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Demand for an advance against a job
Thread poster: PRAKAASH

PRAKAASH  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 10:20
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Jul 10, 2003

Well, I've started demanding for an advance of around 20% of the total amount as I've started charging from according to the source word count. I think that this will minimise the risk of being cheated. Is it right on the part of agencies or job providers? As some of the first timers, forward the jobs but don't agree at the payment. I've to work out in the local market and pay out for each and every composition and design for my jobs. I really get into trouble or say in problem when someone deny the payment. Have I done the right thing? Why is it so that agencies or providers set up the payment date after 30-45 days or job completion? Let me have ideas or suggestions from some more experienced agencies or translators please? Thank you all in advance!
PRAKAASH


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Tobi
Local time: 06:50
English to German
+ ...
i never demanded an advance payment Jul 10, 2003

i wouldn't feel godd when demanding an advance payment since this suggests mistrust. i think this is not a good base for a cooperation.
i assume that you are thinking about a bigger project over more than a few weeks because you have this doubts.
to be on the safe side, you should rather try to invoice your completed work in shorter intervals, e.g. you invoice 80% of your work done so far every two or four weeks. this would lower your risk.
you should try to discuss this with your client/agency to share the risk.
the usual 30 - 45 days after project completion which is used by a lot of agencies as payment term has the purpose that the agency does not have to make an advance payment and is able to wait for the money of its client before paying the translator.


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 00:50
German to English
Depends on your market Jul 10, 2003

In the US, translators generally request an advance only on very large jobs (those lasting several weeks or longer). Payment terms of 30-45 days are, unfortunately, the norm, although I have a few client agencies that pay within a week or so after receiving the invoice.
Kevin


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uparis
Local time: 06:50
French to English
+ ...
Agency - no, direct customer - you can always ask Jul 10, 2003

After running an agency in France for about 15 years, I can tell you this :
If you are working for a company direcly, you can always ask.
However, corporate customers are normally not prepared to pay anything up front.
The normal operating principle is: you deliver, they pay.
Even if you can negotiate an initial payment, it will take 30 days minimum (generally longer) to receive payment from larger companies - accounting procedures rely on signatures etc., which makes all that a lengthy process.
As for agencies - well, even if the agency invoices instantly upon delivery, it will still take 30 plus days for that money to come in.
It doesn't exactly make business sense to pay out money you haven't earned yet - all agencies would fold if they did that.
Plus, looking at the worst-case scenario just to illustrate, the translator might drop dead before he/she got around to the job - and then what? The agency would have to pay another translator - and could close up shop very quickly.
In general, I'd say you should work out a realistic time for payment - an agency should know its customers well enough to tell you how long that will take. If the agency is always later than announced and agreed, tell them you're not happy, and if it keeps up, don't work for them again.
Payment from customers will at times come in late - you should be able to trust the agency enough to take their word for it when that happens.
It's definitely no fun waiting for payment, but believe me - it's a quandary for agencies, too !


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 07:50
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Agree with uparis Jul 10, 2003

uparis wrote:
It doesn't exactly make business sense to pay out money you haven't earned yet - all agencies would fold if they did that.
Plus, looking at the worst-case scenario just to illustrate, the translator might drop dead before he/she got around to the job - and then what?


Fully agree as for upfront payment. Besides, we here, in Latvia, usually pay our translators in two weeks, a month in the least, but we- agencies ourselves, usually wait payment a month from the local companies, about two from Eastern European ones, and routinely- three or more from the EU companies. (Thanked be the Americans and Canadians- they all- at least in our experience so far- promptly pay within a month).
And we cannot feed our translators the s$it we routinely hear from our clients- e.g., - “our manager responsible for bank operations just give birth (the most common one, imagine the birth rate), is on foreign trip, has broken a leg,”, whatever…
We have our obligations with our translators and we do our best to keep them, but sometimes it stretches our resources. I could name examples here, but will not, hope the examples themselves will read this thread...


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:50
English to German
+ ...
Payment by agency should not be conditional upon end customer Jul 11, 2003

I beg to disagree.
As for agencies - well, even if the agency invoices instantly upon delivery, it will still take 30 plus days for that money to come in.
It doesn't exactly make business sense to pay out money you haven't earned yet - all agencies would fold if they did that.

I agree to the extent that an advance payment doesn't make sense from an agency's point of view. However, I do not share the view that payment to the translator should be conditional upon receipt of payment from the agency's end customer.
When delivering the work (in line with specifications and quality requirements, of course), the translator has performed his/her obligations under the agreement with the agency, and should be paid. The agency's agreement with the customer has no bearing on its legal relationship with translators. Funding any mismatch is part of the agency's business profile.

Please note that I don't necessarily see this from a freelancer's point of view, since I outsource quite a lot of work myself (most of it, in fact).

Best regards, Ralf


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:50
English to French
pay composition? Jul 12, 2003

PRAKAASH wrote:
...
I've to work out in the local market and pay out for each and every composition and design for my jobs. ...
PRAKAASH

You mean you provide other services beside translation, right? If so, and if you have to pay thoses services upfront, it does make sense to ask for that to be paid up in advance.

When a customer ask you to incur charges, you can ask him to cover for that upfront and that's a common practice.

Your time is a different story alltogether, and rare are the agencies that will give you anything in advance.

Luckily, most agencies are honnest and do pay. Actually if we consider how easy it is not to pay and the lack of means to recover unpaid translations, I am quite pleased to say that our profession probably counts amongst the most ethical ones.


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