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A reason to be worried?
Thread poster: svenfrade

svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:47
French to German
+ ...
Sep 2, 2008

On Sunday I responded to a job offer here on proz.com for a very urgent project with a word count of 7500 due for delivery on Monday evening.

The agency accepted my offer, sent the file and told me they would sent me the PO later. On Monday morning I asked to be sent the PO before delivery of the translation but got no reply. I finally decided to send the file without just before the deadline and asked the agency again to send me the PO and acknowledge the receipt of the file... but I received NOTHING. No reaction at all.

The agency has a fairly good blueboard rating, but as I noticed in the past this doesn't necessarily mean much...

I am really worried now that I won't get paid for this job that messed up my Sunday, but I thought after having taken almost four weeks off it was about time to get back to work again. Looks like that time was wasted though...

Any suggestions what I should do now? Keep asking for a PO? Send the invoice based on the word count given here on proz.com and the rate I quoted?

Perhaps this happens all the time but for me it's the first time...


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Capesha  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Monday was a Bank Holiday in USA Sep 2, 2008

Maybe they were a little bit under pressure due to this reason?

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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:47
French to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks... Sep 2, 2008

I didn't know that. That might explain it so perhaps there is still hope...

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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 21:47
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Send an invoice Sep 2, 2008

I always send an invoice when I send the work, whether I have a PO or not. Sometimes "the gal who does the POs has a sick baby" or something. And keep emailing until you get some kind of a response!

Good luck.


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Capesha  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Agree with Jane from Puerto Rico Sep 2, 2008

Just prepare the invoice and write "your p.o. via proz.com dated...." in the reference.

As I already said, Monday was a Bank holiday. And it was a rush job, too.
That is no excuse at all, but maybe they need some time to re-arrange themselves and the fact that they did not send the p.o. is no bad will.

I already faced this fact several times (job was sent, p.o. was promised and then the days passed by). But in no case this lead to any non-payments.


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Andres & Leticia Enjuto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:47
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Invoice and phone call Sep 2, 2008

Hello Katharina,

I would invoice them (Jane and Capesha gave you good ideas on this - I would also add date of delivery of the job), and then give them a phone call... or ten if necessary. You can invest a few bucks in Skype for this.

If you don't receive an answer, just call them once a day or every other day. Imagine you're talking to a wall and keep asking them for the PO and eventually for payment. It might work.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

Andrés


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Luis Arri Cibils  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:47
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
P.O.s and U.S laws (maybe not relevant in this case) Sep 2, 2008

Hi Katharina,

I have no idea about German law, but in the US, a P.O. is not necessary for a binding contract.

Imagine this e-mail exchange:

1. Dear Ms. Translator, I am attaching a document that must be translated from language A to language B by [date] at 5 p.m. U.S. Central Time. Are you available? Do you feel comfortable translating this type of documents? What are you rates? Signed: John Doe, PM, Acme Translation Agency, Somewhere, US.

2. Dear PM, Yes, I am available and the text is well within my translation professional capabilities. My rate would be X cents per word. Is that rate acceptable? Please let me know whether I should proceed with the translation. Signed: Ms. Translator.

3. Dear Ms. Translator, yes, your rate is acceptable. Please proceed with the translation. I'll send you t he corresponding P.O. shortly.

In my view, many/most/all U.S. courts will find in that e/mail exchange all the elements necessary to conclude that there is a binding contract between Ms. Translation and Acme Translation Agency, even if a P.O. is never sent.

Often I do not get a P.O., yet I have always been paid. Some emails, from long-standing clients, say simply: Dear Luis, I am attaching a document that must be translated by [date]. Let me know if you are not available. When you send your invoice mention P.O. No. 12345678. I answer: Dear Agency, I'll send the translation by the required deadline. In my view, case closed. No actual P.O. is ever sent.

I believe that it is always a safe practice to require that a PO be issued, particularly if you are working for the first time for a given client. It memorializes the relevant terms and conditions and removes any doubts that a contract exists (none in my mind, in the above hypothetical example, under U.S. laws). Again, I have no idea about German law and I do not know what the emails said in your case. But send the invoice.

Luis

[Edited at 2008-09-02 20:50]


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CFK TRAD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:47
English to French
+ ...
Fully concur with Luis Sep 3, 2008

Dear Katharina,

Some of my best clients as agencies never send POs. The emails they send and I send are enough.
Since the add posted onto Proz was clear enough (ie : how many words ? what languages ? deadline ? rates ?) and/or that all these elements were sorted out in your emails, I don't see where the problem should be.

As an outsourcer, I tend to send POs to all translation providers. But, I may have :
1°) A problem with your Internet;
2°) A new/current/potential/regular client who calls, then another one, etc., and you just forget about sending the PO;

Of course, all outsourcers (me included!) should stop everything they're doing and issue the PO immediately; of course, all translators (me included!) should print the PO, sign and stamp it, and send it back within an hour... it should be the right way. We all know that we're trying to do this, but we don't always do.

Asking for a PO now ? What for? You can prove that the TA chose you to translate the text, correct? You can prove that you translated the text and sent it back within the deadline, correct?

So now, what you've got to do is to send the invoice (by the way, when you don't know an agency, send it with you text! If they receive the translation, they cannot say "Oh sorry we have not received the invoice"; I tend to call the translator when I don't get the invoice within 12 hours from the sending of the translation).

Once again, both as a translator and as an outsourcer, I would not worry about the PO.

Good luck and best regards

Coralie.


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:47
French to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Sep 5, 2008

Thanks a lot for your replies.

I did hear from the agency after all and apparently they are very busy at the moment and promised to send the PO.

The reason I really wanted a PO in this case is that I am not entirely sure about the word count. The number of words stated here on proz was about 1000 less than the word count they stated in their first email, but then again one whole page didn't have to be translated. I would normally just do my own word count in Word, but this document is full of text boxes so I don't really feel like doing a seperate word count on each of them. But if they don't send the PO today I might just work out the words of the page that didn' t need to be translated.

I am not entirely sure about German law, but even a verbal contract is usully considered to be binding so I believe that our email exchange would be as well...

I was probably just panicking since they didn't reply at all, I have never worked for them before and the amount due is not a small one...


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