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Requirements for job postings
Thread poster: Anjo Sterringa

Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:10
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Oct 11, 2006

As we are talking about improving the image of ProZ as a professional community and offering premium services to outsourcers, I would like to draw your attention to the following issue concerning the services offered to translators:

How do we know a job poster is who he says he is and not another 'scammer'?

Just a few days ago, on a Sunday (!), a job was posted by a non-member using a free e-mail address. The BB record (this was an empty record, with no ratings) that was made for this new outsourcer (as having a BB record is I think a requirement?) did not refer to a website. I googled the outsourcer's name and the so-called company name and could not find a translator or a company even remotely resembling the name given in the job posting - a few days later there were more hits: the BB record in all kind of site languages - which in itself I find extremely annoying but that is another issue.

I checked with one of the moderators and the answer was that anybody can post a job, as long as a name, address, telephone number and e-mail address are supplied. The IP address was checked and came from the location (a city with roughly 4 million inhabitants) that was indicated.

The e-mail address was a free e-mail address and I received no reply when I asked for more company information by e-mail. The telephone rings but nobody answers the phone, at least not during office hours (I only tried twice) and there is no answering machine.

This posting attracted my attention as it mentioned one of my language pairs - of course I would never consider working for an outsourcer if I cannot even find any proof of its actual existence.

This particular posting is not the issue, and it may even be genuine - just posted by someone with a day job somewhere else and very little time to reply to e-mail messages.

It did make me think about the requirements for job posters though: if we are asking translators to complete their profiles, even up to information I myself do not find relevant (ok, ok, let's not digress), should we not require a minimum amount of verifiable information of an outsourcer? Or have a warning in the BB entry: this information has not been verified? Or something in the job posting: this job has been posted by an unknown user?
Just as an incentive of course to complete a profile as a job poster.

Anjo

(Edited to change BB entry into BB record: the example I gave had an empty record, no entries)

[Edited at 2006-10-11 11:54]


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BelkisDV  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree 100% Oct 11, 2006

Anjo Sterringa wrote:

should we not require a minimum amount of verifiable information of an outsourcer? Or have a warning in the BB entry: this information has not been verified? Or something in the job posting: this job has been posted by an unknown user?
Just as an incentive of course to complete a profile as a job poster.

Anjo

[Edited at 2006-10-11 11:03]


Hi Anjo,

I couldn't agree more. As far as the BB entries I know for a fact that even outsources make up profiles and rate themselves with a high score.

I say I know it for a fact because one particular company who took 6 months to pay me (leading me to contact my attorney who in turn got a hold of them and threatened to sue for non-payment), has posted very positive information about themselves.

The so-called company has a very professional website; so I had checked that out already. Yes, they were on the web, their site looked great but the red flags started going up whenever I would call and get the same person on the phone, who was 1) the receptionist, 2) the project manager and finally 3) the owner. She represented her company as a large firm when in reality she only had one other employee who resigned after the last fiasco. That employee is still listed in the BB as their project manager when in fact he quit 2 years ago.

So screening companies, just like we ourselves are screened through VID, etc. should be one of the top priorities of the new feature if it is going to work.

Best,
Belkis


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ASE2
Canada
Local time: 20:10
English to French
+ ...
So many other horror stories we never know about Oct 11, 2006

Completely agree with you both! There are few works of life today where people do work full time, for peanuts most part of the time, under such tight schedules that there is no room for doing anything else than hammering a keyboard day and night, and where there is the possibility of not being paid on time, not being paid enough, or even not been paid at all! In other days, this was called slavery. We have another elegant word, today: freelance. Agencies or systems catering to freelance translators should have a strict agency screening, a strict code of selecting ads, and conduct serious checkings into what type of ads, who posts what and where they come from. Nobody wants to work for free. They don't, why should we?

