This morning I've received an email notifying me that my Pro qualification was removed. It was a very unpleasant surprise, considering that my average score right now is 8.8, and the last job review (got it yesterday) had a score of 10/10. Actually, here are my scores for the last year: 10, 9.8, 9.8, 10, 10, 10, 9.5, 10, 10, 9.7, 10, 9.7, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 9.7, 9.7, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10. Pretty good, right? Doesn't look like I "consistently fail to meet Gengo's quality standards", right? And yet my Pro qualification is now gone...
In a few minutes I've received a second email titled "On your qualification removal". It said that "Pro qualifications were removed because your translations at this level have been below our quality standards for Pro translations" and that my recent work was "below our expectations at the Pro level due to a number of both minor and major errors". It also had a comment from the Language Specialist (in Russian) saying that I had errors in the jobs with certain IDs. I immediately went to my score history and found out that 3 of the IDs were jobs with low scores from as far as 2 years ago (!), and the other 4 were some recent jobs that didn't even have a GoCheck review.
After that I've noticed that the second email had a Google Sheets attachment that had "comments from the Language Specialist for some of your unreviewed jobs". That's the first time that I've seen something like this - there is no mention of this practice in Gengo's help section. I've checked this spreadsheet - it had about 12000 strings from my previous jobs, and only 7 (!) of them had a comment (and no score). 2 punctuation errors, 2 literal translations and 3 minor grammar errors. And this so-called "Language Specialist " even made an error in their comment! ("о плата за" instead of "оплата за"). Only 3 of these errors could be counted as real errors, the rest are highly debatable - for example, some of the expressions I've used could be found in the texts of major Russian newspapers...
I've already wrote a complaint to the support, and while I wait for their reply I want to address a few things:
1. I WILL NOT take another Pro-level test to have my qualification restored - this is clearly a case of incompetence on Gengo's part and it should be fixed on their side.
2. The whole procedure is completely non-transparent - there is no formal criterion for the removal of qualification, and it is potentially open to abuse.
3. These "Language Specialists" are completely unaccountable - we don't know their names and their qualifications, and they are treated as some kind of demigods by the Gengo staff - "Language Specialists cannot be wrong because they cannot be wrong", while in reality they constantly make mistakes, and we don't know if they get punished for these mistakes - everything happens behind closed doors. These people should be accountable for their decisions - not only to the management, but to the regular translators.
Thanks for bringing this up.
I'm following up on your case, and will be emailing you personally about this once I've had the chance to speak with the team in charge, gather more information, and deepen my understanding of your situation.
According to this support article,
Most of Gengo's "LS"s are freelance professional translators who take on Gengo duties in addition to their regular work.
So there is clearly a conflict of interest. We are being reviewed by our competitors.
Sometimes they can be spiteful and try to remove someone from this platform.
Also LSs work as a team, so the re-review system which was made to make sure the LSs check each other's work, does not work well.
This "Language Specialist" system has many flaws and LSs can easily abuse their power.
I wonder if Gengo is aware of this problem. I suggest Gengo should hire professionals who are dedicated to quality check (not our competitors), to prevent any conflict of interest.
I am sorry for what you are going through. Hope your qualification gets restored as soon as possible.
OK, so it's been a week, my Pro qualification is still revoked, and I haven't heard anything from Lara Fernandez. And not only that - my support request was silently marked as "SOLVED" (no answer, of course). Isn't that great, guys? Not sure I want to continue working for Gengo after all this is over...
Hi Eugeny - I haven't forgotten about your case. However, I am still waiting for some feedback about it in order to be able to email you with as much information as I can possibly gather. In all honesty, I was expecting to receive the feedback earlier in the week but it's taking longer than expected. I apologize for this, and I would like you to know that I completely understand your frustration.
Good news, everyone! This morning I've received an email from Lara notifying me that my Pro qualification is now restored. I would like to thank you all for your support - and a big thanks to Lara for handling this issue.
Unfortunately, the reason I've been given for the qualification removal is still somewhat unsatisfactory. The Quality Team claims that "several of your jobs shared literal translation as an error trend". There is no direct mention of literal translation in my GoCheck reviews from the last year - the majority of these errors are typos and editing errors. And only two strings are marked as "literal translation" in the "offline investigation spreadsheet", and these, as I've already mentioned, are highly debatable. (Let's see who else uses one of these "literal translations" - well, that's Interfax, one of the largest news agencies in Russia!).
Also, it's a bit strange that this whole "literal translation" thing comes from Gengo - a company that until a few years ago openly demanded that the translations must be, first of all, 100% accurate. And what's the difference between the 100% accuracy and literal translation? Well, it depends on the mood of the Language Specialist!
Anyway, there's a couple of things that I'd like to mention:
1. Not many translators know this, but you can appeal your GoCheck score. You won't find the appeal link in your GoCheck history - it is hidden for a reason. Here it is: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/12FI0RnZBEwaBEb2zO58xlQqAmplaczn0lcCZddwaz8g/viewform#start=invite (you can find it buried deep in the help section, where it says "job assessments and scores as final. You can, however, send in feedback on your job review" - a very sneaky wording). If you have received a score that you disagree with (even a minor error), I encourage you to use this link and appeal it - we should keep these Language Specialists in check. And how about a big red button that says "Appeal" on every GoCheck page, eh, Gengo? Shame! Shame!
2. Please check this thread: https://support.gengo.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360017912794--Consistency-Score-. It's kinda old and not as upvoted as this one, but there's a very important discussion happening there about the scores, GoCheck reviews, Language Specialists and qualification removal.
I just noticed this thread and read it through, feeling that I've had similar experiences.
I noticed there was another thread where a translator claimed that he was penalized for his translation 'not being smooth'.
I assume that a literal translation vs. 'smooth' translation is kind of a trade-off in a way, and its judgment can be quite subjective.
Personally I always feel like 'Gengo has traditionally preferred a more literal translation...but then, in the target language it would be expressed quite differently...how should I translate this? If I did it more naturally/smoothly, would I be penalized for that?'.
I wish there was a way for translators to understand where the ideal line is for Gengo.