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Claiming jobs
Thread poster: Paul Galenko

Paul Galenko
Local time: 20:56
Member
English to Russian
+ ...
Mar 31

It’s commonly known that major agencies or companies now assign jobs using the principle “first come, first serve”. It creates significant problems in receiving jobs for it’s a hard task to be the first in claiming job. There is an impression you play the roulette. I’d like to know the ways of solving this problem. Is there any mobile app that can be possibly adjusted to automatically claim jobs at web-sites as soon as they appear? Or are there any other ways of this problem solving?... See more
It’s commonly known that major agencies or companies now assign jobs using the principle “first come, first serve”. It creates significant problems in receiving jobs for it’s a hard task to be the first in claiming job. There is an impression you play the roulette. I’d like to know the ways of solving this problem. Is there any mobile app that can be possibly adjusted to automatically claim jobs at web-sites as soon as they appear? Or are there any other ways of this problem solving?

[Редактировалось 2019-04-02 10:26 GMT]
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Yoana Ivanova  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 20:56
Member
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Not a big fan of it myself Mar 31

I once managed to write within 2 minutes of receiving a typical mass email with a job offer and still I was told that it had already been assigned to someone else.

I don't really know whether what you're looking for is possible, but if it were, would you really want that? You might suddenly find yourself with a lot of claimed jobs and zero chance of meeting the deadline for every single one of them.


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:56
Member
English to Italian
Is it? Mar 31

Paul Galenko wrote:

It’s commonly known that major agencies or companies now assign jobs using the principle “first come, first serve”. It creates significant problems in receiving jobs for it’s a hard task to be the first in claiming job. I’d like to know the ways of solving this problem. Is there any mobile app that can be possibly adjusted to automatically claim jobs at web-sites as soon as they appear?


Actually, I don't think it's "commonly known"... and I don't think "major agencies or companies" do that... In my opinion, "agencies or companies" you don't want to work with do that...

And yes, there ARE some online portals who work like that, but IMHO translators and clients alike should steer clear of them. Any company that decides to operate using the crowdsourcing method with a FCFS project allocation is sacrificing quality, consistency, competence, personal trust, etc. in exchange for speed, low rates, automation, etc.

As for your specific question, you could probably configure a web testing/automation suite to do what you're asking (for each single website), but that would require quite a bit of time and knowledge.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 18:56
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
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Is it commonly known? Mar 31

I’ve never claimed jobs on these online portals and I’ve been translating for a long while. Usually, agencies, international organizations and companies (some are major) I’ve been working with contact me asking if I’m available. Occasionally I quote on translation jobs posted on some websites (mostly Proz) if I’m available and the project seems interesting…

 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:56
Member
Italian to English
Find better clients Mar 31

My advice to you would be to find better clients. You deserve better than an agency who assigns jobs on this basis.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
They can only ever be fillers Mar 31

I work with one client that way, translating property details at a couple of hundred words each time. Mostly, jobs go to someone else. They could never be a major client for me. But sometimes it's worth the couple of seconds' checking as it's easy, reasonably enjoyable work.

Try to find regular clients who don't work that way. I don't think automatic quoting could be anything but a disaster, assuming it's technically possible.


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Slobodan Kozarčić  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 19:56
Member (2016)
English to Serbian
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Same here Mar 31

Paul Galenko wrote:

It’s commonly known that major agencies or companies now assign jobs using the principle “first come, first serve”. It creates significant problems in receiving jobs for it’s a hard task to be the first in claiming job. I’d like to know the ways of solving this problem. Is there any mobile app that can be possibly adjusted to automatically claim jobs at web-sites as soon as they appear?


I have experienced that with one American subtitling agency, although it was their Indian branch who was sending invitations. So, I replied after three minutes since I got the email from them, but the job was already assigned to other translator.

Apart from that, I've got just one QC job (and got paid 43 euros for 16 hour work) in three years, and I have more than 700 translated films under my belt.

Of course, I sent them email stating I didn't want to participate in that cutthroat business, but I doubt they give a damn at all.

Because of that and a total lack of control, you can regularly see subtitles like these on Serbian TVs:

"Two and a Half Men" show (O2 TV):
- "That‘s a pretty standard boilerplate," translated as, "That‘s a pretty standard nameplate from a boiler."
- Charlie was disappointed in the movie he's just watched. His girfriend says: "You don't buy a central premise that a dog can play hockey?" Translated as "You don't buy a large lot so that a dog can play hockey there?" Charlie replies: "Not as a power forward," translated as "Well, that's not a condition."
- "Sophomore," trans. as "The final year";
- "In a tube top," transl. as "In mini skirt"

"Las Vegas" show (Fox Crime):
- "Mitch, back up camera 43 ten seconds." Transl., "Mice, back up 43 seconds."
- "With a tape measure", translated as "With a camera";
-"Naked trumps fear", translated as "I fear of nudity";

"Gilmore Girls" show (DIVA):
-"My first class is cancelled today”, translated as "My luxury one was cancelled" (bus).


