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Blue Board vs. Glassdoor - Translators Beware
论题张贴者: Med_Trans
Med_Trans
美国
Local time: 02:01
Jun 14

Thank you to the fellow linguists who previously mentioned Glassdoor. I wish I had heard about it sooner.

I wish I had scanned the negative reviews from actual employees who see the inner workings of translation companies before signing any agreements. I assumed if there were serious problems, they'd show up on Blue Board. They don't.

I can't discuss what happened to me with a massive, half-BILLION dollar translation company. I think I can say that I completed over 400 projects at close to 1 million words in a little less than a year, so I know their business practices very well. I think I can say that I worked very hard but month after month I found myself selling my personal belongings on eBay just to buy food. I think I can say that things went from very bad to very scary.

So I tried to post a short review on Blue Board and was blocked. I know our agreements prevent us from discussing compensation with other linguists and clients, but can I mention SOMETHING about my bad experience?

This company asks for a screenshot of our Proz profile during the on-boarding process. Soon after I tried to post a "1", I received an email from Proz saying the company knows who I am. The translation company, who initially wouldn't reply to emails or support tickets, was suddenly very quick about sending me an email with regard to my Proz review and we exchanged back-to-back emails for almost a month.

They won. I never got to post my review. They can and do block bad reviews. I cannot tell anyone what happened (reporters had questions).


Had I known what I know now, I would never have signed any agreement with them. I now realize that the Blue Board is unreliable. Big companies rely on Proz to recruit and replace the "vendors" they lose and they tweak the blue board wherever they can.

We are a resource in their multi-million dollar business plan and they will fight to protect that.

Naturally, we can't discuss our rates, payments made or not made, the content of our files, clients or influence their employees in any way ...and they can use this to block reviews. So the Blue Board is NOT our friend.

But we can lurk and read Glassdoor in order to be properly informed about whether or not we should sign that contract agreement and provide work for them in the first place.






[Edited at 2017-06-14 11:11 GMT]


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
澳大利亚
正式会员 (自2014)
Thai泰语译成English英语
+ ...
Gosh Jun 15

What happened?

Can't you tell the story, at least without mentioning names?


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Tom in London
英国
Local time: 08:01
正式会员 (自2008)
Italian意大利语译成English英语
Thanks Jun 15

Thanks

I have quickly PDF-ed this thread because I predict it will be removed soon


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
美国
Local time: 03:01
正式会员 (自2003)
Spanish西班牙语译成English英语
+ ...
Limits of BB Jun 15

Despite claims to the contrary, comments accompanying negative Blue Board reviews are sometimes censored. (This happens haphazardly, as I continually see recently posted comments that are far more negative and specific than anything that I have tried to post - which invariably ends up being rejected.)

The easiest workaround here if you want to post a negative review is to offer NO accompanying comments. Just post the rating of "1" or "2".

If a curious freelancer wants to know the reason for the rating, he or she will contact you.

This is not a perfect solution, but it is better than not posting anything at all, or having to compose successive versions of comments until one is approved by the BB mods.

At any rate, I can see that you did manage to post at least one negative review for the outfit in question.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
西班牙
Local time: 08:01
正式会员 (自2007)
English英语
+ ...
Only names are banned Jun 15

DJHartmann wrote:
What happened?

Can't you tell the story, at least without mentioning names?

Yes, we're free to discuss anything to do with translation here, as long as we don't name outsourcers while doing so. You can go into as much detail as you like, Med_Trans if it doesn't point to a specific outsourcer. We should know about all the sharp practices there are out there so we're all better able to dodge them. I'm very sorry to hear about your experience, but at least let it benefit others, especially those new to the business. And maybe there are ways we can help you. Personally, I find this particularly worrying:
Med_Trans wrote:
Soon after I tried to post a "1", I received an email from Proz saying the company knows who I am.

Was that meant as some sort of threat, or what? I imagine not, but it's curious.

[Edited at 2017-06-15 13:45 GMT]


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William Tierney  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:01
正式会员 (自2002)
Arabic阿拉伯语译成English英语
Intestinal Fortitude Required Jun 15

You post is a good example of why the translation industry is in its current state. Don't waste our time unless you willing to name names and provide enough information for your readers to draw a conclusion.

You didn't spell it out, so let me attempt to do it for you. Correct me if I am wrong. This company had a clause in their contract that prevented you from making any negative comments about them? If a company has this clause in their model contract, scratch it out, put your initials to the side, or walking away. Conversely, you could agree to everything and be a good little serf, but don't wonder why you are selling things on ebay to get by.

While you are checking the contract, if the company transfers all liability to you, scratch it out. You did not make representations to the client, the translation company did, so let them back it up. If you let them get away with dumping all liability on you, the net effect is that they do not have to perform due diligence in hiring the best translators. They get the profit when things go well, and dump the losses when things go poorly. Where have we heard this before? If you have worked hard to hone your craft and are better than most, you are cutting yourself off at the knees by accepting liability.

