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UK based agency - non-payment
Thread poster: Karina Liddell
Karina Liddell
Local time: 06:03
English to Russian
Feb 20, 2006

Hello everyone!
I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on my situation, or perhaps has been through similar experience.
I have completed the translaion work according to the agency's deadline. However, in the feedback I received it was noted that the client did like my translation and will be looking to find another translator. So when the I sent my invoice the agency originally refused to pay, but, as a goodwill gesture, offered to pay 50%.
Personally, I could't agree with his actions, therefore I sent him "Final reminder" for the full amount.
Next step, do I go court or debt collectors? Not sure about it. Could someone help please!


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
did you ask for written feedback? Feb 20, 2006

the client did like my translation and will be looking to find another translator.


I assume you meant "didn't like".

Anyway, did they provide written feedback explaining what they didn't like, with a list of the errors made?

I'd say, if it's just a question of "taste", they should pay the full amount, otherwise it'd depend on the quality of the translation and the terms agreed.

Regards,
Grace.


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Karina Liddell
Local time: 06:03
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Reply Feb 20, 2006

Hi Grace!

Thank you for your reply.
Yes, you are right! Of course, they DID NOT like it.
In the feedback it was just a general comment and nothing specific, which seemed to me as a "matter of taste". At that point I did not receive a "proper" feedback and no indication of not being paid, or no indication of any attempt of trying to resolve the situation. As far as I was concerned, they have accepted my translation.
Eventually after about 3 weeks I received a "feedback" in a form of "my transaltion" just been "changed" with some "in-house glossary" and used for the agency's client purpose.
Perhaps this was not my best translation. What I am trying t understand is: is this agency right in what it does?

The other thing is that no terms of business has been agreed, apart from an email confirming the deadline and the amount.

Thank you for your attention once again.
Kalinka


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 07:03
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
If a big job - go for them, otherwise - let it go Feb 20, 2006

If this was a big job, and they owe you a lot of money, I would definitely look for legal advice on this matter.

If this was a minor job, I don't think it would be worth the trouble or the money to try to chase them.

In case you should chose to take these people to court, they will have to prove that your translation was so bad that only 50% payment would be in order, and this would be hard for them if the changes are only a matter of taste.

Anyway - make a BB entry on this stating that you never were notified of the exact alleged problems in your translation and that you were not given the chance to comment on or rectify any mistakes.
Some agencies - unfortunately - do use this method to not pay their translators in full ever.

That said, any agency can dispute your translation based on lack of quality etc., but they should prove this, and IMHO they should also give you the chance to correct any mistakes you may have made.

The use of an in-house termlist to check for mistakes without having ever provided you with this list hardly makes your translation only 50% okay.


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Karina Liddell
Local time: 06:03
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
_ Feb 20, 2006

Hi PCovs!
Thank you for your reply.
The truth of this matter that the translation is a "minor" job. However small it's still a job. I have been quite shocked with the agency's attitude (althought I'd call it a "minor" agency) and I have never came across anything like this before. Luckily it's a small job, but you need to know where you stand in any case, especially if the job is "big".
Quite disappointing but it looks like there is no protection for the "small" jobs like this and it's a risk one has to take.
Is this part and parcel of the translators job or any business in general?

Kalinka


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John Jory  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:03
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
In-house glossary Feb 20, 2006


Kalinka wrote:
Eventually after about 3 weeks I received a "feedback" in a form of "my transaltion" just been "changed" with some "in-house glossary" ...


Did the agency supply you with the (customer's ?) in-house glossary?
If not, they can hardly blame you for using different words, and are obliged to pay the regular fee.

I usually ask whether such glossaries exist. You'd be surprised how many companies have them but never think of supplying them as backup material for translators.
Sometimes, there are mistakes in the glossary, and the customer is happy for qualified feedback.

Perhaps you can let the agency know that it would not be in their interest to have a negative entry in our Blue Board (BB).

I hope you get your full payment.

