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Translation rejected without arguments - what to do?
Thread poster: Comtrans1
Comtrans1  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:50
Member (2011)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Sep 15, 2003

Dear colleagues,

I would highly appreciate your opinion and advice on the following case:
I got a job order from Agency A and delivered translation in due time. Agency A sent the translation to Agency B, which was the primary outsourcer of the job. Agency B answered to Agency A:
"The translation is unreadable(!) and has to be completely re-translated. We will deduct the amount from your invoice and advise you to do the same with your translator."
Agency A sent this mail to me for comments. I answered that I was shocked by this statement and would like to see at least some arguments to prove it.
The second answer from Agency B came:
"This is not a matter of translation. Our Quality Assurance team judged the text as unreadable."
That's it! Again not a single argument, not even some kind of written report, produced by the QA team, to justify the refusal to pay.
If this is so easy, I wonder how we get paid at all?
What would you advise me to do in this case. Needless to say that I am very much confident of the quality of my translation


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jmadsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:50
Don't accept undocumented criticism Sep 15, 2003

You should ask for documentation and examples of the errors they believe to be in the text. Ask agency A to verify and document the criticism as you're only liable to them.
If they can't or refuse to produce "evidence", you should not accept this. Claim the full invoice amount.
Sometimes agencies tend to bully you, if you're not careful.
Best of luck. Jørgen


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Will Matter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:50
English
+ ...
make them provide documentation Sep 15, 2003

If they are refusing to pay make them prove that your translation was not acceptable, otherwise, request full payment. Good luck.
Jørgen Madsen wrote:

You should ask for documentation and examples of the errors they believe to be in the text. Ask agency A to verify and document the criticism as you're only liable to them.
If they can't or refuse to produce "evidence", you should not accept this. Claim the full invoice amount.
Sometimes agencies tend to bully you, if you're not careful.
Best of luck. Jørgen


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Sandra Alboum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:50
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
This happened to me Sep 15, 2003

I did a very fine translation a while ago of a technical proposal for a Latin American country. It was about $4500 or so. I did it for a direct client. I was told two days before payment was due that they had to spend "numerous hours" correcting and changing what I had put because it was "unusable". I was given no specific indication of what was wrong with it, just that "it isn't said that way in X" (the country the proposal is for). When I asked how they knew that, they told me that someone on the staff of their company, who was from a completely different country, told them so.

They also told me that I translated portions of the proposal into Portuguese. Problem is, I don't speak Portuguese.

I insisted and insisted and finally they gave me their "final version" (the one that had all the changes from my copy). I did a detailed line by line analysis of the pages they sent me (took me hours) and I figured out that they used 99% of my translation as-is, and the rest of the text had been changed to reflect text that was not in the original piece provided to me.

So I dug my heels in and got stubborn.

Finally, we reached an agreement where I "took off the rush fee" (it was about $250) and they paid me.

They didn't care to fight it (they knew they were wrong) and LOSE.

Hold out. Make them prove it. If you must, threaten legal action.

But whatever you do, don't take the smaller amount of money. You deserve to reimbursed for your work!!!!!

Best of luck.


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Daniel Meier  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:50
English to German
+ ...
Same old story Sep 15, 2003

This is not a matter of quality at all, the agency is just looking for a way not to pay you or at least to pay as little as possible. There is another name for this kind of action, it´s called "bad business practise".
First of all: if there is something wrong with your or anybody elses translation or at least the client thinks there is something wrong, YOU are the first one the client has to call. He has to make a more or less formal complaint for you to take appropriate actions, i.e. "repairing" your translation or explaining to the client, why your translation is OK.
The first reaction you mention ("has to be completely retranslated") might indicate a less formal complaint, but as they are not willing to give any evidence of their complaints, it will probably be a fake complaint.
I would advise you to make clear to them, that you are willing and able to immediately correct any mistakes, if they are willing and able to give you sufficient evidence about the nature of these mistakes. The term "unreadable" can mean anything, they have to tell you what they think is wrong with your translation.
If the agency already has decided to make the corrections or changes on their own and has done so, it is their decision for which they have to take the full financial responsibility.


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Will Matter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:50
English
+ ...
agree completely. Sep 15, 2003

Sandra Alboum wrote:

I did a very fine translation a while ago of a technical proposal for a Latin American country. It was about $4500 or so. I did it for a direct client. I was told two days before payment was due that they had to spend "numerous hours" correcting and changing what I had put because it was "unusable". I was given no specific indication of what was wrong with it, just that "it isn't said that way in X" (the country the proposal is for). When I asked how they knew that, they told me that someone on the staff of their company, who was from a completely different country, told them so.

They also told me that I translated portions of the proposal into Portuguese. Problem is, I don't speak Portuguese.

I insisted and insisted and finally they gave me their "final version" (the one that had all the changes from my copy). I did a detailed line by line analysis of the pages they sent me (took me hours) and I figured out that they used 99% of my translation as-is, and the rest of the text had been changed to reflect text that was not in the original piece provided to me.

So I dug my heels in and got stubborn.

Finally, we reached an agreement where I "took off the rush fee" (it was about $250) and they paid me.

