16/12/2013

Online fishy businesses: Dixit (end of story... for now)







Translation is the new lucrative industry to be in. As long as you're not a translator of course. That's why it attracts numerous leeches or "brokers" who don't contribute to society by adding value but instead figure they'll just get in there and take their piece of the cake, because what else are they going to do? Work? Haha. Develop "skills"? Nonsense.

Sorry, I'm already digressing and I have not even started my post yet. 

Today I would like to advise translation buyers to be cautious when they recruit a new agency. One never really knows who they are dealing with. As I mentioned before, any rate under 10 cents is a good guarantee you will get unprofessional work and clumsy sounding translations.

Dixit is a French company with no background in translation. It is basically one guy who sells bikinis on the side. Not really the kind of guy you should trust with your company's PR and image abroad though. 

Dixit was created in January 2013. Translators are paid 5 cents a word, which is absolutely outrageous: that's twice as low as the minimum wage for a translator. On a pragmatic level, it's like throwing your money out of the window. The quality will be poor and your company's image abroad will suffer from it. You'll most likely have to pay again to retranslate it from scratch.

A brand new company, Dixit are a bit lost in the translation jungle but find convenient solutions to make up for their total lack of experience. In fact they don't even bother recruiting. They just help themselves to a public database (ProZ) of freelance translators. 

Basically you (the translation buyer) could do it yourself  by going on Proz. With the advantage of being sure of the credentials of who you hire. By hiring DIXIT, you are paying them to:

1. find the cheapest (worst) freelancers on the market, 
2. make this needlessly complicated and opaque (untraceable pros)
3. ruin your end product and the industry by lowering standards

While as I said you could select the best yourself via LinkedIn or ProZ.


Here is what their website advertises:


ProZ"Human translation...

With Dixit your translation projects are carried out by professionals worldwide."

Very worring. This badge was bought from the website ProZ and I guess translators should know that it means absolutely nothing anymore. 
So my advice to translation buyers: if you hire the services of an agency, ask for the CV of the translator and get in touch with him or her directly. Ask them how much they get paid, if they are a certified Proz member, check their Proz profile or LinkedIn profile.



ProZ"...certified

Dixit works with professionals in the ProZ.com Network. All our translators are certified, experimented and verified."

This implies that all ProZ certified translators accept to work for them and work for this rate. This is simply NOT the case. Dixit is basically demeaning some industry it doesn't belong to (Dixit belongs to the world of online discount sales, not translation). These guys have made an arrangement with the fishy website owners of ProZ to have access to the database of pros. The reality is they will spam these translators all day long until they find (or don't) someone desperate enough to accept really lousy rates. 


Read this conversation and you'll see that this arrangement was made in the back of the translators community.
 
But let's go back to the website.
Now quite interestingly here is the only customer testimonial they have on their website: 

Gian Marco G.
Manager of Brazilian Bikini Shop site
"J'utilise Dixit pour traduire mon site e-commerce et je suis extrêmement satisfait du service. C'est simple d'utilisation grâce à leur API et rapide, ce qui me permet de mettre en ligne mes produits dans plusieurs langues en un temps record. La qualité du travail effectué par leurs traducteurs natifs me donne un excellent référencement naturel pour une meilleure visibilité. Rapport qualité/prix imbattable!"


This person speaks like a real salesman (I wonder where that talent comes from?). It doesn't really matter what is being said here, you've guessed it's pretty positive stuff. What matters, though, is who is saying it. I'll tell you right now: it's the owner of DIXIT himself :) (BTW thanks for the translators who discovered this info and generously shared it in this Linkedin discussion forum.)
One may wonder how much credibility this Mister G. has in the translation world. Well the answer is zero ;). He is a complete newbie with no experience or background in languages. His main background is in real estate ventures and brazilian bikini sales, as indicated in this business directory.

SARL Brazilian Bikini Shop Gian Marco Guatteri
75 Chemin des collettes
Cagnes sur mer, 06800 France

And yes, the owner of DIXIT is the same person, according to the local business registry (Entry 91)


Nothing illegal in saying your company is amazing, but it's a bit like getting your mom to correct your school essay. We all know it's just too easy & definitely not appropriate in the world of grown-ups ;)

I don't mean to sadistically pick on Dixit but these elements show how ignorant and unprofessional the venture is.
Here are some final concerns about Dixit and the kind of companies it represents:

  • Dixit's portal is blacklisted by some search engines: 
http://www.urlvoid.com/scan/dixit.com/ 
http://scanurl.net/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dixit.com&uesb=Check+This+URL#results
  • Dixit's total lack of business ethics and casual attitude is very worrying. The association of a very low and "universal" fee of €0.05 per word and the Certified Pro Network logo  implies that such rate is perfectly normal. No it's not. This is a completely unacceptable rate.
  • With their insulting and idiotic concept of "unique price" Dixit spreads their naive commercial views, showing a real outsider's perspective on translation. It makes it sound so simple, and certainly is of great help to their accounts as well as compatible with their cognitive capacities but is as insulting as it is silly...
...since it doesn't take a genius to figure that translation is not a simple job, and that there are as many prices as there are translators and texts out there.


