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Offer from agency suspicious?
Thread poster: Jenny Nilsson

Jenny Nilsson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 15:14
English to Swedish
Dec 28, 2011

I have recently done a small test for an Indian agency (eng-swe) and got a reply back which I thought sounded a bit suspicious. I am basically afraid to work with agencies that don't pay, and at the same time, I would really like to get this project.
A quote from them "I would request you to provide the translation for the complete story attached herein. Please find attached complete comic book as reference (Already sent to you) so as to get clear idea about expressions and picture involved with each character and also the word file where you can provide translations. Hope it will help you to provide creative and interesting text. Please take care of character length with spaces for each question and try to match the length in the translated text. Hope that’s fine with you. Please feel free to contact in case of any query. You can provide translation in easy go mode and no hurry.
If the entire translation is approved, you can seriously think for very huge volume project."

Anyone who can advice in such matters?
Thanks!


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Ann Krol  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:14
Member (2008)
English to Polish
+ ...
translation project to be done for free Dec 28, 2011

You know what?

It looks like a real translation project which they want to have done for free.


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:14
German to English
+ ...
I agree with AnKrol Dec 28, 2011

Don't translate a single word without a purchase order, which means a formal job description and the exact payment conditions (rate, when payment will be made, etc.). You were right to be suspicious, it smells fishy to me, too. Since you are not a paying member, you can't check the company out on the Blue Board, either. That feature pays for the ProZ membership by itself. I use it all the time to check on companies that approach me directly.

In any event, I would not touch this "agency" with a 10-foot pole. As an alternative to the Blue Board, try googling them and see if someone else has had any experience with this company, good or bad.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:14
French to English
Given your basic point... Dec 28, 2011

sunanoo wrote:

I am basically afraid to work with agencies that don't pay,


... can I ask how much you know about commercial and contract law in India, whether you already know any debt collection agencies that operate there, or whether you know how to initiate legal proceedings in the event they prove necessary?


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:14
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Payment in advance Dec 28, 2011

I would request payment in advance. Otherwise, no way!

sunanoo wrote:

I have recently done a small test for an Indian agency (eng-swe) and got a reply back which I thought sounded a bit suspicious. I am basically afraid to work with agencies that don't pay, and at the same time, I would really like to get this project.
A quote from them "I would request you to provide the translation for the complete story attached herein. Please find attached complete comic book as reference (Already sent to you) so as to get clear idea about expressions and picture involved with each character and also the word file where you can provide translations. Hope it will help you to provide creative and interesting text. Please take care of character length with spaces for each question and try to match the length in the translated text. Hope that’s fine with you. Please feel free to contact in case of any query. You can provide translation in easy go mode and no hurry.
If the entire translation is approved, you can seriously think for very huge volume project."

Anyone who can advice in such matters?
Thanks!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:14
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Payment in advance! Dec 28, 2011

Absolutely: payment in advance or it is better to let this one go altogether. Your peace of mind is precious!

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:14
Hebrew to English
Perhaps......... Dec 28, 2011

As far as research goes:
In addition to the usual background checks on Google.....
Use your BrowniZ to purchase this agency's BlueBoard record. I think it usually *costs* about 50 BrowniZ, which you can earn in ten mins by answering a few polls.

I agree with the other guys, either get something ironclad in writing like a Purchase Order or (preferably - since even a PO can be ignored by an agency 1000s of miles away) ask for payment or part-payment upfront.

The last sentence would worry me more than anything:
If the entire translation is approved, you can seriously think for very huge volume project.

This makes it sound more like this entire job is a kind of translation test, with a vague "promise" of future work (which may or may not materialize) only if your translation is "approved", whatever that means.

My spidersense would be tingling too.


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Jenny Nilsson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 15:14
English to Swedish
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your replies. Dec 29, 2011

I sent an email back yesterday politely clarifying that I won't work for free and needed a PO.
Haven't heard from them yet. If they do keep in touch I'll definitely get the background check.

Is there a place to report such suspicious agencies for other translators to know, or does one just leave them be?


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Jenny Nilsson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 15:14
English to Swedish
TOPIC STARTER
reply from agency Jan 4, 2012

I have received a reply from the agency after I explained that I will not work for free.

"Although we will use the translation as sample and will not be paid by client.

Would it be possible for you to work for €0.03 for this file. If the entire story gets approved, we can plan for better rates. I think the mentioned rates can compensate your time.

Please advice."

And I also would like to ask if it is ok to ask for payment in advance like some of you have suggested. I always get paid the following month, so explaining to the client/agency that I want the sum in my account before I start seems a bit much. Am I wrong?


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Ivan Rocha, CT
Canada
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Steer clear Jan 4, 2012

I would demand advance payment. Otherwise, I would not do it.

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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 14:14
Japanese to English
Think hard Jan 5, 2012

What's their Blue Board record like, any good? What's their payment record like? What do they mean by 'better rates'? I don't know about Swedish rates, but $0.03 is a joke. How do you know they'll be honest with you about whether the client liked the translation or not? This project has a whole lot of "ifs, buts and maybes" about it. However only you can decide how badly need that job and whether you can trust the company or not.

If it were me, I might offer to do a page or two from that particular comic book for the client to evaluate (at my standard rate). That should be enough to give both the agency and the client an idea of my style without breaking the bank. Whether the agency is getting paid by the client or not is their problem, not mine.

[Edited at 2012-01-05 03:02 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:14
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Never! Jan 5, 2012

sunanoo wrote:
"Although we will use the translation as sample and will not be paid by client.
Would it be possible for you to work for €0.03 for this file. If the entire story gets approved, we can plan for better rates. I think the mentioned rates can compensate your time.
Please advice."

And I also would like to ask if it is ok to ask for payment in advance like some of you have suggested. I always get paid the following month, so explaining to the client/agency that I want the sum in my account before I start seems a bit much. Am I wrong?

Sorry, but doing comic translation for 3 cents per word would be a very bad move. If you accept this rate now, you will never, ever make them pay you more. They just say that the rate will increase in the future so that you resolve their problem. Unfortunately many low-pay Chinese and Indian companies promise a lot until they have their problem solved, but do very little when it comes to honouring their promises if such promises deviate a millimeter from what they had in mind originally.

Honestly, the best you can do for your tranquility is to drop this job altogether and tell the customer that you cannot work for such a low rate or you would be unfair to your other customers who pay your regular rate.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 15:14
English to Czech
+ ...
Agree with Tomás Jan 5, 2012

Absolutely, couldn't agree more.

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IanDhu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:14
Member (2005)
French to English
Paying with promises Jan 5, 2012

This is an old trick, played by many an employer and agency client: "your earnings will grow". I agree that you should ***steer clear of this agency***. Its demeanour is manifestly unbusinesslike all along the line, seeping equivocation. There are plenty of better things you can do with your time.

With kind regards,
Adam Warren (IanDhu - 41189)


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:14
French to German
+ ...
+1 Jan 5, 2012

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Absolutely, couldn't agree more.


Couldn't agree more too ("Yes, considerably...").


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