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Opinion on work non accepted as payable
Thread poster: Katarina Andersson

Katarina Andersson  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:38
Member (2006)
Italian to Swedish
+ ...
Sep 27, 2006

Hello!

Just wanted to ask an opinion in general, I have just slaved for 3 days trying to translate and put order in and somehow recreate a financial statements report and it might not have been really in the field of my expertise. And the more I worked on it the more difficult it got actually. But I really tried put a lot of work into it etc. And it was also a scanned pdf.document which made it even worse needing to recreate the tables etc.

Today I delivered, and the agency now told me that their client found the translation too bad and thus will not pay the agency and therefore I will not get paid either. Are these general acceptable terms?

The agency usually is quite good and trustworthy. But then I have to blame myself a bit because there was no official PO, but agreement through email of time and price. And of course it is only in a situation like this one would have wanted some sort of written agreement beforehand.

As the agency have stated very clearly that I will not get paid, I don't really feel like starting a big fuzz for 200 euros. Still it feels a bit awkward.

Thanks,

Katarina.


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:38
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
I hate to say this but… Sep 27, 2006

Hi Kat, it sounds like you know you didn’t do a very good job on that. Next time my advice would be to take a look at the job and if it’s not going to be up to scratch don’t do it, because it’ll save you time and stress.
Strive only to do excellent translations.

I don’t agree with you not getting paid at all unless the translation was really awful and makes absolutely no sense at all and reads like it was written by someone who “kinda knows a bit o’ the lingo” which should not be the case if you’re a pro. If it’s a poor translation done by a mother-tongue that needs a few terms changed by someone who knows the sector and some sentences rephrasing, then normal practice is for the translator to offer/be asked for a discount that will go towards paying for the extra revision, this could be as much as 30-50% of the price of the translation depending on how much needs done.

Btw 200€ slaving away for 3 days sounds like you need to raise your rates and/or specialize in something because that’s more or less a normal day’s work, 8 hours or less at 0,09€, no problem.

This never actually happened to me but if I were you and you know it wasn’t a good job I’d offer to pay for an independent revision and insist on getting paid the full amount out of which you can pay for the revision. The fact that the agency’s client isn’t paying them isn’t grounds for the agency not paying you. If you get an independent revision by a specialist you know you have a good translation and also have a second opinion on the quality of the job you did, and the agency can’t refuse to pay you if you pay for the revision.

For good agencies, a quick proofread and a little revision is included in their cut on the job anyway. If the translation is really bad they might ask you to accept a discounted payment if their in-house proof-reader had to spend a lot more time than usual on it.

Good luck.
Jo


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Katarina Andersson  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:38
Member (2006)
Italian to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Joe Sep 27, 2006

Actually, I don't think the translation is that bad and probably the client will use it anyway as with a bit of editing of the tables etc. it will be perfect.

The problem is that I did a mistake in calculating the effort the job would take, I was paid 0.095/word, but with all the tables and numbers it became a nightmare job. And that's why I think the job did not look very good because the tables were hard job, I had less time for concentrating on the text, however I serachedc for all terminology. I think that with a revision it is a text that is not bad at all. But what puzzles me is that the agency seems to have taken my file and sent it straight off to this investment corporation without even editing the tables, checking the numbers were all right, revisioning the text and letting me know of any mistakes.

As it is know I only have the fact that the end client has gotten the file, said it is unacceptable, that they will not pay the agency and thus the agency tells me I will not get paid either. But to me it seems the agency has acted not very correct here, the knew the situation with the scanned copies into a pdf. etc.

Anyway, I have written to the agency explaining my point of view and demanding to get paid for the work done.

Thanks,

Katarina.


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:38
English to German
+ ...
What was unacceptable? Sep 27, 2006

lampedus wrote:

As it is know I only have the fact that the end client has gotten the file, said it is unacceptable, that they will not pay the agency and thus the agency tells me I will not get paid either. But to me it seems the agency has acted not very correct here, the knew the situation with the scanned copies into a pdf. etc.


Katarina, please also keep in mind that they cannot simply refuse to pay on the grounds that the client said the translation was unacceptable. They have to let you know what was wrong about it. You fulfilled your part of the bargain and now they have to prove you did not.

