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Advice needed: wrong rates in PO
Thread poster: Burrell

Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:50
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Aug 6, 2006

A client I briefly worked for a few years ago when I lived in Portugal contacted me on Thursday and offered a translation job. I responded with my rates, they were accepted, I was sent a PO. The deadline is Tuesday and as I had quite a lot to do on Friday I decided to start working on this on weekend.
Today I opened the PO to check the time when the translation has to be in and was quite shocked when I saw that the rate that the client has entered is completely different to the one I agreed to. First of all, my GBP rate has been changed to EUR rate, secondly the rate has gone down one digit. So instead of GBP 70 it is EUR 60 in this PO.
It is not a typo either because there is also an exchange rate mentioned in the same PO.
When answering the initial email with the job offer I wrote GBP 70, still have the email, I check it, so I have not made a mistake. I also was contacted by their office not long ago and informed them that I am based in the UK and this information apparently was entered into system.
Now I do not know whether this was a deliberate or genuine mistake. And also, if on Monday they turn around and say - sorry, this is not the rate we are prepared to pay, I would already have translated quite a bit and I do not want to work for free. Needless to say, I am not doing this job if they cannot pay my rate.
I am not quite sure if I should still do some work today while I am not sure about the rate. Or I better wait till they get back to me with some explanation. But then I will not make it to the deadline. I would assume any blame for this should be taken by agency and they should change the deadline but maybe I am wrong?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Ines


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 06:50
English to Russian
+ ...
A guess Aug 6, 2006

70 GBR... By any decent standards this job must be pretty short. You have the entire Monday all the way till Tuesday morning. Should be plenty of time. So why don't you just read it over a couple of times at your leisure and it will go much faster if you get a confirmation you want to hear first thing Monday morning. Or do you have other plans for Monday? Can you shuffle them?

Good luck
Irene


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 08:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
Do it ... Aug 6, 2006

If the figures you have mentioned are 'real' (by which I mean you haven't disguised the real cost for reasons of confidentiality), then you reckon the job is worth around € 100.

Unless you are used to charging very low rates (and the agancy wants to make them even lower ...) we can deduce that the text is only around 1000 words.

I'd recommend that you do it, argue with the agency on Monday, telling them you've done it, and if they don't want to correct their 'mistake', tell them you'll not send the translation. And if they do own up to a mistake, you can deliver, on time - and perhaps get more work in the future.

MediaMatrix


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Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 12:50
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I'd start translating, but be tough on the terms Aug 6, 2006

It seems this is a new epidemy - just recently I received a PO with a red banner across that I shall read EUR as USD below. Well, the amount was small, translation does not cost me any money, so I basically don't care, but this shall not become a trend, shall it?

Regarding this particular job, it might be a simple mistake: agencies have to deal with lots of parallel jobs and they don't always give full attention. Especially on a Friday. So if I were you, I'd start translating the text (if I don't and the PO actually was a mistake, I put an additional burden onto myself).

But the most important thing is to write them an email right now: this is not the PO you agreed upon and there is no way to get any translation from you unless they provide you with the proper one. Not "by the time of the deadline": on Monday morning. You can tell them you won't proceed with the translation as long as you don't get a valid PO, but I would disadvise to suggest a change in the deadline. It does not look very professional and it creates a bad image of yourself. But the PO, finally, represents a contractual relationship and this is not a contract you sign. Period.

So, don't worry, first, these problems usually are no "problems" and, second, if it turns out to be one, just tell them it was a nice try. If they are honest, they will insist on your doing the job (rather than paying extra for urgency), if they don't, they might prove to be bad payers, too. Don't cry for them.



Eva


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:50
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Total 2700 words Aug 6, 2006

I did not explain properly (I could never be a teacher, always forget to tell something). It is a rate 70 pounds per 1000 words. The translation is 2700 words. And they want me to do it for eur 0.06/word.
As to other plans - they are running wild in my house, fight between themselves and demanding my refereeing skills and sometimes even worse - feeding. It is school holidays and with my little monsters here I cannot cover 2700 words in one day and a couple of hours.


