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Good morning everyone

I’m submitting this post in the main section so that it may enjoy a greater visibility as it’s quite possible that the topic, and hopefully the debate to come, will be of interest to a wider audience.

I have been here since 2015, and after a period of inactivity due to a drastic cutback in work, I reactivated my account, encouraged by the Gengo's buzz about a forthcoming period of overwork.

Before going any further, I want to clarify one point straight away. This post is not the usual, corny snivelling of someone who can't get the work in the first come first served jungle. I'm not that guy, seriously.

Here I’m interested in discussing the trend observed in the EN-IT language pair over a period of several months. Although the old Open Data page is no longer available, and the weekly statistics email is getting rarer and rarer, other data are still accessible [such as the number of words translated by each user] and, taking everything into account, it’s been possible to draw some conclusions.

In a nutshell: over this long period of low to medium workflow, in the language pair under consideration, a small number of translators have either maintained or increased a staggering level of translated words per week. This covers an astonishing percentage of the total volume of work available. I mean, quite a fact, not a wacky suggestion.

Since I can wear one of your 1-million-words-translated hoodie, I’m well aware of how much effort and dedication it takes to achieve certain results. But I made my numbers during a remarkably different period. The volume of work was massive compared to the current one, and despite having worked hard, I was never active 24/7 for months in a row. I always had to go shopping and live my life.

So, how is it possible that during such an adverse period, a handful of people have maintained such a steady output and sometimes even boosted it?Do they experience a state of Gengo-serendipity that has no precedent?

Or maybe your system has just a flaw and someone is exploiting it.

I dare to ask this question so bluntly as I have nothing to hide and because I wish to understand, as a rule-abiding user, whether I am still safeguarded working here.

Gengo is a big boy agency but I’d like to remind that translators and agency are a whole. Skilled and trustworthy translators should be regarded as the agency's real asset. Clients come later. Because an agency without clients is still an agency, while an agency without translators is nothing. The basics in short.

Now. This post is addressed to the one in Gengo who can comment forthrightly and report on the situation because, at present, my feeling is that this place is turning out to be a lot less sound and legit than it used to be.

If you are the one, then you have my attention.

Matt

 

 

17 comments

  • 0
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    marcodnd

    Hello Matt, where exactly do you find the weekly number of words for each translator? (I believe you forgot to add a link there.)

  • 4
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    Matt

    Just follow the Public Translators Profile page and do the maths.

  • 0
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    marcodnd

    So you mean just looking at translators' profiles week by week and manually recording the increase of their "Number of words translated"? 

    Either way, can you be more detailed about your results, even without naming names? For ex., how many weeks have you been recording so far, how many translators have you been monitoring, how many translators have increased/kept/decreased job volume, etc.? I feel like the devil is in the details here. 

    Also, just curious, what was the time you refer to, when the volume of work was massively higher?

  • 4
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    Matt

    One check per month for several months about the top 15 is enough to estimate the current trend and that's it. 
    The golden age I'm referring to was around the time of the Catawiki project.

  • 10
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    Fei

    Hi Matt, same here, English to Chinese pair. For the last couple of months, the workflow are almost dried out, even with the pro feeder it barely has nothing available to claim. And when there is a few to claim, even the price is as low as 10 cents, the server went down with 504 error, not able to submit completed task, not able to claim next available task, not even able to open the main page.

    It looks like either someone is using some kind of tools to grab most of the tasks unfairly (glad you did the math which might be a good prove to that), or Gengo assigns the tasks to the certain groups at the backstage, worst scenario maybe they are turning away from the business (by fact in that less communication emails, no response to the service tickets and no one from Gengo team ever participate in the community discussions like before).

  • 3
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    Matt

    Hello Fei
    thank you for your feedback. Let's see if someone on the other side will be kind enough to show up sooner or later...

  • 2
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    Lattice

    Hello Matt,

    I participate in En-Ko and Ja-Ko. I always wonder why specific translator have outstanding a number of jobs, too. In my language pair, others translated less than a million words, but only one particular person translated two hundred words or more!