So ask them explicitly, what parts of the translation were unacceptable and why. Maybe the client did not like the tables, so the agency has to tell you WHAT they did not like about the tables. (Wrong colour? ) And then, depending on the country you worked in or worked for, you also may have the right to correct your translation one or two times before they really can refuse full payment. They cannot refuse any payment at all, if you did an at least reasonable job.


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 00:38
French to Dutch
+ ...
Puzzled... Sep 27, 2006

Why did you recreate the tables? Did the client ask for it? Probably the only thing they needed is the translation of the text, the tables already exist inthe computer of the lay-ouyt man, and you'd better concentrate on the terminology. But this thing happened to me too, the client found "37 serious errors" in one-and-a-half page, had the translation "verified and checked" (by a friend) at the local Chamber of Commerce who said that it was a "scandal", the client was really upset and angry, shouting on the phone, etc. etc. Never saw him again. Later I did other translations in the same field and everybody was happy.

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Katarina Andersson  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:38
Member (2006)
Italian to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well Sep 27, 2006

as I got the file as pdf. and the pages were scanned into the file, the agency seemed to think then I was to do the tables too, but it was a nightmare job.

Anyway!

The agency answered that they are only managing the assignments, so what is in the files did not seem to be their problem. They get a client, send the text to a translator, get the file back and fwd it to the end client. Does the end client not pay, then the translator does not get paid either.

Thanks for your opinion.


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:38
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agency? I don't think so Sep 27, 2006

lampedus wrote:
The agency answered that they are only managing the assignments, so what is in the files did not seem to be their problem. They get a client, send the text to a translator, get the file back and fwd it to the end client. Does the end client not pay, then the translator does not get paid either.


If that's true, that's the poorest excuse for an agency I've ever hea of. An agency is a lot more than just a go-between.


[Editado a las 2006-09-27 16:06]


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KLS
Local time: 23:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Learn how to say no to clients Sep 27, 2006

Hello Katarina,

It does sound as though you have been working out of your "comfort zone" and I think you accept that, although clearly you have worked very hard and made every effort to produce a professional translation.

Accounting and finance is quite a specialised area (whatever the agency says) and it is really not a good idea just to "have a go" and hope for the best, because if you are unfamiliar with the subject this is likely to show through in your translation.

Anyone who is going to translate financial statements needs at the very least to have a sound knowledge of the workings of a balance sheet and profit & loss account.

The drawback of doing financial statements, as you have pointed out, is that at the end of the day the word count is disappointingly low, and you might feel that it doesn't really reward you for the time spent. However, it does get easier as you go on, because obviously the same terms come up time and time again, and you build up your own glossary.

As far as the tables are concerned, if you have to recreate a whole load of tables from a pdf document, it is not unreasonable to make a surcharge for this, although this should be agreed with the client before you start work.

For the future, the best lesson to take from this is that as soon as you realise that a job is outside your comfort zone, you should not accept it. Learn to say no!

The agency are being very harsh by rejecting the job completely. Their response is very poor. You should at least have been given the opportunity to rectify your work. I hope you will be able to negotiate a discount with them (but I am afraid this might be substantial if their client has refused to pay).

Best of luck

Alan


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Manuel Rossetti
Local time: 23:38
non accepted as payable Sep 27, 2006

Hola Katarina,

I'm sorry for what happened. I always make my own judgement on the project when looking at it before making any official agreements to anything and when I do, I make sure that it’s done without any disruptions. I cant discuss business terms and at the same time be carefully analyzing the project all while the project due time is ticking away. The following reasons are why :



1) I've received projects that are supposedly in one language and when I look at it, it's several different languages that are involved, (the agency could not tell if it was Spanish or Portuguese or other languages), or the source document is substandard in quality (It looks as if the document was written by someone not proficient in that language creating all sorts of orthographic errors, spelling, grammar, syntax, sentence structure, mixing languages). Also, parts of the document may be typed then mixed in with handwriting.

2)There are other projects that I felt should have been labeled URGENT and were not.

