Can the following case be considered an example of violation of the translation agreement of Gengo?
I had address translation jobs uploaded by the same customer at the same time of the day - not everyday but on a regular basis - for more than a year. Usually, it takes less than 5 minutes to complete the collections and I believe anyone, without even passing the rigorous Gengo tests, can translate as it is address translation. For the past month, however, I was able to secure three out of more than 20(ish) collections. But the three collections were available only after the translator who initially took the collections exceeded allotted time. Now, here is the key. All of available collections were initially taken by the same translator. In addition, I think all of the (address translation) collections were taken by the same translator because all of the jobs become unavailable at the exact same time (less than 5 seconds after the collections become available while the collections are being processed). If so, it appears to me that this translator is violating Section 3, clause d of the translator agreement
"d) Do not lock off jobs
Only start a translation job if you are going to work on it straight away. Customers want translations delivered quickly, and when you start a job no other translator can see or work on it. By starting and not working on a translation job, you will be holding up the system."
It does not make sense to me that a translator exceeds allotted time in multiple occasions for collections that anyone who knows the language can do it within 5 minutes.
Can this be considered an example of violation of the translation agreement? If so, I would like to hear what Gengo translator management staff think with regards to the case.
(screenshots of the collections as evidence available upon request)
Hi Kor to Eng,
Thanks for letting us know about this. Locking off jobs is certainly against our policy, and this is something that we would like to look further into.
Could you please shoot a quick email to support (email@example.com) with all this information and attach the screenshots? Emailing support directly or opening a ticket is the best way to communicate with us about issues like this :)
Thank you for your prompt reply. I sent an email to the support team as instructed. But I made it clear in the email if the request resolution process or the verdict of this case can be shared with the rest of translators in the Translator forums because, most of the time, comments from other translators really help facilitate the process and help the case come to a conclusion in an effective and prompt manner. Please let me know if there is any other information to be provided. Thank you.
Kor to Eng
Hi Kor to Eng,
Thanks for emailing Support :)
To answer your question, locking off jobs is indeed a violation of the translator agreement. However, this (as anything else that might involve such a violation) is something that needs to be carefully looked into, and I don't believe the forums are the best place to bring individual cases up (i.e. the particular translator whose number may appear on your screenshots.)
You are of course welcome to discuss these kinds of issues publicly, and to share the process with fellow translators, but I would appreciate it if you kept individual information anonymous (translator numbers, etc) This is why I asked you to email the relevant information and screenshots directly to support :)
Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see any benefit to a translator of taking a job that he/she isn't going to do, because it not only locks that job off, but it locks the translator off (ie since each translator can only take one job at a time, by having accepted that job, the translator can't take any other jobs until that job is either finished or declined).
(*Tiny note, I can understand accepting a job with a deadline of several hours, and deciding to take a quick break, fix a snack, etc. before actually starting the work, as long as you're certain you can complete the job well within the deadline. I don't think this a violation of the agreement.)
But to the Kor to Eng's original description of the problem I am wondering if the translator in question has mistakenly or unknowingly accepted the jobs in question? Some sort of technical problem? Since there's no benefit to a translator to accept a job he or she has no intention of doing, only to allow the job to be auto-declined due to expiration of deadline, I really think there's something technical and unintended going on.
In my experience, jobs that are locked off like this are done with a bot. I've come across the same thing repeatedly in my job pair (and have reported it). Once reported, it stopped.
In my experience, I happened to find a translator who accepted multiple jobs a the same time. According to Support Team, the translator was likely to use some tools to accept multiple jobs at a time. With hindsight, I had seen the Translator ID many times because of exceeding allotted time or the job declination.
I think the whole "bot" idea is a myth. Can anyone confirm that such a kind of bot is real? Gengo does not allow multiple jobs being assigned to the same translator; this is blocked at the server side, and no bot could break this. Correct me if I'm wrong.
As Kevan said, there is not much use in blocking a job over a longer time without working on it. And I fully agree with your "tiny note", @KevanSF - I think everyone of us translators will have been in the situation that an interesting job popped up in the RSS and we grabbed it fast and instinctively, as we are trained to do - even if we were just thinking about preparing a nice pot of tea, or answering the door, or letting the cat out or in or feed it, and a couple of minutes could pass before we actually start working on the job. I don't think anything is wrong with that and I don't think this qualifies as a break of the rules or as malicious job-blocking.
I do not know full details, but I did see one translator accepted three jobs at the same time (minute) and then declined them in twice. As you said, the system does not allowed this, but with the use of some tools it seems to be possible.
Support Team said Gengo has a team that look further into translators who misapply tools. If they find improper usage, the translator get a warning or disqualified as a translator. After reporting, I have never seen the Translator ID (exceeding allotted time). I hope this helps.
Accepting and declining a job are simple requests to the server. It's possible to use a tool that presents the user with a modified version of the dashboard, so clicking on a job means accepting it right away, rather than visiting the workbench first and having to press the Start button. Also, such a tool could have a button to decline the latest accepted job, and immediately accept the next one on the dashboard, if any.
