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Translation agency closes its doors
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:09
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 14, 2009

I just received this today. I hope that this is not a sign of things to come:

"It is with great regret that xxxxxxx is no longer able to accept orders for translations. We would like to thank our customers for their business over the last few years and particularly thank our dedicated and talented translator team. We are exploring all opportunities with our creditors and partners..."


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:09
Dutch to English
+ ...
Was it a bolt out of the blue ... Jan 14, 2009

... or were there warning signs (slower payments over the last few months, decreased workload etc)?

Hope it wasn't a major source of work for you.
Debs

[Edited at 2009-01-14 15:39 GMT]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:09
English to German
+ ...
Market consolidation could be beneficial Jan 14, 2009

Hi Jeff,
I just received this today. I hope that this is not a sign of things to come:

It might well be - at least as far as some undercapitalised (or non-capitalised...) intermediaries are concerned. To that extent, I believe that a certain level of market consolidation would be beneficial.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:09
English to German
+ ...
Public note posted on the Blue Board record Jan 14, 2009

Hi again, Jeff,
Thanks for indicating the identity of the agency in a private message; in fact, they have posted a "Statement of Discontinuation of Trading" on their website.

I have posted a public note on their BB record, drawing attention to that notice.

Best regards,
Ralf


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:09
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Good news probably Jan 14, 2009

Ralf Lemster wrote:
It might well be - at least as far as some undercapitalised (or non-capitalised...) intermediaries are concerned. To that extent, I believe that a certain level of market consolidation would be beneficial.


I follow some of the recurring discussions about the international economic crises with great interest. While I doubt that the real consequences will be particularly severe for competent translators, I do think (and hope) that the troubles will lead to a major shakeout in the industry. This is an opportunity for outsourcing companies and translators to take a very serious look at their risk management strategies and readjust things like payment terms where necessary. Funnily enough, it's the clients who are on the soundest financial footing and who are the most creditworthy who seldom (if ever) have a problem with paying deposits on a job or other early payment arrangements.


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Not good when it's *your* client, but... Jan 14, 2009

Ralf Lemster wrote: ...I believe that a certain level of market consolidation would be beneficial.

I agree with Ralf here. Whenever the age-old dead horse of falling rates is taken out of the closet, dusted off, and beaten, many people point out that it is the agencies who are prompting the decline by waging an internecine price war to obtain and perhaps even purloin the ever elusive end client.

Maybe fewer agencies could (after all the chips have fallen) translate into better rates for us.

Take your pun if you want it


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:09
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Even if it is *my* client.... Jan 14, 2009

Janet Rubin wrote:
Maybe fewer agencies could (after all the chips have fallen) translate into better rates for us.


Or fewer headaches for the stable ones that remain. While I certainly don't want to see my clients tanking, and I get very disturbed when I find that good PMs are laid off for economic reasons and hope that I can make some contribution to avoiding such awfulness (through means other than rates), if any business is severely undercapitalized, playing cash flow roulette and risking its ability to pay me for services rendered, it shouldn't be doing business. Period. If I have distributed my risk properly, the loss of one or two clients shouldn't make much difference to my business.


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Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:09
English to French
+ ...
Not scared Jan 15, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:
Good news probably


Kevin, I admire your optimism.

Being able, on a thread about the end of an agency and its being a sign of the looming crises, to start a post by "Good new probably" is something I simply could not have done.

And to add two posts later "Even if it's my client" is something I just could not have imagined.

You do work in another market segment. Or another world.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:09
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Same world, same old nonsense Jan 15, 2009

Arnaud HERVE wrote:
Kevin, I admire your optimism.

Being able, on a thread about the end of an agency and its being a sign of the looming crises, to start a post by "Good new probably" is something I simply could not have done.

And to add two posts later "Even if it's my client" is something I just could not have imagined.

You do work in another market segment. Or another world.


The end of the agency isn't a sign of a looming crisis most likely; it's more likely a sign of stupid business practices, which can cause failures in the best of markets. The sooner that undercapitalized businesses clean up their acts or get flushed, the better. It is of course preferable for them to do the former, but there are always those who will find excuses for being deadbeats. Very recently there was a thread started by such an "agency" principal from the US - the Blue Board information was absolutely appalling, but the excuses presented in the third person are even worse. Two of my former clients from the early days (with whom I have long since terminated relations, fortunately after collecting all but about € 10 owed) are among the worst I have ever encountered in the payment practices boards - playing shell games with new companies while translators who are owed thousands of euros try to chase them down. Just for fun I looked one of them (who is a neighbor of sorts) up on the Zahlungspraxis board and found that he had been telling translators that he owed fortunes to that they had "earned enough" in the past and ought to be satisfied and forget the whole matter.

Both of these jokers play the cash flow game in the worst way, with a healthy dash of fraud added. I am sure that most of the thinly capitalized businesses out there are ignorant rather than wicked, but the effect on the victims is usually the same.

So yes - if I have a client who plays that game and gets caught out, I have no sympathy. None at all. The aforementioned gentlemen belong in prison.

Now I know for a fact that most of them are smarter than that. I weed out the losers as fast as I can, and I have a lot of respect for the ethical standards of most of the ones that remain. And when special circumstances arise, like budgets get tight when a major client is lost, I am not above accommodating a business partner and supporting that company in any reasonable way to regain lost business or find new clients. But that's a whole different scenario from a company or businessperson stupid enough to take on projects that cannot be covered if the sh*t hits the fan.

[Edited at 2009-01-15 15:45 GMT]


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