Frustrating, inconsiderate customers
Thread poster: Gillian Searl

Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
Member (2004)
German to English
Aug 1, 2006

Can I have a moan? It'll make me feel better! Weeks ago I did a project for a customer and it was quite technical. A number of issues came up - how does the customer want me to handle the abbreviations etc. No answer came - so I agreed with the project manager that the project was finished.
I am now in the middle of moving back from Germany to the UK and am in Germany selling my furniture. My laptop is in London. I have a laptop here with Trados 6.5 but this project requires 7.0.
So the agency calls me today and says the customer has answered, here are the changes, incorporate them into the translation. I said "Sorry, I can't". "In which case we will give it another translator and deduct it from your invoice!" I said "You can't do that". "Well tell us when you can do it then" How rude and inconsiderate of them. I explained the situation - the project is over as far as I am concerned and if they want to restart it it surely costs extra!!! They just sent an email "Please inform us by the end of the week by when you can do it!" or for those that can read German:

"wie eben am Tel. besprochen bitten wir Sie uns bis Ende der Woche einen verbindlichen und angemessenen Fertigstellungstermin für die Einarbeitung der fehlenden Begriffe zum Auftrag xxxxx zu benennen."

I am so angry about it! And of course frustrated too. I told everyone I will not be able to work for 1-2 weeks as I am moving. This is the last and final straw with this customer.

Any suggestions how we can resolve the situation? Thanks for allowing me to let off steam!
Gillian


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Susanne Schnitzler  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:49
English to German
A possible answer Aug 1, 2006

Dear Gillian,

I would propose something like:

"Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
wie Sie mir mitteilten, möchte der Kunde nun die letzten noch offenen Positionen der am ... abgeschlossenen Arbeit in Auftrag geben. Ich freue mich, dass Sie dabei an mich denken.
Leider kann ich den neuen Auftrag erst am .... übernehmen und frühestens am ... fertigstellen. Wie ich Ihnen bereits am Telefon sagte, verlege ich gerade meinen Wohnort von Deutschland nach Großbritannien und stehe deshalb aktuell nicht zur Verfügung."

Translated.
Dear Sirs,
as you told me the customer now wants to order the last open points of our former project, which was finished on ... . Thank you that you considered me for this job.
I am sorry to say that I can only take this new job on ...... and finish by .... As I already told you on the phone, I am just moving from Germany to UK and that is why I am not available just now.

I think this should clarify your point of view without being rude.


Cup of coffee? Or would you prefer some tea?
Help your self

Cheers
Susanne

PS: I like it very much that the postings can not be seen immediately. Otherwise you might wonder about the number of blunders that vanish over night ....


[Bearbeitet am 2006-08-01 10:34]


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Wenke Geddert  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Arbitration Aug 1, 2006

Gillian

As you quite rightly said, the project has been completed. Any changes would probably be Phase 2 of the project and chargeable. In addition, you have informed your clients that you are unable to take on further work at present.

If the agency is indeed deducting monies from your invoice, I would refer it to the ITI (or as I have seen you are also a member of the BDÜ or IoL, who no doubt would have similar procedures) to take a professional & independent view.

Check out www.iti.org.uk (publications, #020: arbitration). Or give them a ring to see what steps to take in a case like this.

Good luck with this one & your move back!

Wenke


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Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
French to English
Same happened to me Aug 1, 2006

I refused to make changes that arrived after the date of delivery as I considered I had fulfilled the terms of my contract with the agency.

It sounds like you have too. Do you have an order form you can rely on?

Good luck!

Mary


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Jalapeno
Local time: 14:49
English to German
Proof Aug 1, 2006

Gillian Noameshie wrote:

so I agreed with the project manager that the project was finished.


Do you have any way to prove that? An e-mail by the project manager or anything? That would surely end the matter in a New York minute. If the agency told you that the project was finished, it's finished, simple as that.


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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:49
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
evidencias Aug 1, 2006

Do you have an e-mail message or other communication from the PM indicating that s/he accepted the project as completed?

I would forward it to whomever is trying to reduce your invoice.

tony


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xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:49
English to Dutch
+ ...
Debt collection agency Aug 1, 2006

That is of course totally unreasonable. I'd immediately hand this matter to a debt collection agency, without doubt. You have the right to do this as soon as the client threatens to make deductions from your invoice with dubious reasoning.

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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:49
German to English
+ ...
Depends on extent of changes... Aug 1, 2006

Gillian, I know how stressful it is to move and I totally commiserate. I am so sorry you have to deal with drama at a time like this.

That said, I don't think it's necessarily time to call out the big guns of arbitration, as others have suggested. To me, it depends on the extent of the changes wanted. If they have totally rewritten the original, then clearly this is a new project (and any decent agency would know this and stick up for you!). However, if it's reasonable changes they want in *your* wording, or compliance with their terminology, I personally tend to accommodate them. I go through this with a number of clients when they are doing large print runs of marketing brochures. I don't think even a few weeks is unreasonable for a big company to get back to you. Perhaps an expert can tell us more about the legal situation in Germany with respect to "Nachbesserung"?

However complete re-translation of sentences in the original I usually simply charge additionally at the agreed-upon rate.

So how major are these changes? How long do you estimate it will take you to do them? Could you:
a) do these changes w/o Trados, i.e. they are simple enough that you could simply edit your original uncleaned files? I mean, the agency could clean them for the end-client, and you could re-clean the files later to update your TM when you have access to 7.0.
b) either agree to do them for free or, if they are considerable, persuade the agency to pay you for X hours of additional work at your hourly rate?


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, I have evidence - in London. Aug 1, 2006

Now I have to find a way to keep them happy for this project. I will probably be too busy for any other project they want to send.

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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Have to use Trados Aug 1, 2006

The translation is in TagEditor.

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