Begins with "T" and ends with "t?" Welcome to the translation industry.

Also, pay for Payment Practices. It is worth it.


[Edited at 2017-06-15 15:31 GMT]


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 04:01
网站工作人员
How cases of disputed entries are handled Jun 15

Hello Med_Trans,

First, I'm sorry to hear you are having this kind of trouble with a client.

With regards to the Blue Board, as with other areas of the site, there are rules which govern its use and when and how LWA feedback entries can be made, and they are fairly straightforward: http://www.proz.com/?sp=siterules&mode=show&category=blue_board_bb_blueboard .

In cases where non-payment is involved, or where either party disputes an entry or reply made on a Blue Board record, the entry or reply in question may be made temporarily invisible while site staff investigate the situation to verify. Often (not always!), this investigation leads to a clearing up of communication failures, and/or payment in the case of non-payment. If the results of the investigation conclude that the entry is not in line with Blue Board rules, it may be removed, and the entry-maker is invited to make an LWA entry which is in line with those rules.

It is not clear from your post if any sort of coercion was involved, but if that is the case, please report it to staff, as that is also covered under the rules for Blue Board use ( http://www.proz.com/siterules/blue_board_bb_blueboard/9#9 ).


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
美国
Local time: 03:01
正式会员 (自2003)
Spanish西班牙语译成English英语
+ ...
Glassdoor Jun 15

I discovered Glassdoor rather late in the game myself (just a few years ago) and it really opened my eyes - and confirmed longstanding suspicions - regarding the company in question.

For example, on several occasions (from different PMs at different offices of the company) I was informed after having been told that I would be assigned a project, and that a PO would be forthcoming shortly, that either the client suddenly cancelled the project or that it had been decided to "assign the project internally." I strongly suspected that I was being lied to on these occasions , and that the reality was that a cheaper translator was secured for the project. But of course I had no proof.

And then I read posts on Glassdoor from former employees of the agency to the effect that such lies are common practice, and are actively encouraged by supervisors!

So I guess we don't have to wonder about how far a complaint to the supervisor will get us about such a state of affairs....

[Edited at 2017-06-15 14:28 GMT]


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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 14:01
English英语译成Indonesian印度尼西亚语
+ ...
It figures. Does it? Jun 15

Med_Trans wrote:
I think I can say that I completed over 400 projects at close to 1 million words in a little less than a year


One million words in a little less than a year. Sounds like an awful lot to me. Say you don't work weekends, you don't work for that particular company all the time, in other words, say you work 200 full days to complete those almost 1,000,000 words. That would be 5,000 words a day. I can do 2,000 words a day, if I'm lucky, and I'm not Med_Trans, I don't do medical translations, which arguably require more accuracy and responsibility than sugaredwatertranslations.

The other thing that worries me a little, is that I've been in the translation business for more that 20 years, and I have never ever heard of Glassdoor. ProZ BB does ring a bell, though.

In other words, I have my doubts about the original posting.

Cheers,

Hans


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
西班牙
Local time: 09:01
会员
English英语译成French法语
Something doesn't add up Jun 15

Med_Trans wrote:
...I completed over 400 projects at close to 1 million words in a little less than a year, so I know their business practices very well. I think I can say that I worked very hard but month after month I found myself selling my personal belongings on eBay just to buy food. ...

1+ million words/year and not able to make ends meet? It's very scary.

What contractual clause prevented you, as an independent professional, from choosing who you work with?
Sheila wrote:
...Yes, we're free to discuss anything to do with translation here, as long as we don't name outsourcers while doing so. You can go into as much detail as you like, Med_Trans if it doesn't point to a specific outsourcer...

S/He's likely been seriously threatened with legal action, and insects never win against big-buck windscreens at 100 km/h.
Self-preservation is stronger than anything.

Philippe


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
西班牙
Local time: 09:01
会员
English英语译成French法语
Thanks Jun 15

William Tierney wrote:
...This company had a clause in their contract that prevented you from making any negative comments about them? If a company has this clause in their model contract, scratch it out, put your initials to the side, or walking away. Conversely, you could agree to everything and be a good little serf, but don't wonder why you are selling things on ebay to get by.

While you are checking the contract, if the company transfers all liability to you, scratch it out. You did not make representations to the client, the translation company did, so let them back it up. If you let them get away with dumping all liability on you, the net effect is that they do not have to perform due diligence in hiring the best translators. They get the profit when things go well, and dump the losses when things go poorly. Where have we heard this before? If you have worked hard to hone your craft and are better than most, you are cutting yourself off at the knees by accepting liability....

A good reminder about the need of being aware of what you sign.