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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 13:50
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
just curious Aug 6, 2006

I read the story and was curious - when you saw the PO for the first time was the price as it should have been - the one you offered them - or was it already the lower one? IF you have accepted with the price being lower Im thinking they will have some arguments against you.

I perfectly understand your situation however it can be essential - they can claim it was already the lower price that you accepted - so its a key thing me thinks (or at least a very important aspect).

Happened that way for me too some years ago and since then thats really the first thing I check - price and deadline (I even print it out so there can be no misunderstandings).

The best of luck to you! and hope it all works out in your favor


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:50
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
PO Aug 6, 2006

bramasole wrote:

I read the story and was curious - when you saw the PO for the first time was the price as it should have been - the one you offered them - or was it already the lower one? IF you have accepted with the price being lower Im thinking they will have some arguments against you.




I opened the PO first time when I intended to start work on the text (as you do). But they did agree to my price in writing by email. They also said I can go ahead with the job and they will send me PO later which they did later that day. But as I said - I did nto have time then and intended to start work only on weekend. Which I did and discovered this.


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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 13:50
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
time Aug 6, 2006

Burrell wrote:

I opened the PO first time when I intended to start work on the text (as you do). But they did agree to my price in writing by email. They also said I can go ahead with the job and they will send me PO later which they did later that day. But as I said - I did nto have time then and intended to start work only on weekend. Which I did and discovered this.


Time and the lack of it seem to have played a bad trick on you in this situation. I sincerely hope you will solve it all in your favour as Ive been there and done that myself as I mentioned.

As for doing or not doing this job with the price being as it is currently - I would do it but then again its all up to you and the circumstances.

I wish you the best of luck!


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Setti Mulari  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 00:50
Member (2005)
Finnish to English
Been there! Be vigilant Aug 7, 2006

I was in the same situation with a UK based outsourcer from Huddersfield in June. I've had nothing but problems with them, but that's a whole other issue.

I agreed to do a job for them over the telephone despite the fact that they had not paid me for the last one that was already late. Short job so I didn't think it was that bad of a risk. I checked my e-mail for the PO and surely enough it was there - however, they had gone ahead and reduced my rate by about 30% without asking me and tried to slide it through unnoticed.

I responded by saying that this is not my rate and their response was simply that they thought my rate was too high. Oh that was funny. In the end I refused to do the job as they did not want to pay my rate. The best part about it was that they thought I would just accept their rate without questioning it - or were they hoping I wouldn't pay attention, I think both of us knows the truth but its easily denyable.

So be careful - there are these less-than-honest companies out there that try to squeeze you every chance they get.

[Edited at 2006-08-07 08:28]


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:50
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Situation resolved Aug 7, 2006

I received reply to my email about the wrong PO from another PM as the person who assigned the job was on holidays. Apparently they have followed the details that I entered into their system 3 years ago when I did a couple of jobs for them. They say I should have updated my information. They have issued me with the correct PO although this apparently is well over their budget.
I am glad the situation is resolved but I am wandering why on earth they enquired about my rates and then just went on to use old ones? If I remembered to renew my details in the information systems of all the one time clients I have had, I would never have enough time to do any actual work.
I do not think I will be getting any more work from this agency but as long as I am paid for this job, I am not really worried.
Thanks everybody for your support and advice. I did reasonable amount of work yesterday so I will be able to meet my deadline without problems.

Ines


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Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 12:50
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Bravo! Aug 7, 2006

Thanks for letting us know about the happy end, too.

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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 12:50
French to Dutch
+ ...
Been there too Aug 7, 2006

I once translated a short document, about 1000 words, for a colleague in another language pair. I trusted him, so there was no PO. One month later he sent me my money for half the agreed price. His argument: "Oh, in my opinion it wasn't worth more".
Be careful, and check everything on receipt: number of words (the trick is that they send you more words than expected), the subject, the PO, and even the currency (US dollars instead of euros makes a big difference!).
Good luck!


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