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
horror stories Oct 11, 2006

Sylviane Englund wrote:

Completely agree with you both! There are few works of life today where people do work full time, for peanuts most part of the time, under such tight schedules that there is no room for doing anything else than hammering a keyboard day and night, and where there is the possibility of not being paid on time, not being paid enough, or even not been paid at all! In other days, this was called slavery. We have another elegant word, today: freelance. Agencies or systems catering to freelance translators should have a strict agency screening, a strict code of selecting ads, and conduct serious checkings into what type of ads, who posts what and where they come from. Nobody wants to work for free. They don't, why should we?


I was getting the distinct impression that jobs posted in ProZ are often dodgy, from impressions I've got in forums and from the rates offered ... and it's clear that ProZ has become a dumping ground for cheapo agencies looking for cheap, even free (unpaid), translators.

I had some faith in the BB, in all my innocence, now I'm very wary.

Thanks for alterting us Anjo:-)


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Jerónimo Fernández  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree Oct 11, 2006

I totally agree with Anjo. I reckon it's a great idea.

To Belkis: sorry to read about your bad experience. Have you posted your LWA on the Blue Board?

Cheers,
Jerónimo


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:10
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What would you consider minimum requirements? Oct 11, 2006

Thank you for your replies- we have all been there some time or other!

Everybody has to decide for themselves whether to work for a particular outsourcer or not, to (try to) avoid such horror stories.

But - back to my main point; I would like to see that job postings on a serious site for translators are slightly more verified.

Requirements I could think of:
* The outsourcer should have a verified profile in the database
or
* The outsourcer will have to provide other proof of identity

I do know that it is never entirely possible to weed out rogue outsourcers that are extremely skilled in putting up professional looking fronts, but surely there must be room for improvement on the current situation?

[Edited, as more replies came in while I was writing this]There are many verified and reliable outsourcers posting on ProZ, at least in my language pairs, but how to weed out the dodgy ones before people have to make BB entries that they did not receive any payment and the outsourcer gets banned?

Also in the interest of outsourcers - if translators do not reply to a posting because they do not have sufficient information, that cannot be in the outsourcer's interest either, right?

Anjo

[Edited at 2006-10-11 14:50]


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 22:10
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
identity verification Oct 11, 2006

Anjo Sterringa wrote:

Requirements I could think of:
* The outsourcer should have a verified profile in the database
or
* The outsourcer will have to provide other proof of identity


I couldn`t agree more. Since identity verification is a plus (or a must) for translators, it should be suggested (or required) to outsources as well.


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 02:10
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Please contact moderators if you think a self-entry was made Oct 11, 2006

Hello Belkis,

BelkisDV wrote:

As far as the BB entries I know for a fact that even outsources make up profiles and rate themselves with a high score.


If you know it for a fact, please contact one of the Jobs / BB moderators with links and facts. Self-entries are not permitted. We have been approving entries for a while now, but entries used to go directly online a while ago and there was no way we could check before.

Thank you.


BTW, VID is only for individuals not for companies, as only a person can be VIDed.

Giuliana


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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:10
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Profile completion request (not requirement) is related to marketing member services Oct 11, 2006

BelkisDV wrote:

So screening companies, just like we ourselves are screened through VID, etc. should be one of the top priorities of the new feature if it is going to work.

Best,
Belkis


Belkis is quite right! The request to complete all profile categories has to do with a new category of job postings called "premium" job postings. See: http://www.proz.com/topic/55664 ("Marketing member services, part 3: Premium job postings"). This is not a blanket requirement for having a profile, or even for having a a VID'd profile, whether in the Member category or not.

In fact, I wonder whether, rather than creating a new thread, this thread shouldn't have been part of the already existing "premium" job thread?

The Site requires that job posters enter their contact information so you, as a job applicant, can have the opportunity to check on the party posting the job yourselves: we can make sure the information is complete and that there is a *reasonable* probability that it is accurate, but we're not Interpol, nor even parties to any transaction between job posters and the parties they hire to do jobs for them. Checking to make sure an address is complete is not the same as doing a verified identity check, and job posters in the general job posting category (not the new "Premium" one) are not required to have their identity verified, any more than users creating profiles on ProZ.com are *required* to have their identities verified.

