Agency openly and deliberately ignoring the client's request
Thread poster: Katalin Horváth McClure

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:36
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Oct 9, 2012

I just read this in a job posting here at ProZ:
We are asked to quote a price for translation.

Customer wants it to be done by one Person only, for reasons of wording.

We will go for two translators anyway to be more competitive. So if we get this job, we will be in close contact with you for wording issues.


Aside from not seeing how using two translators over one could provide a competitive edge, I am wondering, how is this in line with ethical business practices?


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Ian Mansbridge  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:36
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
Quicker submission Oct 9, 2012

I suppose it means they will be able to submit it more quickly. Is there not some way of reporting dodgy practices like this?

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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:36
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Timeline? Oct 9, 2012

I don't think they mean to apply the four-eyes principle (A translates and B revises) - but rather A translates the first half and B translates the second half. WIth a relatively tight deadline, perhaps an urgency surcharge could be applicable if they had one translator, but not if they had two. That's just one scenario - not the most plausible, for sure.

As far as quality is concerned, no comment is necessary. The end client seems to be quality conscious - but not the agency.

At the very least, it is bad business practice. If the agency convinces the end client that it is reasonable to use two translators, then it is not unethical. If they pretend to use one while they use two, it is definitely unethical.

Attila


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Customer rules! Oct 9, 2012

If the customer wants one person... then give him/her one person! It is as simple as that. The customer surely understand that one person will take a bit longer.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The client is free to accept something that he doesn't want Oct 9, 2012

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:
We are asked to quote a price for translation.
Customer wants it to be done by one Person only, for reasons of wording.
We will go for two translators anyway...

How is this in line with ethical business practices?


It is not a problem. The client asked the agency to quote for the job, and expressed certain wishes about how the job should be done. Ultimately, it is up to the client to accept or reject the agency's quote. If the agency is confident that they can convince the client that using two translators will be acceptable, in exchange for other benefits ("being more competitive", i.e. cheaper), then nothing prevents them from giving it a try.


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Mailand  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:36
Italian to German
+ ...
Ethical? Oct 9, 2012

I think that what Katalin suspects is that the agency does not intend to inform the client about using two translators - and here probably lies her problem. In accepting the agency´s openly stated deception of the client, the translator somehow turns into an "accomplice".

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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:36
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Probably a rush job Oct 9, 2012

Reading between the lines, and drawing on my experience, I would say there is a good chance this is a rush job and the client won't be able to get everything on their wish list.

A customer with a tight deadline who wants just one person to work on their job is not living in reality. The provider is usually the one who has better knowledge on how to meet the deadline with higher accuracy than a sole rushed translator, i.e. using more than one translator.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 05:36
Chinese to English
When in doubt, ask Oct 10, 2012

There's nothing to stop you asking the agency what they're doing.

"Can I just check that you have informed the client that you're splitting the job up? I hate to end up in a situation where the client rejects a job - it's awkward for everyone involved."

Like Edward says, if you assume that the agency is acting ethically, but also ask to verify, then you don't have to offend anyone and you can ensure you don't get mixed up in poor business practices.


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:36
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
" will are doing Y anyway" Oct 10, 2012

I am not a native speaker of English, but to me, when someone says "they want X, we are doing Y anyway", it means "in spite of".
Besides, if they already convinced the client, and the client agreed to hiring two translators, then they would not have to write that the client wants one - because the client also wants two - no?
At least that's what my common sense says.

It is true though that there is no point talking about common sense in this case - I mean why would anybody with a pinch of common sense write this in a public job description?
I find it very strange.

Katalin


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:36
English to Japanese
+ ...
I smell trouble Oct 10, 2012

And if the end-client finds out that the translation agency used two translators instead of one (I bet they will, since the tone, style, terms used will be different), the end client might refuse to pay for not complying with their conditions. And who takes the blame? The translators who worked on that job being told from the agency that we cannot pay you because our client has rejected your translation...

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 05:36
Chinese to English
Benefit of the doubt as a policy Oct 10, 2012

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:

...when someone says "they want X, we are doing Y anyway", it means "in spite of"...


That's what it sounds like to me, too, but I'd still say give the benefit of the doubt. The person who posted the job might not be a native speaker of English; or they may have just written the ad in a rush and gotten the wording a bit messed up. It happens.

I just wanted to say that if the job was an appealing one, there are ways to open up lines of communication without being hostile, and that can help a translator get a better idea of whether there really is a problem with the way the agency works.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
Give em an inch Oct 10, 2012

This sounds like the kind of dishonest agency I wouldn't go withing spitting distance of. No ethics to speak of other than "mind thyself". The world would be a better place without them.

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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 21:36
Japanese to English
My crystal ball tells me... Oct 10, 2012

While nothing stops you from contacting the agency to clarify, if the agency basically says "We know the client wants X, but we're going to give them Y anyway," what stops them from saying "We know the PO says X, but we're going to give you Y anyway?" I might be extrapolating a bit here, but I doubt a company that behaves unethically towards the client that pays its bills will treat a vendor any better.

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Agency openly and deliberately ignoring the client's request

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