Thanks for stopping by to read my Lionbridge review for Maps Quality Analyst: working and being paid.
Lionbridge (a company operating in Ireland) offers global “work at home” job opportunities. I worked at Lionbridge as a maps quality analyst.
In a nutshell, this meant I rated cell phone search results of a geographic nature. People searching for addresses, businesses, landmarks, bus stops, train stations, and so on.
Before I landed this work from home job, I had to go through Lionbridge’s lengthy application and tests. Yay! I passed! Click the banner below for the first part of my Lionbridge experience.
My first hurdle with Lionbridge was entering my banking information.
Lionbridge has a webpage to enter banking information. Pay is wired to our financial institution, in US dollars, and I have a US dollar account at my credit union.
Lionbridge’s system doesn’t have every financial institution in Canada entered there. Probably not every institution in the USA either. If your exact branch isn’t listed, the instructions are to choose a different branch. Once you enter your transit number and account number and address, it should all work out.
I tried that and it went OK until I had to input the account number. No way no how would the Lionbridge system let me enter my full account number. I think it let me enter about 18 digits. I contacted the finance team to ask if they could enter it manually because my account has 21 numbers and the system kept saying that number is invalid. The finance department said their system takes up to 25 numbers, so they didn’t understand the problem. We went back and forth on this for a few days.
I’m not going to waste my time rating if I’m not going to be paid for it.
I contacted the tech team because the accounting department was pretty useless. Whatever adjustment they did, I was finally able to successfully enter my banking details.
On Tuesday, July 30, 2019 I started rating my first tasks.
Here it’s important to note that the only browser that Lionbridge’s rating system seems to be compatible with is Chrome. I usually use Firefox and their website wouldn’t load properly. Tech to the rescue once again to suggest I use Chrome!
I logged on to the Lionbridge rating system and viewed search results from cell phone enquiries.
For example, say the user types in “Empire State Building”.
The search returns four results. One result is the well-known landmark in New York City. The second result is the Empire State Building Gift Shop inside this landmark. The third result is the Empire State Building Coffee Shop, also located inside this landmark. The fourth result is the Empire State Building exhibit at Legoland in Carlsbad, California.
The rater looks at all the results and tries to figure out the relevance.
The choices we have for rating are navigational, excellent, good, acceptable, and poor.
A navigational rating means there is only one possible result in all the world.
In the above example, I believe the user’s intent is to search for the famous landmark and I give the Empire State Building a navigational rating.
Figuring it out
Now it gets tricky. All the other answers have “Empire State Building” in their name, so they’re not incorrect. As a rater, I would demote the other results because I don’t believe they’re what the user was looking for. Are they good results? Acceptable? Bad?
Sometimes relevance is a guessing game, because a result could be borderline between two choices. Is that Good or is it Acceptable? Figuring out relevance is where many raters run into difficulty.
The analyst then checks the name and address, usually verified from the business web page. Then we check if the search pin landed on the correct building. You need to be good with online satellite and street view maps, and hope you can zoom in close enough.
On July 31, I only completed three tasks before the website said there were no more surveys available.
This is actually a common problem with Lionbridge. Not having enough work for the contractors.
Lionbridge wants their analysts to work a minimum of 10 hours a week up to a maximum of 20 hours.
First, I say HA! There was only one week with available surveys that I logged 12 hours. Between down time and no surveys available, I never reached 10 hours again in a week. Let alone 20! Ha ha!
While I was doing surveys, I kept a pen and paper beside me. I wrote down the time I started and ended. I also kept track of how many tasks I completed. Later on, I logged this into an Excel spreadsheet where I did weekly tracking.
Analysts have to log into Lionbridge’s accounting webpage to input the number of completed tasks.
Every task has a different pay rate.
There is nowhere to log your hours. That’s not important. We’re not paid by the hour, we’re paid by the task. However, Lionbridge doesn’t want us working over 20 hours a week.
Now you’d think the number of tasks you complete with Lionbridge would automatically be tallied while you’re on the website completing them.
And I believe they probably are. I mean really, they’d be stupid to rely on the honor system for raters to log how many tasks they completed and pay them without verification.
I’m sure it’s also obvious to Lionbridge how long it takes their analysts to rate tasks, because they’d be able to track when they log in and sign out.
The emails start
On Thursday, August 1, 2019, I received an email from Lionbridge that said my account was suspended while they review my work on the map analyst program.
During the welcome webinar, new analysts were told to expect this. Lionbridge wants to make sure we understand the rating system. They temporarily suspend while staff provide feedback. That’s good because we want to learn from our mistakes and do the job correctly.
It’s also bad because we can’t log in to rate tasks and earn money.
It was a week later, August 8, before I finally got the results of my review. Lionbridge blamed the delay on a technical issue.
