Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Display BOLDLY outsourcers' pledge to Proz's Professional Guidelines
Thread poster: José Henrique Lamensdorf

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 7, 2012

Please see this thread for reference.

Now, two snippets from Proz's Professional Guidelines, for both professional translators and translation companies:
  • agree, before work starts, on payment amount, timing and currency, and who will bear any payment cost
  • do everything possible to meet agreed-upon terms, even when unforeseen problems are encountered


My suggestion is to add to all outsourcers on Proz, especially on the jobs they post, one additional piece of information: whether they do endorse and commit to these guidelines, and the current status of their abidance.

Possible options there:

  • GRAY - has never endorsed the guidelines so far
  • BLACK - has withrawn a previous endorsement (possibly to remove a red mark)
  • GREEN - has endorsed and committed to the guidelines, in good standing
  • YELLOW - has endorsed and committed, but 1-2 duly evidenced complaints have been filed in the past 12 months (resets to green automatically after 12 mos. from the first one)
  • RED - has endorsed and committed, but 3+ duly evidenced complaints have been filed


Differently from the Blue Board, this requires the disgruntled vendor to provide evidence of noncompliance to agreed terms, and the outsourcer will have two business days to provide evidence otherwise.

Also different from the BB, there is NO chance to reverse a red mark other than 'automatically' after one year. If it is a proven fact, there is no way to deny it.

This would thwart all those truly rogue agencies that have a long stream of WWA=5 from blackmailing translators with "We'll pay you forthwith, as soon as you change that WWA=1 into a 5!. Proz must understand that translators make a living from what clients pay them, and NOT from abidance to Proz rules.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:17
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Seems like a good idea, but... Jun 7, 2012

...I would simplify the rules as follows:

Simply have endorsement or non-endorsement indicated on the agency's Blue Board record. This datum can then be taken into account by vendors in terms of their decision to work with a vendor, and in any comments they offer on the Blue Board (i.e., particularly in the event of endorsement and later noncompliance).

I am sure that this site is not willing to take on the responsiblity of maintaining the kind of color-coded rating system you propose, or of policing disputes between outsourcers and vendors along the lines you suggest. I would also contend that such expectations are not reasonable.

But I do think your general idea is a good one.

PS:

By the way, I would add to the guidelines the following statement:
***
In the event that an outsourcer becomes aware that it will not be able to deliver payment by an agreed date, it will immediately notify the vendor of this fact and indicate a date certain, within 10 days, by which payment will be made.
***
This provision will alert agencies of their obligation to notify contractors when they know payment will be delayed (i.e., just like freelancers would of course be expected to notify agencies when they know that delivery will be delayed).

Such notification (assuming that it is followed up with payment) is evidence of good faith. (What typically happens, on the other hand, is that payment is simply not made by the agreed date, and the translator is left to send "reminders" to the delinquent agency.)

If receipt of a contractor's invoice has been acknowledged, and given the reasonable expectation that agencies have systems in place to alert them of payment due dates, there really is no excuse for an agency not to know when it will be delinquent in its payment obligation to a vendor, and to proactively provide the above reassurance.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The MAIN objective would be to... Jun 7, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
... thwart all those truly rogue agencies that have a long stream of WWA=5 from blackmailing translators with "We'll pay you forthwith, as soon as you change that WWA=1 into a 5!. Proz must understand that translators make a living from what clients pay them, and NOT from abidance to Proz rules.


As it is, truly good outsourcers get their deserved Blue Board stream of 5s on their merits alone. However many delinquent-minded outsourcers get the same, on the basis of "Gimme a 5, otherwise you'll only have your payment over my dead body!".

The Blue Board is one of the most cherished benefits by Proz paying members, therefore it should be businesswise worthwhile for Proz itself to improve the BB's reliability as a predictor of outsourcers keeping their word.

Adapting from a recent e-mail I wrote a troublesome-paying translation agency (tons of BB entries, WWA average above 4):
A translator can do a lot for an agency in terms of quality, speed, timeliness, availability, flexibility, technical guidance (e.g. on video, DTP, etc.), referrals, etc. A translation agency can only do one thing for the translator: pay as agreed, when agreed, without any hassle. I have several agencies with whom I've been keeping this exchange for years, we are mutually business partners. Apparently yours was not cut to belong to this group. No need to be sad... several other agencies with generally good reputation weren't either. Yet I feel that my mission entails giving all of them a chance, so you've had yours, and wasted it.


