On how curiosity pissed the cat, or a proposal on one requirement for the outsourcers
Thread poster: IrinaN

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 08:17
English to Russian
+ ...
May 18

The community seems to be in the improvement mood these days, and I decided to tell the story that I wanted to simply forget and let go.

A little while ago, on one not so sunny day, having my 1-hour break and an access to Internet, all on company dime and time😊, I went to browse job offers and stumbled over just one that caught my attention.

The budget was not announced. No email or any other forms of contact. The only contact the outsourcer provided was URL, and n
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The community seems to be in the improvement mood these days, and I decided to tell the story that I wanted to simply forget and let go.

A little while ago, on one not so sunny day, having my 1-hour break and an access to Internet, all on company dime and time😊, I went to browse job offers and stumbled over just one that caught my attention.

The budget was not announced. No email or any other forms of contact. The only contact the outsourcer provided was URL, and not just to the website but specifically to the application page, with minimum content. A brief Google search confirmed physical existence of the company but, interestingly enough, a click on the official company site found on Google took me to the same application page with no contact info. The plot thickened and my investigative side took over – it’s been a very, very long time since I applied with any unknown or “unheard of“ outsourcers. At that moment all hopes for trust and possible collaboration were gone with the wind but I decided to explore the route a bit.

I went as far as giving my name and one of my "junk" email addresses. The next page asked for some more information but nothing criminal so far – country of residence, language pair, native tongue, preferred fields. Darn curiosity kept pushing the cat with some time on her paws. Boy, was I sorry! Next page, the third page of the route, turned out to be a MANDATORY, no-choice-of-subject test (a two-column table with the source text on the left) called General but in fact it was medical, which, incidentally, I do not touch with a 10-foot pole and did not check, complemented by a MANDATORY 1 hour to complete the test NOW! The timer in the corner already started ticking! Keep in mind that at this point you are still blissfully unaware of their detailed requirements or price ranges, or anything else, for that matter!!! Please forgive my CAPs and exclamation marks😊.

I take mass mail, or .03 cent offers, very lightly - a ridiculous nonsense, a nuisance that never caused me a loss of one single nerve cell or a minute of my time. I don’t even advocate for exterminating anyone😊. They can ask for, or offer, any budget and I can agree, negotiate or ignore - it’s a free world and a free market. But this unfortunate excursion into the world or, rather, underworld of modern outsourcers threw me into the road rage. 0 to 100 in 60 seconds does not begin to describe it. How dare they! This was the most obnoxious approach to hiring translators I have ever encountered in my life. Unless it was some sort of a new and super elaborate scam, but I haven’t found any invitations for .50/word for a million words, paid upfront, in the provided email.

Dear colleagues, you don’t need to tell me that no seasoned translator would waste a second on that outsourcer. This is not my point. My point is all about a very serious matter of principle. No one with such “business approach” should be allowed to recruit on Proz. To be fair, the example seems to be an exception rather than a rule but even the exceptions of the sort must be weeded out.

I propose, again, as a matter of principle, to reject the outsourcers who do not declare a budget AND (not OR) do not provide any active options for initial inquiries before collecting data/testing. One of the two must be present in each job offer.

Respectfully,
Irina
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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:17
Member
English to Italian
Negotiation steps and collaboration requirements, rather than "budgets" May 18

IrinaN wrote:

I take mass mail, or .03 cent offers, very lightly - a ridiculous nonsense, a nuisance that never caused me a loss of one single nerve cell or a minute of my time. I don’t even advocate for exterminating anyone😊. They can ask for, or offer, any budget and I can agree, negotiate or ignore - it’s a free world and a free market. But this unfortunate excursion into the world or, rather, underworld of modern outsourcers threw me into the road rage. 0 to 100 in 60 seconds does not begin to describe it. How dare they! This was the most obnoxious approach to hiring translators I have ever encountered in my life. Unless it was some sort of a new and super elaborate scam, but I haven’t found any invitations for .50/word for a million words, paid upfront, in the provided email.

Dear colleagues, you don’t need to tell me that no seasoned translator would waste a second on that outsourcer. This is not my point. My point is all about a very serious matter of principle. No one with such “business approach” should be allowed to recruit on Proz. To be fair, the example seems to be an exception rather than a rule but even the exceptions of the sort must be weeded out.


Well, it could be argued that even those of us who take issue with 0.001-[insert low rate here] "offers" consider it a "matter of principle" and part of a broader derogatory and contemptuous approach adopted by an (apparently) increasing number of clients/outsourcers toward "resources".

In the end, as you say (and as often chanted on here like a mantra...), "it’s a free world and a free market", right? And they're not breaking any law by behaving the way you describe, so you could've simply closed the page and be done with it, as you do with the ludicrous point nil "offers"...


I propose, again, as a matter of principle, to reject the outsourcers who do not declare a budget AND (not OR) do not provide any active options for initial inquiries before collecting data/testing. One of the two must be present in each job offer.


OR, just ask companies to describe exactly what they requirements are for collaboration, including what steps, in what order. Rates should IMO always be left to negotiation and not stated by clients, as they shouldn't be those who state a price for the services they wish to acquire (IF we're talking about "matters of principle" here...).

However, yes, I believe it could only be a good thing if a set of rules (not just generic, watered down, harmless and elective "guidelines") was actually enforced in order for outsourcers/clients to operate here.

