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Informing the end client
Thread poster: Roy Chaudhuri

Roy Chaudhuri  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 05:50
Member (2006)
English to Bengali
+ ...
Mar 25, 2007

I have been denied a large payment by an agency which is in the US, and they refuse to even reply to emails and voice messages. The payment is long overdue and I now think that thy may not pay at all. Many other translators have posted non-payment messages in the Blue Board recently regarding the same agency.

I have access to the end client who this agency works for. Will it be fair/ethical for me to contact them and appraise them of its unfair business practices?


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Katia Gygax  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:20
French to Russian
+ ...
Yes Mar 25, 2007

I think that the end customer has probably paid the agency but I also think it is better if the customers know at least that this agency does not pay the translators.

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Henrik Pipoyan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:20
Member (2004)
English to Armenian
Hi Roy Mar 25, 2007

The limits of “fairness” usually depend on both parties. For example, they would never think it unfair not to pay you if you had delivered the translation ten days after the deadline. Why should you think it unfair to contact the end client if they don’t pay you the money you have earned? You have the right to do anything within the limits of the existing laws, namely: contact the end client, inform the INS, post on BB, and finally take action against them. The only thing is that I would first let them know what I am planning to do. Your only aim is to get your money, and not to hurt them. The possible effect of any action against someone is always stronger than the real effect after that action has been taken, because it contains an element of uncertainty, and it gives the client a choice between paying you and facing possible problems.

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Vauwe
Local time: 01:20
English to German
+ ...
What has the end client to do with this Mar 25, 2007

Informing the end client may exert some pressure on the agency, but actually the end client has nothing to do with the contract you have with your agency. He may only shrug and think what can I do, why I'm involved.
You have other means such as a BB entry, legal actions etc.


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Alfredo Tutino  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:20
English to Italian
+ ...
copyright holder Mar 25, 2007

It is a good idea to have it stated, as a reminder, in your invoice and / or in the PO, but as far as I know a translator retains copyright of her / his work until paid. Thus, you may chose to warn the end client that the agency do not hold said copyright, and if they use (or have used) your unpaid translation this may constitute a breach of your rights

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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:20
English to German
+ ...
I'd want to know Mar 25, 2007

Vauwe wrote:

Informing the end client may exert some pressure on the agency, but actually the end client has nothing to do with the contract you have with your agency. He may only shrug and think what can I do, why I'm involved.
You have other means such as a BB entry, legal actions etc.


This is not either or, it is both and. Do everything you can, which is morally and legally acceptable to help educate such agencies or put them out of business.

If you did your job well and are entitled to payment and they do not pay you, then I'd think you should do what is necessary (to a reasonable extent! ) to receive payment and protect others from falling into the same trap.

If I was someone outsourcing translation to an agency, I'd want to know, if this agency did not pay the subcontractors. I am using the translations, I paid for them and it could cause some trouble if they were not paid for in the first place.

It is like buying from a thief: Even if you do not know something was stolen, you still have no right to keep the stolen goods, even though you paid for them. And then it is your problem to get your money back from the thief.


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Lubain Masum  Identity Verified
Bangladesh
Local time: 06:20
Member (2006)
English to Bengali
+ ...
Do you have PO? Mar 25, 2007

Do you have PO? Did you submit the work exactly on time? Did they accept the invoice you sent after completion of work? What is their position right now or last time they contacted you?

If everything is documented (you have detailed PO, evidence of submitting the work on time [email], and acceptance of your invoice), I think Proz.com should take some steps. As far as I remember (although not sure), I read such kind of postings by Ritu Bhanot (French to Hindi translator, India) where ProZ helped her get payment.

I am very sorry to hear your miseries and would only advise all translators not to ever work without PO. With PO and evidence of submission of work in time ProZ should take steps against non-payer agencies. Sometimes I feel helpless and frustrated when I see that some outsourcers who did not pay me become members and make more translators victim.

Yes, I think you should do every thing legal to get your payment including informing the end client. There is nothing wrong or unethical here. Why you think of ethics when the person commits the first 'crime' of not paying you?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
First impressions, and then... Mar 25, 2007

Roy Chaudhuri wrote:
I have been denied a large payment by an agency which is in the US, and they refuse to even reply to emails and voice messages. The payment is long overdue and I now think that thy may not pay at all. ... I have access to the end client who this agency works for. Will it be fair/ethical for me to contact them and appraise them of its unfair business practices?


My first impression was to say that (a) you have a confidentiality agreement to consider (regardless of whether you were paid) and that (b) it is childish to complain to the end client about something he didn't do... but having read some of the responses I think I'd change my stance to this: the end client deserves to be informed (in a friendly, non-threatening manner) that he may accidently break the law by using your translation without having copyright or a licence to use it.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 18:20
English to Russian
+ ...
Did they ever give you any reason for non-payment? Mar 25, 2007

Such as "client did not pay"?

If so, you have a good cause to inform the end client - your outsourcer is guilty of defamation by spreading the lies about end client's business practices.

I'd contact the end client anyway but inquiring about the payment and informing him would be a nice angle to use. By all means, the client does not have to report to you on anything, especially payments, but it's worth a try. You will not be breaking any laws by a polite attempt.


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Roy Chaudhuri  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 05:50
Member (2006)
English to Bengali
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Mar 26, 2007

I am very happy that so many prople have come forward to offer advise and suggestions. Thanks a lot and I am going forward and implementing some of them.

I do not have a PO but have detailed correspondances on the two transacttions. I have reported the non-payment to roZ. Regarding legal steps I am not sure what I can do to a US agency sitting in India. I plan to write to the end client.

Meanwhile the agencies telephone remains on the anwering machine mode and the negative entries on its blue board multiplies!


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