this then account for the praise and the long term cooperative and appreciative relationships I also have with so many other agencies?

This is true throughout interactions with agencies and I suspect that most translators such as myself mostly swallow this and say nothing.

But there is a huge "scam" going on by some agencies in which they set up these situations on purpose. And this whole company, xxxxxxxxx, is probably one of the worst offenders. I have in fact already heard from a number of other translators in the same position with them, the same practices, and they have even offered me the names of their lawyers and collection agencies!

But apparently they haven't posted on the Blue Board and why should they? It doesn't take the real nature of these interactions into account and inevitably it appears that the agencies still have the upper hand as I know for a fact that this same agency to which I am referring has also cheated a significant other number of translators.

Ironically enough, however, if a translator actually takes the time, effort, money, and stress to pursue these agencies, they always get paid. This is probably primarily true because work is work and not being paid for it is not being paid for it, as recognized by the law. Freelancers are not going to pursue this if there is any question as to the quality and some of these agencies are trying, and profiting, from creating a slave market, taking advantage of freelancers."

I'd like to add a little encounter I recently had with an agency questioning my translation. She told me my translation didn't "sound good" and I explained to her, as an experienced technical writer, that the original text was very poorly written, to which she immediately replied, "But you are supposed to fix that!" This made me rather wild with anger as this is precisely very often a problem, that the original is horribly written, and as I told her, no, you hired me to translate this text and not to clean it up, edit it, and make it pretty and professional.

I've had it with some of these agencies and am ever more appreciative of the good ones!


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sabina moscatelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:40
Member (2004)
German to Italian
+ ...
Excellent post May 23, 2012

Euroword. I agree with every single word you've written.

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euroword
Germany
Local time: 06:40
Member
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! May 23, 2012

I'll keep us all in mind as I take my precious time and money working with lawyers and collection agencies to get but a small percentage of what is owed me.

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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 11:40
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Blue Board in the past May 23, 2012

I was very happy with Proz Blue Board in the past when Proz.com was not much popular. In another word, I never trust in Blue Board entries now regarding protection of honest translators against misuse (due to a number of rejections from its moderators).
In recent days Proz.com requested me to help localize its web pages free of charge. I declines since am not now protected even as a paying member of Proz and rely much on accurate Blue Board data.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Silk purses May 23, 2012

euroword wrote:

I'd like to add a little encounter I recently had with an agency questioning my translation. She told me my translation didn't "sound good" and I explained to her, as an experienced technical writer, that the original text was very poorly written, to which she immediately replied, "But you are supposed to fix that!" This made me rather wild with anger as this is precisely very often a problem, that the original is horribly written, and as I told her, no, you hired me to translate this text and not to clean it up, edit it, and make it pretty and professional.

I've had it with some of these agencies and am ever more appreciative of the good ones!


I agree with your stance on this. Although in general I like to try to improve on poor quality original texts, there are some things you just can't do much with. What really gets me is when the perpetrators think their output is satisfactory, or claim that everything in their area is equally badly written because of the "jargon" factor.

As the saying goes, "you can't polish a (self-censored)".


[Edited at 2012-05-23 09:03 GMT]


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xxxchristela
clap clap May 23, 2012

euroword wrote:

But apparently they haven't posted on the Blue Board and why should they? It doesn't take the real nature of these interactions into account and inevitably it appears that the agencies still have the upper hand as I know for a fact that this same agency to which I am referring has also cheated a significant other number of translators.


I also agree. Doubtful agencies use doubtful procedures i.e. questioning quality and deadlines. For me it is something new, I work for 30 years, didn't change my quality and now systematically get complaints, even from old clients. In line with economic recession, and stressful. And agencies which give lots of small jobs to lots of translators: nobody will complain for a small debt, and they count upon it. They also count that the translators immediately think that it's their own fault that they don't get paid. And they count that translators think that they don't have the right to talk about this.

But you forget 2 things:
- bad posts in the BB are a warning for other translators (no comments needed, this has been discussed extensively).
- thanks to these lists translators can group together and act together. We are not isolated anymore, as 10 or 20 years ago, each one taking his own debt collection agency or not taking measures and suffer. This makes a HUGE difference. Agency owners should be warned, doubtful procedures may now lead to long and expensive procedures, for them.


[Edited at 2012-05-23 09:10 GMT]


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:40
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Translator's Decisions May 23, 2012

Translation of badly written source texts comes with the territory.

I regularly get speeches to translate into English from a Spanish corporate executive. The style is windy, prolix and unwieldy. I usually make the decision to "rewrite" certain parts than to "be faithful" to the original. He'd just sound foolish if I didn't "help write" his speech and only translated what has been written (as best as possible).

That said, in this case, a translator might opt to strictly translate what he sees, although the customer might not come back. It is your call.


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euroword
Germany
Local time: 06:40
Member
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Silk purses! May 23, 2012

I could go on about this because it is a part of the whole problem.

I too have a hard time leaving the text more or less as it is because if I don't change it it is hard to translate and if I do it takes away from translation time. But the kicker also is that because it is hard to translate it takes more time, so the risk of being "late"with it always a frustrating factor to reckon with regardless.

