ncourchamp
Member

Clients leaving Upwork in translation sector

I'm wondering if this is something other translators have noticed. For the past couple of months, I'm seeing less and less interesting job offers related to translation on Upwork. There is a vast number of what seem to be fake adds from unverified clients who never seem to hire someone in the ends and also many adds from clients telling freelancers to contact them on a messenger service and they seem to be a scam. 

I'm seeing less and less interesting clients/companies posting valuable jobs with a normal rate. Is there a reason for that? Did Upwork change something that might have scared them away? What do you guys think?

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
luce-neidert
Member

Indeed, things seem to be changing for translators....

 

I have the feeling that somehow Upwork is now getting rid of obvious scam job offers a bit more quickly during week days, hope this is true, however the situation is still ridiculous.

 

What really scares me is seeing "normal" companies posting jobs where they ask translators to check machine translations. What do they think translators are? I never even consider those jobs, obviously. Hope no-one else does. Correcting machine translation takes as much time as translation. On top of all that, it requires much more attention than translating.

I once was sent an invitation by a client that was desperate because he had been sold a machine translation by some creepy

freelancer, and his own client had noticed. I ended up telling him to let me translate it again, because it was much easier to do.

 

Now, the rates offered for translation are very often ridiculous. Just today, I saw a job offered by an American client who wants English to French translation for $7 to 10 an hour. Another client, from Norway, asking for the translation into French of 1400 words for $40.

In the "old days", I used to have enough connects to waste to take the time to tell this kind of client what the real cost of a decent translation is. Hope they'll end up with a terrible translation, that will teach them to try to make slaves of freelancers. What really disgusts me is that these people live in countries where they would never accept to work for such rates, shame on them for trying to force people into working for peanuts.

View solution in original post

13 REPLIES 13
luce-neidert
Member

Indeed, things seem to be changing for translators....

 

I have the feeling that somehow Upwork is now getting rid of obvious scam job offers a bit more quickly during week days, hope this is true, however the situation is still ridiculous.

 

What really scares me is seeing "normal" companies posting jobs where they ask translators to check machine translations. What do they think translators are? I never even consider those jobs, obviously. Hope no-one else does. Correcting machine translation takes as much time as translation. On top of all that, it requires much more attention than translating.

I once was sent an invitation by a client that was desperate because he had been sold a machine translation by some creepy

freelancer, and his own client had noticed. I ended up telling him to let me translate it again, because it was much easier to do.

 

Now, the rates offered for translation are very often ridiculous. Just today, I saw a job offered by an American client who wants English to French translation for $7 to 10 an hour. Another client, from Norway, asking for the translation into French of 1400 words for $40.

In the "old days", I used to have enough connects to waste to take the time to tell this kind of client what the real cost of a decent translation is. Hope they'll end up with a terrible translation, that will teach them to try to make slaves of freelancers. What really disgusts me is that these people live in countries where they would never accept to work for such rates, shame on them for trying to force people into working for peanuts.

Depends on the machine translation job. I do work for a big client that uses MT. If the rate is ok then I'm fine with it. It's not my favorite thing but for clients with a really high volume of documents, I guess it makes sense. What surprises me more is the dissapearance of smaller clients that offered different kind of translations. I enjoyed the diversity I found on Upwork but nowadays all I see is casino stuff and even this is diminishing. 

I think clients trying to get a professional translation for a cent or two isn't a new thing. They'll always be there and I don't worry too much about this because interesting clients quickly realize that if you pay 10 dollars for 1000 words, you get for $10 worth of quality work and have to pay an editor a lot more to correct that translation afterwards. 

But what I mean is I now have hundreds of unused tokens because I literally can't find anything to apply to. The jobs are simply not here anymore and I'm wondering why and where they have gone.

If a task is to edit machine translations, then I don't mind doing it, and it is work.  What is surprising, is that (bad news for us) some machine translations, particularly in some adminstrative, financial and technical areas, are really not bad at all, but obviously do not pick up (yet) on the finer details.  I very much doubt though that a machine will ever be able to interpret a really fine piece of literary writing.  But - who knows? 

colettelewis
Member

There has been a spate of scam job offers in the translation category. Ten years ago I was getting really good translation jobs here.  Those clients have disappeared. Upwork's geo-blocking strategy, also means that we, in France, are not seeing the sort of client we may have seen a few years back. But now, in any case, the type of work most  in demand on Upwork seems to have shifted: https://community.upwork.com/t5/Community-Blog/Find-Your-Summer-Fling-Seasonal-Work-amp-The-Most-In-...


Nicolas C wrote:

I'm wondering if this is something other translators have noticed. For the past couple of months, I'm seeing less and less interesting job offers related to translation on Upwork. There is a vast number of what seem to be fake adds from unverified clients who never seem to hire someone in the ends and also many adds from clients telling freelancers to contact them on a messenger service and they seem to be a scam. 

I'm seeing less and less interesting clients/companies posting valuable jobs with a normal rate. Is there a reason for that? Did Upwork change something that might have scared them away? What do you guys think?


 

 

This is going on for much longer. Three years ago we had a discussion "What does translator mean on Upwork? "

Screenshot 2022-05-14 at 20-31-49 What does translator mean on Upwork.png

(Shout out to Stan since the new forum messed up the formatting)

 

Basically Upwork does nothing to help clients to tell professional translators apart from those who just claim to be professional.
Upwork started an Expert vetting process a while ago but still does nothing in the translation sector where it would be a piece of cake. Either people can provide proof about their qualification or they cannot. The only translation certificate listed by Upwork is the ATA certification. When searching for a ATA certified translators most freelancers who claim to be certified are not even an ATA member.

