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Saturday, September 25, 2004

On-Line Job Mediation Services: Are They Worth It?

My name is Lionel Dersot. I have been doing translation—mainly from Japanese to French—for some 15 years before I left for a corporate stint of a few years in an unrelated work environment. When I stopped doing translation, agencies in Japan were still starting to timidly use email for communication and document management. I am now back in a market that is totally Internet savvy, with work opportunities seemingly expanded beyond one's own local market.

I wish to share an interesting—at least for me—experience I had with such online services. Translatorsbase.com is client-meet-translator online scheme where you register as a translator in the hope to find work assignments. The service gets a commission on transactions. I have been curious and somewhat doubtfull about the efficiency of such online marketplace for translators. Does one really get actual work assignments in such environment? While browsing the list of registered translators, I stumbled on the name of a friend I had lost contact with for many years. Each entry features a function that seemingly allows to send a message to the registered translator. While writing a message to my friend, I came to the idea of quickly setting up a simple online survey and send an invitation to a bunch of registered translators asking questions about the efficiency of the service to get them assignments. I did this in no time. After half a day, I had received not a single answer and started wondering whether my invitations mail had really got through. The answer came as a mail from Translatorsbase.com stating that messages sent to translators were checked for approprieteness before being processed. It was the first time indeed I received a clear statement of censorship practice from an online service provider stating that "we are snooping on your mails."

Translatorsbase.com provides no details on who is behind the service, and you have to register to find out that full service is available at a price. As for what this price means in terms of benefit, not a single meaningfull word. Talk about Trust!
Anyway, I am still interested to hear about experiences or opinions from translators on the value of such online marketplaces as an effective way to get work.

Lionel Dersot

38 Comments:

Blogger Verbumsoft said...

It would be to the advantage of all if Mr Lionel Dersot took some time to familiarize himself with services offered by Translatorsbase.com before posting false information about the way the service operates.

Translatorsbase.com does not charge commission for the project leads generated through the website unlike Mr. Dresot claims.

All contact information is posted on Translatorsbase.com website including telephone number and the address. Any other information is always provided upon request.

(http://www.translatorsbase.com/aboutus.asp)

The moderation of emails is performed to ensure members of Translatorsbase.com receive only qualified leads for translation services and are not contacted by users looking for free translation service.
Translatorsbase.com members pay a yearly fee to receive only qualified leads and Translatorsbase.com moderators ensure, this is exactly what they get.

Surveys on translation marketplaces are of great advantage to translators, however they should be conducted in a more professional manner and by more qualified persona.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I can honestly say that Translatorsbase is the best translation site available and I visit most of them but have not subscribed to any other. I am currently a paid-up member and I am due to renew my
subscription.

9:57 AM  
Blogger LD said...

I apologize to translatorsbase.com for not fully understanding the business scheme and for my incompetence at running surveys. Translatorsbase.com features indeed an AboutUs section - granted you access the right top page which I was not able to perform (certainly yet another symptom of my incompetence) until I was sent the URL to that section. I am glad to hear a comment from a user that this service is the best. I have no prejudice on this service or another - just a little bit pissed off at discovering that my mails were read and rejected. But if the registrants of the service are aware and agree with the spying on their communication, there is indeed nothing to fuss about.

This said, translators would certainly benefit from sharing their experiences and opinions of such services with more thoughtfull details than the simple "Service XYZ is the best" that reads like customer's raves from customers' feedback sections written by the marketing department.

For instance, what type of assignments do you generally get? Short bits of text or more tangible workload? What type of clients do you deal with? Individuals mostly or corporations, including for instance translation agencies? Are you satisfied with payment process?

Now that the apologies are delivered, maybe someone will be so kind as to provide some thoughtfull remarks. Thank you for your time and efforts.

Lionel Dersot

8:09 AM  
Blogger Jose' Henrique Lamensdorf said...

Long after I joined Translatorbase.com, yesterday I received an e-mail saying they had a job that matched my qualifications. The e-mail contained no link whatsoever (fortunately it was sent from @translatorsbase.com), just told me to log in and search there.

