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Payment after 2 months of job delivery
Thread poster: widati utami

widati utami  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 23:27
Japanese to Indonesian
+ ...
Jan 3, 2008

Dear colleagues,

Recently I got a contract from translation agency mentioned that the payment for translator will be done 2 months after the translator delivered the translation result. To me, 2 months sounds too long. Do you have any sugestion on what I should do? Do you think it's possible to propose new scheme of payment, for instance 1 month after delivery? Or is it only me who don't understand that payment 2 months after job delivery is very normal in this business?
Thanks so much for your idea.

Cheers,

Widati


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:27
Portuguese to English
+ ...
It's normal Jan 3, 2008

Hi Widate,
In my experience, a 2 month delay is normal. Some companies pay faster, but a lot take a 1 1/2 to 2 months to pay. I have learned to live with it.

Amy


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
That's the way it is Jan 3, 2008

Companies generally pay by either 30, 60 or 90 days.

In my ideal world, all clients would pay by 30 days or sooner, but it doesn't always work out so nicely.

You can certainly suggest to them that you'd like to get paid sooner, but don't be surprised if they're not willing to do so.

Good Luck


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:27
English to German
+ ...
You're extending credit Jan 3, 2008

Hi Widati,
Payment after 60 or 90 days is not unusual - however, you should be aware of the fact that you are extending credit to the agency. Are you prepared to lend them money for two months? Do you know enough about their business to assess their creditworthiness?

In my view, anyone outsourcing business should have the financial resources available to pay providers, regardless of when (or if) their client pays. Someone asking for 60 days' payment terms either makes extra money at your expense, and/or doesn't have the financial backing they should have. Bad news in either case.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Seamus Moran  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:27
Member
German to English
+ ...
30 days the norm but not always Jan 3, 2008

30 days is the norm for me, although I do work for an agency that pay after 90 days but they are a steady partner and are the exception.

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Juan Perello  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 19:27
Member (2005)
Japanese to Spanish
+ ...
Normal for Japanese Agencies at least. Jan 3, 2008

Hi Widati

As I see that you work with Japanese as well, I can tell you that 2 months is quite normal
for Japanese agencies, and that knowing them, I don't think you could get them to pay you before, because, to put it simply, that's not the way they do it. You may try to negotiate better terms occasionally, once you know each other well.

Regards

Juan Luis


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:27
Dutch to English
+ ...
I refuse point blank to work on anything other than 30 days Jan 3, 2008

And I'm never without work (touch wood),

Granted that means I don't work with a number of agencies based in Portugal, purely for that reason, but no loss. Others have made exceptions for me, but only because there aren't that many translators genuinely specialised in PT»EN legal. All the Dutch/Belgian/UK agencies I work with either accept those terms or apply them anyhow.

I haven't got "bank" written across my forehead. Any agency that can't/won't pay within 30 days is under-capitalised in my opinion. I don't have one outstanding debtor for 2007, so it's an approach that works for me. But that said, I'm also very quick to follow up payments as soon as the due date has past.

I deliver bang on time, so must the client. Some people will find my approach too black and white, but after a decade practising in insolvency law, I'd rather be black and white than caught unawares. Perhaps the fact they know I'm a lawyer helps, I haven't asked them

As some people have noted, some countries tend to have longer terms. Italy is one that springs to mind. Portugal does too, but I didn't accept the "norm". And I have a number paying 30 days, more than enough to keep me busy anyhow.

I just know I could never be motivated to get up at 4 a.m. tomorrow (like I do most mornings), to be paid for my work at the end of March/April.

Translators should collectively take a tougher stance on this. The norm is only the norm if it enjoys popular support. Easier said than done but it's not impossible. My debtor analysis proves it.