  • 13
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    Bettina

    I thought I comment on this post since there were several comments going in the direction of unfair practices, just to add a different explanation: preferred translator. I think I get quite a big proportion of jobs in my language pair, and most of my jobs (maybe 80 %) are from clients who have chosen me (or Gengo chose me) as a preferred translator. These jobs will never appear on your dashboard in most cases, as explained here: https://support.gengo.com/hc/en-us/articles/231441307-What-does-preferred-translator-mean- If these include even only a few big collections with lots of words, then it is no wonder that some translators suddenly get the biggest share of the work in a language pair.

    Matt, if you have been working for Gengo since 2015, you might have been preferred translator for a lot of clients, but maybe they actually stopped ordering from Gengo in your period of inactivity. So it might take time to gain new clients and build up your workload for Gengo again. As you actually monitored other translators' workload, this unfairness seems to bother you obviously, so maybe an alternative explanation will give you and the others some peace of mind. This is actually a post that should have come from a community manager but since Gengo regrettably does not have one right now, I wrote it. There really should be someone from Gengo commenting on your post and it is a shame that nobody seems to hear your worries and concerns! 

    I am of course unable to say if maybe you are right and there are indeed unfair practices at work, but I honestly don't think so. There just seems to be no benefit for that from Gengo's side.

  • 4
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    Ryan

    Agreed with Bettina, nowadays clients tend to assign the bigger jobs to their preferred translators. I noticed that most of the bigger jobs I completed were preferred jobs. The way I see it, this has been an ongoing trend for some time. 

  • 5
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    dunkel

    Bettina, Ryan, you are right - the "preferred translator" aspect should be taken into account. However, when you see relatively novice translators climbing up the ladder at a staggering rate, you cannot help but wonder why clients chose them as preferred translators over people with years of experience, who translated millions of words.

    One could argue, of course, that it's the client's decision and I am personally fine with that. Additionally, no resentment at all from my side, as currently my work involvement with Gengo is negligible.

    But there are people really working a lot here, and another thing you cannot help but wonder is how they apparently manage to intercept so many jobs 24/7. Automatic bots? Multiple translators working in shifts with the same account? Apparently, I am not the only one whose mind has been crossed by these thoughts.

  • 0
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    Matt

    @Bettina @Ryan.Thank you for your comments. Of course preferred translators exist and I'm still one for many customers. The rules of this jungle are well known to those who have been working here for years and that's the very reason I bothered to start this thread. I'll state it again: the trend for the language pair in question is bizarre and way too far from being barely plausible.

  • 0
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    Matt

    @dunkel. You nailed the point. Same impression as mine.

  • 0
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    Lattice

    @Bettina Hello. I know "preferred translator", too. But in my one language pair, the person with the most translations (as of June 14) translated 2,458,269 characters, while the person with the second most translations translated 1,610,986 characters. Even the person who translated the most started in 2015, and the person who translated the most started in 2011! Even if someone were selected as a "preferred translator", even if the person translated a work with a large number of characters, am I the only one who feels strange to see such a difference?

    Edited by Lattice
  • 4
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    Gabriel

    English to Spanish pair translator here. This month is looking kinda grim at the moment! Last month was good, but only because of a big load of work from a client, which saved what would have been a very scarce month otherwise.

    I don't have an informed opinion about possible foul play from some translators, but I'm concerned, to be honest. The low workload and the server problems (I seriously can't remember the last time my scorecard actually loaded despite the dashboard page working) are only made worse by the radio silence from the Gengo Team since Katrina Paterson is not on Gengo (She did such a good job! I miss her).

    (Where do you guys check this "translator ranking" for your pairs, by the way? 🤔)

  • 5
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    hiroki

    I want to echo what Gabriel said about the scorecard not loading. I had the same problem and was told by the Support Team to clear my browser cache. It worked for a while, but it stopped loading again after a few days.

    I'm agnostic as to whether there's anything nefarious going on in terms of how translators are getting jobs. What is certain, though, is that job volume has plummeted quite drastically on the whole, and the unresolved server issues are def not helping.

  • -1
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    Julian

    There's a rumour that senior translators unfairly level down other translators' scores in order to eliminate competition and keep the best jobs for themselves. I don't know if it's true but Gengo has definitely changed for the worse.

  • 1
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    Matt

    Not sure about being senior enough, but - woah - this would be a terrific superpower... sadly it isn't, otherwise there wouldn't have even been any need to open a thread like this.

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