Minimum quoting period
Thread poster: Stephanie Mitchel

Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:17
French to English
Nov 1, 2012

Could we quell the competition anxiety on ProZ by setting a minimum period during which quoting must remain open? It seems as if every time I see an offer I'm interested in, it's already closed, and not because I'm not on the ball. I understand that language consumers and agencies want to get things rolling on their end, but would three hours be unreasonable?

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Phoebe Indetzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:17
German to English
+ ...
counterproductive Nov 1, 2012

If a job poster is forced to leave a job open for three hours, there's still nothing to stop them assigning the job after five minutes and ignoring any applications that come later.

In fact, I'm glad when they close the job as soon as they've chosen a translator - it saves the rest of us from wasting our time.


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
I see the same thing Nov 1, 2012

Stephanie Mitchel wrote:

Could we quell the competition anxiety on ProZ by setting a minimum period during which quoting must remain open? It seems as if every time I see an offer I'm interested in, it's already closed, and not because I'm not on the ball. I understand that language consumers and agencies want to get things rolling on their end, but would three hours be unreasonable?


I get the impression that lowest bid takes all so if a low bid comes in right at the start, they simply take it and close the job. I realise this is a lot of supposition on my part but frankly given the 'offers' made (either low budget posted or 'best' offer requested), I can't really see what else matters once the stampede begins. Surely they don't read through the the multitudes of those offering to translate a contract or hotel blurb? A mass posting gets a mass response and it's hard to see how price isn't the great leveler.
It is really discouraging but keeping a job open for even more hopefuls to waste their time bidding makes little sense. Imo.


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Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:17
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I've never been offered a job Nov 1, 2012

I stopped looking for job offers quite a while ago, as I soon realised it was a waste of time. Not that I applied for many.

I have a sneaky feeling that the only translators who find work on ProZ are the people who charge ridiculously low rates.


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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:17
German to English
For the client to decide.. Nov 1, 2012

I don't see the point of "prolonging the agony" by holding a job open artificially when the client has already made up his/her mind and chosen a translator. Perhaps it is sometimes "first cheap quote wins", but I'm sure there are reputable agencies on here with other criteria. What seems to be certain is that many of the jobs posted here are "rush" jobs, perhaps which the agency's regular translators cannot take, so it seems natural that there may sometimes appear to be apparently "indecent haste" in awarding the job.

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Claudio Nasso  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:17
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
I have the same feeling Nov 2, 2012

Helena Chavarria wrote:

(...)

I have a sneaky feeling that the only translators who find work on ProZ are the people who charge ridiculously low rates.


I have the same feeling, apart from how long a project proposal remains open. They are ages since I got a job from ProZ.com system proposing “serious” rates.

But how can we fight against this attitute if the portal itself doesn’t find a "serious" solution?

Claudio


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I see this problem the other way around Nov 2, 2012

Let's say it's a 9,000 words job.

Some outsourcers leave, say, three days for quoting, and one day for actually doing it. Chances are they might wait until the last minute to see if a cheaper translator will apply.

Now my rated output is 3,000 words per day. Peak so far was 10,000 words in one day, yet the client was paying me a hefty rush surcharge.

So imagine that I quoted my "best" (actually the only, standard) rate on the very first day the job came up, and now they want me to translate the 9K words in one day at that price.

I think that this type of abuse is much worse than those open-and-shut jobs that close before I finish writing and submitting my quote.


An always puzzling type - which I ignore - is "we need 2,000 words translated within the next three hours - payment 60 days after invoice, to be submitted at the end of this month". Who is in a rush here?


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:17
French to English
+ ...
It is frustrating but... Nov 3, 2012

As a translator and occasional outsourcer myself when I need to collaborate with other colleagues, some thoughts:

- if a provider has genuinely found a suitable candidate quickly and they're absolutely sure they don't need more input, it may not make much sense to keep the job open for ages (I personally would keep it open for a bit longer for the reason I state below, but maybe not all outsourcers agree)
- as @writeaway has said, there are genuinely *some* jobs for which the main objective is to find a reasonable translator as quickly as possible-- perhaps if they kept it open for 8 more hours, the ultimate expert in beach sandal translations would suddenly jump out of the woodwork, but maybe they're not that fussed
- while the problem that José mentions is also irritating, it may not always be that the outsourcer intends to take a long time to allocate the main job, but that they want to keep it open for other translators that express an interest in order to have more options if, say, the first translator ends up not being able to keep to their commitment, or if some extra material arrives, or if a second opinion is required for some terminology etc.
- in fairness to outsourcers, it isn't *always* obvious just how long it is likely to take to get sufficient interest on a particular job: generally, they will be wanting to strike a balance between having a reasonable chance of giving good candidates chance to reply, while at the same time not needlessly prevaricating, but that can be a hard call at times.