That's it for now but I'm sure there is plenty more to say. The idea of this post comes from a discussion on Linkedin that I thought was really worth sharing with a broader audience. Thanks to all the detective translators with a taste for investigating fishy businesses and speaking out :)



Update 06/01/14

Here is a response from the owner of Dixit, received yesterday by email:

Hello,

I'am contacting you about the post you did about Dixit.
Thank you to have write an article about Dixt, but many thigs are not true.
I can give you many informations that can help you to do a post closer to the truth than this one.

I'am Guatteri Gian Marco, and yes as you wrote on the post I'am the owner of Brazilian Bikini Shop also.
We never hidden this informations. This information is used as an asset.
You can read an interview I did some times ago: 

http://hellobiz.fr/Interviews/quelques-mots-de-marco-guatteri-gian-cofondateur-de-dixit/

I created Dixit with 4 co-founder that are working at full time on dixit from 2 years. I'am not the majority shareholder. I own more or less 20% of Dixit.
The company was created in January, but we was working on it from 2 years ago.

Off course, I'am not working at full time on dixit, I provide my experience as online retailer who need translations, I help them with my experience in international business.

So please review your article:

"Dixit is a French company with no background in translation. It is basically one guy who sells bikinis on the side. Not really the kind of guy you should trust with your company's PR and image abroad though. "

That it is not true, we are 5 share olders, I can send you the proof if you need.

About the quality and the pricing.
Our idea is to pay the translator at the fair price. Our power is to have the translators with us. Without translators dixit can't works...
Before fixing the price of 5 cents of Euro we contacted many translators on Proz, we tested the solution during 2 years with Brazilian Bikini Shop and other small websites.

The result of our study is that the most of professional translators are payed 8 to 12 cents of Euro or more. But more than 30% of the work is administration work.
So the Idea was to reduce the administrations works of the translators and also of the customers. Is what we did and many translators wokring usually at 10 cents are now working on Dixit and they are really happy with the service.
If they are not happy. Dixit can works only if the translators are at our side.
Another advantage for the translator is that there are no unpaid payments and the payments are very fast.


You can see the feedback that the translators let on Proz about Dixit.

But please let me know what it is better ? A translation agency that take 100% of margin over the translator (they buy 5 or 6 and they sell 12 to 15) or Dixit that take only 1 cents ?
Who is better for the translator ?

At the moment no member of Dixit won money with Dixit. We want to build a platform with the fair price for both translator and customer.


In your post you don't say that the 5 cents are Euro = 0,69 USD today.

"Basically you (the translation buyer) could do it yourself  by going on Proz. With the advantage of being sure of the credentials of who you hire. By hiring DIXIT, you are paying "

It is what I was doing for Brazilian Bikini Shop, but belive me, it was a crazy works !  There are 33 languages on brazilian bikini shop, for each translation order there was 33 invoices to pay.
There was more than 100 emails exachanged for each translation projects (because of the 33 languages).
Every months we had to find new translators because somes was stopping (for many human reasons as family, baby, busy, new job, etc...).


I think if you review the article with the informations I give you, it will be really better for your visitors.

I'am available for any question you have about Dixit.
I will tell you the truth.


Thank you

Regards,
Guatteri Gian Marco

Note: This email was sent via the Contact Form gadget on http://translationethics.blogspot.com.br  



Thank you for this information,

Translation ethics




14/01/2014 End of story (for now):


Email from DIXIT:

"Dear Translation Ethics, 

Regarding the use of the ProZ.com logos on our website, we have their permission to use the logos on our site. 
Our goal in putting the two logos on our platform, was only to show that we work with translators who are members of this network.  
Who then? Name them, privately if you want, so we can verify they exist...


I invite you to have a look at our ProZ Blueboard, where you will see many positive comments left by Proz.com members and members of the Certified Pro Network
To avoid any further confusion about Dixit and the CPN logo, we will remove it because once again, the translators are as important to us as our clients and we take into account your concerns and comments. 

Thank you that's a good start...
The purpose of Dixit is not to hire full-time translators, but to offer them the opportunity to earn extra income.  The projects on the platform are mainly E-commerce product descriptions, relatively easy and fast to translate.  

On ProZ.com, translators are able to set their minimum rate on their account if they do not wish to be contacted by agencies offering a lower price. 