Note, however, that only the name of the job posting party (the individual or the company) must be shown in a job posting. The rest of the information entered may be hidden in job postings to protect the job poster's privacy, whether from job applicants or Web search machines: both can be a concern to certain job posters.

As for Blue Board records: yes, they *may* be created for anyone posting a job, but they are not necessarily created. In particular, we have not generally created a Blue Board record for individuals (as opposed to companies) posting a first job on ProZ.com.

Cf statement in http://www.proz.com/?sp=jobs&sp_mode=post:
"Job posters may be added to the Blue Board. The Blue Board is a complete, searchable database of entries made by ProZ.com users about outsourcers, along with outsourcer coordinates."

You might also want to take a look at the Job posting rules, to see what they cover (again, this is not the process under which the new "premium" job category would be operated). See:

http://www.proz.com/faq/jobs_posting

Yolanda Stern Broad, Ph.D.
ProZ.com Jobs moderator


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:10
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
This is not about premium jobs Oct 11, 2006

No, my suggestion was NOT about premium jobs, although it may be linked in such a way that we might only consider jobs posted by premium job posters in the end, or companies that already have a proven track-record.

My concern is exactly about what we have not got yet: about the 'normal' jobs that CAN BE posted with very little information on the outsourcer, which makes it very risky for us, the service providers to take on a job offered on the job board.

Even worse really, if a record for a company which might not even exist is created on the BB - I think I had just never realised that was a distinct possibility.

It is NOT about well-known companies that regularly post jobs with many BB entries - nothing as easy as contacting a colleague who made an entry and asking whether they are reliable.

Just as companies may be worried about service providers delivering a translation, I think translators are (and I think rightly so) worried about the genuineness of the outsourcer.

I know there is no company VID possible (yet) - that is why it is a suggestion.


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 03:10
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
As it is Oct 11, 2006


Anjo Sterringa wrote:
My concern is exactly about what we have not got yet: about the 'normal' jobs that CAN BE posted with very little information on the outsourcer, which makes it very risky for us, the service providers to take on a job offered on the job board.


I will not go in the details, but please believe me- we, jobs' moderators, do all humanly and technically possible to throughly check each job posted. If slightest doubt arises, the job is not published until satisfactory explanations are received from the job poster. On the other hand, we are not Scotland-yard, if there is nothing suspicious in the job posting/its details, the quoted data match accessible records, the job is published.


Even worse really, if a record for a company which might not even exist is created on the BB - I think I had just never realised that was a distinct possibility.


I have to say again that contrary to any other translation site I know, on ProZ all posted jobs (requiring vetting- there are category of job postings which doesn't require vetting- posted by logged in posters with LWA record not lover than *) are checked as throughly as it *reasonably* can be.


I know there is no company VID possible (yet) - that is why it is a suggestion.


Yeah, please suggest to us the way how we can check and VID companies from all corners of the World... Many countries doesn't have any online Company registers or they are in a languages we cannot read.

Uldis

[Rediģēts plkst. 2006-10-11 17:31]


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BelkisDV  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks for the info. Oct 12, 2006

Giuliana Buscaglione wrote:

If you know it for a fact, please contact one of the Jobs / BB moderators with links and facts. Self-entries are not permitted. We have been approving entries for a while now, but entries used to go directly online a while ago and there was no way we could check before.

Thank you.

Giuliana


Hi Giuliana,

On the BB there is an option for members to "Update" information on a company. I tried to use that feature to alert potential victims (I can't think of another word right now) that the Project Manager listed by the company had resigned (yet his name still appears as being part of the company.)

I know he resigned because he sent me an email saying the way the project was being handled was more than he could take, later on I sent him an email and the owner responded telling me he was no longer with the company.

So an extremely large project that was supposed to be divided among several translators just landed on my lap because they had no one else. Their excuse for not paying me on time was that their client had not paid them. A well established agency should be prepared for that, I did not sign a contract with the agency's client, I signed a contract with the agency.