Lionbridge has a lot of technical issues going on! Almost every week I got at least one email about how the system would be shut down for the weekend or a couple of days or a few hours while they worked to resolve it.
Whether it’s a technical issue or a review, it’s annoying. You can’t work, you can’t make money.
It was August 13 before I was able to rate tasks again.
In case anyone is wondering, here are my results from that first review, and we’re talking 30 tasks I completed, so maybe not enough to really get the hang of things.
57% of your Relevance Accuracy ratings were correct.
90% of your Name Accuracy ratings were correct.
80% of your Address Accuracy ratings were correct.
87% of your Pin Accuracy ratings were correct.
New analysts must get at least 80% accuracy in each category and more experienced analysts are expected to achieve over 90% accuracy rating.
More task types
Lionbridge has various task types that analysts can be assigned. All new mapping analysts start off with the basic search. That’s where one task means we’re analyzing several things: relevance, name, address, and pin. The longer you work with Lionbridge, the more task categories you can be assigned. Some of the other tasks can be done a lot quicker than the search tasks.
In August Lionbridge emailed me that I now have a new task type available called search relevance. It’s similar to the tasks I’ve already been doing. Instead of rating several things in a search result, on these new tasks I’ll only be rating the search relevance. That means analyzing how the result matches the user’s query.
On August 26, Lionbridge emailed me that new analysts are being offered a $50 bonus if they can complete 400 tasks within the next month.
Nice. Except Lionbridge kind of makes it difficult to achieve this due to all the down time – technical issues, reviews, and no available surveys.
Lionbridge says: You take too long!
Also on August 26 Lionbridge emails me that I’m taking too long to rate my tasks. They estimate the tasks should take about 3 minutes each and my time is over 6 minutes.
Well, I want to make sure that I’m right before I submit my answers. As I do more tasks and become more confident, and don’t need to check the guidelines so frequently, I’m sure my time will improve.
Lionbridge tells me if I’m stuck on a section and it’s over 6 minutes, that I should end the task and leave a comment that that I’ve been working on it for 6 minutes and need to move along to the next task.
This became a problem. If I don’t answer the task and just leave a comment why I stopped due to taking too long, I’m marked wrong on it and that brings down my accuracy percentage.
I decided to start rejecting all tasks that showed up in a foreign language. This would be results in Quebec that are in French. I don’t understand the language and had to use an online language converter. This took too much time.
Analysts have the option to reject a task so they can move on without penalty, but we have to leave a comment why we rejected it, like being uncomfortable to rate a porno site. In my case, I just said it’s in foreign language I don’t understand. This should help me pick up some speed.
Part of the problem could be that I stayed logged in while moving away from the computer. I could have got something to drink, gone to the can, or taken the dog outside to go potty. None of those things take a huge amount of time, but they likely added a few extra minutes on to that session, which when divided between the amount of tasks I completed, gave a higher average time.
Another Lionbridge review
At the beginning of September Lionbridge did another review of my work while my account was temporarily suspended.
Here are my results from August:
65% of your Relevance Accuracy ratings were correct.
89% of your Name Accuracy ratings were correct.
80% of your Address Accuracy ratings were correct.
78% of your Pin Accuracy ratings were correct.
Well, I’m doing better in relevance, but my pin rating went down. I’d say not too bad for someone who’s only been doing this work for a month, and not every day due to all the downtime. I kept track of my hours. Even though I checked daily for surveys, there were only twelve days in August when Lionbridge had work.
Whenever an account is going through a review, the analyst has to complete some sample questions again before the account is reactivated. It was September 9 before I started seeing surveys again.
On September 16 Lionbridge emails me to see if I’d like to start rating USA tasks because there’s a lot more work there than in Canada. I was getting a lot of “no available surveys” whenever I logged in.
Of course, I said yes. No problem. I love rating places in the states and bonus that I don’t see any foreign languages!
On September 20 Lionbridge emails to offer another task called auto complete. First, I’d have to read the guidelines and then complete a quiz before this task would be available to me.
I took a look at the guidelines and the document was huge, at least 200 pages. Yikes! I wasn’t too keen on that. Also there hadn’t been any surveys available since September 16. I wasn’t sure how Lionbridge was going to work out for me.
Did I want to invest any more time studying another big document?
On October 2, Lionbridge says I’m being removed from their program because I wasn’t able to reach a minimum quality level.
I never did get any more feedback on where my last accuracy percentage was. I thought I was doing pretty good and improving on my relevance.
The big question everyone wants to know is how much does Lionbridge pay.
In July I completed 30 search tasks that are paid at 67¢ each. I was paid $20.10.
In August I completed 253 search tasks @ 67¢ and was paid $169.51.
In September I completed 24 search tasks @ 67¢ and 247 search relevance tasks @ 36¢. Plus, oddly enough, I got that $50 bonus and made $154.98 for the month.
But did that full amount hit my bank account?