[Edited at 2019-03-31 12:33 GMT]


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 19:56
Member (2016)
English to German
Speed competition is as destructive as price competition Mar 31

I also work for one or two platforms who use a self-pickup system to distribute jobs, i. e. the translator who picks up the job first will get it. I have to admit that these platforms made sense to me when I started out to my translating career, but when I moved to a more professional level (hopefully), work for these platforms faded out, and I do this now only to fill time when I don't have anything else to do, like Sheila said.

The problem is that translation services are consider
... See more
I also work for one or two platforms who use a self-pickup system to distribute jobs, i. e. the translator who picks up the job first will get it. I have to admit that these platforms made sense to me when I started out to my translating career, but when I moved to a more professional level (hopefully), work for these platforms faded out, and I do this now only to fill time when I don't have anything else to do, like Sheila said.

The problem is that translation services are considered an interchangeable commodity here. When the client/agency/platform does not care who picks up the job, this essentially means that anyone can do this job. Which might be even true for some of the work there, but often work is offered there that would be better placed with a true specialist.

It is quite similar to the clients/agencies/platforms who simply give the job to the lowest bidder, or for the whole gig job world out there. When a job can be done by anyone (or the client thinks so, at least), this means you are competing with the whole world for this job, and you cannot win this kind of competition. Technical tricks won't help you here in the long run.

The only way to success as a freelancer is offering something that not everyone else can offer. In our case this means qualified, specialized work for clients who know that they need a competent person at the other end.
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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:56
German to English
Reliance on portals can be hazardous to your financial health Mar 31

Like other middlemen, portals serve a useful function for dealing with market inefficiencies. Some translators have reported establishing ongoing relationships via jobs found on portals. In the current market, beginners can benefit from using them, especially if they have a lot of time on their hands and can sit in front of their computer with their fingers on the reply button, much like people bidding on desirable items on eBay.

It appears that successful job-hunting via portals ca
... See more
Like other middlemen, portals serve a useful function for dealing with market inefficiencies. Some translators have reported establishing ongoing relationships via jobs found on portals. In the current market, beginners can benefit from using them, especially if they have a lot of time on their hands and can sit in front of their computer with their fingers on the reply button, much like people bidding on desirable items on eBay.

It appears that successful job-hunting via portals can be haphazard: opportunities are missed if the seeker takes a phone call, makes a cup of coffee, or lets the cat out. To a non-user this appears to be very stressful, and not particularly rewarding given the low prices being offered. As a marketing strategy, it's not very efficient, and non-productive over the long haul.

On the other hand, everyone has to start somewhere.
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Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:56
Member (Mar 2019)
French to English
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"Technical tricks" CAN help you in the gig economy Mar 31

[quote]Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

"When a job can be done by anyone (or the client thinks so, at least), this means you are competing with the whole world for this job, and you cannot win this kind of competition. Technical tricks won't help you here in the long run."

I beg to differ with the above statement -- mainly with regard to other types of jobs. In certain sectors of the gig economy these "tricks" CAN help you:

1) UBER/Lyft; some people use "tricks" (bots?) to grab shifts. There's a ton of competition for shifts. Reviews on Indeed.com sometimes refer to this. (I'm not a driver).

2) Substitute Teaching. I haven't done this for a while, but when I did I would read complaints online because in certain school districts around the country, the process for getting substitute teachers was put out to bid (essentially) + the process was automated. I saw many complaints that some people had figured out how to use quick "bots" to grab these jobs quickly; there were also complaints that school districts' web sites (or whatever system was used) for substitute teachers were hacked.

3) So-called "flex" jobs by certain companies. In the U.S. "flex jobs" simply mean there's no regular work or schedule. A company puts out on the internet when a slot for work is available. (It's all done online). I've read many complaints by people trying to get these jobs that competitors use "bots" or some other kind of "technical trick."

As for the world of translating: I had one experience just recently on another site. I got a job announcement in my email, with the time, of course, when it was sent out. Within less than a minute the job was taken. I said to myself: What??????? How is that possible? I think I even may have saved this email to prove....I don't know what...




[Edited at 2019-03-31 14:49 GMT]


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 19:56
Member (2016)
English to German
Gig or treat Mar 31

Colleen Roach, PhD wrote:

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

"When a job can be done by anyone (or the client thinks so, at least), this means you are competing with the whole world for this job, and you cannot win this kind of competition. Technical tricks won't help you here in the long run."

