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Client wants discount for \'mistakes\' that were not mistakes. What to do?
Thread poster: xxxmedical
xxxmedical
English to Spanish
+ ...
May 23, 2003

First of all sorry for my English, well the problem is the following, I have done a translation from German to French, the files where in PDF faxed so they were very bad.

I sent the translation and the day after receved an email saying that after correction there were a lot of mistakes and then they must dicount the proofreading from my invoice. But when I saw the correction it was incredible they change my words with words that do not are in the dictionnary or in google. They do not exist!!!!!!!!!! and also they change singular to plurar, and sometimes only change a word to another with the same meaning. I send it to them saying I did not agree with the proofreading.

If they do not pay or want to discount what can I do? I have the name and address of the direct client.

Thanks a lot.



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Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:29
Member
French to English
Objective third party May 23, 2003

Quote:


If they do not pay or want to discount what can I do? I have the name and address of the direct client.





The best way to handle this situation would be to involve an objective third party that you and your client agree on. This person would check the translation and the client\'s changes and determine whether or not their complaints are justified.



You will also have to come to an agreement about who will pay this third party (a fair method would be to split the cost between you and the client).



You mention that the PDF document was very bad and I assume that you are saying if there were any misunderstandings on your part that it was due to the quality of the source document (otherwise, why would you mention it). It is the translator\'s responsibility to ask questions if the text is not clear or to refuse work if the conditions for getting the job done make it impossible to provide quality work.



If it is determined that a discount for corrections is appropriate, the client needs to remember that a certain amount of time is always planned for revision -- this should be deducted from the time they want to charge you.



You say you have the name and address of the direct client. I assume this means you were working with an agency and that you mention this because you are thinking about contacting the end client directly. This would be professional suicide and you can be sure you would never receive work from that agency, and possibly others, ever again. Word gets around.



HTH,

Karin Adamczyk

[Edited at 2003-05-23 14:54]

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xxxmedical
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
. May 23, 2003

.

[Edited at 2003-11-03 20:21]


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Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:29
Member
French to English
Your contract is with the agency May 23, 2003

medical wrote:
I talked about the PDF because there were a lot of number and I made 2 mistakes changing a 6 by 8, that is all, a third person fortunatly a friend of me ,had a look at the proofreading and sayed it was incredible to do a proofreading like that, in fact my own translation were clear and only 6 mistakes out of 6000 words but the problem is that they sent the translation proofreading to the client and the agency told me that if the client was not satisfied I will have to assume the discount and the proofreading done and that is why I am not conform.
A suicide? that is great, why by the way do not pay the agency for my work with my money.


Your contract is with the agency, not the end client. The agency is responsible for what they send to the end client. Sounds to me like the agency is not doing their part of the job. If the corrections are incorrect or strictly based on preference, the agency must explain this to the client. What happens at that point is between the end client and the agency.

As I mentioned before, revision should always be included in the agency's time and $ estimates. If they did not have the work revised and simply sent it to the client, that is the agency's problem. If the agency did have the work revised, sent good work and the client is making corrections that make no sense, it is still the agency's problem.

The agency must then come to an agreement with you about what is to be done. Was your work acceptable. If so, you should not be held responsible for the problem.

This is why I say you need to involve an objective third party that you both agree on. The third party will determine whether your work was acceptable or not. You are not responsible for anything further than what YOU delivered to the AGENCY.

HTH,
Karin


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sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 17:29
German to English
The PO May 23, 2003

Take a close look at the fine print on the PO. It just might say that the translator is bound to pay for any corrections and proofing that the agency has to do.

In fact I've always wondered just how binding such a sentence is on the PO.

Karin, can you enlighten me before I reject another one of those POs?


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xxxmedical
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
. May 23, 2003

.

[Edited at 2003-11-03 20:20]


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Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:29
Member
French to English
Reasonable May 23, 2003

sylvie malich wrote:

Take a close look at the fine print on the PO. It just might say that the translator is bound to pay for any corrections and proofing that the agency has to do.

In fact I've always wondered just how binding such a sentence is on the PO.

Karin, can you enlighten me before I reject another one of those POs?


A general rule of thumb is that revision should take 1 hour per thousand words. I have seen contracts that stipulate that revision over and above a given amount of time per thousand words will be charged back to the translator.

Given some of the texts I have had to revise, I don't see this as unfair at all. If the work produced by a translator requires extensive revision, I feel it is only fair for an agency to recover the additional cost.

Not too long ago, I raised my hourly rate to make it closer to what I can earn per hour translating because I found that revisions were taking longer and longer and that I was losing in the deal.

If your quality is good, you have nothing to fear.

