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Outsourcers' complaints related to quality: should ProZ.com provide a means of arbitrating?
Thread poster: Lotfi Abdolhaleem

Lotfi Abdolhaleem  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 13:25
Member (2013)
Arabic
+ ...
Jun 19

Under "Site Rules", one reads: "Entries concerning the Likelihood of Working Again (LWA) with given outsourcers are allowed only when (1) .., and (2) there have not been complaints related to quality shortly after delivery."

Now, what prevents an outsourcer from making a false complaint related to quality of a project delivered by a service provider JUST for the sake of evading from paying to the service provider?

Should not there be a measure or a mechanism for checking by the site's staff whether or not the complaint has a real ground?

Such verification could be done through assigning the task in question to, say, two volunteer translators native to the target language of the task, along the lines of TWB's volunteers, for them to report how bad or good the quality is.

In the absence of such a mechanism, the rule is quite unfair. I experienced such a case where lies were told by an outsourcer which I can prove (violating the ethics of the career), plus 38 positive LWA's I had, with dozens of projects satisfactorily completed for some individual outsourcers of that total.



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2018-06-22 12:29 GMT]


Angie Garbarino
Iryna Khramchenko
 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
I proposed something like that 10 years ago Jun 20

Please see here

https://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_suggestions/114131-how_about_to_establish_a_kind_of_arbitration_for_translation_quality.html

I will be more than happy to see something similar applied

Good luck!

PS: let me add: when the rating method was made effective, I expected such practice of low rating just for not paying, To me entering such new kind of rating without having in place a sort of check/arbitration is dangerous for professionals.



[Edited at 2018-06-20 06:52 GMT]


Kay Denney
 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 12:25
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Pros Jun 20

Lotfi Abdolhaleem wrote:

Should not there be a measure or a mechanism for checking by the site's staff whether or not the complaint has a real ground?

Such verification could be done through assigning the task in question to, say, two volunteer translators native to the target language of the task.


Yes, ProZ should address this issue seriously rather than introducing fancy features like cute buttons and such.

However, I believe that the solution should be found outside the translation industry. Too many translators are unable to produce top-quality texts themselves, let alone judge someone else's, and there is no guarantee that such "volunteer translators" would be up to the task.

The solution must be found at an academic level from external, independent individuals.

This profession is still deeply rooted in amateurism, and it's about time that we take it to a real pro level. In view of all the changes that are taking place in the industry, most notably the growth of machine translation, such an evolution process may even become necessary for the survival of the profession itself.

But perhaps we are too afraid of exposing our flaws to a qualified external judgment?

[Edited at 2018-06-20 07:27 GMT]


Michele Fauble
 

Lotfi Abdolhaleem  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 13:25
Member (2013)
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Outsourcers' complaints related to quality. Jun 20

Thank you very much, Angie and Daniel, for your participation. I undoubtedly think that judgment in such a matter MUST not be left alone to the complaining party, it's a real integrating need on this site.

 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:25
Member
English to Italian
Confidentiality Jun 20

Lotfi Abdolhaleem wrote:

Such verification could be done through assigning the task in question to, say, two volunteer translators native to the target language of the task, along the lines of TWB's volunteers, for them to report how bad or good the quality is.


Aside for what Daniel was saying about the reliability of such a review (thing which by the way extends beyond your proposal...), what about the confidentiality of the disputed translation?


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Easy: by signing a NDA Jun 20

Mirko Mainardi wrote:
what about the confidentiality of the disputed translation?


With the permission of the client/outsourcer, and/or deletion of personal data, I wonder if you read the link I posted over a discussion about my proposal of 2008, this is also present in the "proposals under review".

Regarding the doubts expressed above about competence, also this issue was discussed in that thread.

[Edited at 2018-06-20 09:21 GMT]


 

Lotfi Abdolhaleem  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 13:25
Member (2013)
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Outsourcers' complaints related to quality. Jun 20

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

what about the confidentiality of the disputed translation?


As the confidentiality of the disputed translation would be disregarded before the requirements of applicable laws, whenever need be, so should it be before the requirements of resolving such a dispute. The logic is very simple and fair: All pillars of the relationship (including confidentiality) is a whole construction, once the outsourcer would expose one (main) pillar to collapse (the translator's compensation), no one can save the other pillars from collapsing, too! And the outsourcer is the blamed party, particularly if the translator has passed a free sample test before being assigned the job.


[Edited at 2018-06-20 09:07 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-06-20 09:15 GMT]


Angie Garbarino
 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 08:25
SITE STAFF
Contact support, if they haven't contacted you already Jun 21

ProZ.com staff do not verify quality (those issues should be addressed by a qualified third party if necessary), but they do verify whether the rules for the use of the Blue Board are being upheld.

Lofti, it appears to me that in the case you might be referring to, the outsourcer has contacted support to contest the LWA entry you made for them, under the cited rule. If support staff have not already contacted you, please submit a support request with any relevant details, which will help them adequately investigate the matter.

Jared


 

Lotfi Abdolhaleem  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 13:25
Member (2013)
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Limitations of Proz's investigation! Jun 21

Jared Tabor wrote:

.., please submit a support request with any relevant details, which will help them adequately investigate the matter.


What are the limitations of such an investigation? What use of it as long as the outsorcer can prove to have made a complaint shortly after delivery [baseless complaint or otherwise]??


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 08:25
SITE STAFF
There are always limits, yes Jun 21

Hi Lotfi,

Lotfi Abdolhaleem wrote:

What are the limitations of such an investigation? What use of it as long as the outsorcer can prove to have made a complaint shortly after delivery [baseless complaint or otherwise]??