This drives me nuts!


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euroword
Germany
Local time: 06:40
Member
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Changing text May 23, 2012

I would prefer to change the text too, and used to work in such a position, writing things for people, often "very high up" who couldn't write well. Sure, I would like to continue to do this, but this is not recognized and paid for as "translation"and the people who want it want it for nothing.

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NataliaAnne  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:40
Portuguese to English
Agencies do get banned May 23, 2012

I did some work last year for an agency which had some very questionable practices, including those you outlined. After independently making a decision not to work with them again, I was then pleasantly surprised to find that they had been banned from Proz due to complaints on the Blue Board. Note too that their overall rating was above 4 and that many translators had given them a 5. However, there were enough complaints that they were banned. When I look at Blue Board entries, I’m really looking for an overall rating of 5; even one translator who’s not satisfied puts me off.

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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:40
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Hello euroword May 23, 2012

euroword wrote:
"Yes, indeed, I was wondering how to contact you as I also want their post hidden.

I do not recall my translation being late or of poor quality and I most certainly had no response from them citing either of these complaints. And this is an invoice from over six months ago. Not one response. And NOW they are claiming it was late or of poor quality.


Please take a look at the site FAQ:


If you are sure your entry is in line with Blue Board rules, and it is being contested by the outsourcer, please submit a support request with all relevant evidence (email correspondence, PO, etc.).
http://www.proz.com/faq/blue_board_outsourcer_database_/for_service_providers.html#i_submitted_an_lwa_entry_for_an_outsourcer_and_it_is_no_longer_visible_why_


So please submit a ticket and provide all necessary documentation.
The outsourcer will be asked to do the same.

In the meantime the entry has been hidden.


euroword wrote:
I'd like to add a little encounter I recently had with an agency questioning my translation. She told me my translation didn't "sound good" and I explained to her, as an experienced technical writer, that the original text was very poorly written, to which she immediately replied, "But you are supposed to fix that!" This made me rather wild with anger as this is precisely very often a problem, that the original is horribly written, and as I told her, no, you hired me to translate this text and not to clean it up, edit it, and make it pretty and professional.


I personally don't think this is a good example. A translator should take a look at the text and immediately inform the customer about low quality, errors or whatever. And you both should decide what to do with this. Discussing the quality of the source after the translation has been done already is at least useless.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:40
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Be aware of limitations of the Blue Board May 23, 2012

The only time negative ratings generally get posted is when a translator has had such a bad experience with an agency that he or she has given up all hope of any further collaboration.

Thus, there are instances in which a translator may have been paid late (perhaps repeatedly so) by an agency, or is even still awaiting pending late payment but, because he or she still holds out hope of getting future work, opts not to post a negative Blue Board entry.

We all know just how tolerant--or desperate--some freelancers can be....

Thus, any negative rating should (as Natalia Anne suggests) really give one pause.

[Edited at 2012-05-23 14:03 GMT]


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:40
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
--- May 23, 2012

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

I was very happy with Proz Blue Board in the past when Proz.com was not much popular. In another word, I never trust in Blue Board entries now regarding protection of honest translators against misuse (due to a number of rejections from its moderators).


What "rejections" are you talking about? Please clarify.
Also, please note that there are no moderators in charge of the Blue Board, site staff takes care of it.


In recent days Proz.com requested me to help localize its web pages free of charge.


This is not true as you get compensated for your work with ProZ.com membership (in accordance with the amount of the translated text).


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Texte Style
Local time: 06:40
French to English
Poor source files May 23, 2012

Natalie wrote:

euroword wrote:
I'd like to add a little encounter I recently had with an agency questioning my translation. She told me my translation didn't "sound good" and I explained to her, as an experienced technical writer, that the original text was very poorly written, to which she immediately replied, "But you are supposed to fix that!" This made me rather wild with anger as this is precisely very often a problem, that the original is horribly written, and as I told her, no, you hired me to translate this text and not to clean it up, edit it, and make it pretty and professional.


I personally don't think this is a good example. A translator should take a look at the text and immediately inform the customer about low quality, errors or whatever. And you both should decide what to do with this. Discussing the quality of the source after the translation has been done already is at least useless.


I agree. Although the poor quality is sometimes only obvious when you actually get down to the nitty-gritty and realise that it doesn't really make sense, in which case you need to ask at least a couple of questions straightaway and warn the client that if it's like that all the way through you will need serious help and possibly more time.

The important question to ask (if it's not completely obvious) is "why are you having this text translated?" Is it a manual to explain to the client's clients how to use their product, or the competitor's manual for your client to engage in a little gentle industrial espionage? Because in the first case, it had better be not only pretty and professional but also polished and immediately comprehensible. In the second, it's not nearly as important, the engineers will be interested in the facts being clear without needing them to be prettied up, and they know the subject inside out so it's easy to make it clear for them.

We are language professionals and it is our job to turn out as polished a text as possible every time, unless we have the contrary confirmed.


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