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How to deal with bad freelancers?

Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
1 of 21

So here's the story:

I stumbled over a freelance translator that is top rated and has a history of fiction translation. Said translator has a returning client that keeps giving 5* ratings but when you check the feedback given by readers on amazon the quality of the work becomes obvious. People complain about the lack of grammar, poor spelling, and obvious mistranslations. One example I found myself was a section with kids sitting on a porch eating ice cream. In the translation they were sitting in a Porsche.

 

I could make it easy for me saying that clients gets what they pay for and if one keeps hiring the same translator again and again, it's his own fault. My problem starts when other clients rely on that outstanding feedback and hire that translator just to find out weeks later and after several $k spend that the translator is nowhere near as good as the job history implies.

 

There is no way for us to reach out and warn clients and if one would realize what is going on the freelancer could a) use the perk to remove the feedback, b) return the money and have the public feedback removed etc. So basically if it goes down with one client, the translator can get out with a few scratches and just move on to the next client and probably distroy an international career of a talented author.

Any thoughts?

Community Guru
Aron H Member Since: Mar 29, 2017
2 of 21

well, there is pretty much nothing that can be done. if the client is happy with the results he obviously doesn't understand himself, then he is happy.  if i hire a chinese translator i won't have any clue if the results are good or not.

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
3 of 21

@Aron H wrote:

 if i hire a chinese translator i won't have any clue if the results are good or not.


This is why you hire a couple of Chinese editors to assess the quality of the text that your translator produced.

 

I guess that the translator mentioned by the OP is one of these cheap self-proclaimed translators who work for cheap clients. These clients won't spend a dollar to hire an editor.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 21

You're talking about finding a "bad freelancer" that you simply stumbled onto on the Upwork website?

 

This isn't somebody you hired, or somebody who is a co-worker on a project you're hired to work on.

 

Yeah... Absolutely nothing you can do.

 

Nor should you try.

 

If a freelancer or client is violating Upwork ToS, then Upwork provides methods for flagging them.


But simply being "bad at their job?" That could apply to most every freelancer on Upwork.

 

Frankly, I kind of think every freelancer on Upwork who works in my niche but isn't at my level is "bad at their job."


Except for the ones who are better at it than me. And they probably think I'm bad at my job.

 

If I look at the work done on Upwork a couple years ago BY ME PERSONALLY, I could say that the freelancer who did that work was kind of bad at their job.

Community Guru
Richard W Member Since: Jun 22, 2017
5 of 21

Unless Upwork transforms itself into a very different sort of operation, the only check on freelancer quality is going to be (a) clients doing their own due diligence and (b) feedback from previous clients. 

 

Two ways that Upwork could improve the feedback system to prevent this sort of abuse:

1. Indicate which feedbacks are from the same clients, so readers can see if the feedbacks are all or mostly from one client. To avoid identifying the clients they could be numbered. So the first client to hire that freelancer would be referred to as #1. Alternatively (or additionally) give the total number of clients who have left feedback.

2. Get rid of the TR perk and the ability to hide public feedback by refunding.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 21

re: "Get rid of the TR perk and the ability to hide public feedback by refunding."

 

I have never considered using the Top Rated perk that allows for hiding or getting rid of bad feedback. It does seem like something of a mulligan. I DO like the idea of having perks for Top Rated freelancers, but I can see how this particular perk might seem like it hides pertinent information from clients.

 

Having said that... are once-in-a-time-period feedback cover-ups by Top Rated freelancers really the issue here? If freelancers are genuinely bad at what they do and are NOT providing positive customer outcomes for the post part, I would assume they don't reach or maintain Top Rated status. (The original poster is referring to a freelancer who presumably is NOT Top Rated.)

 

As for getting rid of the ability to hide public feedback by refunding...

 

I don't know...

This doesn't change private feedback.

 

And I think clients DO like the idea of getting money back when things go wrong on a project.

 

If Upwork does NOT remove public feedback (or prevent it from ever appearing) for contracts when a freelancer refunds all the money... Haven't you removed most of the substantive motivation for providing a refund?

 

What are you left with at that point, other than a freelancer's good will?

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 21

Misunderstood / misread

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
8 of 21

@Richard W wrote:

Unless Upwork transforms itself into a very different sort of operation, the only check on freelancer quality is going to be (a) clients doing their own due diligence and (b) feedback from previous clients. 

 

Two ways that Upwork could improve the feedback system to prevent this sort of abuse:

1. Indicate which feedbacks are from the same clients, so readers can see if the feedbacks are all or mostly from one client. To avoid identifying the clients they could be numbered. So the first client to hire that freelancer would be referred to as #1. Alternatively (or additionally) give the total number of clients who have left feedback.

2. Get rid of the TR perk and the ability to hide public feedback by refunding.


 ____________________________________________________

 

I don't see how any of the changes you suggest would improve quality. It would not stop any inferior translator thinking that they were great, or any client thinking they had found quality in the bargain basement. Cheap is cheap. 

 

I would like to know the standard of writing in the original texts. From the OP's post, it would seem that the repeat client does not really know the difference between good or bad. What is interesting is that the client continues to hire this freelancer, despite the lousy Amazon reviews. 

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
9 of 21

@Preston H wrote:

 

 

If I look at the work done on Upwork a couple years ago BY ME PERSONALLY, I could say that the freelancer who did that work was kind of bad at their job.


Still, IT and language are two different beasts. SQL, either it works or it doesn't. If there is a bug, it will mess up things sooner or later. But poorly written code may hold. It won't be efficient, it will be slow, maintenance will be a nightmare, but it'll work. More or less. They may not even notice.

 

- This database that young Preston built is very slow.

- Hey, it has over 100 records to manage, try to sort 100 records by hand! You think it's easy?

- Nah, you're right boss. It's still good to have it. It saves time. Oh look, it's almost done!

 

With language, you don't get away so easily. If it's poorly written, or translated, it shows and it shows immediately.

 

- What? Who translated this?

- Young René.

- Frak him. It doesn't even make any sense. Fire this idiot.

- Sure boss.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
10 of 21

@Rene K wrote:

@Preston H wrote:

 

 

If I look at the work done on Upwork a couple years ago BY ME PERSONALLY, I could say that the freelancer who did that work was kind of bad at their job.


Still, IT and language are two different beasts. SQL, either it works or it doesn't. If there is a bug, it will mess up things sooner or later. But poorly written code may hold. It won't be efficient, it will be slow, maintenance will be a nightmare, but it'll work. More or less. They may not even notice.

 

- This database that young Preston built is very slow.

- Hey, it has over 100 records to manage, try to sort 100 records by hand! You think it's easy?

- Nah, you're right boss. It's still good to have it. It saves time. Oh look, it's almost done!

 

With language, you don't get away so easily. If it's poorly written, or translated, it shows and it shows immediately.

 

- What? Who translated this?

- Young René.

- Frak him. It doesn't even make any sense. Fire this idiot.

- Sure boss.


 So say we all.

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