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standardize blue board comments
Thread poster: Ronald van der Linden

Ronald van der Linden  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 03:53
German to Dutch
+ ...
Aug 16, 2010

Hi,

I'm not sure whether this is a duplicated request, but I would like to suggest that comments/ratings on the blue board be standardized.

For example, I see many comments with "nice" staff, quick payment and rated 5. This is highly arbitrary. "Quick" for someone could mean within 15 days or within 45 days, depending on the colleague's standard payment terms.

If possible, I would suggest when filling in comments of the blue board, that 2 or 3 standard questions with standard answers have to be entered. The questions/answers need to be measurable indicators. Questions like: how did this outsourcer treat you? do you believe this is a professional outsourcer? are not measurable.

Example questions:

Question one:
Upon delivery, did you receive payment from this outsourcer within a) 5 days b) 15 days c) 30 days d) 45 days e) > 45 days.

Question two:
How long did it generally take this outsourcer to reply to your communication: a) immediately b) within 1 hour c) within 4 hours d) within 1 business day e) > 1 business day

Question three:
Did you have any issues with this outsourcer that would influence the decision making process of your colleagues to accept work from this outsourcer? a) no b) yes + explanation

I feel standardizing comments would be an improvement of the blue board. A 5-star rated outsourcer with comments like "nice staff" or "always pays on time", may still be incompatible if they respond within 2 business days or have a payment scheme of 60 days.

Thank you for reading my suggestion.
Ronald


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 10:53
English to Croatian
+ ...
Agree. Aug 16, 2010

I like this scheme.

Or, for example:

Communication
Punctuality
Payment Terms
General Terms
Organization
Overall


Rate all these categories with 1-5


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Ronald van der Linden  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 03:53
German to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
transparency Aug 16, 2010

Lingua 5B wrote:
Or, for example:

Communication
Punctuality
Payment Terms
General Terms
Organization
Overall
Rate all these categories with 1-5


Thank you, Lingua 5B, unfortunately I believe that rating 1-5 will not offer any valuable information in order to be able to offer comparison to my personal situation.

With rating something 1-5, I do not know what it means. "Communication 4" does is mean "contact is good/nice/friendly" or "communication is fast, but not immediate". Another example: payment terms is starred 3: does that mean they pay late? and if it means they pay late, what is "late" is a colleague requires payments immediately to within 5 business days upon delivery.

I prefer measurable answers that offer transparency: 30 mins, 5 business days, etc. instead of "long", "fast" or "1 - 5".


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:53
Member (2008)
Italian to English
hmmm Aug 16, 2010

Ronald van der Linden wrote:

I would like to suggest that comments/ratings on the blue board be standardized.


only if there's still an "additional comments" box.

If there is, then I would agree that standardising some of the remarks could be a big step forward - similar to the feedback facility on Amazon, where on completion of a purchase you're asked to answer a few standard questions.

But Amazon also give you the "additional comments" box - that must NOT get lost.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 10:53
English to Croatian
+ ...
Yes, I understand. Aug 16, 2010

The more info provided, the better for us who are reviewing the comments making a decision whether or not to work with a certain agency.

However, I also know ProZ prefers very concise comments on BB, for their own ( practical reasons). That's why I went with a simple 1-5 rating, however provided in several relevant categories.

Perhaps in the Overall category, there could be a small explanation/description.


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Ronald van der Linden  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 03:53
German to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
additional comments only to elaborate on issues Aug 16, 2010

Tom in London wrote:
only if there's still an "additional comments" box.
But Amazon also give you the "additional comments" box - that must NOT get lost.


I do not oppose to a field "additional comments", as long as there are a few standard questions available that have measurable indicators as an answers.

In my example questions: question three has room for additional comments, but only in the case when replied yes to the question whether there was some kind of issue with the outsourcer.

In other words, in my suggestion, additional comments for positive "nice", "good", "fantastic" feedback is no longer present, as this can be expressed by the general 1-5 rating. And to be honest, I feel that positive feedback saying "fantastic" has very little value.

Furthermore, any measurable results can be implemented in job postings for additional information: such as: "this outsourcer generally pays within 30 days" based on blue board entries.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 10:53
English to Croatian
+ ...
Valubale. Aug 16, 2010

Ronald van der Linden wrote:

Furthermore, any measurable results can be implemented in job postings for additional information: such as: "this outsourcer generally pays within 30 days" based on blue board entries.



