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Translator lied about word count and how should I pay her?
Thread poster: Anna Muntean Stacanova

Anna Muntean Stacanova
United States
Local time: 18:58
Russian to English
+ ...
Dec 20, 2008

Happy holidays to everyone!

I am in confusing situation, I doubt how to pay to translator

and I would be happy for your advice.

I took the job I could not complete because of sickness and so immediatelly found a translator to finish it and said to her that payment will come 30-45 days as agency promised to me or in case agancy does not pay I will pay my money.


The translator E... send me the document fast, earlier then I asked for and of course send me invoice.


I was still sick and did not check her word count and did not check the quality. I just agreed to pay money.


But now... I doubt how to pay.......?


First she send me invoice for a bigger price per word than we agreed.


I said to her that the price agreed was different.

Then she said ok, pay me your price but I actually translated not 2900 words but 3330 words.

I asked her to recount. She said agin that it is 3330.

Today I started to make a payment and something did not agree, so I started to read her translation.

The QUALITY is very very poor, many sentences make no sense and some are missing.

So I recounted the words. It was actually 2279, almost 1000 more than she asked for.

Sorry for long post!!!

But I do not want to be bad, because this translator waited 45 days, but I do not want to pay full price either.

The quality is bad, she lied twice about words count and price per word.

AND THE AGENCY DID NOT ACCEPT HER TRANSLATION.

I also know that I should have checked everything on the spot and say to her immediatelly. And if I was sick it is no excuse

HOWEVER HOW WOULD YOU PAY TO JOB LIKE THIS?

Thank you


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:58
English to German
+ ...
How to pay this job: In full and immediately Dec 20, 2008


said to her that payment will come 30-45 days as agency promised to me or in case agancy does not pay I will pay my money.


You guaranteed the payment.


The translator E... send me the document fast, earlier then I asked for and of course send me invoice.


That she sent the translation early would have allowed for time to make any corrections, if necessary.


I was still sick and did not check her word count and did not check the quality. I just agreed to pay money.


If you were too sick to even perform a word count when the file arrived, you should have notified the client. Forwarding projects blindly is a bad idea. Did you have permission to outsource the job in the first place?


But now... I doubt how to pay.......?


In full and on due date. You entered a business agreement with the translator, you accepted the work without protest. She would have had time to redo her work but you didn't bother to even look at it.


First she send me invoice for a bigger price per word than we agreed.


Didn't you agree on the rate in a written form?


Then she said ok, pay me your price but I actually translated not 2900 words but 3330 words.

I asked her to recount. She said agin that it is 3330.


Did you agree on the word count in source or target text?


Today I started to make a payment and something did not agree, so I started to read her translation.

The QUALITY is very very poor, many sentences make no sense and some are missing.

So I recounted the words. It was actually 2279, almost 1000 more than she asked for.


45 days later you looked at the text for the first time?


But I do not want to be bad, because this translator waited 45 days, but I do not want to pay full price either.

The quality is bad, she lied twice about words count and price per word.


I am not sure about that, however, I am sure that you kept the email correspondence.


AND THE AGENCY DID NOT ACCEPT HER TRANSLATION.


Did the agency really notify you 45 days later?

I hate shoddy work and negligence. However, in this case it would have been your responsibility, to:

- Decline the job in the first place
- Notify the agency that another translator will fill in and have the outsourcer deal with the translator directly
- Check the quality.

I am afraid, that you will have to pay for it. In many ways.

I wish I had better news..

Best,

Nicole


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Anna Muntean Stacanova
United States
Local time: 18:58
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Re: in full and immediatelly Dec 20, 2008

Dear Nicole, no reason to be sorry. Fair enough...

I agree about everything, we did agree on the price in email, in wirten, but she still submitted invoice for a higher price.

She said she will do the word count since she converted the document from PDF and did not send me a copy.

I would not check her but the numbers did not agree and I started to check a mistake since it was much less money than it should be.

I did not agree on the word count, but she send me invoice for word count.

I was veeeery sick, I could not check at that time, but it is not her fault.
Thank you, Nicole


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xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 18:58
German to English
+ ...
invoice for higher price? Dec 20, 2008

I agree with Nicole on this one.

