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Agencies and their online “time saving” sites November 27, 2011

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings.

It is 5 PM on a Sunday. I have a 500 word press release that is due tomorrow morning. I unfortunately won’t be delivering it, because I have been locked out of my agency’s website. I input an incorrect password three times and am now locked out for 24 hours. And since it is Sunday, it is a small client, and the client is in Germany, they don’t have tech support working today. I admit that I hold most of the blame in this, because I waited until Sunday night to translate the document. However, why do agencies believe that we will remember all the login information for their sites? I have about 30 clients. Those clients who have their own websites all have assigned me a unique user name and password. It’s enough to drive anyone truly batty. I have learned my lesson and have now started a master list on my hard drive of all the sites and the respective user names and passwords, but I really shouldn’t have to do this, should I? Oh, did I mention that the site only works with Internet Explorer, which is a browser I never use and therefore don’t have a password management tool like LastPass installed on it? It would have been much easier for this client to just attach the file to the e-mail last week… Maybe if I’m lucky they will be able to send me the file at 2 a.m. when they get into the office. After all, sleep is overrated and I guess I don’t need a good night’s sleep to function at the law firm tomorrow…

Update: the client sent me the files last night and I woke up at 6:30 to translate it. The file is now delivered, and I won’t be billing for it. I hate when I screw up like this, but luckily it doesn’t happen that often…

P.S.: I already use LastPass, but it is an add-on in Firefox. I will be looking into a standalone version.



1. Jordi Balcells Antón (@jordibal) - November 27, 2011

You can also create the login and password information manually in Lastpass and copy-paste it into Explorer when you need it. I know this is not useful now, but…

You are right about the rest of your rant, though.

Ronerto Juarrez - November 28, 2011

Thank you Jordi, AKA Captain Obvious to the rescue! If it weren’t for you…

2. David - November 28, 2011

Hi Jill

Like Jordi, I also recommend something like lastpass.com Very helpful indeed!


3. Jill (@bonnjill) - November 28, 2011

I do use LastPass, but it is a browser add-on in Firefox and therefore unavailable in Internet Explorer.

4. Mulleflupp - November 28, 2011

Well, in order to avoid exactly such cases where vital sites become unaccessible for a certain amount of time, I use http://lastpass.com/ for all my passwords and account information.

5. David - November 28, 2011

Hi again,

I thought I had used it in the past also with IE but wasn’t sure, so I looked at the lastpass site. I think indeed you can use it also on IE: https://lastpass.com/misc_download.php


Jill (@bonnjill) - November 28, 2011

Can the data saved in Firefox be used cross browsers? I’ll have to look into it…

David - November 28, 2011

Not sure about that, Jill. But you can always click your lastpass browser add-on and choose ‘my lastpass vault’. it’ll open the lastpass site and there you can search for the respective password. It also clearly shows you one downside: how safe is it in terms of internet piracy to have your passwords all somewhere online? 😉

Jill (@bonnjill) - November 28, 2011

Good tip. I’ll look into it. Thanks, David!

6. patenttranslator - November 28, 2011

I recommend not to work for agencies that can’t accept an e-mailed invoice.

If they want to make money off of my translations, they have to be able to make the entire process as painless for me as possible instead of making me jumping through one hoop after another.

Incidentally, I lost most of my agency clients over the years and more or less became a translator/agency hybrid based on my philosophy.

7. Tom Ellett - November 28, 2011

I too deplore the trend among agencies toward self-service sites for freelancers (and probably clients as well). It really makes me wonder what they are doing to earn their cut.

If a project manager calls me about a possible job and then asks, “Can I set you up with an account on our vendor portal?”, I now say, “No, I’d appreciate it if you could just email me the files.” I figure that if they want the job off their desk, they’ll probably agree, and if they don’t agree, they’re probably not the kind of agency I want to work with anyway.

Of course, if a long-standing client switches to a self-service system, we freelancers have less leverage and probably have to just suck it up or stop working with the agency.

8. mfdanis - November 28, 2011

For those types of passwords, Jill, I just keep a pen-and-paper list. Low-tech indeed, but it works! Now, if there was a fire… but missing translation portal passwords would be the least of my concerns, wouldn’t it?

Jill (@bonnjill) - November 28, 2011

May, surely I taught you better than that. I didn’t raise any Luddites 😉

mfdanis - November 30, 2011

No, I know, but it works. And you always say we should stick to what works for us, so…

Though, I am having doubts about the way I choose my passwords, after reading this post..

9. Craig Morris - November 28, 2011

Sounds like they made it hard for you. Why not bill them?

Jill (@bonnjill) - November 28, 2011

Because I screwed up and didn’t adhere to the deadline. They had originally wanted it on Friday, but since Thursday was Thanksgiving I told them I would deliver it on Monday. It’s only about 48 euros.

10. Tess Whitty - November 28, 2011

I totally agree with your dilemma and also have several clients with different project management systems and personal login for each system. Some of the clients at least remind me of my username in their emails and project orders, which helps a lot. Sometimes I ask for the information again in a polite way, explaining that I have 10 different systems to keep track of.

11. Craig - November 28, 2011

I use KeePass, not a browser plug-in but I feel safer having to cut-and-paste the passwords rather than having something do that automatically for me.

And KeePass has an App for my BlackBerry which is very easy to synchronise, meaning that I safely check my passwords when using other computers.


12. Svetlin Simeonov - November 29, 2011

Good tips. I’ll look into them. Thanks a lot !!!

13. Tomasz - December 8, 2011

LastPass also works with IE. I use it this way.

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