Using such a tool, it should be possible to accept and decline several jobs within a minute before finding an interesting one that the user starts working on. Gengo could make it less attractive to use such a tool by disabling to decline a job for the first minute or so after it was accepted.
Also, if a translator lets a job expire for whatever reason, it should be possible for the system to automatically detect it and ring a bell with the support team so they can look into it right away.
I see what you mean, Alexander, but I think that there's no real problem here. Even such a tool would not allow someone to block several jobs at the same time, and the "fast decline" function would technically not violate any of the conditions, I think. I believe that Gengo does look into cases where a translator declines jobs very often, which would happen if someone did it like you describe. Of course, your idea to implement a timer before (or after) declining a job could be feasible.
Regarding expired jobs, I cannot see what use it might be to anyone to let a job expire intentionally. I think in most cases when someone lets a job expire, technical problems or maybe personal emergencies might be the reason.
@ikoeriha: the case you describe can be technically explained similarly: someone could have started and declined the jobs in quick succession, within the same minute. That does not mean that the jobs were started at the same time by the same user.
Hey KVS! In my way of thinking the person has likely set the bot to accept jobs perhaps accidentally without actually being there to work on them. In my case, I saw several jobs accepted D over a period of time by the same translator that all timed out one after the other. Does that make sense? I doubt very much that person had technical problems where they were able to accept a series of collections but not even complete one over the course of a morning with all of them timing out.
@LBTranslations - I agree, and that's why I think the system should automatically alert the support team if a translator lets a job expire.
It's trivial to create a tool that immediately grabs a job if it sees one, just in case the user is around to work on it, and then lets the job expire if the user is away from the computer. It's not the responsibility of the translators community to detect such behaviour.
If Gengo fears there will be too many false alerts, automatic detection could be refined to alert only if a translator lets N jobs expire within a week.
"If Gengo fears there will be too many false alerts, automatic detection could be refined to alert only if a translator lets N jobs expire within a week."
I second this idea from Alexander. I think there are some reasons why a translator lets multiple jobs expire within a week or a day.
I see what you mean, LBT and Alexander. This kind of behavior would indeed be unfair and a violation of the rules. In fact, I have picked up jobs frequently that had expired for no apparent reason. The bad thing here is not only the unfair advantage versus other translators, but also the fact that the customer has to wait longer for their translation in these cases, which afftects the business as a whole. Gengo should be interested in stopping this.
Let's be constructive! So we have two suggestions for Gengo now:
First, implement a timer that prevents a translator from picking up jobs for a couple of minutes after he or she declined another job.
Second, implement a sanction against translators who regularly let jobs expire. For example, if a translator lets a job expire for the third time within a 7 day period, block this translator for 24 hours. This can be done automatically, and the sanctions could be escalated with each case. Letting jobs expire once or twice can be accounted to technical or personal problems, but if it occurs regularly it does damage to Gengo and to us all.
I don't agree with preventing someone from picking up a job right after declining one. We all know that to get a job, you have to click first and ask questions later. Only after you accept it can you take the time to look at it and see if you want to do it, if it's been ordered in the correct language pair, etc. We have the right to decline jobs we don't want to work on so we should not be penalized for doing so by having to wait and maybe miss out on another job that comes in.
I do agree with sanctions for those who regularly let jobs expire, especially when it's a collection and absolutely nothing has been done. That is just plan suspicious. In the past I've had power outages in the middle of work but when those collections expire, some of the translation has been done. Jobs that expire without even being touched are suspicious.
Ah, you are right, LBT! So let's do it like Alexander suggested first: Don't allow a translator to decline a job within the first, say, two minutes after he or she accepted the job. That way, if you do it as you describe, having a look at the job first and deciding whether you can proceed, you will not be really penalized since you need those two minutes for your decision anyway. But those automatic quick-decliners would still be set back a little. How's that?
Sorry, still don't agree! Declining should have no strings attached. Repeatedly allowing jobs to expire is the real problem I think. Unless I'm missing something. I've been awake for almos 24 hours now so I'm a bit slow. :)
@LBTranslations, theoretically, we have to choose whether we want to do the job before grabbing it, not after. Sure, I understand your point, considering the rat race for jobs here. However, I think the first suggestion should be implemented first and foremost as it can really prevent the tactics of bot users. Without it, they will just be more careful and stick to the limit of 2 expirations per week.
Besides, i think, 1 week of cheating will compensate them 1 day of penalty in spades. That's why I would suggest a more severe penalty for 3 weekly expirations - 1 week of blocking, for example.
And finally - block the users who regularly violate the rules permamently. Let's say, after 3 penalties.
Dear LBT, I wish you a good day's sleep :)
I still think that something should be done about that continuous declining-tactics. If you think some timer would be not okay here, the alternative would be to filter/sanction translators who decline jobs all the time. I agree with you that fast picking up is what we are trained to do, and sometimes everyone has to decline a job for various reasons. But those cases should be limited. I think I don't decline more than one in a hundred jobs I accept. What would you think?
Thanks again for this discussion - this is great feedback and we appreciate all of your brainstorming and ideas!