Our pricing policy and low margin is aimed to encourage e-commerce customers, usually using automatic translations, to use translations made by professionals instead. 
According to our market research and also to 8 years experience in e-commerce,  we came to the conclusions that having an e-commerce website translated by professionals improved its image, referencing and increased sales. But unfortunately with a higher cost, the e-retailers could not afford having their sites translated. 
Yes I know, tell me about it... I go to three star restaurants but they have to charge me nothing because otherwise, I could not afford to eat. Ha.


Hoping that these last details will help you change your mind about our company.

Kind regards, 

The Dixit team.


So it looks like Dixit is finally removing this controversial badge. This is a first step towards respect. Another would be to start paying half decent fees to their staff, but that's another story.
  

I choose to trust Dixit regarding the authorisation by Proz to use the CPN logo. It does seem like a plausible thing, judging by ProZ's COMPLETE SILENCE since the beginning of this story 3 months ago. 

What I personally keep from all this is that Proz is definitely not a recommendable organisation, and I encourage the Members of the Certified ProZ Network to just drop the Z and become their own Certified Pro Network (or join a real association such as ATA, ITI, CiOL, SFT...) and stop fuelling the pockets of these Pro crooks.  Yes it's a harsh word but I guess facts are proving more and more everyday that that's what they have become...



UPDATE NINE MONTHS LATER: September 19th 2014

M. Guatteri apparently realised that business didn't pick up without the CPN ProZ logo. So he sneakily put it back on his website!!! Hoping only clients would notice. Mister Guatteri: you are not ALLOWED to do that, just like you are not allowed to pretend on your own customer satisfaction reviews. I mean, who does that??? People are not complete fools. The community and ProZ told you to take it off months ago. Please go back to the BIKINI industry or go try and play businessman somewhere else. Thanks.
 
 



18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post! When I first read it I thought that the owner was a Brazilian. I am glad he is not.
Just to add one more name to the black list, I received the following e-mail from Tony Gattaz and his IP is from Lebanon although the company is registered in California, USA. I searched Google for his name and it seemed to me to be a scammer.
Best regards,
Silvia Aquino
-------
You have been sent a message via ProZ.com.
Author: Tony Ghattas
[NOTE: The author is not a registered ProZ.com user or was not logged in when sending this message.]
Author's IP address: 212.36.206.6
Message type: Collaboration
-----------

Dear,

My name is Tony Ghattas and I work with GlobalVision
International. We specialize in providing translation and
localization solutions to high-tech industries involved in
software, hardware, telecom, internet, engineering,
medical,
consumer products and manufacturing.

We are currently looking for Porteguese Brazilian (PTB)
translators
experienced in different expertise to join our freelance
team.

Attached is our Standard Operating Procedure which
describes how
we calculate the translation and review word counts based
on
percentages of the fuzzy match category Trados analysis
results.

If you are interested in partnering with us, please reply
to this
email with the following:
- copy of your resume
- translation, review and hourly rates in US dollars
- list of translation tools you use
- topic to translate for evaluation (medical, general
or
financial)

As part of our ISO certification process, our potential
partners
translate a small sample for evaluation purposes.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Tony Ghattas
www.globalvis.com

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem is the translators or wannabe translators themselves....

Anonymous said...

"Dixit works with professionals in the ProZ.com Network. All our translators are certified, experimented and verified."

"Experimented"?!

A fine example of the quality of their translations!

Anonymous said...

An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on
this. And he in fact bought me lunch simply because I discovered it for him...

lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah,
thanks for spending time to talk about this subject here on your internet site.


my weblog; bucking

Translationethics said...

You're welcome. Maybe I should start monetising these articles ! Glad something tangible came out of this post! Now YOU owe me lunch :)

Anonymous said...

Apart from the detail that he is not the sole owner of Dixit, I do not understand the point of Gian Marco argumentations. Of course all my clients pay 100%, and if I worked for Dixt, I would still have my administration to do. I hope my clients have a high return on my work, and if the ony take 1 cent this will not affect my rate in any way. I believe that I could substantially reduce my rates only if the buyer could grant me a retainer and pay benefits, including health and pension plan - which is actually having me in-house. Any other scheme is just exploitation and smoke in our eyes: many young and desperate would be translators will fall for it, but it will clearly be a lose-lose or waste-waste deal.

Anonymous said...

Apart from the detail that he is not the sole owner of Dixit, I do not understand the point of Gian Marco argumentations. Of course all my clients pay 100%, and if I worked for Dixt, I would still have my administration to do. I hope my clients have a high return on my work, and if the ony take 1 cent this will not affect my rate in any way. I believe that I could substantially reduce my rates only if the buyer could grant me a retainer and pay benefits, including health and pension plan - which is actually having me in-house. Any other scheme is just exploitation and smoke in our eyes: many young and desperate would be translators will fall for it, but it will clearly be a lose-lose or waste-waste deal.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if Guatteri Gian Marco translated his post using the services of Dixit...