The issue here would be the baseless complaint, not the otherwise, correct? The limits, as I mention above, are the site's rules. An outsourcer who claims quality complaints simply to avoid payment would be detected very quickly, just based on the reports investigated by staff. Outsourcers are subject to the site's termination policy, https://www.proz.com/termination_policy

Jared


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 06:25
SITE FOUNDER
Willing to explore this Jun 22

Lotfi Abdolhaleem wrote:

Should not there be a measure or a mechanism for checking by the site's staff whether or not the [quality] complaint has a real ground?

Such verification could be done through assigning the task in question to, say, two volunteer translators native to the target language of the task, along the lines of TWB's volunteers, for them to report how bad or good the quality is.

I'd say that we're willing to explore this. What do other think?
How could the work (of the checkers) be funded? To what standard would a check be done?


 

The Misha
Local time: 06:25
Russian to English
+ ...
Some of us actually have Jun 22

Daniel Frisano wrote:

This profession is still deeply rooted in amateurism, and it's about time that we take it to a real pro level.


As to the others, let the market sort them out. The more each of us worries about his or her own business rather than the "industry" in general, the better off we will all be, collectively as well as individually.


Michele Fauble
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:25
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
funding Jun 22

Lotfi mentioned volunteer translators. Not being paid might be a good way to guarantee that you're not biassed in favour of the person paying you, however it might also mean that it's incredibly hard to find someone competent and willing to wade through a possibly bad translation, comparing the client's notes and perhaps the translator's justification for his choices. It might be a good idea to ask retired translators: they will typically have time and experience. Except that apparently they also typically still work if only for pin money.

I had to analyse client complaints when working in-house and while I tried to maintain objectivity, I could easily understand that the client would find me lacking in objectivity.

In my experience, a client in good faith will come back with questions within a few days (or maybe up to a couple of weeks if it's a long text). They ask questions rather than make accusations. The questions are specific "Why did you use that word? we usually use this other word". You answer them, either explaining why what you put was right, or acknowledging that they are right, or both (I systematically try to concede at least one point to show that I'm not just defending the translation blindly). If I have to concede some important points, I would suggest a discount.

The client in bad faith is more likely to wait until you send a reminder that the bill is due. They don't ask questions, and they are more likely to make sweeping judgements without giving any examples (this text is rubbish, littered with mistakes, it sounds like it's been translated by someone who's not native, or by Google). At the agency I used to work in, we would ask for a detailed analysis, and it was never forthcoming this late in the day. Also, we would often be able to find proof that they had published the translation as delivered, or if they did correct it, they introduced lots of mistakes.


Lotfi Abdolhaleem
Kuochoe Nikoi
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 12:25
German to Serbian
+ ...
Suggestions. Jun 22

Henry Dotterer wrote:

Lotfi Abdolhaleem wrote:

Should not there be a measure or a mechanism for checking by the site's staff whether or not the [quality] complaint has a real ground?

Such verification could be done through assigning the task in question to, say, two volunteer translators native to the target language of the task, along the lines of TWB's volunteers, for them to report how bad or good the quality is.

I'd say that we're willing to explore this. What do other think?
How could the work (of the checkers) be funded? To what standard would a check be done?


IMO it should be a highly qualified third party reviewer that should nothing to do with ProZ or freelance translation, to avoid conflict of interest. They should be paid by the outsourcer if they want to "prove" they are right and the translator provided bad quality. It should be a part of their business risk, business investment, etc. So this approach has several layers: To control the number of outsourcers and the number of translators that's growing out of every proportion.

Example: One time I outsourced a project and hired a Norwegian translator on ProZ at $0.16 per word. The client, his wife and their associate could all speak fluent Norwegian, just were too busy to do the translation. They all confirmed critical errors in the translation provided by the said translator that could result in client's financial losses, since the subject matter was finance. I confronted the translator, they admitted the errors, didn't refund me (I paid them in advance as they had great ProZ profile history). I took it as a lesson, had nowhere to report it and couldn't go into great lengths of proving what happened since I was very busy. Just one example of how difficult it really is to report this on ProZ. Furthermore, it actually facilitates scam behavior by translators since they are aware it can't be reported or proved. That's how a vicious circle of bad rates, semi-scam behavior and poor quality is continued. Nonetheless, I fully understand no system is perfect, especially online where people can't even look each other in the eyes when making dealings. Hope something will be done about this though.



[Edited at 2018-06-22 07:45 GMT]


Lotfi Abdolhaleem
 

Lotfi Abdolhaleem  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 13:25
Member (2013)
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Bad faith of client. Jun 22

Kay Denney wrote:

The client in bad faith is more likely to wait until you send a reminder that the bill is due. They don't ask questions, and they are more likely to make sweeping judgements without giving any examples (this text is rubbish, littered with mistakes, it sounds like it's been translated by someone who's not native, or by Google)..


In my case the outsourcer (a freelancer) raised some points which I could OBJECTIVELY and LOGICALLY refute all of them. With his SOLE email, he attached a track-change file where - believe it or not - he made 4000 words out of 4250 being the word count of the job, are flawy! How? for a single example: too many dates in the universal order: "dd,mm,yyy", are made mistakes (even many of them are of Arabic calendar that can never ever been written the American order (mm,dd, yyy)! Have there been ANY instructions of otherwise, applicable to this example or the others? NONE.

And when I made a negative feedback to his blueboard, he replied with two lies: my translation "is possibly machine translation"! and I refused his "REQUESTS to try the issue..".

Yes, I acknowledge I have a handful or so minor mistakes (near-native English translation).


 
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