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What actions should I take to recover my money and warn people about a company?
Thread poster: Shahab Arif

Shahab Arif  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:17
Member
Pashto (Pushto) to English
+ ...
Feb 18, 2009

I have been in the translation business for the last 8 years and have never had any problems with non-payers until now. I have worked for this company. Invoice comes down to around £254.84. She doesn't reply to emails or answer phone calls.
Actually the amount was for £378.84, After 2 weeks of delivery when payment was due, they said the translation quality was not good so they had to pay the proof reader £25.00 per hour for 5 hours and deducted £125.00 to which we agreed so that we can get some thing out of this company but still not paid.
Can any one suggest what action I should take to recover my money and also warn people about this company.


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-02-18 15:33 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:17
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Did they tell you what was wrong in the text? Feb 18, 2009

Did they give you a comparison of the text before/after proofreading, to show what quality problems they claim to exist?

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Vladimir Gurinenko
Local time: 15:17
Russian to English
+ ...
How do they know whether or not it's good? Feb 18, 2009

I wonder, how do such customers evaluate the quality of the translation if they don't speak the language?

Normally, I ask such customers to show me a few places where they think the translation is "not quite correct". Usually, it comes out that they are the ones who were not quite right, so they have no more reasons for dropping the price. (They won't be offended - they get a high-quality translation, which will eventually boost their business.) And, of course, new customers always pay in advance, at least 50% of the contract value.

BTW, would it be too bad to blacklist such customers in all kinds of public directories?


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Shahab Arif  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:17
Member
Pashto (Pushto) to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Outstanding Payment!!! Feb 18, 2009

No never.I even askd for it.They have not paid us for another small job worth £20.00 which we did for them about a month before this issue. Our invoice clearly states if payments are delayed beyund due date we will charge £ 5.00 per day.Now I am thinking of suing them for the whole amount.

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MariusJacobsen  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 13:17
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Been there Feb 18, 2009

I experienced a similar scenario with an agency in Spain. I completed a 10.000 word project for them, and 20 minutes after delivery, they claimed that the quality was so poor, that they wanted to cancel the project entirely and only pay me 25% of the total invoice amount. I found it very hard to believe that a non-native English speaker, could determine the overall quality of a 10.000 word project in a matter of minutes. This was their way of making a quick buck, and it sounds like you're currently experiencing the same.

I asked for written proof of cancellation and did not hear a thing from them for months. All of a sudden, I receive an e-mail from the agency asking if I was available to handle a very large project for an important client of theirs. I chose not to reply.

I would definitely ask for documentation of changes.


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Suyash Suprabh  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 17:47
English to Hindi
+ ...
Payment practice groups Feb 18, 2009

You can warn people about this company in the following groups or lists:

1. http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/translationagencypayment

2. http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/WPPF

3. http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/TranslationPaymentsWhoWhenWhat

4. http://www.paymentpractices.net (paid membership)

5. http://www.tcrlist.com/Join (paid membership)


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:17
English to German
+ ...
Blue Board Feb 18, 2009

The place you post your experience is the ProZ.com Blue Board.

Best regards,
Ralf


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irene varela  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 09:17
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Also been there! Feb 18, 2009

I can understand how you feel. Couple of months ago, I was given a project to translate in my language pair combination. Thing is that the project was to be done by 3 different translators, being me one of them. Why? Cause the deadline was really tight and the project really huge ie about 30000 words (TAT: 2 days)
I translated my part, which was the biggest one about 20000 words, and was also asked to proofread and edit the other two. I did so.
After 45 days when the payment had to be made they said that the client considered that the translation was of poor quality. In this case the client knows the target language. Surprinsingly as it may seem, the "poor quality part" was just mine! Of course, not believing a word of what they were saying I decided to ask for the edited document. Forgot to tell you that they sent just 50% of the payment and discounted the other amount as they had to pay a proofreader/editor.
They sent me the email they got from the client and the proofreader, of course not the real one but just writing something in the one I was sent.
I did ask for the document that had to be proofread and found out that nothing had been changed and even some paragraphs had been completely removed!! I complained and explained the situation. Of course they didn´t send me a buck more for this but some days later I received an email asking me to "do a translation test" of 300 words for free of course, for a new client and ending this way: "do the best you can". Imagine my answer: nothing. Unbelievable!!


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xxxinge van dri
Local time: 13:17
German to Dutch
+ ...
Been there too Feb 18, 2009

In my case there had been a test, the client had approved it, I did the translation and the agency (a well-known one) cancelled the purchase orders after translation because, as they said, "their client complained about very poor quality, spelling and grammar mistakes, awful style, etc". Although I am not a beginner, especially in the field in which they asked me to translate (and let's call that an understatement)!

