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Sanctions for breach of Professional guidelines for translation service providers ???
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 06:37
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Aug 4, 2013

Hi,

In 17 years of my practice I had one of the mopst bizzare situation ever. And this situation was caused by a Proz.com member who declares he follows "Professional guidelines for translation service providers".

Can there be any sanctions for serious breach of these guidelines, esp. of the statements:

represent their credentials, capabilities and experiences honestly
do not unjustly criticize other professionals or their work

including banning of such a Proz.com member from Proz.com ?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Doesn't seem to be any sanction for it Aug 4, 2013

Marius, from what I can see:

Endorsement of the guidelines is a requirement for participation in the ProZ.com certified PRO network. Evidence of having acted in violation of the guidelines is grounds for dismissal from that program.


... at worst that translator would lose their PRO-tag status, provided they had it.

My suggestion would be for you to submit a support ticket.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 06:37
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, José Aug 4, 2013

Dear José,

Thank you for your "moral support". I think I also need to describe the situation (which is quite "unique" in all its bad sense):

On Friday late noon I got a proposal from one USA agency to do a translation job (they are my new client). Some simple legal stuff (documents of company incorporation, meetings of shareholders, etc.). As the offer was quite good, plus a possibility to establish cooperation with a new client, I cancelled all my weekend plans (for Saturday and Sunday) and decided to work. The client requested to send the completed translations in parts (we made a schedule of that partial delivery). I understand them - it is the first time they cooperate with me, their client is a big corporation, and they wanted to be sure all goes OK.

Yesterday I sent part of the completed translation. Soon I got a response from their anxious PM that their proofreader found very serious and multiple problems with the quality (and the proofreader told them it was so bad that translation from scrap is a better solution and offered their services to translate if). And the client told me they need to decide if they will need me to continue with the job. Well, it was more than strange - having in mind that I did hundreds of similar docs and materials in my practice. OK, some human factor mistakes are possible (anyone can make them, EVEN translators), I asked the client at least to send a couple of examples. Then silence for several hours and ...

I get proposal from a translation agency in India (not even agency, but a Proz member who has a "ghost company"(not registered anywhere) for an urgent translation job. I requested to send me the files to see what the job was all about and to decide if I can take it. And ... guess - yes, the source files from India were the SAME files that were sent to me by that USA agency...

At the end I managed to restore the trust of the client (as that "ingenious proofreader" disappeared when they asked to substantiate their quality claims), and I was instructed not to worry and to continue with the job. But I lost almost the whole working day, let alone it is Sunday evening, let alone I planned to have some rest after completion of this job in the evening, let alone I will now need to work till 5-6 am to be able to complete the job on time (they cannot extend the deadline as it is some legal stuff and if the translation is not ready on time, it is not needed anymore to anyone)...

I think people who do such things shall not only lose their "tokens", (meaningless) PRO statuses (meaningless in the light of this situation), but they shall also be banned forever from Proz.

P.S. Moreover, I think such practices can be considered as a serious breach of Proz rules (terms and conditions) too. Never had time to read them in detail (as these are no less complicated and sophiscticated than Civil Code), but have a good chance to get into more details on this issue too.

[Edited at 2013-08-04 19:55 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Clarification... Aug 4, 2013

I didn't get the picture straight.
Was the translator in India trying to hire you to proofread your own translation?
Was the translator in India who found the serious flaws in your translation?
Had the USA agency been hired by that India translator to do the job?
Had the USA agency hired that India translator to replace you, as your translation had been considered defective by someone else?

In any case, I don't think it's so much a case of ethics, but sheer incompetence.
This USA agency simply has no clue on properly recruiting a translation and a proofreader.
They seem oblivious to the fact that some less-than-ethical proofreaders will fail a good translation for no reason, in an attempt to snatch the translation job itself.

Technically, it is not unethical to be unaware of one's own shortcomings. Some file-pushers are established as translation agencies because upon registering them, their local government classified them as such enterprises. So they do what a translation agency usually does: get jobs, find translators, assign the jobs, get them done, deliver them, get paid, make payments. If they are any good at any of these, it's a completely separate issue.