So yes, I will contact a Moderator about this case. I didn't know you all handled these type of problems.

Thank you.

Belkis


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BelkisDV  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
A couple of ideas Oct 12, 2006

[quote]

Yeah, please suggest to us the way how we can check and VID companies from all corners of the World... Many countries doesn't have any online Company registers or they are in a languages we cannot read.

Uldis

ēts plkst. 2006-10-11 17:31]



Ok perhaps this idea is not feasible but how about asking ThEM for their VAT number? The name of the owner, how many employees does the company have and (this is my favorite because I used it in my capacity of Director of Translations at one of the world's largest language schools) 3 credit references?

We have to provide references sometimes; how about them doing the same thing?

On another note: require that job postings be in English besides whatever other language. If you cannot understand the postings yourselves that raises all kinds of issues. So how about volunteers from those language pairs to convey the message to staff members and in turn get some kind of credit from the site? (I'm not talking about monetary credit, but recognition of some sort.)

Best to all,
Belkis


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:10
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What are the possibilities? Oct 12, 2006

"Yeah, please suggest to us the way how we can check and VID companies from all corners of the World..."

Well, I could think of a few possibilities to establish an identity of a job poster: do not forget, this is someone actually going to ask a translator to spend a day, a week, a month on a project.

If I remember right, when I paid for Yahoo services they would first do a 'test' if my credit card existed: 1 dollar or 1 euro was taken and then returned. If my credit card exists, I exist - sad but true.
So, if a non-member requests a job posting, you could ask for a 1 (or 2 or 5 ) euro transaction - that should be no problem.

This may not establish I am actually a freelancer or a company, but at least it establishes the person or the company that is behind the job posting.

I do also think that information such as a VAT number would be useful - unfortunately the rules about tax numbers /VAT thresholds) are not the same in all countries. But everybody has a tax identification number or a company identification number in some way or another, at least in my part of the world.

I still think that a situation in which a job poster can submit actually very little information, and then 'gain respectability' by having his name on the job board, together with a Blue Board record, could be improved on.

I understand that, on the other hand it is very useful to add this record, as a translator then at least has some details about the outsourcer - but what if these details are not correct?

Maybe it is not feasible, maybe it would be too expensive or it would keep people from posting jobs (well, there's a thought ), maybe the entire system would become too slow - but it would encourage people to register as a member (as this would speed up the job posting process).

At least it has made me aware of the fact that you cannot be too careful...

Thank you all for your replies, and it was certainly not my intention to suggest the job moderators were not doing a good job - I think you are doing a remarkable job!


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:10
English to German
+ ...
Some general comments Oct 13, 2006

Sorry for posting late, but I was on the road for the last couple of days.

The issue raised by Anjo is a concern for Jobs moderators too - in fact, quite a few jobs never see the 'light of day' on ProZ.com because Jobs mods spot inconsistencies or implausibilities in the contact details provided (the other day, someone quoted a telephone number in Zurich: +41 1 2345678 - yeah, right...). Sometimes there's a bona fide explanation, but if there's no response (or just an excuse), the job will not be approved ('vetted' - see this topic for a definition which jobs are subject to vetting).

In my opinion, mandatory identity verification is not practical - not only on account of the related admin efforts, but also given the diversity of registration regimes, the de-facto exclusion of freelancers outsourcing (if we were to rely on company registration details), and the pre-emptive blocking of potentially attractive outsourcers (who might just not have been in touch with ProZ.com previously).

Every service provider is *individually* responsible for ascertaining the identity and authenticity/reliability of a (potential) client. ProZ.com staff and moderators cannot assume that decision (given the related responsibility); besides, I personally would not outsource this core element of my risk management strategy. Simple answer if there isn't sufficient information: ignore the job offered.

Picking up your suggestion of a warning note, I think it would be a good idea to display a warning for outsourcers (i) without a BB record; (ii) with a BB record without a minimum number of entries (say, three over the last twelve months or five overall); or (iii) with an average LWA below 2.5.

Best regards,
Ralf


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