FWIW,
Karin Adamczyk


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:29
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Only deal with the agency!! May 23, 2003

Karin is right. The agency is your client, not the person who ultimately gets the work. You would be stabbing your client in the back and that is not good.

Also, as a rule of thumb, I always first read through a document that I receive for translation, marking unclear things and questions and then contacting the agency (my client) before starting the work. That way you will get the correct words and numbers and avoid having wrong things in the original. It may be especially important for this translation that the numbers are right or if it is a legal translation, the whole case may hinge on the correctness of items in the translation.

I think that it is the responsability of the translator to make sure that he or she has everything clear before starting.

I wish you success on this and hope that you can work things out with the agency. We depend on them and they on us.

Suerte!
Lucinda


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xxxmedical
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
. May 24, 2003

.

[Edited at 2003-11-03 20:21]


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Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
"The client is always right" May 24, 2003

Hello,

I know you are really upset but the sentence "The client is always right" is something we have to bare in mind. Think carefully about client's demands and judge how far is the deal proposed. If you think it is acceptable take it if not just say "Ok for this time but I am sorry I won't be able to work with you again" or better still "Ok" (and next time that client needs your services think twice before accepting it). If you explain your position calmly you might get them to respect you in future, otherwise you might just loose it altogether.

It happens that you don't know how good the proofreader is and therefore you cannot discuss that if your client doesn't want to. Might be a good idea to get a 3rd person's opinion as advised by Karin but think if it is really worth it. If your client trusts their proofreader what can you do? Well, you could ask them to provide you with the correction report from the proofreader. In that case the proofreader has to explain why changes were made and it might help you to clarify your position.

Do not rush to get a decision and try to be calm when discussing these things.

Hope you get it sorted

Regards,
Mónica


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Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Business Rules May 24, 2003

Hello,

Me again. Just wanted to say that contacting the direct client in this case is something I think you should never do. Business rules include tis as a "must not". Your contract is with the agency so you should never contact the final client. In fact, many contracts with agencies do include this as a rule to follow.

The case you mention as an example (TV set) is different. The maker is responsible for the product and the warranty you receive when you buy an appliance is between you and the maker. The dealer is just a go-between and you have to contact the maker if your dealer doesn't solve your problem (also the maker will give you another TV set if the one you bought is not working properly, not the dealer). So that's completely different.

As with everything in life, we have to think things through before deciding and never make a decision while you feel so angry about the subject matter. You might repent it afterwards. I am sorry, but this is really my own experience. Being a frelancer is like having a shop. We have to be nice and
polite even when we just want to send the client to the garden... Just baring a smile on our face makes miracles happen:-)

Regards,
Mónica


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Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:29
Member
French to English
You asked May 24, 2003

medical wrote:

6 instead of 8 in a translation that must be edit into power point by another person, one wrong between more than 200. AND IT WAS NOT A SWORN TRANSLATION. But I have the feeling that sometimes translators are not enought "solidaire" and that is why we have all those problems. Ex, if I buy a televsion in a shop called X, the television does not work and the shop does not want to do anything, I go to the main shop or to the manufacture directly and they were not the direct person so why in this case so many attention with a person who the only thing true is that she is saying lies with the only reaon to not pay you.
And with this is my last add .


Hello Medical,

You were the one who asked for suggestions on what you can do to get paid. You have a situation where the client is saying one thing and you are saying another. If you simply insist that there was only xx wrong, chances are you will not be paid.

If you want to be paid, you need to discuss this with your client reasonably. Discuss the option of having a third party look at the translation, that your contract is with the agency, not the end client, etc.

I'm not taking sides here -- I have not seen the work and I don't know if the agency had the work revised or just sent it straight to the client. I don't know if the agency is saying there are problems or the end client.

Have you received a copy of the revised translation?

In any case, I was trying to help by offering suggestions. If you just wanted to rant about the situation, I guess I wasted my time.

Karin


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 13:29
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
No time lost May 25, 2003

Karin Adamczyk wrote:

In any case, I was trying to help by offering suggestions. If you just wanted to rant about the situation, I guess I wasted my time.

Karin


No time lost Karin, I found your comments very useful. Thanks a lot.
Enrique


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xxxmedical
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I. May 25, 2003

.

[Edited at 2003-11-03 20:23]


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 13:29
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
nothing to demonstrate May 25, 2003

medical wrote:

wHAT ELSE MUST I TELL TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PROOFREADING IS BAD?



You have nothing to demonstrate here. You asked for advice and you got it. Now you are free to use it or to disregard it.

By the way, it is generally considered bad etiquette to write in all caps.

Regards
Enrique Cavalitto


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