Bad experience with a client who contacted me for an urgent job: can I BB it?
Thread poster: Sarah Ponting

Sarah Ponting  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:54
Italian to English
+ ...
Jul 25, 2004

Hi all,

This evening (Sunday) at about quarter to seven Italian time I was contacted by a Proz member claiming to be the VP of an agency based in Texas. She asked if I was available to translate part of an urgent Italian>English translation project that needed to be delivered in seven hours (i.e. around 2 a.m. Monday morning, my time). She offered me a rate of 0.05 US dollars per word, which in my experience is far below the average rate offered by US agencies for non-urgent work during normal working hours. I politely declined, pointing out that I am unwilling to work Sunday night for those rates. I immediately received a rude reply which ended with the statement that she was actually writing from Argentina! Whilst that may perhaps explain the low rates, it certainly doesn't explain why she originally said she was based in Texas. Considering the rudeness and dishonesty with which the whole affair was conducted, I'd like to post a comment on the BB to warn other translators about this agency. However, as far as I know it is not possible to rate an agency without having worked for it. This means other translators may be misled about this person and the agency which she represents. Is there anything I can do about it?

Sarah

[Edited at 2004-07-25 21:26]


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:54
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Argentina by way of Texas Jul 25, 2004

I agree that Texas is in the south of America, but it's not in South America.
There must be a way to post a warning in the Blue Board. OK, you haven't worked for these folks, but there must be some way to alert our colleagues that these people aren't who/what they claim to be.
And since when is working in Argentina a reason to claim paying low rates? On a Sunday, no less!
Catherine


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:54
English to German
+ ...
I'm afraid not, but please contact a moderator Jul 25, 2004

Hi Sarah,
I'm afraid no BB rating is permitted in this case, as you didn't work for that outsourcer.

However, if you received a rude response, you may want to forward it to me (or to any other Jobs moderator). We'll have a look at it, to see if a warning is warranted.

I'll contact you privately.

Best regards, Ralf


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Sarah Ponting  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:54
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks, Ralf Jul 25, 2004

I'll forward you the correspondence when you contact me.
For those who were wondering, the message (name removed) said:

Sarah,

Thanks for letting me know that your rates are not at all affordable as advertised in your profile. I asked you to take whatever part you thought you could handle (even 400 words would have helped) so don´t estimate finishing time for two o´clock in the morning- no specific volume was imposed on you. Unless that is what it takes you to translate a small paragraph. It is very good to know that people in Italy are doing so well economically that they can reject work all the time. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Regards,

XXX

PS: I´m writing from Argentina were my monthly salary is little over the project total cost at 0.05/word ($325)


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:54
English to German
+ ...
Necessity of checking the identity of (potential) customers Jul 25, 2004

Hi Catherine,

There must be a way to post a warning in the Blue Board.

There is, but only by someone who worked for them.

OK, you haven't worked for these folks, but there must be some way to alert our colleagues that these people aren't who/what they claim to be.

I have asked Sarah to forward the messages received, including IP headers, and will look into it.

What this highlights is the importance of verifying the identity of unknown customers. This includes a BlueBoard check, but that's not nearly enough. Relevant details to check on include:

- getting full contact details;
- reconciling the IP data in the message against the customer's purported location (see pobox.com/fullheaders.html for info on how to retrieve IP headers - there are several tools for mapping IP data to location, for example IP2Location);
- running a Whois search for the customer's domain;
- checking other public sources of information, such as phone directories.

Payment practices lists are very useful, but they don't replace a full check on a new customer.

Best regards, Ralf


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Sarah Ponting  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:54
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
very misleading Jul 25, 2004

Tayfun Torunoglu wrote:

In this case, I think there may be pretence or a try for misleading translators under fake ID and perhaps such details should also be taken into consideration.




I entirely agree with you, Tayfun. Indeed, the original message said:

Dear translators,

Hello. My name is XXX, VP of Translation and Editing with YYY, Texas. I am contacting you about an urgent Italian>English translation project. The text is not really about IT, but about the regulations for participation in an IT international conference to be held in Italy. At the moment we need to deliver a 6500 word file in about 7 hours but there will be much more since the client would like us to handle all conference material. Quality and the use of correct idiomatic expressions are very important. The rate is USD 0.05/word. If you are interested, I could show you the text and some very similar English material from previous years. Could you handle a small part within the next 7 hours? Please let me know your opinion about this project. Thanks.


What surprised me most of all, though, is that when I later looked up the agency on the BB (with Texas address), there was a link to this very outsourcer's Proz profile, which clearly said that she was based in Argentina in order to cut costs! Misleading indeed. And the agency has been rated by several translators and achieved an overall score of 4.7 on the BB, so I'd have been quite happy aboutworking for them if the rates had been decent.

Sarah

[Edited at 2004-07-25 21:25]


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Andrea Bullrich  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:54
English to Spanish
about outsourcing from Argentina Jul 25, 2004

I'm fully aware that this will sound defensive, but as an Argentinian translator who often outsources abroad, I would like to say I would never dream of offering rates below what is generally perceived as average for my language pairs in the global market; I just don't try to buy what I can't afford. And, most importantly, if living in Argentina does not explain offering low rates, it certainly does not warrant being rude.
On the other hand, I have an inkling who this may be, as there is a more or less recent topic in the Spanish forum, where this person (if it's the one I'm thinking of) gave a similarly lame explanation for her actions. Ralf, I can forward you the link if you want (it's in Spanish, though).
Best to all,
Andrea


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Uhhh... Jul 26, 2004

400 words at $0.05 won't pay bank transfer rates... let alone clearing charges for cheques. Whoever doesn't know this doesn't sound very experienced to me...

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:54
English to German
+ ...
Got it already Jul 26, 2004

Thanks, Andrea,
On the other hand, I have an inkling who this may be, as there is a more or less recent topic in the Spanish forum, where this person (if it's the one I'm thinking of) gave a similarly lame explanation for her actions. Ralf, I can forward you the link if you want (it's in Spanish, though).

Claudia already forwarded it to me - I cannot understand it though, as my Spanish is just about enough to order drinks...

I'll contact them today, asking for clarification as to their contact details. This will need to be on a general level rather than specifically with respect to the job being discussed here, as it wasn't posted on ProZ.com, nor does it appear to have been sent through Sarah's profile.

Best regards, Ralf


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Andrea Bullrich  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:54
English to Spanish
summary? Jul 26, 2004

Ralf Lemster wrote:
my Spanish is just about enough to order drinks...


I guess you can get the gist of it from a few figures here and there (0.04... 540 pesos...), but I can try and give you a short summary if you still need one. In that case you'll very likely need that drink

Andrea


[Edited at 2004-07-26 06:56]


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