Your situation is not unique at all. It happens every day, wherever there are incompetent people on the loose.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 06:37
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
no no Aug 4, 2013

1. A client from USA ordered me to do a translation job.
2. That USA client hired some agency from India as proofreader of my translation (I did not know whom that USA agency hired to do the proof, and if they hired anyone at all to do the proof).
3. That agency from India told the USA client that my translation was a total crap, and, possibly, telling to that USA client "this is not even correctable, we need to translate it anew".
4. After those fake comments about "poor translation quality" the USA client probably decided to give this job to that translation agency from India to translate.
5. AND THEN, by complete coincidence, this agency from India sent me an email proposing to do a translation job, which, as soon turned out to be, was the same job I was doing and the same job (the world is small, isn't it?)
6. Then a total mess happened, I was waiting for the decision of the USA client, was asking for some substantiations from their proofreader what, where, and why there was something wrong...
7. That "proofreader" could not prove anything, they disappaeared, I managed to defend my reputation, restore the trust of the client (USA agency), and got their instructions to continue with thejob and finish it.
8. For this I lost almost all working day (the project is urgent, its deadline cannot be postponed), will need to work overnight now to manage it on time.
9. And Proz.com PRO statement tells "do not unjustly criticize other professionals or their work" - they (those Indians could not even "unjustly criticize" because they do not even know the target language, nor could possible find anyone on a late Sunday noon)...
10. I fully agree that the approach of the USA agency is quite strange, but I cannot tell them anything, at least till I finish this project and get paid for it


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
As I said, incompetence! Aug 4, 2013

I assume the job involved one of your language pairs. While I'm not into that native-translator creed, I seriously think that proofreading should be done by a qualified and experienced professional living in the target language country.

I assume you were not translating those legal documents into, say, Hindustani, so why should they assign proofreading to some agency in India? By the way, why should a translation agency outsource proofreading to another agency?

This is a mix of incompetence and ignorance by both agencies. They don't know the minimum required about the translation profession to be unethical. I'd simply state this on their Blue Board record.


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:37
Member
French to English
+ ...
Quite a common practice Aug 4, 2013

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

By the way, why should a translation agency outsource proofreading to another agency?


This is a sadly common practice, and often comes about because the second 'agency' hides behind the profile of what looks like a translator/proofreader; they take the work on, then outsource it again...

I am one of those proof-readers who sadly often has to condemn appallingly bad translations; if I offer to re-translate (rarely), it is only because deadlines are usually tight, and I have an already-validated reputation with the poor agency in a mess.

On one occasion, I had a totally nonsensical document, the result of machine translation; when questioned, the original translator had the cheek to say "Oh well, I knew it was going to be proofed by soemone else, so I didn't bother"! Needless to say, she has never worked again for the agency on question.

Another time, I found irrefutable evidence that a document had been actually translated by 3 different people, despite a 'no sub-contracting' agreement.

On other occasions, I have encountered appallingly bad translations by people who had lied about their native-speaker status.

However, as our OP has pointed out here, any HONEST proof-reader will of course be able to highlight in detail the problems / errors found; I use a red / yellow / green highlight system: downright errors / unfortunate wording / clumsy style. I do often stop early on in the document if it is really bad, in order to give the poor PM time to find another translator if necessary, or to warn that a greater level of correction is going to be required.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Was this English to Lithuanian Aug 4, 2013

or Lithuanian to English?

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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 06:37
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
was into Lithuanian Aug 4, 2013

philgoddard wrote:

or Lithuanian to English?


I am not a native English speaker, my English is not of a sufficient level to take jobs into English. And in rare cases, if I take them, I usually cooperate with a native English speaker.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 06:37
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
so it goes Aug 4, 2013

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I assume the job involved one of your language pairs. While I'm not into that native-translator creed, I seriously think that proofreading should be done by a qualified and experienced professional living in the target language country.

I assume you were not translating those legal documents into, say, Hindustani, so why should they assign proofreading to some agency in India? By the way, why should a translation agency outsource proofreading to another agency?

This is a mix of incompetence and ignorance by both agencies. They don't know the minimum required about the translation profession to be unethical. I'd simply state this on their Blue Board record.



There is a lot of incompetence from the side of that USA client. And you are right in all what you said. BUT there are so many things against elementary logics and against simple common sense in our translation industry (not even proofreading, but other multiple issues). And we cannot do anything about it.

