Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4] >
Multidimensional Blue Board score
Thread poster: Kevin Dias

Kevin Dias
Local time: 07:22
SITE STAFF
Sep 9, 2016

NOTE: This is only a theoretical question to gain insight from translators. There are currently no plans to change the Blue Board functionality.

If you could imagine: instead of giving an outsourcer one score of 1 to 5, you instead gave that outsourcer a series of 1 to 5 scores across various categories - what categories would you choose?

Some examples to start the brainstorming...
- Project managers communicate well with freelancers
- Provides background (tone, context, etc.) and materials (i.e. glossaries, translation memories) needed to successfully complete the project
- Sets an appropriate deadline for the project
- Pays on time

...etc.

What are your ideas? What categories would you choose?

Secondarily - Do you think having a multidimensional score available would make the Blue Board more or less useful?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:22
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
sounds like a good idea to me Sep 9, 2016

How about: – Pays a decent rate

Michael


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
Partial member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
What the Blue board is good for Sep 10, 2016

I use the Blue board to check any agency before I start working with them. If they are not on it, the only way to go is ask for payment up front, at least for the first job.
If they are on the Blue board, what matters most to me is a) who are the translators who give all the reviews - are they of the cheap type, which can often be determined by looking at their profiles; b) are there any payment issues at all; if there are any, it means no, not interested or, if they are adamant about wanting to work with me, payment up front. But payment issues and low payments usually go hand-in hand; thus, it's mostly no, thank you.

On the other hand, c) if the ratings are all 5's AND the translators who rated the agency are colleagues I know or colleagues with decent rates posted on their profile pages, I am willing to work with them. Whether or not I ask for payment in advance will depend on additional factors like volume, deadline, etc. But in general, I will expect any such agency to pay fairly quickly after my delivery of translation and invoice.

That can all be determined from the Blue board as it is. It's also simple. Let's not complicate the issue and give agencies a reason to point at 5 more categories where they received glorious reviews from translators that might work at terms that are really not professional.

[Edited at 2016-09-10 02:06 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Useful already Sep 10, 2016

The Blue Board gives me quick insight that complements my gut feeling about a new outsourcer. For that purpose, the current approach is more than sufficient: if someone is not a straight five, or is all fives only by people who run to the Blue Board to share their lovely experience after one single job, then I act more carefully. If an outsourcer has one or several 1's or is under 4.5, then a no-go for me.

No outsourcer is perfect, and I can hardly care about what others think about their PM's communication/organisational skills, the colour of their walls, their brand of tea, or the name of their dog: I just need a quick business reliability score to throttle my interest (or lack of) in working for a new outsourcer.

The Blue Board hits the nail in the aspect that we care most about and nobody else can tell us: do they pay, and on time? All the rest is secondary, and if we added all that secondary information, this vital information would be diluted in the picture.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
With this I agree Sep 10, 2016

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer wrote:
How about: – Pays a decent rate

We would need to define a bit what is "a decent rate" and make a non-subjective metric about it (perhaps a rate within or over the average rates for the different pairs here in Proz.com), but yes, that would come handy before I continue discussing cooperation with a new outsourcer.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 00:22
English to Croatian
+ ...
Ambiguous. Sep 10, 2016

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer wrote:
How about: – Pays a decent rate

We would need to define a bit what is "a decent rate" and make a non-subjective metric about it (perhaps a rate within or over the average rates for the different pairs here in Proz.com), but yes, that would come handy before I continue discussing cooperation with a new outsourcer.


I am sure different translators will have different ideas about a good rate.

Other than that, I think that multidimensional grading is not a bad idea.

What about "Agency required free test"?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:22
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Agree Sep 10, 2016

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

The Blue Board gives me quick insight that complements my gut feeling about a new outsourcer. For that purpose, the current approach is more than sufficient: if someone is not a straight five, or is all fives only by people who run to the Blue Board to share their lovely experience after one single job, then I act more carefully. If an outsourcer has one or several 1's or is under 4.5, then a no-go for me.

No outsourcer is perfect, and I can hardly care about what others think about their PM's communication/organisational skills, the colour of their walls, their brand of tea, or the name of their dog: I just need a quick business reliability score to throttle my interest (or lack of) in working for a new outsourcer.

