With so many things changing and taking a turn for the worse on Gengo, the worst of them all is by far, in my opinion, how useless it has become to submit a re-review request in the hopes of getting corrections for errors that should've never been marked as errors, and all similar cases that would prompt one to even go to the trouble of submitting a re-review request.
It's been the case where I've had multiple instances where I've gone to the trouble of submitting re-review requests to dispute instances of such malpractices and submitting top-notch sources to back my claims, all to be told something among the lines of: "Regardless, my opinion holds more weight than those sources." Obviously not using that exact wording, but basically saying the same thing but in a very cynical way.
As an example, the latest instance said something like: "Regardless of what an English-Spanish dictionary can say, we'd never say that here."
So we are left in a position where, no matter what source or even how credible a source might be, you're no longer safe from being unjustly punished by someone else's mistake, and their inability to acknowledge their mistakes. Do I really need to expand on how problematic this is and what a nightmare scenario this is for our work as translators? Long are gone the days when you could opt for a choice of a word because you could back it up later on, should any dispute arise. And of course, given that in order to submit a re-review request, we have to check multiple boxes where we agree to completely waive our voices and opinions or any form of appeal, the LSs are quite free to do as they please and resort to such weak and baseless "explanations" and there is absolutely no accountability for gross malpractices on their end. It all then becomes a matter of them not wanting to acknowledge a mistake, and again, we're talking about using the very best sources there are out there to back your case and make it bulletproof. And because they know they can get away with it and face no consequences for their malpractices, then it's all good on their end.
Now, just to be clear, I'm not advocating or suggesting to other translators to never submit a re-review request. I am also aware of the need for a system where translators get their work reviewed and checked from time to time in order to avoid malpractices and/or poor performance over time, so I'm not saying that we should get rid of that completely, but I'm calling for Gengo to clean up the mess there is with the current re-review request system and truly have a system of checks-and-balances where everyone faces consequences for their actions, and not one that starts and ends at the translator level. And LSs need to submit their own sources to back their claims. We can't have an individual's opinion (and their inability to own up to their mistakes) trumping the best sources out there.
Now, I'm also aware that some might think that these complaints might be coming from quite inexperienced translators that know no better and can't even realize or accept when they were wrong. This is not the case. I am happy to learn from my mistakes and I own up to them every time, which is why I don't dispute every single marked error in a review, and why I also want to see others owning up to their mistakes, but even more so than that, to be held accountable for their poor performance and not have translators pay the price for their mistakes and malpractices.
Here are some of my stats, to illustrate my point about this not being about being a "newbie" that can't take criticism: I am quite close to reaching the 1 million translated units mark, I am a Pro Translator. I've completed more than 50,000 jobs, and passed 165 GoCheck reviews. I can safely say that the jobs where I get customer feedback, more than 90% of them are marked 5/5. This is not to say that I'm always right, and I'm incapable of making a mistake, but to illustrate that I've seen it all, I've done the leg work and know what it takes. But I'm tired of having to suck it up and not being able to see true accountability and seeing translators having to pay the price for other people's mistakes.
What do you think? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Let's discuss our experiences. Thanks for reading.
Personally, I am seriously considering doing just that. I'm not 100% sure submitting a re-review request is worth it anymore, at least in my language pair.
Here's an interesting piece of statistics:
So it's clear that for about over a year now, LSs in my pair have been displaying an increasing, worrying resistance to ever removing an error. These numbers don't even tell the whole story. To give you the full picture, I would have to get into the details of each dispute. What I can say is that there's a general sense of unreasonableness that I never noticed in previous years. I wonder if there is some underlying reason for this. Has something changed in the way Gengo selects, trains and assesses LSs? There has to be an explanation for this drastic change.
Looking back at my older (re-)reviews, other than the important piece of stat above, here's a couple of minor but still significant differences I've noticed:
Personally, submitting re-reviews is too time-consuming. I try to find the best sources, the best wording (also having to juggle with the 1000 character limit); I make corpora-based concordances that show dozens of unique occurrences of the grammatical structure that the LS believe is wrong; I find examples in newspapers and books from major publishers, each with a screenshot and full context.