And based on this example from everyday life, it would be quite "normal" if I registered as Proz member in the name of some "ghost" (non-existing) company, promoted myself as translation provider "from all languages into any languages", took to proofread your translations with your language pairs. The first thing I had to do - to tell to the client "how bad it was and how badly it needs to be corrected" (even without looking into the texts). Then find someone for "the best rate" on Proz, TC or elsewhere, ask him/her to make as many changes as possible, send the "corrected translation to the client" (who usually tells "sorry, but we do not know the target language, so we cannot decide who is right"). And then it is you who has to prove to the PM of the agency that you went to school and that you know grammar. Moreover, to counter comment on the "corrections" done by "the reviser"...Hoping that you will manage to convince the PM of the client agency that you are not a giraffe. Just consider how much time, and positive energy all this wastes.








[Edited at 2013-08-04 22:00 GMT]


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 06:37
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Just another caee of incopmetence and unprofessionalism Aug 4, 2013

As José Henrique said, sheer incompetence. I also support his recommendation to report them (although I would not hold my breath on that).

First, you need to consider the fact that the USA agency is just a reseller of translation services that serves a bigger agency and not contract directly with the end client. They may or may not hire that second agency to do the proofreading, it could be that they work independently with the bigger agency or agencies above them.

Secondly, contacting you and notifying you that you translation is sub par without any evidence to support their claim is a huge red flag, and a reason to void any agreement that you entered with them (and insist on getting paid for the part that you have already completed - although this could be a bit complicated if they are out to cheat you).
You lost a day because of their incompetence (they have instructed you to stop), while in fact changing unilaterally the terms of the agreement, so now the deadline should change accordingly although it is of course easier for them to transfer to the costs of their incompetence onto you). Personally, I wouldn't subscribe to their 'deadline cannot be extended because the text is not needed after a certain time point' argument too much. Slim chances that that is the case. If to risk guessing, it is more likely that they don't feel comfortable (or simply don't want to) ask for an extension, and even more likely, they don't have anyone to contact and ask because everyone is out enjoying the weekend while leaving others to slave over the work.

Thirdly, I personally don't subscribe to the notion of never to work weekends or holidays. We are free to arrange (within reasonable limits) our schedule as most appropriate to us, and as long as we keep healthy balance and make sure to allocate enough time off (which for some is an issue), we can work as most convenient to us according to our circumstances.
I don't count weekends and holidays as business days for scheduling purposes, mainly to deliver the message that we offer a standard commercial service and not "slaves", but other than that my internal scheduling is no one's business but mine.

That said, I never take rush projects from a new client. It is often times a recipe for disaster. This is even more true when the entire duration of the project spans the weekend because most chances are that there is usually no one to talk to in case of an issue/emergency.

In this specific incident: an agency that takes a rush project to which they don't have any trusted existing resource and/or procedure in place is a big red flag and something to avoid. I can understand the urge to win the work, but this type of dealing is just an unnecessary risk.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 06:37
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
agree, but... Aug 4, 2013

Shai Nave wrote:

As José Henrique said, sheer incompetence. I also support his recommendation to report them (although I would not hold my breath on that).

First, you need to consider the fact that the USA agency is just a reseller of translation services that serves a bigger agency and not contract directly with the end client. They may or may not hire that second agency to do the proofreading, it could be that they work independently with the bigger agency or agencies above them.

Secondly, contacting you and notifying you that you translation is sub par without any evidence to support their claim is a huge red flag, and a reason to void any agreement that you entered with them (and insist on getting paid for the part that you have already completed - although this could be a bit complicated if they are out to cheat you).
You lost a day because of their incompetence (they have instructed you to stop), while in fact changing unilaterally the terms of the agreement, so now the deadline should change accordingly although it is of course easier for them to transfer to the costs of their incompetence onto you). Personally, I wouldn't subscribe to their 'deadline cannot be extended because the text is not needed after a certain time point' argument too much. Slim chances that that is the case. If to risk guessing, it is more likely that they don't feel comfortable (or simply don't want to) ask for an extension, and even more likely, they don't have anyone to contact and ask because everyone is out enjoying the weekend while leaving others to slave over the work.

Thirdly, I personally don't subscribe to the notion of never to work weekends or holidays. We are free to arrange (within reasonable limits) our schedule as most appropriate to us, and as long as we keep healthy balance and make sure to allocate enough time off (which for some is an issue), we can work as most convenient to us according to our circumstances.
I don't count weekends and holidays as business days for scheduling purposes, mainly to deliver the message that we offer a standard commercial service and not "slaves", but other than that my internal scheduling is no one's business but mine.

That said, I never take rush projects from a new client. It is often times a recipe for disaster. This is even more true when the entire duration of the project spans the weekend because most chances are that there is usually no one to talk to in case of an issue/emergency.

