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What would you do (big job, unknown client)?
Thread poster: Niina Lahokoski

Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:34
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
May 6, 2006

I received a job offer from an agency I haven't worked for before. The job offer is quite big, about one month's work. The first thing I did was to check BB and other similar resources, but the problem is that there are no records of this agency - no negative, no positive comments. Their website looks professional, though, and they say they have been in business for 15 years. Of course, I'd like to take the job, but how can I be sure that this agency is "serious"?

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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:34
Member (2005)
French to German
+ ...
Credit rating May 6, 2006

Niina Lahokoski wrote:
Of course, I'd like to take the job, but how can I be sure that this agency is "serious"?


Make up your mind how much credit you want to give to your new customer. Arrange for a plan where you deliver and get paid in installments correspondingly.

For instance, you might consider delivering the work in weekly installments, offering a payment delay of one week. Let's assume each installment is worth about 1000$. With this plan, you will find out after 2000$ have run up whether the customer pays their bills or not. This is better than having 4000$ owed and then finding out that you won't get paid.

If you are brave, you might even ask for some portion of the fee to be made in advance.

P.


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:34
And if the agency is serious... May 7, 2006

Peter Bouillon wrote:

If you are brave, you might even ask for some portion of the fee to be made in advance.

P.


... they will have no trouble to understand and comply with your petition, I would add.


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:34
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Divide the work... May 7, 2006

One solution might be to divide the work into portions. This solution has the advantage over the advance payment, as it is easier to convice the client to this - after all, if you deliver your work in portions the client himself makes sure that you can provide translation on time and in good quality.

As for the consistency, you might put a disclaimer that the first portions provided are "90% of the final quality" - they might be used as a indication of your progress and give general idea of the quality, but should not to be used by the end client - this would have to wait for the whole work to be completed. This allows you to introduce any final changes, if they are required.

The problem with this solution is that the payment date for the first portion should precede the date of the delivery of the last portion (otherwise, it would not make much sense), which might be difficult to arrange with long payment periods.


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:34
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good suggestions May 7, 2006

Thank you for the good ideas!

I don't think I'll ask for advance payment, but I'll suggest them that I deliver about 1/3 of the project in a little more than a week, and the invoice for that part would be due some days before the final deadline. The second invoice could then have the normal payment terms. This way they could evaluate my work beforehand and I would feel more secure about getting paid.


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Bubo Coromandus

Spanish to English
Ask for referees May 7, 2006

Besides doing what my colleagues suggest, you could ask the agency to supply you with the contact details of 2 translators whose identity you can verify (just so you know they really are who the client says they are) -- for instance, they should have been members of ProZ for a period and/or be members of a recognised translator's national association, whose membership you can verify by checking online.

Then you simply contact the translators, explain what you have been asked to do, and ask them if they could please give you brief details of their previous experience with this client.

If the client is in good standing they will be most willing to co-operate with you to prove their status.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:34
German to English
+ ...
It't not bravery May 7, 2006

Peter Bouillon wrote:
If you are brave, you might even ask for some portion of the fee to be made in advance.

P.


Just be honest and tell them about your point of view. By all means follow Peter's suggestion. If they are a respectable and experienced company in our field, they should understand your justifiable and reasonable concern. If they don't, be careful.

Bonne chance
Chris


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:34
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Now this is interesting... May 8, 2006

Thank you for all tips.

Well, I made my suggestion yesterday. As the job has one big file and several small files, I suggested that I would send the small files first (about 1/3 of the word count) and the big one on the agreed date, after the first part has been paid.

I got an answer today. I was told, that the client has "frozen" the translation of the big file, because changes will be made in it, and the new file will follow in a few days. The other files are still to be translated normally.

About my proposal, the contact person (who has quite a unique style of writing, I must say) didn't really say anything. Well, below is an extract of his answer:

"We are a Million euros company operating in [X] since [X] ! [...] but we are well reputed ! [...] please send me your agreement or contract and we will sign and return it to you !
As for payments no one has ever complained "

What do you think? I just can't see, how a contract would help me in case of non-payment?


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