The Blue Board is already flawed as it is. If it had been always been used correctly, 3 would be the clients a translator would fit into their first availability; 4 would mean they would somewhat extend their working hours to serve them; and 5 would be the ones they'd drop anything to make them happy pronto, and later face the consequences of putting other ongoing jobs aside. The way it is now, not so many really competent translators will consider a job offer from an outsourcer graded below 4.0 or even 4.5.

If it were possible to have any statistics on how many WWA = 5s where secured by means of the slightest blackmailing innuendo, we'd be able to see the real picture.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:17
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Blackmail? Jun 7, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

However many delinquent-minded outsourcers get the same, on the basis of "Gimme a 5, otherwise you'll only have your payment over my dead body!".


Is this really true? If so, then it would seem that proof of such blackmail should be sent to proz.com, and that the offending agency should be banned from posting jobs on this site.

My own response to such a request would be along the following lines:

"I do not agree to give an excellent rating to your agency, because doing so would make a mockery of the Blue Board. [Name of agency] owes me money. It has failed in its obligation to pay me on time and has not provided a date certain within the reasonable future when it will do so. Such evidence of bad faith merits the lowest rating possible.

Any future experiences I might have with [name] that are of a more professional order may result in a changed BB rating. "

Sincerely,
R.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Of course, they are not that blunt Jun 7, 2012

Robert Forstag wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

However many delinquent-minded outsourcers get the same, on the basis of "Gimme a 5, otherwise you'll only have your payment over my dead body!".


Is this really true? If so, then it would seem that proof of such blackmail should be sent to proz.com, and that the offending agency should be banned from posting jobs on this site.


Most rogue agencies I've had contact with (fortunately not many) employ awfully nice people. These meekly show that they have really tried their best efforts, but either the end-client (the usual paramount culprit) prevented it, or the company system failed to make a timely payment. So, considering their effort, it should be unfair to give them such a low BB score.

That's the only explanation I can find for some agencies whose job offers I turn down at first sight, to have such high BB scores. Or maybe just too many of my fellow translators worldwide are overly lenient with their clients' payment practices.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:17
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Alternative explanation Jun 7, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

That's the only explanation I can find for some agencies whose job offers I turn down at first sight, to have such high BB scores. Or maybe just too many of my fellow translators worldwide are overly lenient with their clients' payment practices.


This is more like it. In other words, too many translators conduct themselves like jellyfish in the face of abusive treatment from agencies acting in bad faith.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anna ZANNELLA
Italy
Local time: 01:17
Italian to English
good idea Jun 8, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

  • agree, before work starts, on payment amount, timing and currency, and who will bear any payment cost
  • do everything possible to meet agreed-upon terms, even when unforeseen problems are encountered


My suggestion is to add to all outsourcers on Proz, especially on the jobs they post, one additional piece of information: whether they do endorse and commit to these guidelines, and the current status of their abidance.

This would thwart all those truly rogue agencies that have a long stream of WWA=5 from blackmailing translators with "We'll pay you forthwith, as soon as you change that WWA=1 into a 5!. Proz must understand that translators make a living from what clients pay them, and NOT from abidance to Proz rules.


ABSOLUTELY!!!!!

I have one agency who I worked for for 3 mongths earlier this year. Being an Italian agency I am practically terrified of posting anything negative about them on the Blue Board because of the retribution I have had to suffer in the past from doing so and when it was justified.

My current agency agreed to 60 day terms for payment from the end of the month of the month of the invoice. But when it came time to pay, and I reminded her she added a "within the 1st 10 days of the next month following the 60 days after the end of the month of the incoice" - which she didnt honour anyway paying on the 11th bring the days to around 73 days. This month, for March's payment she is doing it again. If I say anything, as with Italian agencies I will get abusive phne calls, name calling emails sent to everyone in the agencies and nasty acusations on the blue Board.

There must be something you can do about these agencies, and the abuse we sometimes (often) have to suffer just to get paid.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

BeaDeer  Identity Verified
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Excellent suggestion. However ... Jun 8, 2012

>We were offered the so-called Proz "Certified Pro" status, but declined because we do not consider Proz to be a linguistic authority.
...
Likewise we do not endorse the site's so-called "Professional Guidelines", because in our 8 years of membership, we have not witnessed them being enforced in the interest of true professionals.<

The above statement is from the profile page of a full Proz member.
I happen to share this person's opinion on certification, but if his observation as a whole
is anything to go by, I doubt that this suggestion will be implemented.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Plain and simple Jun 8, 2012

Anna ZANNELLA wrote:
This month, for March's payment she is doing it again. If I say anything, as with Italian agencies I will get abusive phne calls, name calling emails sent to everyone in the agencies and nasty acusations on the blue Board.

