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How NOT to use LinkedIn November 13, 2017

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.
3 comments

I just received the following Direct Message in LinkedIn.

I instantly removed the connection. Don’t do this. The ick factor was strong on this one. If you want to connect on Linkedin keep it professional and keep comments about someone’s “nice smile and wonderful presence” to yourself. Otherwise I’m going to assume you are going to try to keep up a conversation and eventually hit me up for money.

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What to do when a translator disappears September 19, 2017

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

I’ve been sitting on this post for about three and a half years. I initially was going to write it when one of my colleagues disappeared while working on a portion of a project I was working on. One of the documents was too technical, so I had asked my client to send that file to her. I delivered my files on time. My client and I then went 24 hours waiting for her to respond somehow. She did not respond to e-mails or phone calls. In the end she finally delivered, but really, really late. I have never heard from my client again. This colleague is no longer translating full-time and is in a position that hopefully makes her much happier.

However, this happened again with another colleague today. I woke up this morning to an email from one of my clients begging to me to step up to the plate and deliver the remaining 10 pages of a 27 page PDF of a quote on construction parts. I had initially turned it down two weeks ago because it is not my field at all, and gave her the name of a colleague who works in that field. So this colleague not only had had a fairly long lead time to do the translation, she also then renegotiated the Friday deadline to Monday morning and sent 15 of the 27 pages on Monday afternoon. That helps no one. She was not also responding to the client at all.

So my client ended up contacting me in a panic to see if I could help her deliver the rest asap. I wasn’t happy, but I accepted the rest of the job to placate my client. I worked on it for about an hour and a half and was then told my colleague had finally delivered the translation. I was also told to bill for my work and then told to increase my word rate and the rush rate once she received my invoice. At least this time my client is happy with me and will hopefully keep working with me, so that’s a plus.

That said, I will never be recommending this colleague again. This is the second time she flaked out on one of my clients when I recommended her. There will not be a third time. I kept an open mind after the first time, because she had a pretty good excuse of a death in the family. This time it was supposedly a medical issue. I felt badly for her; however, in light of the other factors I don’t accept the excuse. Each time she had what could be considered a credible excuse, but that is the thing – if there is a pattern you will never be trusted again by the people you burn. At what point do you just admit you screwed up? If she had said last week that she was having trouble making the deadline my client could have found someone else to do it instead of making excuses to her end client.

I know agencies unfortunately deal with this kind of behavior all the time, because it will sometimes come up in casual conversation. I simply don’t understand how anyone who calls themselves a professional translator can work like that. When I had an attack of appendicitis a few years ago I let my clients know to reallocate the translation from my Emergency Room bed. I would never dream of simply dropping out of contact for a day or two. If I ever do, you can be sure that I am unconscious or dead. Those are the only two acceptable excuses.

I would really love to start a dialog here in the comments. Whether you are a project manager or a freelancer, have you ever been bit by a flaky translator? How did you handle it? Have you worked with them again? How did you end up placating the end client? No names or identifying information please. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Change your Skype password November 10, 2016

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Tech tips.
2 comments

I flew home from the ATA Conference on Monday and landed at 11:20 PM. Once I arrived at home I unpacked, put my suitcases away, showered and face-planted into bed. I woke up the next morning to 16 messages on Skype and a missed call in Skype and on my cell phone. I had been hacked, and all of my contacts were sent a link to a “baidu.com.” Luckily most of my contacts are savvy enough not to click on a link from me without any introductory text (hence the 16 messages asking if it was legit from me), but I had to go to https://web.skype.com to manually delete the message for every contact. Needless to say it was a pain.

My friend and colleague Roland Grefer was the one who had been trying to call me. In addition to being a great translator he is also a very competent IT support guy. He did a little research and discovered the following:

From what I’ve found, about a month ago, Microsoft started to merge their Live/Hotmail/Outlook/MSN/Xbox account systems into a new “Universality” account management system.

However, in the process, even if your Skype account was already linked to one of the above email accounts, they left Skype also accessible via the old Skype user name and password combination.

If the password for either account was one that was compromised in any of the recent hacks, the Bad Guys (TM) were then able to use the respective account to gain access to Skype and send spam etc. from the affected user’s Skype account.

But since M$ hadn’t made users aware of the parallel existence of the “new” and “old” Skype user name and password combos, they weren’t even aware of this “feature” as the culprit.

Once they logged into their account, and checked their “Activity” at

https://account.live.com/Activity

virtually all of them found successful logins from Asia or South America around the time the incident happened.

A sad state of affairs,
Roland

So change your Skype password or you too will be spamming your Skype contacts. And thanks to Roland for researching this!