In this specific incident: an agency that takes a rush project to which they don't have any trusted existing resource and/or procedure in place is a big red flag and something to avoid. I can understand the urge to win the work, but this type of dealing is just an unnecessary risk.


I agree with all what you said about that USA agency. But it was a new client, without any negative records (checked BB, and elsewhere), and I could not even predict such a fuss might happen. But I really disagree about the approach of the proofreader - it was not actually incompetence, but it was a straightforward unfair practice because I am sure they raised all this heck even without seeing the translated files, nor even knowing the target language (nor having someone who knows to take a look) and their only purpose was to convince the client to re-translate and earn from this.

Also, I wish I could work only 8 hours per day and 5 days per week. Without taking any urgent or rush projects. However, I cannot yet "afford" such a pleasure.









[Edited at 2013-08-04 22:45 GMT]


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Enrique
Local time: 00:37
SITE STAFF
Support request Aug 5, 2013

MariusV wrote:

Hi,

In 17 years of my practice I had one of the mopst bizzare situation ever. And this situation was caused by a Proz.com member who declares he follows "Professional guidelines for translation service providers".

Can there be any sanctions for serious breach of these guidelines, esp. of the statements:

represent their credentials, capabilities and experiences honestly
do not unjustly criticize other professionals or their work

including banning of such a Proz.com member from Proz.com ?


You should submit a support request with all the relevant details.
Regards,
Enrique


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 06:37
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Risk assessment Aug 5, 2013

But I really disagree about the approach of the proofreader

We are actually not in any disagreement on this. This "proofreader" is clearly not a professional and indeed seemed to try and tarnish your work for his or her benefit.
When I wrote incompetent in my previous post I've referred to the USA agency because it was the entity that you were directly dealing with.

MariusV wrote:
But it was a new client, without any negative records (checked BB, and elsewhere), and I could not even predict such a fuss might happen.

Of course you couldn't predict how this project will turn out, but this is what a risk assessment is for. Taking a rush project from a new client is never a good idea for several reasons, not least the facts that it raises a red flag about the professionalism of that agency (most times it is not even an agency, only a reseller of translation services), and you cannot perform a proper due diligence of your own and ease into this new potential business relationship.

The BB is somewhat useful as a general guideline but it is very flawed. First, it is not an indication of the "quality" of the outsourcer (as a professional), only a general indication about the "likeliness" of those who have worked with them to do so again. In other words, it simply indicates if this outsourcer met their side of the deal in terms of payment. Mind you, these terms could very well be ridiculous and abusive, but if a certain translator accepted them and the outsourcer followed to meet them - from the perspective of that translator within the current scope of the BB - this outsourcer deserves a high LWA score.
And even in this limited scope the BB is susceptible to abuse. There are several discussions about this in the forums, just search for 'BlueBoard abuse' and you will find some information.

[Edited at 2013-08-05 06:42 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:37
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Did this happen last week? Aug 5, 2013

MariusV wrote:
4. After those fake comments about "poor translation quality" the USA client probably decided to give this job to that translation agency from India to translate.
...
7. That "proofreader" could not prove anything, they disappaeared...


When did all of this happen? I can see a dozen ways in which this could all have played out with the information you provided. Here's another way of matching your facts with a possible sequence of events (let me know what you think):

The agency asks a proofreader to take a quick look at your first submission. It is a weekend, and the proofreader obviously isn't available all weekend long, so his job is simply to give a general comment about whether the translator is adequate. The proofreader gives very negative comments. The agency contacts you about this, for your input, and are sufficiently impressed by your response to start doubting the proofreader's opinion. You ask for examples, but obviously the proofreader can't be found, because his job (i.e. what his job was) is done, and he's off to have a great weekend. In the mean time, the agency tries to find another translator, and finds the Indian agency, who tells them "I think we have the perfect person for the job, let me contact him quickly". The Indian agency then tries to find someone to be their "perfect person for the job", which happens to be you. In the mean time, the original agency figures out that the translation is quite good after all (perhaps they asked a second proofreader for an opinion), tells the Indian agency "it's okay, we found someone ourselves", and tells you to complete the job.

Are you sure that the original proofreader also offered to do the retranslation? I'm sometimes asked for an opinion but don't get asked to do the re-translation when I give a negative review. Are you sure the original proofreader's inability to give more details is because he was available but was unable to substantiate his claims (i.e. are you sure the reason that he couldn't supply detailled comments isn't simply due to the fact that he wasn't available anymore)?


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