[Edited at 2008-01-03 18:13]


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Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 01:27
Italian to Danish
+ ...
hear, hear Jan 3, 2008

I totally agree with this approach: Either you pay "my way" (i.e. max. 30 days) or you get somebody else to do the job. And as our Portoguese colleague says, if not so many can be found to do a legal text in the requested language pair, then you dictate the rules if you are the one that can provide what is requested.
I work a lot with Italian agencies and although they have a preference for payment in "90 days end of month" I have managed to get them to accept "30 days from invoice date". Those that cannot accept this... get their translator elsewhere.
I realize that if you work in a language pair with a lot of competitors it might not be that easy to dictate the rules. You will then have to lean on your quality of work.. if that is the best, your clients will accept your terms!
But - exactly as if your customers entered a shop to buy something - the terms of payment are yours and not those of the client. Credit is something you agree about when and if your client has proven to be trustworthy as far as payments are concerned.


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David Girón Béjar
Spain
Local time: 23:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
That's the way in Spain! Jan 3, 2008

Hi Dinny,

In my experience, translation agencies pay, at least in Spain and other EU countries, after 30, 45, 60 or 90 days. I am still waiting for a payment that is due on 18 January 2008 of a 40.000 words translation that I delivered on 22 October 2007, so I think it's quite normal...

Good luck!

David


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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 00:27
English to Norwegian
+ ...
up to you Jan 3, 2008

I do have some very good and reliable clients who pay after 60 days.
This is not what I prefer, but as long as they pay without fail or reminders - it is better than those who promise a lot and turn out not to pay at all.
Whatever the terms, I think it is advisable to only work up to a certain credit limit before you refuse to take on any more work until you are paid for work already done.


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Harry Hermawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:27
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
It's your call... Jan 4, 2008

I guess it's your call, you know what to expect.

After reading all comments hope that you are able choose what's best for you.

Salam, met taon baru...dari...gloomy and wet Indonesia...


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
30 days is what it should be, but 30 days from when? Jan 4, 2008

The payment practice you describe is common, even though different agencies word it differently. Even some who claim to pay net 30 actually have longer payment cycles.

This is because agencies are getting awfully cute with the definition of "30 days." Several I've dealt with have the following policy: in theory, they pay net 30, but they only accept one invoice per translator per month. So if you do a job on January 1, you can't invoice it till January 31, and they don't have to pay it a till month after that.

Amazingly, a lot of agencies with ridiculously long payment periods can't manage to pay on time even by their own rules. As a result, I'm pruning my client list.

[Edited at 2008-01-04 01:32]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:27
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Bravo, LL! Jan 4, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:
I refuse point blank to work on anything other than 30 days

Translators should collectively take a tougher stance on this. The norm is only the norm if it enjoys popular support. Easier said than done but it's not impossible.


I get the impression that most agencies get paid on delivery. Okay, getting the whole job together (if there are more languages/services involved) takes a while, the client needs some time to approve it, and payment processing at the end-client might take a week, but the whole thing shouldn't take over a month.

My tenet is that any agency paying translators beyond 30 days from delivery is:
a) reoutsourcing, viz. handling jobs for yet another agency, not an end-client, and/or
b) facing cash flow problems, trying to build cash at the translators' expense.

Of course, there are the fly-by-nite agencies that just want more time to vanish completely before the translator finds out that s/he'll never get paid for that job (usually the MOST urgent ones).


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Michael and Raimunda Poe  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:27
English to Portuguese
+ ...
30 days that's the longest Jan 4, 2008

I am willing to wait thirty days. We have worked for companies for two months but now that we have enough clients we don't need to accept those companies who aren't willing to pay us within a reasonable time. Some may have the money to go two months eating salads, but I want meat on my plate! LOL. Have a good one everyone.

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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:27
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
The only viable approach IMHO Jan 4, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:
I refuse point blank to work on anything other than 30 days
And I'm never without work (touch wood)...


As I follow the very same approach, I agree entirely. This is the only viable procedure from a commercial/cash-flow point of view - haven't we all to pay our monthly bills? If only more of us freelancers adopted such a tough stance - I fail to understand why some colleagues are being so patient whilst assigning excellent Blue Board ratings to outsourcers paying only after 60 or 90 days (that said, I do realise that payment practices are not the only criterion coming into the LWA equation).

My 2c,
Steffen


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