Clients From Hell post October 1, 2016

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Fun stuff.
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This post was posted on clientsfromhell.net on September 23, 2016. It’s too good not to share.

I am a translator who specializes in translating from from English to Croatian and Slovenian. One day I received this message:

Client: Hello, I am in a rush to have my website translated to both Slovenian and Croatian. The site has about 20.000 words; how much you charge for that? Please give me a quote without writing too much.

Me: Hello! I charge between $0.05 to $0.08 per word translated. That would be $1000 for one translation, and $1800 for both languages.

Client: I said you need to quote just your price. And why would I hire you if you haven’t told me how much experience you have?

Me: (trying to be as nice as possible) Ok, let’s make this clear. I have years of experience, and as you can see, a 100% positive feedback from previous clients. As for the price, I told you all about it as concisely as I could.

Client: Gosh you just don’t understand me? Do you understand English at all? TELL ME YOUR PRICE FOR THIS TRANSLATION IN BOTH LANGUAGES.

At this point, I started to wonder if the client was drunk, but tried to remain as polite as possible.

Me: I am so sorry, but you are so confusing. I said that the final price for this project would be $1800 for both translations.

Client: And why didn’t you tell me that at the beginning? The price sounds fair to me.

Me: I am glad that we agree on that. When is the due date for this project?

Client: The deadline is tomorrow.

Me: Tomorrow? You think that is possible to translate 20.000 words in 2 languages in one day? That is just impossible.

Client: Don’t be difficult. I need it by tomorrow at 5 PM.

Me: You know what? I’m going to pass on this one.

The client didn’t respond, except that he wrote me again a week later.

Client: Hello, are you available for that translation we talked about?

Me: Oh sorry, I thought the due date was last week? Did that change?

Client: I was just testing you. You passed! I want to work with you, but on one condition. Your price is way too high for me. Can you do it for $200?

Me: (laughing) Are you for real? $200? Would you accept that pay for that much work?

Client: I know I won’t do it for $200 but that’s me and I want you to do it for $200. If not, I will find someone cheap who will do it and you will lose your money.

Me: Feel free to search for somebody else, because I will not work on that project for $200. I am just warning you, that there are many people willing to work for low price, but in the end, quality matches price. If that happens to you, please don’t ask me to fix their mess.

Client: You wasted my time, goodbye.

A month later:

Client: Hello again. I am so sorry that I need to speak with you again, but I have no other options. It happened exactly like you said it would. I handed this project to a guy from Vietnam and my website was “Google translated. Can you please fix it? I will pay as much as you want.

Me: I think I’m going to have to take a hard pass. You’ve been exceptionally rude to me and I’m not interested in working with you. Sorry.

Client: Why you! How dare you! This is ridiculous, I’ve never met someone so unprofessional! Take this job or I will sue you and make your life a living hell!

Me: Feel free to sue me if you think you have a shot. Have a great day.

He never spoke with me again. And guess what? He never sued me either.

Advanced Skills and Training Day, November 2 August 26, 2016

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA, Business practices, Tools.
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There’s a new change to this year’s ATA conference. You’ve asked for more advanced and in-depth sessions, and ATA has heard you. This is your chance to prove to the ATA that they are welcome and needed. The pre-conference sessions are now a full day of three-hour courses taught by invited presenters. It’s now called the Advanced Skills & Training Day. Come join me and Allison Bryant from 8:30am-12:00pm on November 2 at “Mastering PDFs using OCR and Advanced Formatting Features in Word.” This hands-on session (bring your laptops!!) is limited to 30 participants, so register soon to ensure you will be a part of it. I’ve already had several people reach out to me about it and express their excitement. Through hands-on activities, you will learn how to stop wasting your time and start impressing your clients. By learning OCR technology, advanced formatting techniques in Word, and other tricks for easily manipulating PDFs and other non-editable documents, you too can become a formatting guru.

You can learn more about it here: http://www.atanet.org/conf/2016/astday/

The only caveat is that people *must* register for the conference in order to attend AST day. You cannot register for an AST session alone.

2016 East Coast Interpreters and Translators Summit August 1, 2016

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA, Business practices.
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I am presenting at the DVTA Summit in September along with several other notable speakers. It should be an informative and entertaining weekend. Please think about joining us.

 

Saturday, September 10,
DELAWARE VALLEY TRANSLATORS ASSOCIATION
2016 East Coast Interpreters and Translators Summit

Business Skills * Translation * Interpretation* Transcription

Saturday, September 10 at La Salle University – Philadelphia, PA

Bonus: A Computerized ATA Exam Sitting will be given on Sunday morning, September 11

These top speakers and sessions will be featured:                               

DOROTHEE RACETTE    (Keynote Speaker)

Session I (Keynote Address): Productivity Strategies for Freelance Professionals

Practical strategies to help independent contractors produce high-quality work while promoting their business and staying organized. Practical, hands-on productivity methods and ways to make the most of working hours.