So, I do share some of the frustration, but see the other side of the coin too.


[Edited at 2012-11-03 03:40 GMT]


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:17
French to English
+ ...
Perhaps one thing that would be nice... Nov 3, 2012

...would be if the job poster's contact information remained visible to members for (say) 1 day after the job closes. Sometimes I've seen a job for which I have particular expertise but for which I just happened to miss the boat; it would have been nice to contact them to say "Sorry I wasn't available in time this time, but in case you get similar work in the future, here are my details" but the contact details have suddenly become hidden just because the job has closed.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
On nice things... Nov 3, 2012

Some outsourcers treat translators who don't have/use (specifically) Trados as if they were felons (really!) or, at best, heretics. Others demand Trados sine qua non as a way to shortlist candidates, i.e. to receive only a 'manageable' number of applications, and screen out 'occasional' translators together with all professionals who use other CAT tools.

Whatever is the case, I can't figure what's the point in notifying me about jobs I've been precluded from bidding, or even from contacting the poster. Anyway, I reckon that the client is king: they have the right to squelch any candidate who doesn't... smoke Marlboros, drive a Ford, have blue eyes, or have any more sensible criterion they wish to impose.

In respecting that right, I claim my right to be nice to anyone in the translation industry. They may have missed some essential detail, for instance:
- failing to specify the target language variant when it's critical;
- requiring the translator to live in an uncanny place for the required language pair;
- requiring software incompatible with the desired outcome;
- requesting incompatible specializations, e.g. social sciences for machinery or vice-versa;
- failing to mention volume (e.g word count);
- etc.

When the issue is critical, I send a Support Request, and the Proz staff takes care of notifying the client about it. This is probably a burden for them, but it helps Proz effectiveness.

Evidence of this burden is that sometimes the closing deadline is so close (pun intended) that when the job posting is eventually vetted by the staff, it stays open for a very short time, getting reposted afterwards. The word here is clutter.

My suggestion is to create a field on all job posts where anyone - including those who have been stonewalled from bidding due to must-have requirements - could send the job poster a short note, maybe limited to 200 chars.

Some examples of such messages:
- It's unlikely that you'll find a native speaker of Portuguese in Uzbekistan.
- I'm a specialist in the required field, but use MemoQ, not Trados.
- Nobody will be able to translate a 60 minutes video in one hour (please consider download time too).
- PowerPoint is not an adequate for video subtitling.
- No point in demanding a CAT tool for handwritten documents, or audio files.

Of course, this will clear the way for some rather unpleasant ones, like:
- If you pay 2¢/word, you'll get better service from free online machine translation.
- Having such a low WWA, you should be offering offer to pay cash in advance, not 60 days.
... which point to a positive outcome.

Stonewalled potental applicants could open new possibilities:
- Chemistry is not among my key specialties, but I have done extensive work in it.
- Corporate Policy Manuals is my specialty area, however I use WordFast, not Trados.
- If you find a translator specialized in medicine for this video, I can do the actual subtitling work from there.
- If all you need is a translated PDF, I don't use Frame Maker, but I can work on a PDF generated from it.

Of course, the message sender can be required to be logged in, perhaps this feature would be limited to members, PRO-taggers, whatever.

Upon receiving such notes, the job poster would have a few options:
- ignore/delete
- edit/amend the job post
- publish the note appended to the job page
- contact the sender directly via their profile, in case they deem it worthwhile.


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Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:17
Member (2009)
English to Russian
+ ...
I agree! Nov 3, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
My suggestion is to create a field on all job posts where anyone - including those who have been stonewalled from bidding due to must-have requirements - could send the job poster a short note, maybe limited to 200 chars.

Some examples of such messages:
- ....

I would be happy to support this excellent idea! Sometimes I have the same comments concerning country or CAT-tools, but no means to deliver the message to such clients. The only concern here is that cheap suppliers might use this feature to offer their services (on the other hand, it would be obvious to clients that it's unprofessional and such a supplier is not to be trusted).

[Редактировалось 2012-11-03 12:00 GMT]


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