1. I don't understand how a translator can submit an invoice for a higher price based on word count. It's either target or source word count. The numbers will differ depending on whether the target language contracts or expands. This is something that anyone in the profession knows.
2. I agree that if you were sick, you had an obligation to contact the agency giving you the first, BEFORE outsourcing the project. If I were the agency, I would not have paid you just on the basis of that breach of contract.
3. I used to take on 45 day payment projects; but in reality getting paid more than 30 days after delivery does not make economic sense. I also found that agencies paying 45 or more days after delivery were not focused on providing their clients with professional service (or maybe they outsourced the work they were receiving from agencies?). Today 45 days (for me) is a red flag.
4. When submitting work, it is my obligation to provide as high quality work as I am capable of. If there are (in fact) errors in my work or if (in fact) the quality is really poor, then I will discount the product. But if the "errors" are merely aesthetic or rewrites of the translation to meet advertising objectives or scope considerations which were not informed to me at the time I took on the project, then I do not provide a discount.
5. For work that I have outsourced, I have proofread the received document meticulously before I forwarded the translation. In the end it is the intermediate agency's job to do the proofreading. If I outsource a translation, then I become an intermediate agency. Otherwise, my rate incorporates the fact that the agency I am providing my translations to will assume the proofread and will work to clean it up.
6. When proofreading documents, I do not do retranslations. If I get work that requires a retranslation, then I submit the document back to the agency and note that a retranslation is required. The agency can then decide whether they want to do the retranslation or not.

In sum, it seems you were delinquent in your duties on many levels. So, I agree with Nicole, in this situation, you would have to pay and you would have to pay on time.

I apologize if this note is very strict. But, as translators we are professionals and I find it irritating to find that some don't live up to standards of professionalism.

All best,


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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:58
Greek to English
+ ...
Don't pay Dec 20, 2008

"At this stage it's probably too late to refuse payment..."

No, it's not too late. If the work was unsatisfactory (in reasonable terms), you can refuse payment until the problem is corrected.
It's the same with any products or services. If the work is not reasonably satisfactory, you don't have to pay it until it's reasonably satisfactory.

"...in future I suggest you be very selective in who you hire to do translation work. "

The first thing you should check, is your agreement with the agency. Does it allow subcontracting? Some agreements do not allow subcontracting. One day this is going to catch up with you... personally I do not subcontract at all... but there are many in this site who subcontract continuously, even in violation of the agreements they have with their agencies.

It won't be long before the first lawsuits start to appear in the translation industry, between agencies and translators for violation of their agreement terms... such things usually happen when an industry experiences a bubble (lately, too many agencies), and then the bubble deflates. All of a sudden, many people will start to check their contracts again... especially in regard to unsatisfactory work and late payments.


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Anna Muntean Stacanova
United States
Local time: 18:58
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
word count Dec 20, 2008

Dear Peter, I understand that, thank you. A little too stict, but ...

The translator submitted the word count and I did not because this is how I did the job with other agencies. I counted the words, if I translated most of the time.

I agree with everything, but I do not agree with words count.

I said to her I will recount agsin, third time and asked her to say how she counted. She does not want to.

I will say according to what the actual word count says/

Obligation In time or later, I do not think there is a reason for her lying about word count or price or together, in that case. I do not think it is understandable or professional


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:58
French to English
re: the word count Dec 20, 2008

You could always ask her how she calculated her word count.

It sounds to me as though you gave her a PDF and let her convert it - is that right?
So she is, I guess, basing her word count on something different to you.

Ask her what. Simple. "Please send me the source file that you are basing your word count on, and an explanation of how you arrived at your total. Thanks."

At least then you can establish if she made a genuine mistake or is fundamentally dishonest. It would not alter the quality of the job, of course, but one less "mystery" in the case.


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xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 18:58
German to English
+ ...
checking contracts Dec 20, 2008

It won't be long before the first lawsuits start to appear in the translation industry, between agencies and translators for violation of their agreement terms... such things usually happen when an industry experiences a bubble (lately, too many agencies), and then the bubble deflates. All of a sudden, many people will start to check their contracts again... especially in regard to unsatisfactory work and late payments.



[/quote]

...

Interesting point. Many of the contracts are nonsense in any case, and I rarely (if ever) sign them.

I also agree with you about not paying; but I don't think the proper due diligence was done here. Maybe one or two days. But only when the payment is due - that is a big problem.

Bubbles or not. Even in bad times, people buy things. But the difference is that in good times, people buy whatever immediately satisfies them. In bad times, they will also buy, but they will buy value for money. So, even today (in bad times) luxury goods are still being purchased, while companies (such as Circuit City) selling poorer goods or service, lose their work. Provide quality work and you will always have enough work.