Session II: Principles of Time Management

Best approaches to stay on top of your tasks without stress and hours of overtime through specific techniques to manage time and to make the most of working and leisure hours.

JILL R. SOMMER

Beyond the Basics: Tips for Better Formatting in Microsoft Word

Practical knowledge and techniques for working with MS Word and negotiating other formats.
MARJORY BANCROFT

Session I: The Voice of Compassion – Interpreting for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse

90-minute workshop focusing on specific techniques, strategies and self-care practices for interpreters who encounter trauma in any setting

Session II:  Here Be Monsters! Intervention Skills for the Gray Zone between Legal and Medical Interpreting

90-minute workshop offering specific techniques that work well when both legal and medical interpreting overlap.

JUDITH KENIGSON KRISTY
Session I: Transcription/Translation (TT) of Forensic and Other Recordings
This session will present an overview of the specialized practice of transcribing the audio content of recordings and translating the resulting transcript, outlining currently accepted procedures, protocols, ethics and techniques. Handouts containing the PowerPoint and pertinent documents will be provided on a DVD.
Session II:  Transcription/Translation of Audio Files:  Software to make it easier!
The instructor will show how to use software to turn your computer into a transcription machine, rip audio files from video recordings, convert file formats, enhance the sound quality of audio files for more efficient and precise listening, and simplify the translation phase. A DVD with software programs and links will be provided, along with some practice materials.
BUSINESS MANAGEMENT ROUND TABLE FOR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

  • Guest Certified Public Accountant (Patricia L. Keller, CPA, MBA of Independent Tax & Financial Planners itfp.com)
  • Guest Attorney (Stephanie M. Shortall, Esq. of HighSwartz, LLP highswartz.com)

APPROVED FOR 6 ATA CE Points, 6 AOPC CEUs (including 3 for Ethics),
6 Delaware AOC and 6 Maryland AOC CEUs
 

For more information see:  DVTAECSummit10Sep2016_Flyer

Scam warning July 14, 2016

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.
1 comment so far

This email was posted on WPPF today. It never hurts to verify if you question something. Just today I questioned an email sent to me that I think might not have been legitimate.

Hi all,

I work at U.S. Translation Company (http://www.ustranslation.com/) and wanted to make you all aware of a scammer who is using our company name to pose as a legitimate PM and scam translators out of payment for their work.

They are using the email stela.ustranslation@gmail.com, and the following email signature:

Stela S. Mahuika| Vendor/Translation Technology Specialist
U.S. Translation Company
320 W. 200 S., Third Floor
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
p 801.393.5300 x 120
d 801.456.8663

I had my first run-in with them a little under a year ago, but hadn’t heard anything since then until this week when we had two translators contact us to check if this person was legitimate. We’ve forwarded all emails to the Translator Scammers Directory; you can see the entry here http://www.translator-scammers.com/images/scammer%20Stela%20Mahuika.jpg.

As someone who actually works for US Translation, here is more evidence that this is a scammer:

  1. We are a small company – I can easily name all of my coworkers and their positions without going to our directory – so I can definitely confirm that there is no “Stela S. Mahuika” at this company.
  2. The “Vendor/Translation Technology Specialist” position no longer exists – it was dissolved and re-formed under a different job title over a year ago.
  3. All of our email addresses follow a “firstname@ustranslation.com” format; no gmail addresses!
  4. However, the company name, address and phone numbers are all real – if you call or go to that address, you will reach our office. (This is likely a stolen email signature from one of our previous employees.)

As a side note, we recently got a new translation management software; if anyone from our company ever approaches you about doing work for US Translation and doesn’t get you set up in the system before they issue a PO, that should be a red flag. Sometimes this gets postponed a little if it’s a rush project, certificate translation, or interpretation event, but usually you have to be set up in the system before the PM can even quote the project.

Sorry for the long post, hope this helps, best of luck to everyone!

Update on AATII April 18, 2016

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.
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The CEO of this “not for profit association” is now claiming that it was a misunderstanding (yeah, right) and that if you do NOT want to be listed there you have the choice to contact them and ask to be removed, so send an email to customer_service@aatii.com. If you want to add a comment at https://aatii.com/a-message-for-concerned-translators feel free. Jennifer makes an excellent point. On eBay buyers and sellers have all set up their own accounts. This company has no clue how to do business. How embarrassing would it be for a potential client to contact one of the translators in the database only to be met with: “What company? Never heard of it. And what rate am I supposedly charging? No, my rate is double that. Sorry.” What company would ever take this database seriously? Unbelievable. Way to completely ruin your reputation in the industry and not realize it. No, we aren’t jealous. We don’t like our identities being misappropriated.