 

What also happend not too long ago is that Upwork changed the specialisations. I shared my 2ct but never even go a reply. Considering that I am certified editor and have studied technical and legal translation, Upwork makes it impossible for me to offer my services as I would like to. So yes, this change made an impact in the way I can present myself. Whatever I select, makes it impossible for me to show up high enough in other searches.

 

When it comes to machine translation all I can say is that I am certified in MT and MTPE by the SDI Munich. I know how to do it and since more and more clients ask for it I do offer it.

 

I have lost clients in the past because they reported freelancer who provided them with a machine translation, while they had ordered a 100% human translation. I have reported freelancers who had send me a machine translation during a test. There is not need to request a revision from a scammer. I paid, reported and left an honest feedback. I got a refund and they are still happy scamming clients even claiming to be certified by a company that does not certify translators. Some of my clients have left Upwork after being told by CS to "suck it up". There is a FL who made $20+k in 2020 selling machine translation she got suspened for a few weeks after at least 5 clients complained together with evidence. Guess who is back. Another freelancer who claims to only provide 100% human translation managed to translate 2.5M words in 2021. I am also still impressed by the one who made more than $100k selling free machine translations.

 

Another problem I see is the lack of location verification. Last night I was in an interview with someone who claimed to be native German. When I asked where the freelancer had learned German (The profile said the FL is living in Germany, but it also listed a BA 2006-2008 in Nigeria). I was told I am not allowed to ask personal questions. But the FL is 25 and lives with a grandmother since the age of 9. Next the education in the profile (the entire overview stolen from another profile) changed to a German university 2006-2011. So that freelancer came to Germany age 9 (~2006) and immediately started studying at a German university. Upwork must take these reports seriously.

 

Many of these scam translators offer legal or medical translation. There are no consequences should they deliver a translation that gets someone killed or imprisoned. Due to the ToS (the client owns everything once the paid the full agreed amount), it is hard to even hold these freelancers responsible. By using machine translation these FL also violate data privacy. Just because of this any FL offering to translate sensible data and is reported for providing a machine translation must be suspended immediately.

 

These scammers offer rates that indicate that they basically for free (easy when you sell a free translation) but since they have a good JSS, clients who can not verify the quality themselves rely on other clients feedback. But since all the FL have to do is issue a refund to make a bad feedback disappear, they do. Problem solved.

 

By Expert vetting translators, Upwork could stand out against other platforms. Clients get a fair chance to decide whether they want to pay for a professional service by someone who has the professional background or if they want to pay for a selfproclaimed translator.

 

I have seen several clients leave Upwork and rely on referrals or translation agencies to get the qualification of the translator and the quality of the translation verified. These are the clients Upwork wants to have but is pushing away.

 

I get my occational new client on Upwork but I think I use most my connects sharing a file with "How scammers operate on Upwork" with first time clients. It usally adds 10 connects to my account.

 

This is very interesting but I'm not sure how this relates to the topic. I'm not talking about the qualifications of translators or the fact that they are scammers on Upwork. My question was: why did companies stop advertising translation jobs? Did something happen regarding Upwork's policy that made them want to leave and advertise somewhere else?

This is something that has only started to happen for a few months and not years. I sympathize with everybody encountering difficulties with regards to work, what clients are willing to pay, scams and all this because we all do, but this isn't what I asked.

luce-neidert
Member

So, Jennifer, you have been very busy trying to clean up the translation sector in Upwork. Well done!

I like your idea of the file "How scammers operate on Upwork". That's very noble of you. Besides, it it's an excellent way to get 10 extra connects! 😉

If you ever run short of connects, just try it.

Upwork got flooded with unqualified freelancers including scam translators.

 

If you ever post a translation job, you will see that most proposals are from non-native speakers and people with no professional translation background. This on top of poor experienes in the past drives clients away and they hire from translation agencies.

 

Less detailed than before but maybe easier to process.

Do you have any datas or statistics about this? I'd actually be interested in seeing where we can find this information. 

Just open a client account and see what happens. I did do this once out of curiosity and was absolutely horrified. Do it on a week-day and please don't leave the job open too long as it's not very nice to let people waste connects. (Or you could just send them a message for them to get free connects).

 

Another experience you could try is going to another freelance platform, (British, name starts with a P). They show information on the freelancers that have answered a translation job offer. It's appaling, most of them are not even translators, and they probably don't even speak the language they're supposed to translate into. 

I guess most serious companies are either hiring freelancers after sending out a few invitations or keeping the freelancers they have hired before. Or they have found another place to find the right freelancers.

That's a good idea actually. Thanks!

I have the personal experience as client and as freelancer helping clients who got scammed. I could name clients that left Upwork after they got repetitively scammed by different freelancers. I can share the profiles of all freelancers I wrote about above, and more.

 

Just search profiles for ATA certified and then compare the the list available in the ATA website. Clients do not check the name but trust the infomation in the profiles (after all the ToS say no lying about your experience, skills or professional qualifications and no falsely claiming or implying you’re connected to a person or organization).

 

I doubt you really find official numbers but I case where I checked 10 translation samples. All were machine translated, some fixed the quotation mark, others made minimal changes but all were hired to deliver a 100% human translation. The client was really disappointed about the time and money lost. The disappointing was even bigger when some freelancer refunded to remove ther feedback.

I would love to know how often feedback gets removed because clients used their only chance to warn other clients just to see the feedback removed.