The Blue Board hits the nail in the aspect that we care most about and nobody else can tell us: do they pay, and on time? All the rest is secondary, and if we added all that secondary information, this vital information would be diluted in the picture.


This is what I was thinking.

Nevertheless, the criteria I base scores on are: timely payment, efficient project management (including setting appropriate deadlines and providing useful background information and materials), professionalism, communication, lack of nasty surprises.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
No Sep 10, 2016

Kevin Dias wrote:
If you could imagine: instead of giving an outsourcer one score of 1 to 5, you instead gave that outsourcer a series of 1 to 5 scores across various categories...


On Ted Wozniak's PP system, each agency has two ratings, namely a payment-reliability score (which has very strict definitions, based on how many days after the agreed-upon payment date the payment was made) and a willingness-to-work-again score, which is like the BB scale.

From what I see in the forums in the requests for improvement of the BB, however, I get the impression that most users here are not interested to know whether the agency pays on time, but rather (a) how much they pay, and (b) how long it takes them to pay. Item (a) is project-specific and item (b) is agency-specific.

It may be an idea to item (b) to the BB as an optional entry, although I'm not sure if agencies would generally consider that to be confidential information. But about this, instead: give agencies the ability to provide some of this information themselves. For example, the owner of a BB entry could add information about their payment term, or they could upload a sample of their standard NDA, etc.

Do you think having a multidimensional score available would make the Blue Board more or less useful?


The value of the BB is that it provides information that the translators is unable to get directly from the client. Some of the things that some people might want to see in the BB are things that you can simply ask the client.

What rates do they charge? Ask the client directly. What is their payment terms? Ask the client directly. How bad is their NDA? Ask the client directly. Is the deadline unrealistic? Tell the client directly. And for questions like "Do they pay on time" or "Are they a friendly bunch of people", there is the BB.


[Edited at 2016-09-10 08:25 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 00:22
English to Croatian
+ ...
Ask them directly as well. Sep 10, 2016

Samuel Murray wrote:

And for questions like "Do they pay on time" or "Are they a friendly bunch of people", there is the BB.


[Edited at 2016-09-10 08:25 GMT]


You can also ask them those two questions directly, then BB is totally irrelevant?

I want to see translator's opinion (third party opinion about them), not their own? I want to hear about their NET Terms and deadlines from translators.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:22
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Indeed Sep 10, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:

Samuel Murray wrote:

And for questions like "Do they pay on time" or "Are they a friendly bunch of people", there is the BB.


[Edited at 2016-09-10 08:25 GMT]


You can also ask them those two questions directly, then BB is totally irrelevant?

I want to see translator's opinion (third party opinion about them), not their own? I want to hear about their NET Terms and deadlines from translators.


That's the point (or it should be the point...), including avoid wasting time unnecessarily doing tests, reading/signing endless/obscure NDAs/SLAs and negotiating, only to discover it would've been much better (and less stressful) if you went out fishing or picking flowers that day.

This is also in reply to Samuel's "What rates do they charge? Ask the client directly. What is their payment terms? Ask the client directly. How bad is their NDA? Ask the client directly. Is the deadline unrealistic? Tell the client directly", which in many cases is not a viable/realistic approach, IMO.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:22
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Not necessarily with a 1 to 5 scale Sep 10, 2016

Kevin Dias wrote:

If you could imagine: instead of giving an outsourcer one score of 1 to 5, you instead gave that outsourcer a series of 1 to 5 scores across various categories - what categories would you choose?


As Michael was saying, I would definitely like to see a "score" concerning rates, or even just a "Are the outsourcer's rates aligned with ProZ community rates?". That would also make it more objective (and coincidentally raise the awareness about community rates).

Likewise, there could also be other useful info (not necessarily in a 1 to 5 scale), like an indication about payment terms, about tests (free/paid, size, etc.), about whether the projects offered by a client often tend to be "urgent" and/or over the weekend (and whether the offered rates reflect that), etc.

There could be tons of details that could make translators' lives easier and hopefully make outsourcers think twice before adopting dubious practices...