I found a very long list of jobs involving many languages, among which a few for my pair, viz. English <-> Portuguese. Tried a few ones, couldn't get in because I was not a "featured" (= paying) member. Finally found the one they were probably referring to. The prospect wanted a 1,000-word letter translated into Portuguese (no indication whether European or Brazilian, which is a BIG difference).

I was expected to quote my price in GBP. If the client accepted my price, upon payment of 15% of that amount UP FRONT to Translatorsbase, they would provide me with the prospective client's contact info. After that, it would be up to us (client & translator) to get the job done and paid for. Though they censor mail (as Mr. Dersot pointed out), after having got their money, they wash their hands.

As "Jack" said, in his opinion they are the best such service available, but my personal impression is that their m.o. definitely behooves improvement. The business model is missing something.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I agree that freelance translators should have a forum or some such where we can post enquiries and ratings on on-line job mediation services.
For example, the comments on Translatorsbase.com confirm what I decided about them after a year's observation of them and similar sites.
For example, if you sign up with other such sites to receive job alerts you can view what the job entails and get an idea, after a while, of whether it could be worth it to become a paying member or not, but Translatorsbase does not allow you to.

9:19 AM  
Blogger CTrans said...

Translatorsbase is the worst of all those sites. Job notifications are ridiculous, and the jobs posted to translatorsbase are beneath any professional translator. I was verbally abused by several of the job posters on that site for simply asking for more details.

Even if membership cost only a penny, it would be too much for that lousy site, translatorsbase.com.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Live Translation Team said...

Firstly, it is good to see translatorbase.com replying to an online posting. Too many times, online sites are faceless and automated.

Unfortunately, this is the nature of the web as it is an extremely efficient way of assigning projects.

Our new service, www.LiveTranslation.com has similar issues to overcome with both customers and translators but we are tackling it the best way we know, by being available for discussion and feedback.

In answer to the original post. Yes, online job mediation services canbe worth it. But we are still in the infancy of where translation can go on the web and these services take time for both translators and customers to get used to.

Live Translation is designed for the smaller jobs e.g. correspondence, web updates, etc. These jobs would normally involve quotations, client calls, sending and receiving of emails, creating invoices and chasing payment which means high minimum charges need to be applied. Live Translation takes all the admin away and leaves you with a simple choice - this job is yours (no bidding) if you want it, click accept - if you can't do it (for technical, time or other reason) click reject.

We are trying to create a service that works for everyone - we are even partnering with leading translation agencies to offer our technology on their sites.

Any comments, please feel free to email us at blog@livetranslation.com.

Phillip Perks
Commercial Director

5:19 PM  
Blogger Corinne said...

I would like to leave a comment about translatorsbase.com. Does anyone else out there believe it is dupery?

How are translators actually pulling jobs from this site? Because obviously I must be doing something wrong?! I am a professional in the field with experience and a Masters in Translation.

I will NOT be renewing my membership, I've been a member for 1 year and I can honestly say that I have gotten 1, yes ONE, response from all of the bids I have sent...and trust me I send bids everyday to potential clients.

For a moment I thought that perhaps my rate was too high, so I've even OFFERED to do a few for FREE just to get some feedback to maybe help my profile. And still, NOTHING.

Is there a trick to this? I'd really like to know if anyone else is as disappointed with this site as I am. And if you are utterly satisfied with them, I'd love if you could please enlighten me!

Regards,
Corinne

5:25 PM  
Blogger Hélène said...

hi,
I am not a member of Translatorsbase yet but I saw what I thought was a good project, for a French/English Canadian translator, since I am a member of ProZ and have not gotten a job yet, I thought that I would check out this specific project. It was suppose to be a book about a very small town parish in Northern Ontario, I contacted the town and they have no idea who would have requested this translation job!
10,000 words, I would think that they would have known about it, but I may be wrong.
If they could have confirmed that the project really existed, I would have gladly paid my $100.
I can't help but wonder if all the posting are for real, may be that is why people have difficulty to access or get no response. Food for thought...........

2:24 PM  
Blogger sprayoral said...

As for translation base, I have been member during one year and I had only ONE job - a letter to translate from Dutch into English. I haven't renewed my membership, but I keep receiving their mails. I won't renew as long as there are no clues that more jobs can be obtained this way.