There must be something you can do about these agencies, and the abuse we sometimes (often) have to suffer just to get paid.


What we - translators - need is a neutral ground.

Of course, outsourcers who enroll on Proz are free to opt in or out of endorsing the professional guidelines. If they don't want any of it, it's their choice, and it does not necessarily imply that they are dishonest at all. It will be up to translators who decide to work for them to interpret that.

However if they choose to endorse such guidelines, they must live up to them, otherwise such endorsement will be a lie.

The proposal here is, if and when a translator has a PO, has delivered the job as requested (regarding time, quantity, quality, etc.) and the client fails to fulfill their commitment as stated on their PO, to make it public.

Assuming that the outsourcer has endorsed Proz's professional guidelines...

1. The translator would submit the PO to a specific channel on Proz, and state they were not paid as stated there.

2. Proz would electronically challenge the outsourcer to - within two business days - submit evidence that the payment was made as agreed, OR proof that the job was not delivered as requested, however that the translator was given a chance to fix it accordingly and timely, but failed to do so.

3. If the outsourcer fails on #2 above, Proz will complement whatever symbol it uses to say that This outsourcer has pledged compliance to our professional guidelines with ... but has failed to follow them X times in the past 12 months.

Of course access to this feature may be restricted to paying members, and may gradually replace the Blue Board, since it is based on FACTS, more reliable than opinions that may be twisted via blackmail.

Neither Proz nor the complaining translator risk any liability, as proof is available, and nobody ever forced that outsourcer into endorsing those professional guidelines. Anyone endorsing them will have done so on their free will. Yet if they fail to keep their own word, as evidenced, they are the ones to be blamed for the entire outcome.

The 12-month period was taken from the BB itself. A perusal of those records will show some agencies that had a bad start and then 'went good', good agencies 'gone bad', as well as a few that went through a difficult period and survived it. In this proposed system, everything vanishes after one year.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:17
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two birds, too many stones Jun 8, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
My suggestion is to add to all outsourcers on Proz, especially on the jobs they post, one additional piece of information: whether they do endorse and commit to these guidelines, and the current status of their abidance.


It would appear (if I understand correctly) that you are trying to solve two problems here with this new system of yours. They are:

1. The fact that translators can change their BB rating.
2. Not sufficient transparency with regard to red pee compliance.

My suggestions for this would be as follows:

1. Allow translators to change their BB ratings, and change their BB comments, but make it so that their old ratings and old comments remain visible. The most recent BB rating should be the one that counts towards the agency's total BB score (since that represents the translator's most recent opinion about the agency), but anyone scrolling down the list of comments should be able to spot entries that were changed.

After all, a translator might have been angry once, but after the resolution of the problem, the translator might decide that he likes working for that agency after all, and so he must be able to change his rating for it.

2. If either the translator or the agency is a red pee member, then add a section to the BB rating screen that asks a few questions about compliance. These answers should also become part of the BB rating entry (and should also remain visible forever), but again it should be possible for translators to change their answers, if they later discover that they may have been mistaken, or if their original comment related to a solitary occurence initially, or suchlike.

Questions might be "In your opinion, did the agency comply with all of the red pee principles (Y/N)", and if "N", then "Which of the red pee principles did the agency not comply with fully" (or if that is too specific, a more general question e.g. "Please elaborate your answer above".


Direct link Reply with quote
 

BeaDeer  Identity Verified
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Additional work for the management? Jun 8, 2012

>2. Proz would electronically challenge the outsourcer to - within two business days - submit evidence that the payment was made as agreed, OR proof that the job was not delivered as requested, however that the translator was given a chance to fix it accordingly and timely, but failed to do so.

3. If the outsourcer fails on #2 above, Proz will complement whatever symbol it uses to say that This outsourcer has pledged compliance to our professional guidelines with ... but has failed to follow them X times in the past 12 months. <

Wouldn't this mean additional work for this web site's management?
On the other hand, it would enhance the value of paid membership.
It could also diminish the number of agencies reselling jobs on Proz.

Introducing a good escrow service would be an elegant and in my view also a much better solution. In addition, showing the value of the highest and lowest bid would also make things here a lot more transparent and would make Proz more trustworthy. However, having an escrow service in place also means more work for the staff, who would then also have to deal with complaints on both sides of the fence.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:17
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Red pee? Jun 8, 2012


Samuel Murray wrote:
red pee member....red pee principles


Sounds more like a matter that would require immediate medical intervention....

