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Is payment 4 month after delivery normal?
Thread poster: Karin Maack

Karin Maack  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:24
English to German
Feb 11, 2009

Recently, I have been contacted (not via ProZ.com) by an American publishing house. They had a book project with about 60 000 words. Payment wouldn't have been good - but for books it is not anyway - the deadline tight. Actually I would have liked to do it but the terms of payment would have been as follows: 50 % after they receive the translation, 50 % four month later after the book would have been published, all by USD check. When I asked them to pay me 25 % in advance, they said they were sorry but payment terms were not negociable. I refused.

I am not certain I did the right thing though - actually I found a payment of half the sum 4 month after delivery a bit cheeky and suspected they might not be able to pay in the end. Yet their website looked quite respectable.

What do you think about this?


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Sabine Braun  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:24
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Common practice for authors Feb 11, 2009

Hi Karin,

I am not familiar with the translation of books, all I know is that authors for renowned publishers in Germany tend to get 50% in advance and 50% after the book has been published (which in my husband's case was after a year - and I think that this is normal practice). And... it is very, very badly paid. So, I would not be surprised if the situation for the translator is just as bleak...

Sabine


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Capesha  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:24
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
What is normal? Feb 11, 2009

The "standard" as far as I am concerned is 30 days net from date of invoice.

I am working with some agencies, who pay after 45 or 90 days - but these are reliable and I work with them since the beginning of my freelance career.

By the way: I obviously had the same contact as you and I refused, too.
Translating a book within a tight timeframe and then facing such payment terms doesn't make me feel good - that is enough reason to refuse


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Karin Maack  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:24
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
My experience so far Feb 11, 2009

My own experience with German publishing houses were 100% within 30 days after delivery or, in one case, even 50% in advance and 50% after delivery.
I thougth, maybe, different countries different customs.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 07:24
Member (2009)
English to Croatian
+ ...
sounds dodgy Feb 11, 2009

If you ask me, four months later sounds dodgy.

Why are they waiting for four months, after the book has been published? Waiting to sell the translation copies, so they can collect the money to pay off the translator ?

No, you didn't make a mistake.


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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:24
French to English
+ ...
3x1/3 in France Feb 11, 2009

In France, the standard for literary translation as stipulated in the model contract set out by the ATLF (lit trans association in France) is 1/3 upon signing the contract, 1/3 upon submission of the translation, and 1/3 upon acceptation of the translation, no later than 60 days from the date of submission.
I imagine the American lit trans association has a model contract on their web site you could use as a reference?


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Carla Sordina  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:24
English to Italian
My experience in Italy is the same Feb 11, 2009

I've been working with 2 well-known publishing companies in Italy, and the payment terms are 30% or 50% upon submission (and acceptance) of translation, the rest after the book has been published, but not later than 120 days from delivery. This is quite a standard for literary translation in Italy, and the deadline is alway tight (about 100 pages/month) for translation+proofreading. Maybe my Italian collegues had different experiences. It would be interesting to hear more about this thread.

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Yolanda Bello  Identity Verified
Mexico
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mexico City case Feb 11, 2009

I'm translating a book right now and my contract states I get paid 14 days after delivery.

I would not have accepted such payment terms either. You made the right choice.

Regards,

Y


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
I think you made the right decision Feb 11, 2009

My policy for book-length projects is that I deliver the translation in thirds and they pay me in thirds.

In other words, they don't get the second part of the book from me till I've been paid for the first, and so on.

Payment for the final third is due within 30 days of my delivering part three.


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Karin Maack  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:24
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Feb 12, 2009

Thanks to all of you for sharing your opinion. I have been thinking I might be too choosy but your answers help me to feel better about my decision.

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Definitely the right decision Feb 13, 2009

The publisher is the one to finance the endeavour, not you!

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