1:28 PM  
Blogger kacca said...

I can say that I share the negative experiences with translation mediating sites.
I am registered with dozens of them and I did not get an actual job yet. I am not the famous 'MASTER' member of any of them, but I would gladly become one, should I make sure it is worth it. Now that I have read these
comments, it seems unlikely that I will ever become a master member.
I cannot believe that the infamous sites take from 100 usd to godknowshowmuch for nothing. That is plain robbery!!!
Or am I wrong?

12:44 PM  
Blogger IngaJ said...

I became a member of translatorbase.com because there was no other choice to be able to see their services. Since then I bid on numerous projects, several of them free of charge, but after a possible initial contact - nothing. I'm convinced this site is a fraud. Did anyone ever comment on the countries that the projects are coming from? I mean why are German-English/English-German translations come from Israel, India, and such? And why are the contact names nearly always Russian or Indian? While checking at translatorbase for more examples, I found one that sounded real from a guy in Heidelberg, Germany, who wanted an internship report from London translated. I never received a lead about that project. In short, I do think this site is a hoax, but unfortunately a hoax that exhorts money from the unsuspecting job seeker!

9:25 AM  
Blogger pavitra said...

HI,
I have been using translatorsbase for the past 9 months and i have had a really good experience with it.
Even I started with the usual, free membership, and didnt get anything at first, lot of job postings for which I couldnt bid. I realised if I were really serious about it then I need to be a paid member. Only in the short span of 9 months I have several clients, lot of translation jobs and on-time payments.
Initially it was difficult. I started bidding for free, and i didnt have any takers. Then I increased my bid to the normally acceptable range of translation prices. Since then there has been no looking back.
The feedback section is very important, i rely heavily on it. Also, I see a lot of translators quoting really unreasonable prices. I think if the profile section is filled up clearl and concise then there should not be a problem.
I give double thumbs up for this website.

2:26 AM  
Blogger Vittal said...

I agree with Corrine.
i am also a professional translator. Have 10 years experience in Germa translation, M.A. inGerman, Dip. in Translation etc. I am also bidding . I bid even for 0.03 US$ per word. I registered 3 months before. I got one response. They want 32000 words tarnslation in 2 days, and use of Trados. May be he is a Trados agent. I did not get a penny for my invetment till now.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Gabe Bokor said...

Are job postings at verbumsoft.com, ProZ.com and others like them true offers or do they just want you to pay a membership fee?

I am interested in doing translations, so I am open to any suggestions (my specialties: commercial ads, literature but I can do legal and industrial texts as well).

Michaela Hohenadel

8:28 PM  
Blogger achim koenig said...

Thanks for all your comments, will definitely stay away from translatorsdatabase.com

11:42 AM  
Blogger Katarina Delic said...

I would just like to add that people should definitely avoid translatorspub as well. I was a paying member for a year and at first did get job notifications (never got a job though) but I didn't receive any notification for the last 7 months or so of my membership. However, I did receive a notification when my membership was about to expire - they sent me an email about some discounts and stuff.
AVOID TRANSLATORSPUB!!!

12:48 PM  
Blogger v said...

Hi Friends,

I had a bad experience with Translatorsbase.com as well. At the beginning I got responses (nothing turned out) for my bids such as (a) contact so and so for further info, (b) we just closed that leave your info I'll send you the next one, (c) stating the benefit of annual membership (while I was a member).

One of the bid response was from a guy name "Kevin Nash" e-mail:my_animoolah@yahoo.com said "Hi, Would be Great to do work out. I am intrested and can assure the best quality work. Let me know ASAP. Have a nice day. Regards, Sure." Sound familiar? Every time he responded he sign his name as Sure. Then I address him as "Sure" and that's the end of him hassling me on how I came up with my bid.

I remember seeing on the web that it's a scam. Then I asked them to keep my free membership and refund the annual paid membership. (Within 60 days they should give a refund). They refunded the money but kept $10. They had taken me off of the free membership registration as well but what's the point having a free membership when you can't bid, anyway.

