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Need some advice. The agency refuses to pay what they owe me!
Thread poster: Marie West

Marie West  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:45
English to French
+ ...
Dec 18, 2008

I translated 37000 words in xml files for an American agency, using Tageditor and Trados. The files contained the text in English twice, as follows:-

source
About
>Corporate Bonds<
source

target
About
>Corporate Bonds<
target

I was asked to keep the source file format. So, when I translated the text using trados ans tageditor the text appeared in French in duplicate, as the original did. No one asked me to translate only one of the texts in duplicate; so I translated both texts.

Now, the company refuses to pay me what they owe me, at first they only wanted to pay me 50% of the work because the translation is in duplicate. The project manager claims having spent 2 days reformatting my translation. He also said the following: "xml files usually have the same text twice, one as the source text, the second time as the target text; tag editor only allows for the translation of the target text because, if we translate the source text, xml files cannot be used".
Apparently, the proofreader didn't notice the problem and the translation was sent to the client in the original format (i.e source and target texts in the same language); so the proofreader is also going to be payed less than expected.

Now, after arguing with the PM, the company agreed to pay me 70% of what the owe me.
I sent them an e-mail saying that I was "prepared to accept the proposed 70% payment offer if their findings suggest some fault with my use of the software, and would prefer to wait until this becomes clear. However, if they confirm there to have been no fault on my part, I feel it is only right to expect the full payment agreed - especially so as the whole purpose of having the work proof-read is to pick up such issues in time for them to be corrected."

They have not replied to my e-mail yet, which I sent Tuesday.

What can I do? Do you think I am in the wrong?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Marie-Ange


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Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:45
English to Serbian
+ ...
Hm. Dec 18, 2008

I think you should have asked for some clarification, before you took it for granted and translated the whole file in such way, especially because the volume is quite big; and also because double texts with 'source' and 'target' had to look a little'suspicious' at least.
Though it is very difficult to say what would be the fair way to resolve the problem now.


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Marina Soldati  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A couple of questions Dec 18, 2008

Hi Angie,

Just a couple of questions to clarify the issue:
Which is the wordcount you agreed in the PO or e-mail you received from the agency?
Did they send any instruction with the file, or just told you to translate it?
Did they ask whether you had any experience translating xml files?

Regards,
Marina


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:45
English to Portuguese
+ ...
They have cash flow problems Dec 18, 2008

Whenever a translation agency demands a reduction in the amount to be paid to a translator after a job has been delivered, it is a giveaway indicator that they may have cash flow problems (the other option is being plain dishonest). Of course, they must justify it with some flaw in your work, in your understanding of the instructions, in your timely delivery, whatever. If there is none, they must invent an excuse, say your electronic files reek of garlic, tobacco smoke, or both, and the end-client is allergic; anything goes.

Evidence of that is that if they have no cash flow problems, and there is anything in your work that behooves correction or improvement, they'll first ask you to fix it, after all they'll be paying for it!

If you translated everything twice, and Trados is as good as their manufacturer insists in telling me several times a week, or if at least it's as good as WordFast, it 'shouldn't have caused you much work to translate the second time each segment came up. So if you initially counted the words twice, it would be fair to halve the count, viz. 50%. However if they are now offering 70%, it's a sure sign that you are fully entitled to 100%, regardless of their cash flow problems.


If you wish, be my guest to send them the text above, royalty-free.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:45
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Technical question Dec 18, 2008

I'm not sure that I understand the situation entirely.

Is it correct that the XML file contains the text N times, N being the number of language instances? If this is so, then somewhere in the XML tags there will be an attribute to distinguish between source and target segments. Now I use *other* tools for dealing with XML generally, but I do believe that TagEditor allows one to filter the text based on this attribute. Jerzy C. or Ben P. or one of the other real experts on Trados arcana can probably confirm the details of this. I don't have time to go fiddling in TE right now.

If that is the case and the agency did not provide an appropriately configured INI file for you to use (and instructions to do so), then I would say that the agency is at fault. There is something referred to as the "duty to instruct" which is most likely applicable here.


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Goran Tasic  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 07:45
English to Serbian
+ ...
Hide source text Dec 18, 2008

I usually "hide" the source text in Excel before I drag it into Tageditor, so no duplication is appearing at all. Then you finish your translation in Tageditor and save it as target text, open the Excel file and reveal the hidden text and save it as it is. You will see 1 column with source and the other will be with your translation.

Hope this helped for future work.

Regards


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:45
German to English
+ ...
TTX? Dec 18, 2008

Marie-Ange WEST wrote:

[The project manager] said the following: "xml files usually have the same text twice, one as the source text, the second time as the target text; tag editor only allows for the translation of the target text because, if we translate the source text, xml files cannot be used".