AATII is having a bad day April 15, 2016

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.
5 comments

I woke up this morning to a flood of emails from pissed off translators on listservs covering both sides of the Atlantic. People were pissed because they were listed in a directory no one had heard of before. No one had signed up for the directory, and everyone was apparently offering $0.08 a word and had five star ratings. Every single translator. They were wondering whether it was identity theft and how they got our contact information. One enterprising translator requested a 4 word job and tried to hire herself. The job disappeared into Nirvana. As the morning went on translators were sending them irate emails, official cease and desist letters, filing reports with their local police, and even talking about a class action suit. I only wish I had popped some popcorn.

SCAM ALERT: LISTING OF T&I NAMES IN FALSE DATABASE
Is your name and profile there?
Many of you may have received an email announcing a “translation contest” sponsored by an outfit calling itself AATII (suspiciously using two names, “Alliance” or “Association of Applied Translators and Interpreters International.” The text to be translated is marketing copy for their company (although they claim to be nonprofit). Supposedly the prize is $1,000 for each winner in around 8 languages (“That’s $2 a word!” they joyfully proclaim), and a chance to win a $100,000 trip. Yeah right. I know none of you fell for it. The Translation Scammers Directory has posted an alert http://www.translator-scammers.com/translator-scammers-note…
However, it gets WORSE. This outfit has stolen the names and identities of at least 20,000 translators, fabricating specialties and other professional information, and adding a “rating” next to each name (1 to 3 stars, from “acceptable” to “excellent”). They posted rates for each individual (funny thing, everyone was charging 8 cents a word) until this evening after receiving many outraged phone calls and emails. But the names and false info are still there.
IS YOUR NAME IN THE AATII LIST?? Check it out at www.aatii.com. Above all, don’t be silent or let them get away with this. It is illegal identity theft and it will cause reputational damage to every translator or interpreter listed.
Extra info: http://www.translator-scammers.com/translator-scammers-notes.htm#n123

The CEO issued a statement in a discussion on Proz.com trying to explain their actions.

We’d like to thank everyone for your interest in AATII and our contest. We are a young company who soft-launched a few months ago, and #IAmATranslator was created to announce our presence with a splash.

As the day went on AATII started feeling the heat and mass deleted all the profiles from their database. The CEO then issued another statement:

The database is cleared and under review

Hello fellow translators,
We have heard a lot of concern about how your names are listed on our website. I understand why some of you are upset, so I have instructed our IT department to remove all the accounts from the website except for those users who signed up for themselves. We supposed to send invitation to everybody first, but a mistake was made so some of you received the message about the translation contest instead.

Just like you, I am a hard working translator who started working from his home and growing. AATII.com never meant to do any harm to anybody but aiming to build a community and marketplace that will attract customers without being limited to borders. There are some misunderstanding about us and we’d like to clarify the facts. What I can tell you is that nobody has even lost a dollar to us. You have my word.

AATII.org as a not for profit organization is aimed to establish internationally compatible standards for translation, so that service providers listed on AATII.com can be recognized by customers who are not translation savvy. We take every effort to keep everything legitimate here. We are small now and have big goals to benefit customers and language workers alike. We are not born a giant multinational, but we are not ashamed of it. Life is worth living for because we have dreams, isn’t it?

You are welcome to check back at aatii.com and make sure you are not listed if you have not given us the permission.

Yours truly,
Lixin Cheng, “Clint”
CEO, aatii.com

João Roque Dias responded perfectly:

1. You were forced to scrap your illegal and fradulent database.

2. On your last (first) post, you are, once again, trying to confuse people with your outfits:

aatii.COM = the “Alliance” created by you and your translation company, “Princemountain Transnational Services Inc.”

aatii.ORG = a “Translators Association” with the same name as the Alliance’s, also created by you and your translation company, in which the “certification examinations” are to be done by your Princemountain translation company!!! I also read the “Bylaws”.

3. Dream all you want, just not at other people’s professional reputation and credentials’ expense.

c54650b7278f88a3eeaa7aa7d5fce4f7In any event, be sure to keep an eye on AATII.com. There’s some question as to whether the profiles have been deleted or are simply hidden for now until the heat blows over. Have a good weekend.

This is what happens when you reply to spam email January 8, 2016

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert, TGIF.
1 comment so far

This guy is my hero. I love his sense of humor. Don’t we all wish we could be him? I usually hit the delete button if it slips through Mailwasher, but I’ve sometimes been tempted. Here’s to a year of hummus in 2016.