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:58
English to Polish
+ ...
My 2 cents Dec 20, 2008

Inka

You originally took that job without re-checking and confirming the word count with the agency, end customer or whoever it was? Strange, and to me unprofessional.
Then you felt compelled to outsource it, and did so without demanding a confirmation of word count and price? Again, strange and...
I won't go into your freedom to outsource under the original contract, as it's irrelevant here.
But then you received the job done ahead of deadline and did not care to glance at it? Again, ....
Next thing, if it was such a poor quality as you claim, why didn't the agency raise hell immediately? You learned about the quality only 30-45 days afterwards? Sorry, but your story doesn't stick at this point.
BTW, what was the target language? You never mention that, and after a careful reading of your original post as it stands here I have some misgivings...
And you never mention the grounds on which the agency refused payment to you. Quality? Before or after you proofread it? Untimely delivery? Something else?
All in all, at first you accepted the job performance without reservations, neglected obtaining a firm agreement as to the word count and price beforehand, and after 30-45 days fancy a payment refusal.
Hmmm....


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Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:58
English to Polish
+ ...
... Dec 20, 2008

I agree with Iza and Nicole. Ewa

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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 05:58
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
A translator is on a weaker side in business translation Dec 21, 2008

I do not want to protect dishonest translators [and agencies].
But if I were your translator, I will not lie to be discredited or unqualified for jobs. This will badly affect my income.
If your translator is not dishonest by habit, wrong word counts are originated from:
1. Different word counting software.
2. Different setting (e.g. some software does not read words in MS Word text boxes or graphic tables of PowerPoint or Excel.)
.....
Wrong translation quality is originated from:
1. Non-professional translator
2. Part-time translator
3. Translator-converted-housewife
4. Novice translator
5. Mentally ill translator (I met the one who is wick in translation job by habit)
6. Non-native speaker translator.

Soonthon L.


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Anna Muntean Stacanova
United States
Local time: 18:58
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Dec 21, 2008

Dear everybody who replied to the topic. Thank you very much.

I payed the translator for the amount of words I counted with word and by myself 3 times. It is 1000 less than she said. i offered her to send me a file or explanation of how she counted more by 1000 words and she said she will do it later. I will pay her if by any chance I made a mistake....

Again, outsourcing, not checking quality was my fault, but why lying?
Lying not good, at she several times, that what made me upset.

But then again, I was asked to count my words for jobs I did, I didnot lieso i trusted other translator to do a good quality job as she promised.
Maybe nowadays trusting is bad too

Thank you again and have nice holidays


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Anna Muntean Stacanova
United States
Local time: 18:58
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To Iza Dec 21, 2008

It seems my question and request for advice turns into interrogations.

Other were strict and fair, but you ask question that I am sorry I do not understand.

"You originally took that job without re-checking and confirming the word count with the agency"

No i did not I never sadi that

"did so without demanding a confirmation of word count and price? Again, strange and..."

No not really. We agreed on the price in email and I send a form filled for invoice, she still sent me a price higher than agreed upon for some reason. Maybe mistake


But then you received the job done ahead of deadline and did not care to glance at it? Again, ....

I did not Not Care. I could not, that is why I did not do the job in the first place.
(in fact I felt it would help to bang my head on the wall, this is how sick I was. It did not help though

Next thing, if it was such a poor quality as you claim, why didn't the agency raise hell immediately?

I do not know, I am not the agency. i was lucky I was able to get up to send them the file.

BTW, what was the target language?

Not relevant, or is it...?


You never mention that, and after a careful reading of your original post as it stands here I have some misgivings...

Please specify! Otherwise I have no idea.


And you never mention the grounds on which the agency refused payment to you. Quality? Before or after you proofread it? Untimely delivery? Something else?


qUALITY

THE LAST AND THE MOST IMPORTANT:

All in all, at first you accepted the job performance without reservations, neglected obtaining a firm agreement as to the word count and price beforehand, and after 30-45 days fancy a payment refusal.

I have no idea where you took the ground to say that one especially.

I never never never fancy or consider appropriate to refuse the payment.
It is what I promised.

I was not able/ and would not pay for what was never there, that is 1000 words.

I never agreed to pay for more words. I agreed to pay a certain price for number of wwords PRESENT in the text. And i accepted the quality at first.

My question was: how should I pay , for the number of words my translator asked or for the number of words present in the text?

She could have translated 2000 and said it was 4000. So what I should pay for those when it is payment time?

It was never an obligation in the first place.

Anyway, I payed, it is over

Thank you very much for your time.


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Tatiana Lammers  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
could it possibly be Dec 21, 2008

that one of you is counting source words when the other - target words?

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:58
English to German
+ ...
Also: Dec 21, 2008

Tatiana Lammers wrote:

that one of you is counting source words when the other - target words?



Could it be that the PDF contained text boxes that were not captured by the word count and had to be counted manually?

Regarding rates:
Here is my least favorite anecdote in terms of pricing - I agreed with a European client on a specific rate in cents / source word. For whatever reason they didn't like my invoice. It turned out that I had been talking about Euro cents on the phone whereas they were talking about USD cents. Ouch...



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