[Edited at 2019-05-18 07:44 GMT]


IanDhu
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:17
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
We need to be given a way to warn others May 18

IrinaN wrote:
Next page, the third page of the route, turned out to be a MANDATORY, no-choice-of-subject test (a two-column table with the source text on the left) called General but in fact it was medical, which, incidentally, I do not touch with a 10-foot pole and did not check, complemented by a MANDATORY 1 hour to complete the test NOW! The timer in the corner already started ticking! Keep in mind that at this point you are still blissfully unaware of their detailed requirements or price ranges, or anything else, for that matter!!!

My point is all about a very serious matter of principle. No one with such “business approach” should be allowed to recruit on Proz. To be fair, the example seems to be an exception rather than a rule but even the exceptions of the sort must be weeded out.

It disgusts me to think that others may well go the same route as you, but with their eyes firmly closed. They'll somehow feel "forced" to drop everything and do those tests in the expectation of high volumes of work.

I urge ProZ.com to seriously consider a way for us to disclose the onboarding practices of agencies. This abuse of freelancers who are young, inexperienced, naive, desperate -- or whatever -- should be stopped. We've all been in situations that are similar, even if we haven't seen anything that offensive. Many agencies employ people who are skilled at stringing freelancers along in a long exchange of emails until they feel they've invested so much already (in terms of time) that they may as well jump through some more hoops in the hope of some sort of ROI.

If you refuse to allow that, then please at least consider bannng all links in job postings. Ideally, we should quote through the ProZ.com site. I don't know if email quotes have always been allowed, or why they were included, but maybe doing everything through the site is better.

Agencies should not be allowed to dictate in this manner. They're abusing the site as well as the freelancers.


IanDhu
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IrinaN
United States
Local time: 08:17
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Some comments May 18

Mirko, I sure as hell closed the page:-) There was no 4th step on my behalf., not to mention that there was no way to take it without completing the test. Trust me, I was not about to do that test:-) The whole experiment on a human subject was over in less than 5 min.

I could not possibly ask the company about anything since there was no way to reach anyone there. That was my main point. As far as the low rates are concerned, I understand yours, and generally everyone's frustration
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Mirko, I sure as hell closed the page:-) There was no 4th step on my behalf., not to mention that there was no way to take it without completing the test. Trust me, I was not about to do that test:-) The whole experiment on a human subject was over in less than 5 min.

I could not possibly ask the company about anything since there was no way to reach anyone there. That was my main point. As far as the low rates are concerned, I understand yours, and generally everyone's frustration about such offers but... I do indeed keep singing my mantra on a free market for a very simple reason - I have been on the other side of it for the first half of my life, so I know. Still, even after 30 years of living in the US my knowledge of the world has not been reduced to the globe of the United States. There are plenty of places on this planet where a steady workflow at .03 can feed the family. Not like I am happy about it, but who am I to judge? IMHO, there are only two sources of final advise on what to accept or not to accept - the balance on your bank account at the end of the month, and the amount of food for your kids in your refrigerator because no one will go around with the collection to pay your family bills in gratitude for sticking to the guild rules. Tough, but true. Again, welcome to globalization. After all, 0.03 x 2000/day x 20 days amounts to 1200/month. A fortune even before taxes for so many in this big and troubled world, and not necessarily in some 3rd and 4th world countries. Add all the benefits of working from home when saving on gas or public transportation count... Numbers do not lie.

*The survey results showed that the average annual family income of Filipino families was approximately 267 thousand pesos* = $5221.56 USD.

*Poland has one of the highest minimum salaries in Central and Eastern Europe. The average salary after tax in Warsaw is around 3820 PLN (approximately 850$ per month). In other cities of Poland the average salary is lower – Krakow(3387 PLN), Wroclaw (3341 PLN), Gdańsk (3341 PLN).*

I chose Poland for an example because it is considered one of the most successful Eastern European economies of the post-Soviet era, and 3000 zł a month is shown in another source as an average salary for an electrical engineer. Please, I don't have a slightest inclination to state that a Polish translator should be happy with 0.03.

Sheila, I am not really sure that no price range indications should be the rule. For one, it will save those of us who charge slightly more than 0.03 from wasting any time. The other way may lead to turning Proz into the elite establishment, which would be a nice thing in many aspects but, as far as I understand, the entire Proz business model is based on masses and the scope of disclosure. Just think of the profit from ads. Consequently, with significantly less members there will be a demand for a much higher membership fee and many other additional requirements, which will put Proz profits, together with the entire Proz survival, under question. Also, should things come to that, in a split second another translation site will emerge, open for everyone and every price, just like Proz is now. Same darn free market:-). Gosh, sometimes I get mad at my own "down-to-earthness". For two, I do not find it outrageous that the clients are trying to set the initial prices because a) we are not obligated to comply or even react, and b) it's a common practice for the employers, or let's call them job providers in our case, to disclose the expected remuneration for the offered jobs. I understand that we are not prospective employees, we are freelancers but I would still prefer to foresee the estimated end result before I invest a minute of my time. But I respect and understand your suggestion anyway. It is very tempting to back it up with full force but, quite unfortunately, I have my doubts regarding its vitality. Notwithstanding the need for certain rules that would firmly prevent anyone using Proz for a potential profit and business expansion from a totally unacceptable behavior.

Thank you, guys, for your time and attention, and I believe that essentially we are on the same side. Just keep it coming

I was really tempted to answer the following to the "professional objectives" questions:
1. Money
2. Money
3. Money
4. (optional) More money
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