Is this "xml file" possibly a Trados TTX file?

Marc


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Renée van Bijsterveld  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:45
Member (2007)
English to Dutch
+ ...
familiar with Tageditor? Dec 18, 2008

Did you translate using the Workbench functionality or did you simply overtype the text in TE without actually using the Workbench (Open segment > type your translation > Set, close, open next etc.)? If this is the case, I feel the agency is right about not paying you double and should instead have asked you to restore the source text and redo the translation in TE + Workbench, if that was part of the agreement.

But if the original XML file contained these duplicate texts, I guess you could charge 50% new words + 50% repetitions.


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Marie West  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:45
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No instruction regarding the translation of the source and target texts Dec 18, 2008

Hi Marina,

The word count agreed was 37000 words.
They did not give me any instruction regarding the translation apart from keeping the source file format and leaving the tags and the section indicated_ which did not include the source or target texts_untranslated. They didn't ask me either if I had experience translating xml files.

[Edited at 2008-12-18 21:53 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-12-18 21:54 GMT]


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Marie West  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:45
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well, Dec 18, 2008

Reneevb,

I translated using workbench, but this isn't the issue. The issue is that I translated the 37000 agreed but they don't want to pay me the rate agreed because the translation appears twice instead of once. You see? I was supposed to leave out one of the duplicate texts but I didn't know about it.

[Edited at 2008-12-18 21:54 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-12-18 21:55 GMT]


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Marie West  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:45
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You're right Miroslav Dec 18, 2008

I wish I had asked some clarification...The thing is what do I do now, cos I did my job. I feel that the formatting problem is not really my fault.

[Edited at 2008-12-18 21:55 GMT]


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Marie West  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:45
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The issue is not the wordcount but the formatting Dec 18, 2008

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Whenever a translation agency demands a reduction in the amount to be paid to a translator after a job has been delivered, it is a giveaway indicator that they may have cash flow problems (the other option is being plain dishonest). Of course, they must justify it with some flaw in your work, in your understanding of the instructions, in your timely delivery, whatever. If there is none, they must invent an excuse, say your electronic files reek of garlic, tobacco smoke, or both, and the end-client is allergic; anything goes.

Evidence of that is that if they have no cash flow problems, and there is anything in your work that behooves correction or improvement, they'll first ask you to fix it, after all they'll be paying for it!

If you translated everything twice, and Trados is as good as their manufacturer insists in telling me several times a week, or if at least it's as good as WordFast, it 'shouldn't have caused you much work to translate the second time each segment came up. So if you initially counted the words twice, it would be fair to halve the count, viz. 50%. However if they are now offering 70%, it's a sure sign that you are fully entitled to 100%, regardless of their cash flow problems.


If you wish, be my guest to send them the text above, royalty-free.


Hi José,

The problem is I translated everything in duplicate because the original document was in duplicate. However, the problem isn't the word count because I did agree to translate 37000 words anyway. The problem is that they don't want to pay me what they owe me because the source and the target text were translated, and I didn't know that they wanted me to translate only one of them. Apparently they spent two days reformatting the files, i.e. deleting the duplicate texts.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 07:45
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
The question is not whether there's a problem - the question is, how big is it? Dec 18, 2008

I translated 37000 words in xml files for an American agency, using Tageditor and Trados....

Is the 37.000 words both source AND target? Actually if it the one and the same text repeated twice, the absolute number is immaterial.

If you did the same thing twice, I dont think there's an agency that would be ready to pay you 100% rate for the 37k , with half of it being repeats. I mean, it's not that much a question of 37k words yes or no, the question is how much you had to work for them and as a result how much they are worth.

[Edited at 2008-12-18 22:12 GMT]


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Marie West  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:45
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The 37000 words are the number of words are agreed to translate at the beginning. Dec 18, 2008

Vito Smolej wrote:

I translated 37000 words in xml files for an American agency, using Tageditor and Trados....

Is the 37.000 words both source AND target? Actually if it the one and the same text repeated twice, the absolute number is immaterial.

If you did the same thing twice, I dont think there's an agency that would be ready to pay you 100% rate for the 37k , with half of it being repeats. I mean, it's not that much a question of 37k words yes or no, the question is how much you had to work for them and as a result how much they are worth.

[Edited at 2008-12-18 22:12 GMT]


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Marina Soldati  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Accept the 70% Dec 18, 2008

Hi again!

If, as Kevin points out, the agency didn´t provide the .ini file, they agreed on a wordcount of 37.000 words, and sent the translated file to their client with source and target phrases translated, it seems that they didn´t know how to handle xml files either.

I strongly believe that you deserve the invoice´s full amount, but, this will turn into an endless discussion on whose fault it is.

My advice: take the 70% they offer and forget about them.

Merry Christmas to all!
Marina


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