46 comments

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    Ed Neve

    Hi Antonio!

    For Gengo, my favorite RSS reader is Feed Notifier because it allows syncing to up to every one minute. For other websites that don't require such an instant notification I prefer Aol Reader or Feedly. 

    I'm glad to hear that you are working on better RSS support. On this topic, I would suggest to work on a system that ensures that all active translators get an equal opportunity to take jobs. Even with my up to the minute feed notifier many times the jobs are already taken by the time I get to the Gengo website, and on a daily basis I get to see very few jobs available. I suspect that some translators may be using some automated program to catch jobs before everyone else.

    I think that it would be great, for example, to have a system that allowed us to select the moments when we're available to take jobs, it could be an "I'm available" button. Then, when a job comes, it could be first made available to those who haven't had the opportunity to take as many jobs as the others. I don't know, some system that ensured equal opportunities for those who want and are available for translating. I would really appreciate if you guys came up with a system of that sort :)

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    Sarah

    Interesting question, since I haven't been able to get an RSS reader to work on my computer. I use Chrome and have read that it doesn't work well with RSS readers - having never used one before and obviously being a bit of a dummy about this subject I've given up trying for the moment. However, I agree with Ed about some sort of system to notify ones availability. I haven't managed to get a Gengo job in weeks. Every time I am on my computer and I get notification that there is a job (I have email notifications set to every 5 minutes) someone has got there before me. I can't sit at my computer staring at my screen 24 hours a day - I do have to earn money some other way, Especially since I don't get any jobs here at the moment - and it would be really good to be able to get notification when I am available. As it is it seems my language pair (German to English) isn't very busy and most of the jobs that turn up seem to do so as soon as I've left to do something else. I'm sluightly dissillusioned, to be honest.

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    Sarah

    Or even slightly disillusioned.

     

     

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    vigano.giacomo

    RSS Feed Reader from Chrome Store. I tried many and this seems to better fit my need

     

    Giacomo

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    Alexander

    Apart from translator, I'm also a programmer. Out of frustration about the low chances to grab a job (English > Dutch), I've made a tool of my own that checks twice a minute (the maximum frequency Gengo allows) and if there's a job, brings up Safari in front of whatever I am doing, with a link to the job's details page. Using this tool, I'm quite succesfull in grabbing jobs, probably adding to the frustration of others.

    Honestly, I think this is an insane situation. I joined Gengo to do translations, not to run a rat race. I hope one day Gengo will take measures to give all translators equal chances, for example along the lines Ed Neve sketched. Some weeks ago on the Feature Requests forum, I posted another suggestion (https://support.gengo.com/entries/28272490-Give-translators-ten-minutes-to-apply-for-a-job) to improve things.

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    Sarah

    Thank you, Giacomo - with a little technical help from Gengo I have now installed the RSS reader. It also works. I see a job available - just as I'm off to a doctor's appointment!

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    RodrigoHLC

    It's not the first time I've seen translators complain about the fact that there are people who are faster than them at picking up jobs, and it certainly won't be the last. This is a simple issue; whoever is the first one to take a job, is the one who gets to do it. That's what's fair. No one has the right to set other people back just because they themselves can't keep up, and no one should be held back because of other's people's limitations. A lot of translators have used the line "Gengo has to make sure that the system provides equal opportunities for others". Well, that actually is the case; there's Jobs page in which Gengo posts jobs and it is available for every translator at the same moment. THAT is an equal opportunity. After that, it's up to whoever is faster or more resourceful. There've been many a times in which someone was faster than I was at taking a job, and of course I got mad about it, but I did't start acting as if I had been entitled to that job or as if the other person had done something wrong when he/she took that job only because I wanted it. I simply admitted that someone had been faster than I had been and I accepted it. As I was suppossed to do.

     

    Also, feed readers aren't 100% accurate; there have been several times in which I wook a job, and a few seconds later an alert from my feed reader would pop up as if that same job was still available. It's not about translators staring at the Jobs page 24/7 or anyone using an automated program to immediately take jobs.

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    Ed Neve

    Rodrigo: I agree it's only fair for people who stick around Gengo more often to get more jobs. What is definitely not fair is that this becomes a programmers' race. As Alexander says, and as you said yourself, this is a job interface for translators, not one for tricky programming or for manually refreshing the Jobs page every 30 seconds. Thinking how a fair system could work is not about feeling entitled but about thinking creatively about how to improve the Gengo interface. I still think things could be improved and I'm glad that Gengo is looking into how to improve their RSS system. As you say feed readers are not 100% accurate and it may be worth thinking about other solutions too. 

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    Antonio

    Hello everyone! Thank you for your comments and interesting choices :) We've updated this article with better instructions on how to use Gengo's RSS feed to get new job notifications.

    I would also like to let you know that we are always working on improving our systems to give all translators fair chances to get jobs, so all your suggestions will be highly appreciated and considered for the future.

    Please feel free to keep commenting!