Philippe


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Michael Newton  Identity Verified
美国
Local time: 03:01
正式会员 (自2003)
Japanese日语译成English英语
+ ...
Blue Board Jun 15

I recently tried to post "egregiously uncooperative accounting department" for a company I ranked as LWA 1. The powers that be considered this too negative and it was censored. Go figure.

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William Tierney  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:01
正式会员 (自2002)
Arabic阿拉伯语译成English英语
Doesn't Add Up Jun 15

Thank you Philippe and Meta for the number crunching. When I first read the post, it appeared that Med-Trans was a project manager on the staff of an agency, given the numbers, but at the end of the post, he/she mentions rates, so the question is left unresolved. Glassdoor is normally for people holding permanent positions, so this is another reason why I originally thought this was staff member. Since he/she can't even provide his/her real name, maybe everything in the post is suspect. BTW, Med-trans stated that you can't discuss "payments made or not made." You can discuss payment practices on BB. That is the point of the board.

One of the most frequently named companies on Glassdoor is [Outsourcer]. For the more veteran translators reading this, thank you for your patience, but there are new translators who will benefit.

At an ATA Conference a few years ago, a former staffer from [Outsourcer] acknowledged that translators "graduate" from [Outsourcer]. [Outsourcer]'s approach is to target new translators who can provide a functional translation, but are not seasoned enough to realized they are being exploited. I you are trying to break into the field and are taking jobs from [Outsourcer], I can understand that. If you have been working for [Outsourcer]for more than a year, it is time to "graduate." If [Outsourcer] wants to refute my assessment by pointing out that they have long-term relationships with freelancers, I would ask if these translators care what they get paid, or know that their translations are so poor that they can't get work elsewhere.

I gave up on BB years ago. Besides censorship from agencies, ProZ is filled with so many translators desperate for work that the vast majority will give glowing reports on agencies that don't deserve them.

(I was asked to remove the name of the company, since this forum doesn't allow it. You have to go to BB to discuss an agency specifically. If [Outsourcer] can have negative information about it censored on BB, then where are we?

TCR list used to be an excellent source for information on agency payment practices, but has tailed off: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TCR/info

Payment Practices, hosted by Ted Wozniak, is worth every penny.



[Edited at 2017-06-15 15:52 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-06-16 13:20 GMT]


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Med_Trans
美国
Local time: 02:01
主题发起人
The point is: Glassdoor is a good resource! Jun 15

I received a couple of messages asking me to be more specific. Please remember that I'm also facing this company's managers in private and it's giving me outrage fatigue. There's a limit to what I can say.

I've worked in hospitals in the US and Europe, I have 4 years of medical school behind me and I specialize in pharmacovigilance documents. As most of you know, getting started is very difficult and gaining proficiency is a long, painful process. So many years have passed by and I was feeling really good about what I could finally do. You’d be surprised at what you can do when you sub-specialize and understand the subject matter.

Their recruiters have been contacting me since 2011, but I always said no. I had more work than I could accept and medical school was requiring more and more time from me. A couple doctors recommended that I stop what I was doing and focus on one thing at a time instead.

So I decided to take several months off from translations to finish a challenging medical program.

One day when I was at the hospital one of their recruiters called me about working on pharmacovigilance projects. They listed all of the top Clinical Research Organizations they work with and I was told that they wanted to build an "elite team of freelancers with a medical background".

My savings account was starting to get low and I needed to pay tuition, so I took a leave from medicine and began to work long hours because my medical future depended on it. I also worked with other companies, but not that much. This company flooded me with work.

What happened next makes me angry because I worked hard and I haven’t paid tuition, which prevents me from taking part in all hospital and testing sessions. My medical future is in jeopardy.

The company told me what I wanted to hear, but the reality was completely the opposite from what we agreed on. Since it also concerns payment and rate issues, then I can’t go into detail. My original review was deleted, but I did get to post a new 1 star review. It took a few tries.

That’s not the point. What I wanted to say is that Glassdoor is a good resource. I had no idea it existed. Many of the the things I encountered on a daily basis made NO sense. It defied logic. There was nothing worrisome on BB. But after I read their employees' stories at Glassdoor, everything suddenly made sense.

Please note that this is not about normal day-to-day business annoyances. I'm not complaining about low rates (if a translator agrees on that, then it's on them).

My issue is entirely different. What's going on is really quite worrisome. I honestly wish I had heard about Glassdoor sooner. Had I known then what I know now, I would have stayed away.


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
意大利
正式会员 (自2004)
Italian意大利语译成German德语
+ ...
Frankly Jun 15

I can't imagine how one can be forced after 1 million words in one year to sell personal stuff on ebay in order to make a living. Were they paying 1 cent or less? Let alone the enormous load of work...
Sorry, but that's beyond my understanding!


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