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time limit for communicating poor quality translation?
Thread poster: Chris Dravers
Chris Dravers  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:30
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 1, 2005

Hi. I am thinking of taking an agency to court. They claim poor quality translation and want to pay me half. However, they did not communicate this to me until I asked where was their payment? (Infact they contacted me after that job for my summer availability!? I think that perhaps poor quality (though I contest this, of course) is not an issue anyway as they didn't let me know in time. Is there a legal position on this? I'd love to know. Thanks in advance

Chris


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Todd Field  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:30
Member (2003)
Portuguese to English
Are there references to QC in your contractual agreement or purchase order? Feb 2, 2005

If so, this could be the only tangible starting point for a fair resolution.

To my knowledge there are no specific industry-standard terms for this sort of thing. There are simply too many individual translators interacting with too many agencies, and all of them operating with different agendas and expectations (not to mention different legal systems).

Barring some sort of written agreement/PO, a resolution may potentially be reached by having a neutral third party assess the quality of the translation you delivered.

Theoretically there are three possibilities:

1) The agency's QC claim is unfounded, and they are using it to cover up their inability to pay

2) The agency's QC claim is legitimate, and it may be reasonable to somehow adjust compensation for the work done

3) Both you and the agency unintentionally approached the project with incompatible expectations and/or conflicting definitions of "quality"

The neutral third party can often assist in uncovering the truth in sticky situations like yours, particularly in more cut-and-dry cases (#1 and #2 above).

Either way, best of luck to you in sorting this out!

Cheers,

Todd


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Wenke Geddert  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:30
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
IoL Feb 2, 2005

Chris,

I noticed that you are a member of the IoL. Please contact them to see whether they have a formal arbitration process (which could be outlined in the code of conduct???). Or make use of their free legal helpline for members http://www.iol.org.uk/membership/default.asp

HTH & good luck

Wenke


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xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 06:30
French to English
+ ...
Spanish-based agency and what was the gap post-completion? Feb 4, 2005

Todd & Monica Field's position is the starting point - the agency's or your terms of business. It also depends which law applies: Spanish or otherwise i.e is the agency a Spanish or English one etc.?

Meantime, you should have been given a chance to rectify any alleged mistranslations and not just stylistic trivialities.

There is also a copyright issue. What on earth has happened to your translation whilst your bill is unpaid and has it been used and/or resold for profit?

A 'reasonable' time for post-delivery acceptance and rejection depends on the circumstances in most legal systems. It is also up to you to judge, subjectively, what is reasonable according to how much time you were allowed for the job, the value involved - is it worth suing over? - and the length of silence post-delivery.

You can also just say NO - it's just too late to reject the job and mess about with arbitration. If the case does go to court, then a judge will have to consider, objectively, what a reasonable time for rejection is in the circumstances.

For instance, any court faced with a rush, overnight job is unlikely to be impressed by a defence based on a complaint voiced 3 months after the event.

If based on the Eng. law of Sale of Goods & Services, you are on strong ground. Notice of rejection has to be given almost immediately: Bernstein v. Pamson Motors (Golders Green) Ltd (1987)where a plaintiff who complained of defects 2 weeks after taking delivery of a car from the garage was not allowed to reject.

However, there is some doubt whether this speed of rejection - whether of goods or a supply of services - would be countenanced today.


[Edited at 2005-02-05 00:16]

[Edited at 2005-02-05 00:26]


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Chris Dravers  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:30
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot guys, this will be of great help Feb 11, 2005

Todd and Monica Field wrote:

If so, this could be the only tangible starting point for a fair resolution.

To my knowledge there are no specific industry-standard terms for this sort of thing. There are simply too many individual translators interacting with too many agencies, and all of them operating with different agendas and expectations (not to mention different legal systems).

Barring some sort of written agreement/PO, a resolution may potentially be reached by having a neutral third party assess the quality of the translation you delivered.

Theoretically there are three possibilities:

1) The agency's QC claim is unfounded, and they are using it to cover up their inability to pay

2) The agency's QC claim is legitimate, and it may be reasonable to somehow adjust compensation for the work done

3) Both you and the agency unintentionally approached the project with incompatible expectations and/or conflicting definitions of "quality"

The neutral third party can often assist in uncovering the truth in sticky situations like yours, particularly in more cut-and-dry cases (#1 and #2 above).

Either way, best of luck to you in sorting this out!

Cheers,

Todd


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