The agency then tried to have my references "in order to prove to the client that I was the right translator", which in the given context seemed very strange: why did they give me purchase orders if there was a lack of confidence? And how do they expect, in the future, to work with translators who don't have confidence anymore in their purchase orders?


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:17
French to German
+ ...
Been there too (much ado about nothing) Feb 18, 2009

Back in 2008, I was asked to translate a part of some corporate communication brochure. The agency wanted it delivered in batches of some 4,000 words, which I did against my misgivings. I heard nothing of the PM until payment was due.

On that day, the PM emailed me and asked for a rebate of some 40% due to supposed bad quality and sent me "proof" thereof. Unfortunately, a quick check with Baldr showed that the original file and the corrected file were different by less than 5% only (IOW, they were identical to +95%).

I wrote directly to the agency's manager (registered letter) and stated my case, even offering a credit note on the full amount invoiced.

I never was given a reply to my letter, but the invoice was paid by wire transfer on the very same day my letter was received.

What I can remember about this case is that the agency is question is rated with a constant 5/5 in the BB...

Laurent K.

[Edited at 2009-02-18 19:11 GMT]


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:17
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
I'm not sure about that Feb 19, 2009

Ralf Lemster wrote:

The place you post your experience is the ProZ.com Blue Board.

Best regards,
Ralf


The Blue Board FAQs state:
You may only make entries for clients with whom you have worked on a project and to whom you have delivered work on time and without complaints related to quality.

Quality was an alleged issue in this case.

Cheers,
Gerard


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:17
English to German
+ ...
Check the site rules Feb 19, 2009

Hi Gerard,
Obviously we would need to look into the details of the specific case, but the ProZ.com site rules are a bit more detailed than the FAQ. Blue Board rule #2 is relevant here:


Certain conditions must be met before Blue Board entries can be made.

Entries concerning willingness to work again with given outsourcers are allowed only when (1) commissioned work has been completed in full and delivered on time, and (2) there have not been complaints related to quality shortly after delivery. Entries may not be made on the basis of negotiations, test translations, or other preliminary or non-commissioned interactions.


Best regards,
Ralf


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Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:17
English to French
+ ...
Been there too Feb 19, 2009

We are so many who have been there that we could open a restaurant!

Also... why do I have this feeling there is always some overly stern or even dangerous reaction ready to pounce in these forums?

Sometimes it's almost an emotional shock to me. Like there is music and someone turns off the button.


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Heidrun Pagel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:17
Russian to German
+ ...
outsourcers are aware of that rule Feb 19, 2009

[/quote]

Entries concerning willingness to work again with given outsourcers are allowed only when (1) commissioned work has been completed in full and delivered on time, and (2) there have not been complaints related to quality shortly after delivery. Entries may not be made on the basis of negotiations, test translations, or other preliminary or non-commissioned interactions.[/quote]

,
[/quote]

I had a nice case recently. I translated a small piece of website from Russian into German for a Russian outsourcer. I delivered a decent translation of a simple subject into my mother tongue.
Soon after receiving he claimed my translation was poor quality indicating one point, the entry phrase, only. I apologized for this phrase and asked him to indicate further points. He answered that he definitely would charge another translator and therefore was not going to pay me. When I announced I would write a comment into the Blue Board he was alarmed and asked me not to do so.
I made the entry - not for myself, but to warn my colleagues. What was the end: my entry was removed because he had declared my translation was bad quality. I understand that Proz.com moderators cannot check translation quality.
But I have come to doubt this system seriously.



[Edited at 2009-02-19 09:49 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 13:17
Member (2009)
English to Croatian
+ ...
Blurry practices Feb 19, 2009

Heidrun Pagel wrote:


I made the entry - not for myself, but to warn my colleagues. What was the end: my entry was removed because he had declared my translation was bad quality. I understand that Proz.com moderators cannot check translation quality.




I've wondered about the same thing. If it's a "shortly after delivery rule", isn't it very indicative that they come precisely shortly after delivery complaining about a 20 000 word document not being translated properly ? Somebody mentioned above they did , and wondered how they could have proofread such a big document within just a few days ? Perhaps they were trying to avoid the BB shame pole, knowing about the shortly- after- delivery rule ?

A question for Ralf ( since I don't have experience with BB ) :

What actions do you take to assess whether an outsourcer is telling the truth ( on a translation quality), or they just want to get away with it and avoid payment, on someone else's expense ? In this case, a translator practically gets two bullets : he or she doesn't get their payment, and secondly, they get a bad review on their work ( which perhaps wasn't true, how can we tell ? ). How can you control this ? Is there a convincing system of control or validation for these issues ?

Thanks.

[Edited at 2009-02-19 09:58 GMT]


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