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What's the responsability of the outsourced translator?
Thread poster: João Neto
João Neto
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Apr 30, 2004

Hi.
Once I have accepted a significant job that had a very short turnaround deadline. I have outsourced it partially to assure the deadline was met. But what mattered was the whole thing, since it had to be proofread prior to delivery.
When the deadline was reached, my client started to chase me to deliver him the job. I didn't have it complete. He then cut my fee to 1/2 what we had agreed, if I could deliver it in the next 24 hours. My outsourcer rendered me her portion (2/3 of the job) 36 hours post deadline.
I ended up not being paid at all because of her missing the deadline...
What's her responsability in this? I don't know if I should pay her anything, but I feel morally impelled to pay her at least 50% of the agreed price between us... But I am really divided. I've lost the client and my total fee.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-04-30 20:19]


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Judy Rojas  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 15:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
What was your agreement? Apr 30, 2004

I think you are dealing with two issues here:
First, did you have an agreement with your client that there would be a 50% deduction for late delivery? If you didn't, you should have negotiated a better discount. I feel that 50% is too much for 24 hours.
Second, did you indicate to your outsourcer that there would be penalties for late delivery? If you didn't, then you cannot deduct anything, but if you did, then, deduct what was previously agreed to, regardless of what happened between you and your client.

Regards,
Ricardo


[Edited at 2004-04-30 20:41]


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João Neto
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Just the deadline was agreed. Apr 30, 2004

Hi Ricardo.

The only thing agreed between any of the parties here stated was the deadline. It was imperative to deliver on the deadline. That's why the fee was higher than I normally charge (this was a rush job). My outsourcer knew the deadline she had to deliver things to me and also my deadline to deliver things to the client. Once all the text wasn't there (only 1/3, made by me) the client agreed to pay 50% if I returned the whole text 24 hours later. I only got the text 36 hours post this late agreement...
So, my outsourcer was aware of the deadline's imperativeness. She simply failed and I lost client + money. And gained a lot of negative publicity, I'm sure!

[Edited at 2004-05-02 09:34]


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Judy Rojas  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 15:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
You shouldn't pay Apr 30, 2004

[Joao:
I think you need to explain to your outsourcer what happened, and how his/her actions caused you damage. You shouldn't pay. And next time, make sure you clarify this in advance, and make it a point to ask to be notified if he/hse feels they will not be able to make the deadline.
Regards,
Ricardo


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:38
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Learn from the experience May 1, 2004

When I read your story, it seems to me that it started going wrong when you accepted a job that could not possibly be done by one person within the deadline.

- When I accept a big job with a tight deadline I keep some escapes open - an 'early warning system' you could say. If I cannot translate the required number of pages a day, I start warning the outsourcer immediately and see if there is any 'stretch' in the deadline.
- If I ever subcontracted something myself, I would want the same warning system established, and/or discuss the penalties for late delivery.

Anyway - an outsourcer cannot just cut your fee because you deliver too late - the work was done! (unless the untimely delivery rendered the translation useless).

Buildings get delivered too late all the time - the buyer can not just say "Then I'll pay less", unless there are provisions in the contract that deal with these penalties.

You experience also shows how important it is to use general conditions, that do not allow these penalties...

My two cents,

Anjo


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Jesús Marín Mateos  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
Did your agency get the job done??? May 1, 2004

I think you should pay your outsourcer since you did not agree any penalty for late delivery which you should have done.

But I wonder if you didn't get pay at all, did you provide the agency with the work done? Because that means that they did get paid by their client....in which case they would not be acting in a professional manner if they refuse to pay you.....
It is the same case as if you had been paid and you had told your outsourcer that you weren't paying him/her because it was delivered late. What a mess!!!


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:38
Member (2004)
English to Italian
you should be paid something... May 1, 2004

if the multinational is going to use your work, then you should be paid something. I think 50%, in this case, is acceptable. I would also deduct the amount from what's due to your outsourcer. If you get paid half the amount, I don't see why your outsourcer should get paid in full. It was her fault as well. Remember, that if your client uses your translation without paying you, they are in breach of the copyright law. Just remind them of this.