3) The description of the project is misleading.
There were projects that I've seen incorrectly categorized with the subject matter or area of specialty. Some are not given credit as being highly specialized and in turn expect to treat it as a general document or few technical phrases and give the translator a sense that it isn't too involving or technical, or present the project to the translator as the project itself dealing with one subject matter and it's totally something else.

4) I’m a little reluctant if I get the impression (especially if I'm told directly by ) my PM and that agency are not technically inclined and are not computer literate and that they- are not translators, and are of little help if any in regards to anything about the project.

Shouldn’t the agency that is being dealt with know this matter upon accepting the project from their client in properly outlining and describing what the project entails? Or is the agency simply receiving and sending the project to the translator? The client then is left with sole discretion of deciding if they want to pay for the final product.

Also, is the client aware of how the agency manages the projects, for ex. the translator selection process, the communication, the agency's level of knowledge on the software needed for the project or the agency's availability to be able to respond to their translator's needs, the agency's willingness to discuss any project-related discrepancies and come to an agreement together with (the agency and translator) prior to commencing the project. What's the agency's relationship with the translator?

Or is the translator totally accountable for everything and the agency is just there to receive and send the project?

I speak from this one experience.
I feel to work your tail off and not get paid at all is totally wrong and unethical especially if your project manager and the co-manager of the agency all agree on paying you at a discount rate and then the manager says that you're not getting paid at all.

I was confirmed the receipt of the project. I was never notified about any changes that needed to be made. It was 30 days later that I received a note about the client being dissatisfied. I then called the agency and was surprised they hadn’t contacted me sooner.

The co-manager of the business and my project manager both felt I should receive some money for my hard work and therefore offered me the discount rate that was agreed upon over email and over the phone. Yet the manager told the co-manager NO over phone, that I would not get paid anything.

I was appalled at the quality and manner of them conducting business and business transactions.


When I needed help, about 3hours later into the work and called my PM as she offered me to, the PM sounded tired and didn’t want to be bothered and didn’t have the original work on her. She would have to go back to her office and it was late. Also, well into all these pages I had, it got really technical and very involving. The project went from general business, terms and conditions to being highly specialized in financial and accounting matters. I am assuming I was taken for granted being that I had worked for them occassionally on small projects for a few months and those projects involved this subject matter. (However, that was the case for a portion and not the entire project, which, as I stated above became highly specialized in accounting and finance, which was not on the project description). It was honest hard as heck work, including tons of typing into the late night and early hours of the morning, the extensive use of the magnifying glass, and of my printer and cartridge ink and research for the specialized terms.


I'm very careful with my purchase orders and I have the manager who's on the contract sign (if they provide me a contract) their name before I sign mine that way we've BOTH signed the same paperwork. Regardless if the agency provides me a contract (to which we BOTH have to agree to and both sign), I always give out a Purchase Order prior to beginning work.


If they send me a file to look at, then they tell me that's not the one you will translate, instead you will translate this other file and ask you at the same time if you want to commit to it, and the other file is still being organized by the PM or agency to give to you, then depending on the deadline I may or may not want to pursue the matter further.

I do not like going to a project feeling worried, nervous, confused, etc.


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Katarina Andersson  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:38
Member (2006)
Italian to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all the nice answers... Sep 28, 2006

As I talked it through with another translator I know yesterday too, I wrote a long email to the PM calmly explaining my points of view (that they should have to let me know what was wrong in the text according to them, giving me possibility to correct etc.) and stating that I do not think it is fair to just tell me that the client did not like the translation and that's it and that they therefore do not pay.

The PM is quite nice so he replied saying they unfortunately are only a linguistic consulting agency thus the whole responsibility lies on the translator and therefore could not pay me. Anyway, it seems that as I had protested and demanding payment, he offered me a 50 % payment and as I do not want to spend too much time on this I accepted.

He never gave me any comments about what the client complained about, but then I don't think he really knew either.

Thanks Alan for your comments too. While working on it, it turned out to be more complicated than I thought and much more time consuming etc. However, the thing is that the client probably still has my file and with a quick specialist dtp and revision if that was needed the text will be fit for fight for them, for free, so why should I not get paid then? Well I don't know whether they use my text, but why wouldn't they when the rough job already has been done...?

All the best,

Katarina.


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