I beg to differ with the above statement -- mainly with regard to other types of jobs. In certain sectors of the gig economy these "tricks" CAN help you:


Colleen, of course you are right that technical tricks might help you to get more of this kind of jobs. What I wanted to say was that these jobs (and the technical tricks you might apply to grab them) will not get you anywhere in the long run. You can use tricks like this to get a slight edge in a cutthroat competition, but what stops everyone else using the same tricks? If enough people start using the same tricks, all of them are back on square one. On the other hand, if you create a competitive advantage for yourself by being more specialized or by other quality related criteria, not so many competitors will be able to do the same.

I don't think that the gig economy is a sustainable economical base to build a career on. There might be opportunities and starting points there, but what you need in the long run is a client base that returns to you with more jobs because they appreciate your work, not just random clients who happen to stumble upon you because you were the first of many.

[Edited at 2019-03-31 15:14 GMT]


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 01:56
Member
Chinese to English
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Don't bother Mar 31

There are plenty of agencies out there who offer lousy prices, but who provide a steady stream of work and sometimes reasonable deadlines and streamlined invoicing procedures. If you have to start somewhere, start with them; you'll be making no less money, and you'll actually get to spend your time working.

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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:56
Member (2012)
Italian to English
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Hear, hear, agreed Mar 31

Lincoln Hui wrote:

There are plenty of agencies out there who offer lousy prices, but who provide a steady stream of work and sometimes reasonable deadlines and streamlined invoicing procedures. If you have to start somewhere, start with them; you'll be making no less money, and you'll actually get to spend your time working.

And, not only that but they will grant you an extension of a deadline if possible since they want YOU to do the job and not anyone else. You just have to prove yourself first though.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:56
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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@Paul Apr 1

Paul Galenko wrote:
It’s commonly known that major agencies or companies now assign jobs using the principle “first come, first serve”.


It's been like that for many years. The PM identifies which translators are qualified for each job, and then sends the job to some or all of them. The first one to respond, gets the job (obviously), since the first one to respond is also qualified (the PM would not have send them the job otherwise). If the first translator to respond is available for the job, and is qualified for it, and asks a rate that the PM is willing to pay, why should the PM wait for more translators to respond?

It creates significant problems in receiving jobs for it’s a hard task to be the first in claiming job.


Yes, unfortunately this system favours translators who are able to receive such offers all the time, and who are able to make a pricing decision very quickly. Unfortunately there are translators out there who are able to accept jobs very quickly after they become available. Personally, I'd like to take a good look at the source files and come up with a quote that is fair to both parties, but when speed of response is important, one has to take more risks: for at least one client, I know accept some of the jobs without looking at the source text, and by quoting a (higher than usual) rate based on fewer fuzzy categories, so that I can calculate a rate faster. I also wrote template responses that I can copy/paste very quickly. Because: sometimes seconds count!

I’d like to know the ways of solving this problem. Is there any mobile app that can be possibly adjusted to automatically claim jobs at web-sites as soon as they appear?


An app like that won't help with ProZ.com, because at ProZ.com you have to write customised quotes. The way to increase your speed at ProZ.com is to carry a device all the time that allows you to see the job notification very quickly, and to keep templates replies ready, that you can customise very quickly before sending off the answers.

Can you give a few examples of web sites where you'd like to be able to accept jobs quickly?


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Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:56
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
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"Proofreading" seems to be the key here Apr 1

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:


It is quite similar to the clients/agencies/platforms who simply give the job to the lowest bidder, or for the whole gig job world out there. When a job can be done by anyone (or the client thinks so, at least), this means you are competing with the whole world for this job, and you cannot win this kind of competition. Technical tricks won't help you here in the long run.

The only way to success as a freelancer is offering something that not everyone else can offer. In our case this means qualified, specialized work for clients who know that they need a competent person at the other end.


I don´t believe that those Uber-like jobs will go to the end client directly, but will be "proofread" by other, more experienced translators with a relevant background, perhaps twice or more times, and who work on nearly the same price level the first translator does. We all know that a lot of "jobs" are being outsourced on a second, third or even fourth outsorcing level. Otherwise I cannot imagine how i.e. agencies from India are able to assign translation jobs coming from high caliber end clients based in the EU? And even some freelancers outsource their jobs to take a cent or penny of extra profit.

I used to work some years for a Dutch agency, who claim by their name to have their jobs done very fast (= "fast translated"; some of you may now know who I mean). In the beginning of our collaboration I still was able to flick through the files and to hone the price or deadline. Today they simply send you an impersonal link, showing some kind of timebased "wheel of fortune", where you have to pick the job within seconds, when a certain colour appears (by clicking on the field in the above wheel) without having the chance to see or ask, what the job is all about. Perhaps that would be a solution for the app asked for here?

[Bearbeitet am 2019-04-01 09:38 GMT]


Colleen Roach, PhD
 
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