They didn't care to fight it (they knew they were wrong) and LOSE.

Hold out. Make them prove it. If you must, threaten legal action.

But whatever you do, don't take the smaller amount of money. You deserve to reimbursed for your work!!!!!

Best of luck.


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Suzanne Blangsted  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:50
Danish to English
+ ...
non-payment Sep 15, 2003

If you have a contract with the agency, you have your rights and can pursue payment. I suggest you send another invoice with a "late fee" and again (maybe 30 days later)if no payment add yet another "late fee", and so on. If you have a contract and can prove you sent additional "reminders", then you can pursue payment legally (by collection agency or attorney), if you so wish. And you can tell others about that agency's practices by listing them on the Blue Board. Your comment from the Blue Board will be sent by Proz to the agency, who then might see that they can't get other translators to work for them, if their business practices are listed as extremely poor. After all this, I just want to say, I agree with all of the other comments.

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Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:50
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It is surely a weed... Sep 15, 2003

Hi,

I agree with all comments above. Be careful and ask for proper coments on you work. Witout it, just let them know they will be owing you that sum and that you will let other translators know who they are.

If you provide a good work there is not reason to be afraid at all.

All the best
Mónica Machado (MIL)
English into European Portuguese Translator
Member of APT and IOL & Associate Member of ITI
Portugal


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Silvina Beatriz Codina  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 21:50
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Adding insult to injury Sep 15, 2003

Unfortunately, many agencies and direct clients engage in this kind of shenanigans. This happened to me for the first time many years ago, before there were any translators' forums, so I didn't know how widespread this was and I thought I was the only one. Well, I was not and certainly you are not either.

I agree then with everyone else: don't let them bully you, you have the right to know why they are refusing to pay. Describing your work as "unreadable" is simply not good enough. The only useful thing I can add is that I have encountered this situation on a few occasions and, by digging my heels, I won every time. Be brave!


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MdT  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:50
French to English
+ ...
unreadable Sep 16, 2003

I had a response from a direct client about a year ago that an email delivered into Vietnamese translation was unreadable. They did fax me their printout and it was unreadable. They had failed to install the Vietnamese font provided. After they realized that they were properly apologetic and remain a good client.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:50
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agency A is entitled to a qualified opinion Sep 16, 2003

and doesn't necessarily have to agree to everything Agency B says.

I was once trapped in a similar situation between client requirements as expressed to the agency (American English) in which my files were returned to me corrected by a British spellchecker. At the very least, I provided statistical evidence on remaining usage (Google helps). Not only did the agency pay in full -- the client kept coming back for the same translator.

Document the supposed errors.


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Comtrans1  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:50
Member (2011)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Overzealous editor Sep 16, 2003

Dear colleagues,

Many thanks to all of you for the good advice and support!
Today I got my translation back, marked all over with the red pencil of the editor. It appears that my second guess is valid - it's not the agency trying to get a free ride, but the editor is (probably) trying to justify his/her work hours spent.
Almost all of the corrections are synonym replacements that are absolutely unnecessary and in many cases even wrong (change of the original sense, improper use, etc.)
I remember reading other similar stories with overzealous editors here. I sent to the Agency A my comments on these unnecessary corrections and now I’m in their hands for the final decision. I can only hope that they will have enough good will and patience to read and evaluate my objections….


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Bin Zhang  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:50
English to Chinese
+ ...
Have you got the payment yet? Oct 25, 2003

Have you got the money yet? I had something to say for what just happened two weeks ago.
I did two jobs for a translation agency, but I didn't receive the payment as they promised( in 7 days). The following are the statement that they should pay me:

(1) I delivered the job on time. (2) They didn't reject or return my jobs. They just sent what I did to the proofreaders to proofread, which is very very normal in the language translation industry,because every translation job needs to be gone through by at least two people no matter it is good or bad due to the responsibility to the clients..Additionally, if my jobs were bad they were fixable.(3) They may not use me anymore, but they have to pay for what I did. That's why a lot of labor lawsuits outstanding there. For example,You don't like your staff, you can fire them, but you have to issue their last pay checks for what they did. I look forward to hearing their opinion about this because they havn't replied to me since I contact them twice(included a friendly remind). (4) If they think my job was very bad, they should tell me to stop what I was doing after they received my first job, and sent the second job to other translators. They didn't tell me anything about reject or refusal until I completed both of the jobs. Obviously they accepted my first job at least.
Slience doesn't solve problem. They just ignored me. Does anyone know or have experience to deal the issue like this?
Thank you.







Comtrans1 wrote:

Dear colleagues,

Many thanks to all of you for the good advice and support!
Today I got my translation back, marked all over with the red pencil of the editor. It appears that my second guess is valid - it's not the agency trying to get a free ride, but the editor is (probably) trying to justify his/her work hours spent.
Almost all of the corrections are synonym replacements that are absolutely unnecessary and in many cases even wrong (change of the original sense, improper use, etc.)
I remember reading other similar stories with overzealous editors here. I sent to the Agency A my comments on these unnecessary corrections and now I’m in their hands for the final decision. I can only hope that they will have enough good will and patience to read and evaluate my objections….


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