Nope, but that’s not Lionbridge’s fault.
In July those 30 tasks took me 2.5 hours. That works out to $8.04 an hour.
In August, 253 tasks took 28.25 hours, meaning I made about $6/hour.
In September, 271 tasks took 8.75 hours, working out to $12/hour.
September meant I was getting faster. I also had more search relevance tasks that only took about a minute to complete.
I worked 39.5 hours total for Lionbridge between six and seven weeks. Keeping in mind a lot of down time either caused by reviews, maintenance, or no available surveys.
Does anyone think you can effectively learn how to do a job with high accuracy after working a total of 40 hours?
Time to complete a task
In July, where I only had access to two days for doing tasks and 2.5 hours working on them, I was averaging 5 minutes a task. Lionbridge allocates 3 minutes, but a new person is constantly checking their guidelines and being careful with answering, so it takes a little longer.
It took me an average of just over 6 minutes per task in August.
In September I was averaging just a bit over 5 minutes per task. For search relevance tasks, it worked out to about a minute and a half each.
As I mentioned above, the actual times might be skewed on the high side due to me leaving the computer logged in when I walked away and wasn’t working on it.
How much did I REALLY earn?
How much money landed in my bank account?
Here lies the big problem.
Due to the international wire transfer, the clearing house that handles these transactions for all credit unions in BC and/or Coast Capital charged me a fee for each transfer.
In September $10.60 is deposited to my account, and I’m dinged $9.50 on the wire transfer.
$131.51 is deposited in October, which means I’m dinged $38.
$116.98 is deposited in November – dinged another $38.
I netted $259.09 for 40 hours of work = $6.47/hour.
Now OK, if you’re not doing anything else, a few bucks is a few bucks.
Let’s look on to the more important aspect. Those are HUGE fees I’m being dinged by my financial institution for my “free” account. And there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to how much I’m being dinged.
If given the chance, I might have hung in with Lionbridge a bit longer to see if I could get faster and make more money to help offset those bank fees. Just to cover them, I needed to work six hours.
One more thing to add. Lionbridge pays a couple of months following the month you did the work. About 6 weeks after month end. By the time I realized I was being dinged hefty fees by the credit union, I was ending my time with Lionbridge.
Have any of you worked for Lionbridge? What was your experience like?
Hey huge thanks for writing all this up Cheryl!
I was made unemployed due to Covid and the Lionbridge job opportunity came into my inbox.
I was just working my way through the application process (still jumping all the hurdles so far) but I thought I smelled a rat – you just made my final decision a whole lot easier!
You’re welcome, John. This might be OK to take on while you’re unemployed. Hey any income, right! There’s a large time commitment and then hardly any work. You might want to look at work from home job with Appen https://appen.com/ They have a lot of different types of jobs and tasks that can be done if you have Facebook or smart speakers at home. Taking photos of pets. And ironically the exact same position that Lionbridge has rating search results on the iPhone. The manual is exactly the same as Lionbridge’s! No cost to workers to sign up. I’m not an affiliate. Just letting you know Appen might be a better opportunity than Lionbridge.
What a great read. Stellar job stating the journey. No, they will not be my cup of tea. I received an email today, found your article, and now can go back to enjoying the rest of my time in this day. Are you looking for work? I contract with a great company on the East coast.
Thank you Mary. I wanted to make sure people know about the time commitment just to pass the test. And then the system isn’t available to do tasks most of the time. And then possible service fees for international money transfers into your account. And the overall low pay. I’ve applied to a couple of places, including Appen but haven’t done any work for them yet.
Hi Mary, could you send me some information on that company please?
Thank you for this article, well both articles. After reading all this, I don’t think I’ll waste my time with them. I was so prepared before, but I think I went in head first. With your review and all the glassdoor reviews the consensus seems the same: a lot of studying, very low pay, all the time commitment, lack of clear direction from management, and really a 200 paged document, c’mon. Again thank you so much!
Darren, thank you for reading! Actually the document is 200 pages PLUS. Around 250 and takes around 6 hours to read. And read it twice because you have a better chance of kind of understanding the second time around. You might want to try Appen for various work from home opportunities. I’ve signed up but have never done anything. Many are smart phone related and that’s not my thing, but younger people would probably enjoy those type of tasks, like make a short video.
Holy cow! All the other articles I’ve read in the past 20 hrs about LionBridge were so encouraging. Thank you for this article!! I’m an over achiever and if I apply myself and fail, I’m pissed at everybody…Thank you for the fodder for thought!
Hi LC! Well I’m not trying to be discouraging – ha ha – but I want to lay it out that Lionbridge requires a lot of unpaid studying and taking the exam in a one week period. So if you have other things going on in your life life, it’ll be very tough. And the standards are very high. Plus there’s not a lot of work available. Lots of downtime means no chance to make money.