Regards,

Giovanni

[Edited at 2004-05-01 10:57]


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João Neto
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The deal was set. May 1, 2004

Hi.
Thanks for your answer.
I believe that a deal has its beginning and its end. If someone wants a job delivered within a time frame and offers me a high fee to get it expressly done, there must not have any other agreements. The deal is a certain amount for a job that has certain characteristics and has to be delivered in a certain date. Period.
No further amends have to be done. If one feels that one cannot respect the terms, then the job should be refused. The main issue is that my outsourced translator knew the timeframe she was intitled to. She simply didn't respect it and the I was the one that took all the heat: lost client and lost money.

[Edited at 2004-05-02 09:35]


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João Neto
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The client had the job done... Only later that what was agreed. May 1, 2004

Jesus Marin wrote:

>I think you should pay your outsourcer >since you did not agree any penalty for >late delivery which you should have done.

I didn't know that was necessary. The contract set the specific date in which the full job had to be delivered to me. If the deadline wasn't to be respected all along, what was the point of getting that high fee? On the other hand, whay are deadlines set? The job had a beginning date and an end date. Both were known by all intervenients.

>But I wonder if you didn't get pay at all, >did you provide the agency with the work
>done? Because that means that they did get >paid by their client....in which case they >would not be acting in a professional >manner if they refuse to pay you.....
I'm not sure if it was an agency. And she can always claim that they have done some editing to the delivered text or that the deadline was not respected, so the report could not have been presented in the meeting it was supposed to be, and so on...

>It is the same case as if you had been >paid and you had told your outsourcer that >you weren't paying him/her because it was >delivered late. What a mess!!!

As I have written before, I have lost both money and client because of not respecting the deadline.

[Edited at 2004-05-02 09:37]


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João Neto
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What if they edited my final text? May 1, 2004

I believe that they can always state that my final text was edited (a few synonims here and there end there goes my copyright!!). Plus, I delivered the text in Word and they had to convert it into PDF. That wasn't up to me. So, they can always use that agains me: my text was edited. They could have used it, eidted it but simply out of the timeframe that needed it on.

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:38
Member (2004)
English to Italian
you still own the copyright... May 2, 2004

João Neto wrote:

I believe that they can always state that my final text was edited (a few synonims here and there end there goes my copyright!!).


...even if the text has been edited. Surely, they didn't rewrite the whole thing!

Giovanni


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:38
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Objective of the contract May 2, 2004

The objective was the translation, 'deadline' is not the 'basic component' of your translation contract.

So there is no question of 'non-performance', only delay in performance, which may carry a penalty (as I said before).

If there was no PO with a penalty stated for a delay, you will have to rely on what you agreed on by phone, email etc.

Anyway - you did (part of i.e. too late) 'your part of the bargain' so the client should pay!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some thoughts on private outsourcing May 3, 2004

When you privately outsource work, it is wise to agree with the outsourcee that you share the risk of working for a bad payer.

In my opinion you can assume that you retain full responsibility for any mistakes made by the outsourcee. In private outsourcing (as opposed to agency outsourcing in which special conditions may or may not apply), the actual agreement is between the client and you alone, and you will have to take full responsibility for the outcome of the job. Hence, if you missed the deadline because your outsourcee missed her deadline, the fault is yours, not hers.

If there was no agreement that risks will be shared (whether mentioned or implied), then the amount paid to you by your client is irrelevant to the question of how much to pay your outsourcee. However, she *did* miss a tight deadline by three whole days (she knew very well that the deadline was not flexible)... surely that counts for some kind of penalty?


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 12:38
Spanish to English
I am surprised May 3, 2004

I sympathise thoroughly with Jaoa, but I am surprised at the other comments that the work should still be paid for, even if the deadline was not met.
There are many instances where if the translation is not delivered by the deadline, it is totally worthless to the client.
I don't know whether you should pay this outsourcer or not, what I do know is that you should never use that person again.
All my sympathies.
Lesley


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Buildings analogy won't work May 4, 2004

Anjo Sterringa wrote:
Buildings get delivered too late all the time - the buyer can not just say "Then I'll pay less", unless there are provisions in the contract that deal with these penalties.


Yes, but if the contractor was supposed to build a band stand for an open-air concert that was due to take place, but only delivers the stand *after* the date of the concert, he can't be expected to be paid in full (in fact, he might as well expect not to be paid at all), don't you agree?


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