Are freelancers entitled to a refund for Agencies\' last-minute refusal?
Thread poster: Paola Gatto

Paola Gatto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:03
Member (2004)
German to Italian
+ ...
Nov 8, 2002

I see that some Agencies posting jobs here are not used to working with professionals. I\'m a freelancer, but a professional, too. My job offer has been recently turned down on departure day (I had to undertake a long travel to get to the working place), after two days of negotiations. They wouldn\'t say the reasons.

What I noticed is the following: they are not prepared to hand over a formal letter of job assignment to the translator or interpreter. They don\'t like to recognize a percentage surplus when daily working time exceeds 7 hours. They are not willing to pre-pay all travel expenses. And they drop people with too much easiness. What\'s been Yr. experience so far? Isn\'t there an etiquette the Agencies must abide by for the interpreters\' right safeguard? They should pay the interpreter/translator a sum when they turn them down a few hours before the job performance takes place. Otherwise they waste our time, the time the professional needs for travel organisation, preparation, etc.
[addsig]


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Daniel Meier  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:03
English to German
+ ...
Always have a formal assignment beforehand Nov 8, 2002

Especially when dealing with new clients, you should always have a formal job assignment, before starting the job. When doing regular assigments for a client and everything seems to be working well, maybe you could omit this rule for smaller assignments(just for the sake of less paperwork), but without written agreement (order, contract) you have nothing at hand.

In this assignment you can of course establish provisions regarding refunds, travel expenses etc. And when the client seems to be unhappy with fair business practises, maybe it will be wiser not to start to work for him at all.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:03
English to German
+ ...
Definitely yes Nov 8, 2002

I think this is obvious for an interpreter, and the T&C\'s used by colleagues I know reflect that.



I have even had this situation regarding translation, where I had a number of colleagues ready and waiting, and the customer pulled the plug at the very last minute. I invoiced a nominal amount for the minimum time lost, and they paid without complaint. Quite obviously, this depends on how strong your negotiating position is...


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Karin Walker  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:03
German to English
+ ...
Of course you are. Nov 8, 2002

Ralf is right - this is a standard clause in interpreters\' contracts. If the customer cancels the assignment in advance of the date, and the interpreter cannot accept another job as a replacement, a percentage or even the full fee is paid regardless. I have turned up on the day itself, just like you, only to hear that the event had been cancelled, and the fee was paid without complaint.



To prevent this from happening again, you should carefully check any contract or PO you receive from your customers. If there is no mention of such a clause, either ask them to insert one, or do not accept the job. IMO it\'s highly unprofessional to expect someone to reserve their time for you and then not be compensated if the job falls through.



Which workmen would not bill you handsomely if they turned up at your house on the day, only to find you are not at home?











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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 05:03
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
How about translators and editors? Nov 10, 2002

This recently happened to me: I was contacted on a Wednesday by the agency for URGENT (their caps) revision. Thursday they said they were having problems with the text but would deliver Friday morning. Sunday afternoon, they said STOP translating, this contract was not confirmed. So or five days I felt retained by this agency and wanted to help them in their rush, but at the last minute they pulled the plug.

I am mentioning this because the translator in the first post mentioned professionalism, and it struck me this time that I perhaps was not dealing with professionals.

Granted there were no travel expenses, and only one transatlantic call on my part, but I found the way they handled their problem to be immature.

Any thoughts?


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