Not worth it. It is quickly dismissed, ignored or misrepresented. There is too much disparity between my efforts in submitting a re-review request and the LS's effort in their response. At the end of the day, asking for a re-review is work, and it is unpaid work. So I'm considering whether it wouldn't be more rational to simply let things run their course. My score has been slowly but steadily declining over the last year, and at this rate it seems only a matter of time before I lose my credentials. Maybe it's best for me to simply accept it. If it's going to happen anyway, maybe it's best to avoid adding the stress of submitting re-reviews, a process that lately has proved fruitless, stressful and time-consuming for me.
Does anybody remember a recent questionnaire regarding reviews? Well, I filled it out, and gave my candid opinions -- respectfully, but honestly, I didn't hold back.
And a few weeks later, I got 9 reviews within 13 days. Is that normal? It felt like a punishing assault, dragging my score down almost 2 points. Coincidence? Sure, maybe, but ...
A mistake is a mistake. I'll admit to some careless errors. Several times, I was penalized not for incorrect translations, but grammatical errors, contextual errors. We're talking about whether a certain pronoun is better than another, or whether a comma justifies this or that, or because a word was repeated (even if that is the way it was written in the original text).
None of these significantly change the translation. But are they errors? Sure. If I was working at the New Yorker or The Atlantic, I would certainly have returned my Pulitzer for disgracing the English language in such a manner.
But I felt that some of these reviews were debatable, so I submitted a re-review. The result was a complete smackdown. Now, they're bringing out the big guns and fighting each and every assertion tooth and nail, litigating it like Harvey Weinstein's lawyers. I don't know which is worse -- back when the reviews were more haphazard, and the reviewers seemed open to consider your argument if you made a valid point, or now, when they seemed determined to drown you in legalese.
Not to make excuses, but here's a thought. To paraphrase what Denzel Washington's character said in "Man on Fire," maybe the quality (should be) on par with the pay. It surely is good for the customer, to know that they can pay cheap rates and still be relatively assured that they will get the best possible translation their money can buy. And it certainly behooves every translator to be on their toes and always put forth their best efforts. But they're obviously paying someone to hover over us, while the pay for translators hasn't changed in years, if ever.
If you keep reviewing someone over and over, no matter how good they are, I'm pretty certain that eventually you'll find enough mistakes to bring them down. Hopefully, they are now satisfied that I'm sufficiently contrite, and will leave me alone for a while as I lick my wounds.
I've learned my lesson. I'll keep my mouth shut, or maybe they'll decide to review me into oblivion anyway. You've heard the adage about the nail that sticks out gets hammered down? Well, the hammer ultimately wins, because there just aren't enough nails willing to get hammered in an effort to get the hammer to crack. And the hammer sets the rules and the pay, however unfair or unjust it may seem. That's life in the gig economy.
By the way, if you haven't seen "Man on Fire," I won't spoil it, but I will say that what happens in it makes perfect sense, given the level of pay Denzel was given.
My name is Gosia Gorbacz and I work as a Director of Community Management at Lionbridge. I'd like to thank all of you who have contributed to this thread, decided to share your feedback, concerns and recommendations. This is all very useful feedback that we will definitely take into account. At the same time, I'd like to apologize for the fact that this post (and possible a few other threads) haven't been addressed earlier.
I'd like to address some of your comments:
1) We are in the process of hiring a Community Manager to fill in the position left by Katrina. This person will manage the forum and make sure all of your comments are addressed in a timely manner. Please bear with us for a bit longer and we'll soon be able to announce the change. In the meantime, I do apologize that sometimes the community forum might seem to be a bit neglected.
2) We have recently launched a survey to collect your feedback on the GoCheck and re-review processes. We've received +100 responses. We're in the processes of analyzing these comments and putting together some improvement actions. We'd like to make sure the re-review process is beneficial to all community members and serves its main purpose to be our main knowledge sharing mechanism (where both sides can learn from each other).
3) If somebody on this thread has sent a re-review request recently and haven't received a response yet or would like to follow up on the arbitration result, please contact GengoQualityTeam@lionbridge.com.