And also, has the idea of anonymity ever been taken into consideration? More than once have I read about things like outsourcers receiving a host of 5s in a single day, about "ratings exchanges", and so on, and such practices are definitely detrimental to the reliability and usefulness of the BB.

[Edited at 2016-09-10 10:50 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
Member (2013)
Chinese to English
Anonymous ratings Sep 10, 2016

The most useful feature you could add to the BB would be the ability for translators to provide ratings anonymously. Would be fairly simple to implement--you could simply allow any paying Proz member to make anonymous ratings, with companies' BB ratings to show 'Rating made anonymously by full Proz member' for such entries.

This would be enormously useful to all of us, as I suspect ratings would instantly become much more honest/lower (I basically don't rate agencies anymore, as there's simply too much potential business blowback for bad ratings).

Of course, the issue would be whether or not this is to risky for Proz in terms of potential litigation from agencies?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No need to complicate matters Sep 10, 2016

I think that Kevin's suggestion here unnecessarily complicates matters, and that a single number covering the "global experience" of the rating translator (and encompassing the various factors cited in this thread) is more than sufficient.

Of the possible ratable dimensions presented by Kevin, I think that timely payment is the only one that really matters. I would venture to say that the expectations of most freelancers regarding communication with PMs are fairly minimal. A rating in this respect would be like rating the cashiers at a store where you occasionally buy snacks. If these employees don't consistently make mistakes, and if they show a minimum of civility, then they have done their job. PMs who don't respond to e-mails, or who provide inaccurate information regarding a project, are like store clerks who consistently have problems ringing up a simple purchase or making correct change, in that they represent marked deviations from the norm.

As for "providing background and materials," I don't find such provisions common, and I assume I am not alone. So this would also not be a meaningful dimension to rate. And given that so many projects involve tight deadlines, and considering the wide variation in translators' skill profiles, speed, and work preferences, what is "reasonable" in any given case is highly subjective.

What would actually improve the Blue Board would be a consistent approach that allows negative comments as well as positive comments to be freely posted. The current setup, in which positive comments of any kind are allowed, but in which negative comments (even if they are mildly negative) are often (and inconsistently) censored, is inherently biased in favor of agencies. Another improvement would be requiring raters to indicate how many projects they have done for the rated agency (and allowing modification of comments to reflect changes in experience over time). This would help contain (or at least quickly identify) the unhelpful "love-festing" that is so prevalent in many of the listings.

These kinds of modifications, rather than creation of some convoluted matrix evaluating factors that don't matter, would represent real improvements, and are worthy of serious consideration.


[Edited at 2016-09-10 18:33 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Change the scale from "LWA" to a simple "poor-to-excellent" Sep 10, 2016

I think that another substantive improvement would be scrapping the current rating system in terms of "likelihood of working again" in favor of a simple quality scale (with "1" representing "poor" and "5" representing "excellent").

The problem with "LWA" is that it is does not always correlate with one's experience and perception of any given agency. Thus, I might be very "willing to work again" with a particular agency under certain circumstances (say, if I am going through a slow period, or on the occasions on which said agency offers premium rates for rush jobs), even though I generally find the rates offered by that outsourcer unacceptably low, their payment terms unreasonable, and their PMs annoying and unprofessional. In such an instance (and it is not that unusual) my "LWA" might be a "4" or "5", but my qualitative rating might be more like a "1" or "2".

Also highly relevant in this regard is that agency standards have eroded to such an extent that what was intolerable (in terms of rate, payment terms, testing and paperwork requirements, or whatever) 15 years ago is now common practice. Within such a context, an LWA of "5" would often not equate to an equivalent qualitative rating....

[Edited at 2016-09-10 16:59 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Makes sense to me Sep 10, 2016

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

Likewise, there could also be other useful info (not necessarily in a 1 to 5 scale), like an indication about payment terms, about tests (free/paid, size, etc.), about whether the projects offered by a client often tend to be "urgent" and/or over the weekend (and whether the offered rates reflect that), etc.

There could be tons of details that could make translators' lives easier and hopefully make outsourcers think twice before adopting dubious practices...


Good suggestion here. Like Mirko, I do not see such factors as ratable. This kind of information can be conveyed through ticking "Yes" and "No" boxes.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Multidimensional Blue Board score

Advanced search






LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »
TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search