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Dealing with huge project from direct client
Thread poster: xxxNathalieVVT
xxxNathalieVVT  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
French to English
+ ...
Jun 8, 2005

I have been contacted to quote a 150 000 words project from a direct client. I have never been approached for a job of such amplitude, I need your advice on how to deal with this. I do not wish to take on the whole project as I would loose all my other customers as this would monopolise my time for a very long time and was thinking of teaming up with other translators to carry out the job. I would let the client know that the project would be split among several translators and would ask for regular and immediate payment as the work progresses so I can pay the other translators as soon as they have completed a job and in batches. Is this common practise? If not, do you think I can request this from the client.

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:23
English to German
+ ...
Contingent payment Jun 9, 2005

Hi Nathalie,
You should be careful about the implications of subcontracting, as you will not only be responsible to the client for the overall quality, but also for payment vis-à-vis the translators involved.

I do not wish to take on the whole project as I would loose all my other customers as this would monopolise my time for a very long time and was thinking of teaming up with other translators to carry out the job.

The key issue is what exactly you mean by "teaming up". Will the client work with several translators recommended by you (in which case the client will be responsible to ensure consistency etc., but will also be responsible for payment to each of the translators separately)? Or were you thinking of taking on the project on your own, subcontracting to the others? In the latter case, you will enter into a business relationship with each translator - that relationship will be independent from your business with your client.

I would let the client know that the project would be split among several translators and would ask for regular and immediate payment as the work progresses so I can pay the other translators as soon as they have completed a job and in batches.

What I'm concerned about in your statement is the contingency of payment to translators upon receipt of payment from the client. Do you have sufficient alternative funding in place, should there be a delay in receiving payment?

As Jobs moderators, we have seen numerous cases where translators outsourced work without fully considering the legal implications.

Best regards,
Ralf


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xxxNathalieVVT  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Contingent payment Jun 9, 2005

Thanks for your advice, Ralf! This was my main concern as I do not want to enter a business relationship with other translators. Another problem that I have is, because of my usual workload and commitment to my other clients, I do not want to commit to more than 9,000 words per week. I'm afraid I might lose the contract if I tell this to the client. But then, that's a a risk I'm ready to take. We'll see

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:23
English to German
+ ...
There are ways to structure this Jun 9, 2005

Hi again,
What you can offer your client is to organise a team of translators working on the job; you could even offer to do some of the "groundwork", such as basic terminology, etc. (against payment, of course). In that way, you can offer your client a service without getting 'sandwiched' between them and the translators involved.

Best, Ralf


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xxxNathalieVVT  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jun 9, 2005

Hi Ralf,

Thanks, I will do that!

Nathalie


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Project management can be hell Jun 9, 2005

Nathalie Vu-Van-Toan wrote:
I do not wish to take on the whole project as I would loose all my other customers as this would monopolise my time for a very long time and was thinking of teaming up with other translators to carry out the job. I would let the client know that the project would be split among several translators...


Project management can be hell. If one or more of the translators do not produce work of sufficient quality, you'll have to edit their translations. Remember, the client wants a single, consistent end-result, so you'll have to implement measures to ensure that the text is internally consistent. If you do decide to subcontract, make your own share much bigger because you'll be doing a lot of extra work. The final responsibility for errors will be yours alone, unless the client specifically asked you to get several translators in a group together.

I have an arrangement with some colleagues that I sometimes ask them to do overflow translations for me, but the arrangement I have with them is that my risk is their risk with regard to payment, and that my risk is mine alone with regard to quality control. I only pay them once I received payment. One client recently didn't pay for four months, but I didn't lose a friend because that had been the arrangement from the start: I pay when the client does. However, this attitude works better with moonlighters (like myself) than with true freelancers (private practitioners).


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:23
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My way of thinking Jun 9, 2005

I can't imagine having someone doing work for me and not paying them. It is more than just avoiding legal problems. You can go to sleep every night knowing that there is no one out there in the world who really hates you.

I suppose if you had a "contingency" agreement with a friend who does the work, and everything is very clear from the start, then there would not be anything unethical happening. However, that just isn't my style. It doesn't ring of professionalism.

Just my two cents.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I know what you mean... Jun 9, 2005

Edward Potter wrote:
I suppose if you had a "contingency" agreement with a friend who does the work, and everything is very clear from the start, then there would not be anything unethical happening. However, that just isn't my style. It doesn't ring of professionalism.


I know what you mean... I wouldn't dream of doing this with a translator who is a full freelancer, for example, because to them non-payment is a critical issue. But if the translator is a personal friend of mine, if he/she is a moonlighter and if the job is not too big, then I'd be willing to ask.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If you can't accept to job, don't be tempted to. Jun 9, 2005

Nathalie Vu-Van-Toan wrote:
I do not want to commit to more than 9,000 words per week. I'm afraid I might lose the contract if I tell this to the client.


My advice is that project management (ie subcontracting informally and then being responsible for the final text yourself) is so difficult that it should almost not be an option, unless you've worked with the other translators before and you *know* that their styles of translation are all compatible. Otherwise, don't be tempted, or you might regret it. Tell the client you can do X number of words per day, explain to them that you can't devote 100% of your time to their text (because of your other clients' needs), and then let them decide.


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xxxNathalieVVT  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Advice taken Jun 9, 2005

Thank you all for your valuable advice. Samuel, just like you said I have decided that I will tell the client that I can do X number of words per week. Then it's up to the client to decide.

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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:23
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Do it yourself Jun 9, 2005

I agree with all comments made above. If your client could agree with delivery within 19 weeks, you could do it yourself.

Regards,
Gerard


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