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Friday, July 27, 2012

Where are the all fake translator resumes coming from?

We have reported on this blog in the past about scammers sending what look like genuine resumes to translation companies. These resumes all have one thing in common... they are fake.

Worse than just being an annoyance, they are dangerous for translation companies to ever respond to. The danger is that these scammers are only interested in receiving genuine documentation from established and respected LSPs so that they steal that LSP's identity and get real translators working for them.

The end result is always that the translator never gets paid and then mount a campaign against the company that they believe they were working for to try to receive compensation. Such campaigns when conducted on translator forums and websites can have a serious impact on the reputation of the targeted LSP.

Clearly the process of recruitment of experienced professional linguists has become not only more complicated, it is now even a very risky part of the business. These scammers are causing big problems for the industry as a whole.

But who is interested in investing time in tracking the offenders down? The answer is that no one will because it is almost impossible (not to mention expensive) to get any kind of redress! These scammers are on a free run and they know it. The issue also is impacting on the hard working freelancers who wish to try to promote themselves and widen their client base. 

The only defense seems to be to the same as for any unsolicited email that comes in - delete it immediately and get on with your day. But if you are a resources manager and under pressure to recruit more linguists to expand your existing pool of talent, how to then proceed? The answer is to find a competent, established language supplier who offers economical rates and provides turnkey solutions for localization projects.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Should You Start Translating for Free? Or Even Pay for the Privilege?

Linguists are being squeezed more than ever these days, even to the point of translating for free for the good of the "cloud."

Now Lionbridge takes it to a new level--you pay them to be able to bid on project of a certain number of words. It's GeoWorkz Marketplace and there are varying licenses based on the number of words you want to translate.

It may be that it is hard to tout this system properly as the concept is so counter-intuitive. One of the bizarre selling points of this license is that there is "zero maintenance and upgrade costs, and the ability to pay as you go."

From a business perspective, it could be one of those ideas that needs to be tried every once in awhile. You take a given--you have to pay people for their labor--and posit "what would happen if the opposite were true? What if we make individuals pay up front for an opportunity to provide labor to us?"

After all, the industry is trying to move professional linguists to give away work in a "cloud" for free (or close too it). It is a small step to then see if they can make linguists pay up front to provide translation.

All this came to mind when we found this great article: 7 Reasons Why I Can’t Do “Free”

It makes a number of good points and should cheer linguists who see their livelihoods slipping away as cash-strapped localization companies move to various cloud systems.

We never understood why any end client with critical projects would want a "global crowdsource" working on their critical marketing, legal, and technical documentation.

But apparently they do. Many localization companies tout their crowd-sourcing right on their websites.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Is a system better than a project manager?

Back in the old days, trained and experienced localization project managers were considered an essential for any translation and localization company.

 The request email would be received either directly by the PM, or routed to the most suitable and available PM immediately upon receipt. The PM would then personally respond to the request within an hour or so with practical and useful feedback on the request, query, or hand off of project files. “Received and project is in progress.... “ “Received your RFQ and files are being evaluated now, and your quote will be sent later today... “ were the two most typical responses given. Clients smile, sales team go off to celebrate the sale, production team got busy with file analysis and production scheduling.

Well, that is how it used to happen. Now, since we finally got rid of those expensive project managers who have the nasty habit of slowing down the start of the project by asking questions to cover ambiguous deliverable requirements or pointing out how a project was likely to run off the requested delivery schedule promised by the company salesperson.

These days, anyone in the office (maybe the receptionist) handles client queries by simply logging them into a “project management automated system.” 

The new process looks like the scenario below when a client RFQ or hand off is received:

First response (automated): "Thanks again for your email. Our traffic manager has logged it in for attention. The first available qualified staff member for customer contacts will be in touch with you shortly. With our full monitoring processes for total quality control and assurance, we will have a response drafted within 24 hours, which is then posted on to our database system. It is then in the queue for checking for language usage, correct grammar and intonation, and suitable terminology that we are sure that you will be looking for with our professional attention to detail. Thank you for your patience and be assured that your request/query/project is being fully checked by our propriety flight checker application"

Within just another few short days, a “project coordinator” sends out a response that has attached automated word count spreadsheets, QA report spreadsheets on the source files, TM analysis log files, and a message that gives a bottom line dollar figure and delivery time.

All of this is thought to impress the client, even if no one at their end can actually understand any of it. 

The translation buyer simply wants to get their text translated to one or many languages, accomplish that with reasonably good quality and at a reasonable price that they can fit in their budget, and finally, within a reasonable time frame.

If they get a response from a real person who clearly knows what he is talking about and offers these goals for their project, surely everyone in the process will be satisfied (except perhaps the sellers of the “systems” who assure us that they will eliminate much of our costs and make our work faster and easier – oh yeah?)

Admerix is one company who still lives in the real world. We believe that it is essential to have trained and experienced industry veteran project managers overseeing every project from inception to final delivery. Critical errors are avoided, time is saved in every step, alternatives are applied should things look like not going to plan, and the end client is kept in the loop with reasonable and rational explanations of each step.

Automated systems cannot help me when I call up the bank with an account inquiry--I need a real person who is experienced with the banking system and how to handle my problem.

In the translation and localization business, it is even more critical for customers to deal with industry veteran people, and not a “system” no matter how smart we are told that system has been made.