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Does Upwork make changes to files transferred between clients and freelancers?

Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
1 of 16

This is very weird.

I received two Word documents from highly qualified writers with excellent Engish skills. They both employ perfect grammar and spelling - except that in both documents, some spaces between words were randomly removed.

I found it very strange that two completely different writers, both with extremely high levels of skill would continue to make the same silly mistake repeatedly.

 

When I discussed this with one of the writers, she assured me that she did not make these errors, and I believe her, based on the fact that she is not the only writer whose work showed the missing spaces, and that the quality of both writers' work and their professionalism makes me doubt that they would send me work without reviewing for errors first.

Does Upwork do some kind of "processing" that could affect the content of files being transferred?  If so, it is unacceptable. This was actually a (paid) test job, and I could see a client who isn't such a good judge of writing talent not hiring one of these freelancers because they "failed spellcheck" or something like that.

I've contacted Support about this, and I'm waiting to hear what they have to say.

Community Leader
Susanne D Member Since: Mar 15, 2015
2 of 16

Very interesting and it is nice that you think about this possibilit instead of just supposing the freelancers worked sloppy.

I had a similar problem with a private client who complained about a file - as far as I could see it must have been corrupted during the upload process. So a negative answer of UW does not necessaryly mean the file looked like this initially or someone interfered knowingly with it. It might be a technical problem - and now I read this I think about a number of files I got for proofreading and was rather mad about because of the amount of missing spaces.

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
3 of 16

Marcia,  this is serious for everyone in the writing category (I include translation), but particularly for editors and proofreaders, and I hope you will soon get an answer to this question.

 

Are there other anomalies in the proposals - bad or no formatting, for example?

Community Guru
Barbara W Member Since: Sep 10, 2015
4 of 16

Another proposed possibility: The freelancer is using OpenOffice (the free alternative to Microsoft Office) and something is messing up in the upload process. Not exactly Upwork's fault in that case.

I use OpenOffice on one of my computers, which is currently my primary computer until I work out some hardware issues with my main machine. I haven't been informed of any trouble with Upwork on this nature, but for one of my contracts I submit via Google Docs (after creating in OpenOffice and saving as .doc) and sometimes I notice my formatting has been changed, and I have to manually go through and fix it before passing it along to the client. In theory, if this was the issue and the freelancer wasn't aware of this issue, they wouldn't know to go through and fix it. (I happened to notice this issue specifically in my header, which is why I make sure to check now.)

I'm not sure if it's the machine I'm working on specifically, or if it's an issue between OO/UW. Just one idea I could think of.

- Barbara Herrera -
Community Guru
David G Member Since: Oct 6, 2011
5 of 16

This has happened to me on occasion and even on files that were not sent through Upwork. I think it has to do with the program people are using as well as the version of that program. I used to run into a lot of trouble with one particular client who would send me RTFs. They were always getting messed up.

 

Once  I had a problem because I was using Word 2007 and my client had Word 2013. I needed to download some upgrade to make Word 2013 files not get messed up.

 

 

Community Guru
Barbara W Member Since: Sep 10, 2015
6 of 16

@David G wrote:

This has happened to me on occasion and even on files that were not sent through Upwork. I think it has to do with the program people are using as well as the version of that program. I used to run into a lot of trouble with one particular client who would send me RTFs. They were always getting messed up.

 

Once  I had a problem because I was using Word 2007 and my client had Word 2013. I needed to download some upgrade to make Word 2013 files not get messed up.


 This, to me, seems to be the likely culprit.

 

For my above answer, OpenOffice means that I will be saving in .doc format, whereas Microsoft Office will have me saving in .docx format. Apparently, .doc and .rtf is likely the problem. I know formatting on .rtf files is particularly unstable - this is why it's generally not used in professional settings. (Probably a good reason for me to not use OpenOffice too. Can't wait 'till my dedicated computer is fixed!)

- Barbara Herrera -
Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
7 of 16

IIRC, both files were submitted to me as .docx and opened by me in Word 2007.

Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
8 of 16

Nichola, no it's just the bizarre spacing. Everything else is perfect, which is what leads me to think that it's not the writers.

Community Guru
Darrin O Member Since: Jan 20, 2015
9 of 16

@Marcia M wrote:

IIRC, both files were submitted to me as .docx and opened by me in Word 2007.


Even if they have the same .docx extension, they could still be saved by non-Microsoft programs.  And even Word has been known to have compatibility issues between older and newer versions.  I'd suggest asking freelancers to send a copy via a non-Upwork channel.  That way you can at least see if modifications were made.

 

Frankly, though, it's hard to imagine why Upwork would dig deeply into such files.  Even if they ran something like a virus scanner, I don't think that would explain spaces being removed.

 

Community Guru
Claudia Z Member Since: Jul 28, 2015
10 of 16

Some spaces are removed when you open a word 2010 document in word 2007. Ask to be sent the files in .doc format not .docx

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