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    Sarah

    I'm glad you are trying to work on a solution to give translators a fair chance to get work. To those who say the system is already fair, it may be so if you are able to sit in front of your computer 24/7 and watch for jobs as they appear, but not all of us can do that. The only means I personally have of knowing when jobs come up is my PC. I don't have a laptop, tablet, or phone that can let me know when a job is available. I'm not a programmer so I can't set up anything clever to notify me. I now have the RSS reader, so if and when I am at the computer I can see jobs as they come up. If I could get some sort of alarm on my phone it would help, but I don't have a smart phone and can't get one for several months yet (tied to contract, no budget for getting expensive phone etc). I would love to do more translations through Gengo, but it seems that most jobs turn up either when I'm out earning money elsewhere, have just turned the PC off to go to bed or am doing housework/walking the dog or other essential chores. It is very frustrating to leave the computer for a few minutes only to come back and find I've missed the only job that has come up for several days.  Yes, for those who are able to keep their eyes on the computer the system is good. For those who can't it has failings.

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    mirko

    Sarah, although I would also like to see an allocation system that took into consideration other factors than sheer speed, the fact is that Gengo was fundamentally built to be like this... that is to say, a crowdsourcing platform based on FCFS principle, where a customer posts a source text and an unnamed someone translates it, with a very short turnaround. That's one of the things that sets Gengo apart from traditional translation agencies, where you're directly and personally contacted and asked to do a specific translation based on your skills and/or past track record. They're two inherently different and "parallel" approaches, although nothing really prevents them from trying to find a convergence (if they only wanted to, of course)...

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    Alexander

    @Mirko - First-come, first-served is not how I would call a second-come, zero-chance system. Thanks to using the right software, I recently managed to snatch a 4000+ words job away in front of my fellow translators. Got over 48 hours to complete it while I only needed 24. It was text for a website which will probably last for months or years to come. I imagine the customer chose Gengo for the low price, not for the short turnaround. In my eyes, a fair allocation system should select a small number of translators as candidates for a specific job, notify them by email, give them decent time to react, and finally pick one at random from those who show interest.

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    Sarah

    Mirko, while I take your point, Alexander has also got a very good point. For the sake of a few minutes I, and I'm sure other translators, miss out on jobs regularly. If I'm not at my computer at the crucial second I miss out. Yes, customers obviously want speed, but the rates are very reasonable and I think Alexander's suggestion has a lot of merit.

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    Sarah

    I would also like to add that I'd love to do far more translation work. Unfortunately, since getting the jobs from Gengo is such a hit and miss affair, I need to have a reliable source of income elsewhere to enable me to pay a few bills until the translation stuff starts paying its way. Here is a catch 22 situation where if I sit here and no jobs come up I can't pay those bills, but if I go out to earn money elsewhere I lose out on translations. As a service Gengo has to cater for the customers of course, but there are translators here who would like to do the jobs but find themselves unable to do them.

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    mirko

    @Alexander (and Sarah)  - As I said with "I would also like to see an allocation system that took into consideration other factors than sheer speed", and as we had already discussed in the thread you started, "Give translators ten minutes to apply for a job", I would also like to see some changes to the present allocation system, even though our ideas about those changes may be different. At any rate, with my previous comment I only wanted to say that this is how Gengo (and other similar platforms) works at the moment, so there's not much that can be done about it, unless the decision makers at Gengo come to the conclusion that looking into other options is worth their time (and $), be it to increase quality, customers' satisfaction, translators' satisfaction, or whatever.

    The fact they were aiming to introduce an allocation system based on quality and speed (as recently confirmed by Lara) proves the fact they actually took the thing into consideration, even though the whole process seems to be pretty much stalled at the moment.

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    Sarah

    Your comment about an allocation system based on quality and speed brings up the issue of the speed shown on the dashboard. Mine currently shows at 96 units per hour based on the last translation that was rated. This was a four word job, for which I submitted a comment considerably longer then four words, which is what took most of the time! I know there have been issues with the speed rating, but it only seems to be relatively accurate when it is based on longer jobs, and when the work is submitted in a file there is no rating given as far as I can make out.

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    mirko

    Exactly, Sarah. Speed calculation is totally off at the moment, and purportedly that's the reason why they put the whole thing on halt. Gengo's head of support recently commented here https://support.gengo.com/entries/28272490 , saying their engineers have stopped working on it in order to prioritize customers' requests.

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    ikoeriha

    In my case, since passed the test, I have translated here for three years (not full-year). Eventually the translated words are almost 230,000.

    Now I believe there is no simple solution to get jobs here, and I think we need to find a continuable style of our own. I also need to practice the skill to pass for the other translation market (Unfortunately, Gengo's 10 is not always sufficient).

    I wish us both luck :)

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    Alexander

    I think I read somewhere that currently there are some 12,000 translators doing together 4 words per second for Gengo. If these numbers are correct, that would be for 1 translator on average 28.8 words per day or 10,000 per year. With 230,000 words in 3 years you're doing very well.

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    ikoeriha

    @Alexander, I think they had a whole lot to do with luck, concentration and physical strength ;)

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    mirko

    Wow, 28.8 words per day... that's something... That means something between $0.864 and $2.304 per day... So if you're lucky you can almost buy yourself a coffee with that, heh.

    Of course, those are just averages, but still...