I just wanted to reiterate the fact that we do investigate all cases of translators repeatedly declining / letting jobs expire, and take action accordingly, in case it wasn't clear before. As I told Kor to Eng at the beginning of the thread, if you suspect that a fellow translator might be doing this, the best way to get in touch with us about it is by contacting support (either by email, or by opening a ticket) with all relevant information so we can promptly look into it.
Thank you, Lara, for pointing this out. But do you only investigate such cases if someone of us points you to a suspect? Or does Gengo also automatically detect cases where a translator repeatedly declines jobs or lets them expire? It should be no great technical difficulty to find these cases automatically, while we as translators only see those jobs we picked up ourselves. If I pick up a job and I see in the history that it was declined or has expired before, I don't start comparing the respective translator IDs with other similar jobs, that would not make much sense. And I also don't report such a case when it occurs only once to me, since it might be perfectly normal. Therefore I think that we as translators are not in a very good position to find these cases, while you are.
In any case, it's good to know that Gengo is aware and active in this regard.
Can I just add that I think it's VERY likely that someone in the FR>En section is doing something shady like this? I haven't seen the declined jobs issue (this person clearly understands the policy and is being careful not to decline jobs) but they are probably using something as mentioned earlier, which allows them to skip the "review" section of the job acceptance portion. That would explain my experience right now, where someone is working and I'm not allowed to get ANY jobs. I tested by refreshing manually, and found that consistently, I can't land a single job when that person is working. No matter how fast I refresh and click, the job is usually taken even before the "accept job" screen loads. I could blame it on bad luck if it happened inconsistently, but it will be consistently EVERY job for hours.
I didn't even realize it was possible to write a bot that would skip the accept screen. It seems like it's getting to the point that it's almost impossible to get paid fairly working for Gengo without cheating. This is really unfair to those of us who don't have the coding skills to write shortcuts like these.
It seems like Gengo could easily implement an alert that would tell them to look into a translator if they go too quickly from the "accept job" screen to actually accepting the job. There's a limit to what humans are capable of manually doing, so why doesn't Gengo monitor for these kind of cheats?
I feel the way @mistymikes do. It seems like such a tool are used for particular projects or customers that are expected to be ordered for Pro on daily basis (I don't know about Standard job). Apparently, the tool is not used blindly. If this is the case, what would be a good way to do it?
@kvstegemann - At the moment, the process is not automated. We are considering to improve it, and that's why all these suggestions are great, as they help us see things from a different perspective. I am taking note of everything you all suggested so I can bring it up with the relevant team. Keep it coming :)
I definitely think we are experiencing something like this in the FR > EN pair. I keep getting error: access denied and then the job is already taken the majority of the time after like 8AM MST.
I also see the pattern of jobs disappearing within a second I click on them. These are ordered by one customer and every time I click on one of them as soon as it appears on my dashboard, I get an error message.
What's odd about this particular situation is that these are preferred pro jobs ordered by the same customer so there shouldn't be as much competitions as other jobs, and yes, I sometimes get an error message with other jobs too but this customer's orders never fail.
@HAR - Hello, I guess we are saying about the same customer. It seems as if things are becoming worse and worse for the last 2 weeks. Unless the person(s?) is engaged in the translation or is inactive, it is almost impossible to grab the customer's job manually. It's a real pity...
Hi mistymikes, ikoeriha, Fierce Frankie, HAR,
If you miss out on EVERY job, this cannot be due to a bot. Due/Thanks to Gengo's per translator caching system, even a bot can only look at a fresh dashboard once per minute. If there is no job at the moment the bot looks, it could happen that 5 seconds later a job appears, and another 5 seconds later your personal cache expires. In that case you've got 50 seconds to grab that job before the bot has a chance.
That is, unless the collection ID is predictable. If the suspicious situation you describe is related to 1 specific customer, perhaps Gengo has reserved a range of collection IDs for this customer. Once collection #12345600 has been visible on the dashboard, the bot can guess the next order (yet to be placed) will be #12345601.
So the bot can send a request 'I want to accept collection #12345601' to Gengo's server over and over until that job arrives. Upon success, the bot will inform the user, the user will start translating, and the bot will start requesting to accept collection #12345602. If the jobs are short enough for the user to complete them before the next one arrives, the user can pick all jobs from this particular customer.
Gengo could automatically detect such behaviour by analyzing all requests to accept any job. The system 'knows' the first moment the requesting translator could possibly have seen the requested job (taking into account their personal cache, whether or not they are among the Preferred translators, etc.). Add a few seconds for human response time. Any request that arrives earlier than this is suspected.
Thank you so much for your insight. I appreciate your sharing! Let me ask one question. The customer in my language pair usually place an order for group jobs. In my experience one collection consists of jobs from single digit to forty. These days, one collection seems to be ordered at a time as often as about once an hour or two in their business hours.
Is it possible for the bot to send foregoing request in this case?
I do not collect any RSS data, but I recalled the collection's RSS title has distinctive characteristics. The RSS title is different from the title that appear on my dashboard after accepting a job. if I remember right, the title has some numbers.