Anonymous said...

What Mr. Guatteri should explain up front is why he brags about the Proz members and, above all, the Certified Pro Members, will handle the translations for the client. I, for one member of both, will NOT work for this pittance nor will trust any would-be client who seeks a professional technical translator through this -and I guess there are quite a solid lot of members who will agree. Therefore, these are NOT available for Dixit.

The other side of the coin is Proz itself. If Dixit have misappropriated the CPN, or the Proz members, since the first minute after this fracas went on, Proz would have forced them (Dixit) to "cease and desist" in five seconds flat -yet this is trailing around for about three months now and as far as I know, there is no reaction whatsoever form Proz. And the problem is this sort of "clandestine" handling of the matter: I see no problem in being in a database that gets wider exposure than Proz alone, but then I want to know about that -and to know in full detail who is soliciting my services.

Audra said...

I'm honestly at a loss for words here. What, precisely, is this magical "administrative work" that accounts for more than 30% of the work of translators? Because as a translator I am paid to translate (my rates of course include review, proofreading and a final review), not to do administrative tasks for a client (the onus for which, of course, rests with the client and certainly not the agency). My administrative tasks such as invoicing, marketing, correspondence are out of my own pocket due to opportunity cost and do not factor into the rates I command.

What a peculiar argument. We as translators should start to place more value on our work which is dignified and oh so necessary in today's world. It's a pity that some will accept a pittance (though I do understand many would rather have something than nothing), but it really drags our profession as a whole down.

J. Roque Dias said...

Says the bullshitter: «most of professional translators are payed 8 to 12 cents of Euro or more. But more than 30% of the work is administration work.» So, when he pays 5 cents, the administration work (for the translator) becomes what? 5%?

Translationethics said...

Absolutely agree with you: he remained silent about the heart of the matter, the association with Proz and Dixit's unauthorised use of the CPN to invent themselves a credibility. Here is his email for anyone who wishes to confront him about those unanswered points: jmguatteri@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why say ProZ haven't reacted - I started a forum topic about the subject and Proz reacted there. They also wrote to me stating that they were asking Dixit to remove the logo (although they originally knew Dixit were using and before I complained had no problem with Dixit's use of the logo and their accompanying claims).
ProZ defence was simply that Cert. Pros can set their min. rate to avoid being contacted by such brokers. Of course they problem which Proz didn't seem to appreciate, it that the vast majority of real professionals and CPN members don't want to be associated with this cheap and nasty, MT "battery translator", production method.
Proz, with all their professionalism and concern for the freelance translator didn't see this association as a problem - which is where my problem lay.
Proz sensored the title of my Topic starter at least twice!!! Here's the link
http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/262051-prozcom_outsourcing_cpn_members_at_006%E2%82%AC_w_staff%3A_prozcom_is_not_an_outsourcer_but_a_platform.html

Anonymous said...

Let's be generous and admit that Proz did not -in good faith- see any problem in Dixit's appropriation of the CPN. This means that they were UNAWARES of the fact (which is admittedly quite a lot of faith, good or neutral) until someone told them (privately) about it, about three months ago.

Therefore they KNEW about this three months ago and -now publicly- after you started the thread in their own forums.

Still, at this very moment, no reaction: None whatsoever, that is, ostrich tactics.

Did Dixit just grab on the CPN (as a means to assume credibility) on their own?

If so, once the thing became known to Proz, why they did not issue a sharp "cease and desist" notice to end the discussion -and have not yet done so at this very moment?.

One can believe that what has happened here is that Proz have seen dollars around and have gone for them -selling the Proz CPN database. Might be the wrong conclusion but then I can jump to conclusions myself in the absence of ANY explanation.

And if so, they are a bunch of crooks as translationethics rightly says.

Gemini Translations said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Petra said...

I also received this e-mail. Definitely scam.

wiliam mix said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shai Navé said...

An unsolicited email received on Monday, November 16, 2015 at 10:32 AM.

Dear XXX,
My name is XXX, I work in a Translation Agency based in Madrid, Spain (Dixit/Traductores Españoles).
I'm writing you to know if you have availability to make a XX-YY translation of 2 documents with total 5.500 words and deliver the texts by Monday 16th of November.
Please, let me know if you are interested in this project in case you have availability and I can send you the documents in order to have a look to them.
I would like also to know your rate per word.


I'm not sure if this is the same Dixit as I haven't really followed the developments about them in the last year or so, but I have a sneaking suspicion this might be the same outfit.

Unethical resellers of translation services that mostly harm their clients, or more accurately, the clients of the unscrupulous agencies which allegedly Dixit serve.