    The problem is, in my opinion, that at the moment there's a rule "hidden in plain view" in the support section saying you can't refresh the Dashboard or update your RSS reader more than twice every minute, and not everybody knows about it (and I say that because I didn't know about it myself before someone mentioned it in a thread) and/or is adhering to it, as just yesterday I was notified about 3 proofreading jobs through my RSS feed, but I was never notified about them the first time, when they were published as pro jobs... That means I'm certainly losing a whole heap of jobs just because they just don't make it to my RSS reader, as they are grabbed before the 30 seconds refresh interval kicks in...

    Also, even if everybody actually set their readers to refresh every 30 seconds, every individual reader would still refresh in a different moment, so getting a job would just be a matter of chance, more than speed...

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    Alexander

    @mirko - According to the fine print, it's okay to check twice a minute but the information is cached during 60 seconds, so you end up seeing the same whether you check every 30 or every 60 seconds. That's the theory. In practice, if your computer's clock runs slightly faster than Gengo's, when you check after 60 seconds Gengo may judge only 59.999 seconds have elapsed so you get to see the same for <i>two</i> minutes.

    In my tests, if I wait 5 seconds after my tool finds a job, I've got 80% chance or so to get it. If I wait 10 seconds or more, the chance is close to zero. So I estimate after I see a job, it's picked up on average after 7.5 seconds. Of course, the job may have been available before I got to see it. Let's say my tool sees it on average halfway the time it is available. That would make the time a job is available about 15 seconds.

    Combining these two observations, I believe if you check every 60 seconds, you will get to see just 1/4 or even 1/8 of all available jobs.

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    mirko

    @Alexander - Are you sure the 60 seconds thing applies to RSS as well? I thought it only concerned the Dashboard. I say this because I thought that was what I had read (somewhere), and also because sometimes it happens I receive a notification through the RSS feed, and, while the job is available if I follow that link, it isn't if I go to the Dashboard... In other words, I believe the situation is still very messy and FAR, FAR from perfect after the problems they had some months ago, when the whole system kind of froze, and Natalia then said their servers were overloaded. I thought the "delayed" caching was just a stopgap measure while they upgraded their throughput capacity, but instead, it seems it's here to stay...

    In my case, I can tell you that the chances of getting a job are extremely low, even if you click on the link as soon as it appears (the few times it happens, that is...).

    However yes, you're spot on with you 59.999 vs. 60 secs example, and the same principle of course applies even if it were 29.999 vs. 30 secs for the RSS feed, which is what I meant when I wrote that it becomes a matter of luck rather than just speed, if there aren't people refreshing every second, of course, in which case they'll just get most of the jobs, whatever the site caching speed is...

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    Alexander

    @mirko - I'm pretty sure the 60 seconds thing applies to RSS as well. See 'How many times can I refresh the dashboard/jobs page?' at <https://support.gengo.com/entries/23716768-How-do-I-claim-new-jobs->. When I first designed my tool, I only read the text in bold ('please set the refresh rate of your RSS feed reader and/or automatic page refresher to a maximum of 2 requests per 60 seconds'). So I set the interval at 32 seconds - slightly more than 30 to stay on the save side of Gengo's terms, and 32 because as a programmer I like powers of 2 :-)

    Later on I discovered the same section also states 'The dashboard, available jobs pages, and RSS are cached for 60 seconds' (a few lines before the part in bold). So effectively my tool checks every 64 seconds, which happens to be a good value for avoiding the clock rate issue.

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    mirko

    Yeah, saw it, thanks for pointing that out, Alexander.

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    Sarah

    My RSS reader is set for once a minute. So far this week it has picked up zero jobs. So either jobs are coming in and being grabbed within that minute or there have been no jobs whatsoever. Depressing!

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    Alexander

    @Sarah - The first few months after I joined Gengo I also rarely saw jobs. Gengo said their salespeople work hard to attract more customers for my language pair (English > Dutch) but that takes time. I can confirm that I see a gradual increase in the frequency of jobs coming by. Actually grabbing one is another issue, but rest assured they're working on your language pair too.

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    mirko

    Then we're on the same boat, Sarah, but, unless your pair is rather uncommon, like, idk, EN>SW, then I'd say your first hypothesis is much more plausible than the latter.

    Actually, this week I've been seeing some tiny pro jobs pass by (like $0-4), and some relatively bigger standard jobs (up to $30), which I believe points to the fact that there are less translators willing to do standard jobs (and I can't blame them, since neither do I), while pro jobs are usually unable to make it to my RSS feed, which is rather depressing...

    On the other hand, as I had already mentioned, proofreading jobs seem to stay unclaimed on the dashboard for much longer (sometimes very long), and again, proofreading pays half the pro rate, but maybe that's just a coincidence...

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    Sarah

    Alexander/Mirko, my language pair is German - English. I've no idea how busy this pair is, but I still haven't seen a job this week.

     

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    mirko

    I think that should be a pretty "popular" pair (in general). It would be nice if Gengo provided an overview about such kind of data (incl. # of translators and words translated per pair and level in a given period, for instance) instead of the "odometers" on the home page, so we would actually have an idea of what's really going on...

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