[Edited at 2012-06-08 13:40 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

BeaDeer  Identity Verified
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Does the BB system allow rating agencies on the basis of a checklist? Jun 8, 2012

I do not actually know how the BB works (I've known my customers for ages, none of them are on BB or Proz, at least as far as I know), but I have read the conditions for making an entry.
Is there a checklist that one has to go through to post an assessment, e.g. like for Translation Payment Practices? I would not rate anyone just because they have made me angry but would also not allow to change the assessment simply because someone is no longer angry.
P.O. or contract, terms, delivery on time, no quality issues, payment in full, on time, and if not, how late - these are facts. Emotions change, facts do not.

>After all, a translator might have been angry once, but after the resolution of the problem, the translator might decide that he likes working for that agency after all, and so he must be able to change his rating for it. <









[Edited at 2012-06-08 14:02 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good ideas, Samuel Jun 8, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:
It would appear (if I understand correctly) that you are trying to solve two problems here with this new system of yours. They are:

1. The fact that translators can change their BB rating.
2. Not sufficient transparency with regard to red pee compliance.


This would have been solved by an ancient suggestion I made, benchmarking the BB with its competitor's (the rubiaceae-named one) equivalent, much more objective in its questions.

Samuel Murray wrote:
My suggestions for this would be as follows:

1. Allow translators to change their BB ratings, and change their BB comments, but make it so that their old ratings and old comments remain visible. The most recent BB rating should be the one that counts towards the agency's total BB score (since that represents the translator's most recent opinion about the agency), but anyone scrolling down the list of comments should be able to spot entries that were changed.


This is good, and currently possible via a support ticket, possibly a pain for the overloaded Proz staff.

What I think I suggested at the time, would be an automatic blackmail-snitch contrivance. A disgruntled unpaid translator, upon being blackmailed, would be able to click on a box, and enter a provisional comment. This - without Proz staff interference - would provisionally change that BB rating to 5, and allow entering a new comment (a standard comment here would be a give-away). This later comment would persist for one week, and then be automatically reverted to the old one (which could still be changed via support request, as usual).

Samuel Murray wrote:
After all, a translator might have been angry once, but after the resolution of the problem, the translator might decide that he likes working for that agency after all, and so he must be able to change his rating for it.


Quite unlikely. The translator is in no rush to enter a WWA, unless 'prompted' under blackmail to get paid, the situation to be avoided.

Samuel Murray wrote:
2. If either the translator or the agency is a red pee member, then add a section to the BB rating screen that asks a few questions about compliance. These answers should also become part of the BB rating entry (and should also remain visible forever), but again it should be possible for translators to change their answers, if they later discover that they may have been mistaken, or if their original comment related to a solitary occurence initially, or suchlike.


I think red pee (apart from Robert's surmise on a punctured bladder) and the professional guidelines are separate things, though the latter may be a prerequisite to the former.

The entire point is Proz being the e-venue for Proz-fessional translators, who demand an equally professional demeanor from the outsourcers they serve, and not the other way around.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No obligation - escrow service Jun 8, 2012

BeaDeer wrote:
It could also diminish the number of agencies reselling jobs on Proz.


Nobody would ever be required to endorse the guidelines. Anyone - both translators and outsourcers - may do it on their own volition.

BeaDeer wrote:
Introducing a good escrow service would be an elegant and in my view also a much better solution. In addition, showing the value of the highest and lowest bid would also make things here a lot more transparent and would make Proz more trustworthy. However, having an escrow service in place also means more work for the staff, who would then also have to deal with complaints on both sides of the fence.


This could obviously be outsourced by Proz, and a tiny commission on that would be enough to fund the entire site without membership fees.

However in spite of globalization, there is still no universal solution for that. PayPal has worldwide coverage, however it is outrageously expensive and slow. Xoom is excellent, however it only serves from the USA to some 30 countries. These are the two extremes I know.

Banks? There is a four-letter-named international bank that insistently boasted on Brazilian TV that any client of theirs, in any branch of theirs worldwide, would be treated as if they were at their "home" branch. Last week I stepped out from a really nearby client with a check drawn on that bank. On my way home (a healthy stroll), I went past a branch of that bank, so I decided to cash that check, and deposit the money at a branch of my bank, its immediate neighbor. The teller told me she couldn't cash it; this could only be done at the branch where that client had his account, about two miles away in the opposite direction. So what did those shots of their branches in New York, London, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, that I saw on the ad mean? Nope, this won't work!


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


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


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

Display BOLDLY outsourcers' pledge to Proz's Professional Guidelines

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 »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



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