Finally, I'd like to assure you that the team is doing their best to ensure objectivity in this process. Unfortunately, given the scale of this program, we do see some occasional cases when the resolution might not meet your expectations or it might be simply wrong. We appreciate your feedback in all such cases as it helps the team improve and guide Language Specialists in the right direction as well.
I'd also like to always encourage everybody to submit re-review requests if you meet the criteria as it's a chance for your to back up your translation decisions, discuss linguistic issues with the Language Specialists and help Translators and Language Specialists improve in their work.
I'm Rica Tero, your new Community Management Associate. :) I want to thank all of you for sharing your experiences and concerns regarding the re-review process.
As Gosia mentioned, the Quality Team is analyzing all the feedback you shared in the recent survey. They are creating appropriate actions to address these concerns to improve the GoCheck system and the re-review requests process. Rest assured that we will notify you once the improvements go live.
@Joan.Castick - Thanks for sharing your sentiments in this thread, and I'm sorry to hear that you have some unsuccessful re-review requests. You can still resend it, if you know that the error is really a mistake and you have sufficient evidence and justification to support it. For detailed guidelines about it, you can check it in our support article (here). As for your other concerns, these are the answers I got after researching and talking to the Quality team:
As I'm still grasping the things I need to know as a new Community Management Associate, I'm hoping for your patience and understanding in our forum. I will do my best to address your post and comments promptly. If I miss something or you have additional concerns, please comment on this thread or message me at v-Rica.Tero@lionbridge.com.
After some recent unsuccessful re-review requests, I have to agree with the majority of the comments above. In addition, I was concerned to learn that a re-review may/or may not be undertaken by the same LS. Whilst I appreciate the need for an LS to justify their scores/comments, I feel that an independent LS would be more appropriate to do the re-review. In addition, I would be interested to know if the LS is a native speaker of the target language. As I translate into both British and US English, it's important that the LS is a native speaker - i.e. a native British English speaker as appropriate, and not a native American English speaker for both target languages. Many similarities but many differences in expressions too!
I have been following the community forum closely over the years and I think that we need to divide this in two separate issues. The first is the issue of LS quality and consistency, and the second is the suitability of the re-review system itself. Personally, I have no problems with the re-review system as such, and the fact that it may seem a bit rigid does not really bother me – I can understand that it makes sense for Gengo that there should be a certain threshold for submitting re-reviews. I have submitted many re-reviews over the years, and for the most part I have been fairly treated and the re-reviews have sometimes been corrected in my favour based on my submitted documentation and sources.
What I can see from many previous complaints here in the community forum is that the main problem seems to be professional/linguistic disagreements and communication issues between translator and LS. Both Katrina, and Lara before her, have previously explained to us here in the community forum what Gengo is doing to improve LS quality and consistency. Hopefully this is having some effect in the right direction over time. After all, I think the percentage of unresolved re-review disputes is probably (I am guessing here …) quite microscopic vs. the total number of jobs submitted, and probably also quite low compared to the total number of re-reviews. (If not, the forums would probably be swamped with complaints.)
With such large job volumes as Gengo has, despite efforts to minimize this, there will inevitably be some cases which are not good, and even unacceptable, and Fernando’s may well be one of those. In the past we have seen (as reported in the community forum) that a community manager can be a good person to assist in bringing such issues to the attention of the right people who can elevate, evaluate and hopefully resolve the issue. So let us hope that Lionbridge/Gengo can expedite the hiring of a new sorely missed community manager, which I understand is in process …
Finally, a piece of advice that I have voiced here before; I think that active and smart use of the comment field is a key to clarify things and minimize misunderstandings, both with the customer and the LS (who also reads the comments). This will in turn probably lead to fewer poor scores – reducing the need for as many re-reviews. When in doubt, ask a question, make an assumption or write something like “Meaning of word/term ‘xxxxx’ in this context is unclear, or it can be interpreted in different ways. Some more context info might lead to a more precise translation”. I know that some of you are sceptical about this fearing that it will be too time consuming, but I think it is worth it.