Thanks for the opportunity to save few other people from trapping into Translatorsbase scam!!

10:02 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Thank for the information. Time to refresh the subject, because they are still around.

The question of whether translatorsbase / verbumsoft is a scam recently (28 Dec 2009) popped up again in a www.ProZ.com forum discussion and there is a rather lengthy thread on www.translatorscafe.com as well.

I know for a fact that translatorsbase itself will quote on jobs that are posted there. I can't say if they operate as an agency or whether this is on commission basis, but when a client posts a job he will get a so-called Instant Quote option first, before he receives bids from paying members. In one particular test case they quoted 0.16 USD per word for a medium sized technical pdf document from English into Dutch (0.16 USD per word is the average rate qualified freelance tranlators in the Netherlands charge, by the way).


What I find disturbing is the constant 'vetting' of all information exchange and the apparent 'skimming' of good jobs for their own business.

Now imagine that you give these people all your contact data, at least one password, your credit card details and open access to any messaging you do via their site! I would only do that if I completely trusted the entrepeneurs behind the enterprise, but does anyone know WHO is behind translatorsbase?

Another curiosity: the only people to endorse translatorsbase are Asians. Nothing against Asians as such, it's just that when someone appears to be willing to do a job for ultra cheap, it's usually an Asian, even if it's in a language combination they can impossibly master.

In short: if you don't mind working for the lowest rates in the world and at the same time don't mind paying 129 USD (or more) for the privilege AND you don't care about privacy issues at all: by all means go ahead and become a paying translatorsbase member. I've decided to mark their mails as spam.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Hill said...

Hi,

I have been a member now for some 8-9 months, and I agree with all of the negative comments, except one: this service must be legit, because I got a long term deal with a client and he owes me now 2000 US, so I can say the investment paid for itself. But I cannot imagine why i haven't been offered more jobs. Some of them I'm highly qualified to do (not so with my client; he said "I was the least bad" of the people who had bid for him) and very cheap. This guy seemed serious from the getgo, providing a lot of info up front.

A. Gut translator

3:07 PM  
Blogger bacca said...

It is curious to see that the only person that gave an extremely positve feedback on translatorbase.com has an Indian name, Pavitra.

Thanks to all the people who posted their opinion on this blog, I was wondering if the registration fee was worth it, but now it seems quite clear...I can throw away my money in more funny ways...

One question: do you know any other job-posting site which is safe, serious and reliable?

Thanks,
A.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Ha said...

So glad I came across these reviews before deciding to become their paid member.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Mediation said...

It is such a relief to see that I am not the only person having problems with Translatorbase.com. I thought I was just not able to get them to contact me back when I asked questions.

Good thing I haven´t spent money on an upgrade. Thanks for sharing everyone and I hope others find this post before they spend any money with them.

2:18 PM  
Blogger translationtrudy2011 said...

Must say that Translatorsbase.com is doing a great job!!!!!!!!

7:37 AM  
Blogger Wordsmithy1 said...

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU! I live in Uruguay and had just finished writing my brother in the U.S. to have him go over to their offices on West Olive Ave in Burbank to pay the U$S129. I found this blog by accident, looking for further information on Verbumsoft. My worst fears are confirmed . . . I read every one of the blog's comments.

From being a 50-year veteran of UN and CIA interpreting and translating, as well as a professional writer, I've come to trust my instincts on how people reveal themselves, reveal veracity in what they write. I feel all the nay-sayers are trustworthy. THANKS FOR SAVING ME U$S129 AND A LOT OF GRIEF!

7:40 AM  
Blogger sawsan salameh said...

Thanks everybody for these usefull comments, I have a question that I hope someone would answer, what is the reasonable translation charge? I'm a bit confused about giving a price since I'm still new in the market. Thanks everybody

2:11 PM  
Blogger blackheart said...

Wow for a long time I have been debating whether or not to become a member. I have always been hesitant because it seemed so unrealistic and I don't know anyone who had made money from it. I appreciate and thank Lionel Dersot for his work in bringing translators together to voice their opinions. As a professional translator, who owns a company, I am actively seeking for business, and sometimes I wonder what would be a good site to get jobs?