I agree that this would be a very valuable information enabling a quick and efficient screening.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't know... Aug 16, 2010

I am not really sure such structured and standardised information would be more helpful than the present short comment (or even no comment) and the number. In Spain we say "A few words are enough for the good listener"...

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Anja Weggel  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:53
Member (2007)
English to German
good idea Aug 16, 2010

I like the idea but only if the "additional comments" box is still provided. It is good to have measurable answers but sometimes you need to add something that does not fit there.

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Ronald van der Linden  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 03:53
German to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
why? Aug 16, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
I am not really sure such structured and standardised information would be more helpful than the present short comment (or even no comment) and the number. In Spain we say "A few words are enough for the good listener"...


Hi, Tomás,
Could you elaborate your point of view?

In my experience, I have seen many "nice PM" or "quick payments" comments with a 5 rating, to find out the outsourcer pays within 60 days, runs an unprofessional agency, has organizational problems, etc. etc. Also, I believe that the blue board is currently being used to please outsourcers as part of our colleagues' "marketing strategy".

I do not oppose to how the blue board is currently being used. However, I do feel that specific questions could help improve the quality of the ratings. Furthermore, standard questions could help protect the translator from placing "emotional" comments that would escalate any existing conflict with the particular outsourcer. Finally, using the blue board as a marketing strategy is fine with me, but in addition to remarks on how nice the PMs are, a few standard questions would then make any input beneficial to others.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 16:53
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Agree with the idea Aug 16, 2010

Anja Weggel wote:
I like the idea but only if the "additional comments" box is still provided. It is good to have measurable answers but sometimes you need to add something that does not fit there.

I support this idea.

Best regards,

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Vitals  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 11:53
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Good idea Aug 16, 2010

It saves time and energy in writing (almost) the same things every time.

Best,
VS


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Current information is enough Aug 16, 2010

Ronald van der Linden wrote:
I do not oppose to how the blue board is currently being used. However, I do feel that specific questions could help improve the quality of the ratings. Furthermore, standard questions could help protect the translator from placing "emotional" comments that would escalate any existing conflict with the particular outsourcer.

I also feel it is incorrect to use the Blueboard to please outsourcers. I have made some good Blueboard entries with maximum LWA myself, but after years and many jobs with one outsourcer. It is sad, and damaging to the value of the Blueboard, when someone posts a LWA of 5 after a first 300-word job. Many during my years as a Proz.com member changed their mind shortly after their LWA of 5 but blamed the Blueboard accusing it of being inflexible, instead of blaming themselves for being reckless...

Now, having said all this, by standardising the opinions and categorising different aspects (that after all will be emotional or at least preferential), you will probably kill the valuable between-the-lines information that any translator should be able to interpret and understand. The lack of a comment is also a very good indicator with any LWA number.

Everybody would be forced to describe the relationship and its outcome to a limit that could be close to violating NDAs and/or the wishes of an outsourcer. If I was an outsourcer, I would not like to be given points for each of my qualities (or lack of). Wouldn't that make me feel like I was in a beauty contest?

To me, the LWA number and a short comment are more than enough to know whether I should enter in negotiations with a new customer or not.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 11:53
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
0/1 Aug 16, 2010

IMO the BB ratings should only be yes or nor, are you ready to work with this outsourcer again or not. All these comments are to no real use.
Regards
Heinrich


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:53
French to German
+ ...
My personal opinion,... Aug 16, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Now, having said all this, by standardising the opinions and categorising different aspects (that after all will be emotional or at least preferential), you will probably kill the valuable between-the-lines information that any translator should be able to interpret and understand. The lack of a comment is also a very good indicator with any LWA number.


and contrary to the views exposed by Tomás, is that there should not be any room for interpretation, but quantifiable and objective information which would reinforce the credibility of the BB as such.

While I never had any difficulties with outsourcers rated according to a method akin to the one suggested by Ronald on another site, I had some bad surprises with agencies highly rated on the BB.

As an example, an agency with a majority of BB 5's states on its PO's that invoices are paid "upon receipt". However, there were some colleagues (in addition to yours truly) who were not paid before 30 to 40 days.

Who would have looked bad for giving this agency a rating under 5 or 4???


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