Thank you all!

4:24 PM  
Blogger Liztrad said...

Hi. I'm just reading all these negative comments on tranlatorsbase.com because I'm in the middle of a disturbing experience with a "client". After nearly a year of bidding on jobs to no avail - except for 2 answers which brought me about €25 euros each!- I finally got a positive answer for the translation of over 15000 words at the price I asked for. But it was weird from the start - I won't go into details, but it was obviously a scam. This person now has my home address and has sent me a fake cheque for TWICE the money he owes! I'm worried about what he might do next and don't know where to go for advice.Help ......
Liz (Liztrad), France

2:40 AM  
Blogger myousa said...

Thanks a lot for all the valuable inputs on translatorbase.com. It's been a month that I had been pondering over whether to become a paid member of this website or not as all the emails with translation propositions seemed to be quite lucrative. But this thread has been quite a wake-up call. Although would anyone have any idea whatsoever about an efficient website offering smooth online translation job mediation services without any hassles ? Does anyone know about translatorscafe.com ??

12:35 PM  
Blogger Phillip Crant, Ph.D. said...

Several years ago, I joined translatorbase.com and had a profitable year translating French to English and the reverse. But then the work dried up and I didn't renew for a year. January of 2013 I received an email from someone that said they wanted me to put a bid on a job, so I re-signed my contract. I have placed dozens of bids at the lowest possible rates, with no success. I have a Ph.D. in French and have translated entire books. I am conviced that translating companies from India/Pakistan, etc., are doing these jobs for peanuts. I am going to see if I can recoup some of my membership fee from translatorbase.com If you are a serious translator, I wouldn't waste my time with this service.pac

12:01 PM  
Blogger Lopez and Lopez Translations said...

I have a free professional profile on translatorsbase.com as well as on translatorscafe.com, proz.com and elance.com

Out of those, translatorsbase.com is the ONLY steady source of income for me. Mostly individuals needing documents used to obtain travel visas. Once I got a subcontract from a large translation firm in Argentina and it involved over 600 pages of technical translation for a manual published by Siemens.

Translatorsbase.com took absolutely NO money from my fees. payment arrangement was done directly to my PayPal account from client's account.

I don't know how the job posting part of things work. All I know is that I would trust translatorsbase.com over any other company. Also, their website is actually easier to navigate than other sites. And they don't ask me for any overly identifying documents.

11:06 AM  
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5:20 PM  
Blogger Kamile Ko said...

I still believe that no one translation tool will not replace human as a translator, just because I had few accidents when I haven't passed my exams just because I've trusted these tools, so now, if I need any translation or smth to be translated, I always use services from this company- Vertimo biurai , just because they provide services in high quality for low price. Just try!

3:26 AM  
Blogger najamonline4u said...

being a commercial translation services provider I loved this post and i would love to be a part of it. thanks for sharing this but what can I do to join?

11:13 PM  
Blogger Nikolaos Skordilis said...

Trasnlatorsbase is a scam, just like every site or service that asks money to get you a job. A site like Scripted is legit because they do not ask any money to register, they just take their cut from your projects that are approved.
On the contrary Translatorsbase is a shameless scam. Even if it wasn't a scam their business model would be a blatant theft.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Jhon Martin said...

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4:24 AM  
Blogger Kel Daniels said...

first of all, let me thank you for your input as I have found it very helpful. Out of curiosity, what languages do you translate to and from? the reason I am asking, is because I am fluent in Spanish and English, and although I have yet to become a member of the translatorbase, i receive up to 8 notifications each day about translation jobs in Spanish/ English.
I am really on the fence about paying for the full membership because if it is not in fact a legitimate investment, then I simply cannot afford to part with the almost $200. However, if it is going to generate work for me then I want to do it as soon as possible. I have been wavering on this decision for quite some time now and I appreciate any and all feedback

7:49 AM  
Blogger Mad said...

Translatorbase.com is a scam. Stay away from it. I was stupid enough to fall into their trap to become a member in order to follow a bogus-lead that was apparently never posted. It was supposed to be a 40,000 word translation of a book from German into English.

11:20 AM  

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