Best regards, John


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Genevieve Tournebize
Local time: 00:03
English to French
+ ...
What to do for non-total payment in the US Feb 21, 2006

Kalinka123 wrote:

Hello everyone!
I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on my situation, or perhaps has been through similar experience.
I have completed the translaion work according to the agency's deadline. However, in the feedback I received it was noted that the client did like my translation and will be looking to find another translator. So when the I sent my invoice the agency originally refused to pay, but, as a goodwill gesture, offered to pay 50%.
Personally, I could't agree with his actions, therefore I sent him "Final reminder" for the full amount.
Next step, do I go court or debt collectors? Not sure about it. Could someone help please!



Lately, there is a tendency with agencies to say that clients decided that a translation was not to the taste of their client; and therefore they decide not to pay or ask for a reduced amount from the one written in the PO. They might believe that they are protecting themselves but in fact they are hurting everyone. It does not have to work that way. You did your job, you deserve payment. When this happens you have one choice only...You collect all the emails you received from the agency, and write a letter to the Attorney General of the area where the agency lives. You can check the name of the Attorney General over the net... then you write a detailed letter to the Attorney General with all the information you have, and join the emails and the PO you receive from the agency. Before you send it to the Attorney General send first a copy to the agency. Give the agency 15 days to react... if you do not receive the money by that time, then send your letter to the Attorney General and see what happens. Generally, this is what will happen 1. the Attorney General will contact the agency letting the people know that they have to pay; 2. the agency will receive a deadline to respond and pay; 3. if not, the Attorney general will decide to garnish the wages of the person that asked for the job to be done or to sell some of the assets of the agency for repayment to the translator or to close the company. This process is quite swift, and generally the agency ends up paying when you first send the letter.


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Karina Liddell
Local time: 06:03
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
- Feb 21, 2006

Hi Genevieve,

It seems that the course of actions in this situation in the US is quite clear. Do you have to pay any fees to Attorney-General? I was wondering what equivalent- position of the Attorney would be in the UK.
The other very important point is - if I was aware of the agency's position on the first place (that they will not pay or pay half if the client does not like the translation) - quite simply I would not have taken that translation on!

Regards,
Kalinka


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:03
German to French
+ ...
Small job Feb 21, 2006

I don't think it is a good idea to say one should not of after the money because it is a small job and the client is in a foreign country.

I have a direct client that owes me a bit less than € 100 in France and thinks he is not going to pay because 1. The translation was not his taste (without being able to prove any mistake) 2. I am not in his country.

The last time I had been quite nice with his reminder. Next time I am going to add interest rates and collection fees to his invoice.

I do not see why in every other business I start paying fees with just 2 days late (or sometimes not even late but they just messed with their own invoice) and in this industry I should give up just because it is a "small fee". If I am prepared to loose the money, I will at least him not have a go away with it and use the money to collect it. There are enough collections agencies more that just willing to get a share of the money - and I have everything.

-correct adress
-Faxed P.O (signed by the client)
-receipt aknowledgement
-I.P Adress of the client

-Next time the letter is going to come registered. And I will add the cost to his invoice, be sure of it.

[Edited at 2006-02-21 09:37]


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 07:03
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Well, that was not quite what I meant. Feb 21, 2006

Yolande Haneder wrote:

I don't think it is a good idea to say one should not of after the money because it is a small job and the client is in a foreign country.



What I meant was that it would not be worth it to go legal on this agency, because of the legal fees etc.

I don't want to let anyone get away with not paying me for my work.

I usually send a harsh reminder the second time, informing the client that:
*the translation I delivered is illegal for them and their client to use as long as I haven't been paid;
*I will make notes on every translators' site I know of about their non-payment;
*I will take legal action; and
*I must receive the payment within 10 days if I am to refrain from any of the above actions.

This usually works.


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:03
German to French
+ ...
Collection Feb 22, 2006

PCovs wrote:

What I meant was that it would not be worth it to go legal on this agency, because of the legal fees etc.

I don't want to let anyone get away with not paying me for my work.

I usually send a harsh reminder the second time, informing the client that:
*the translation I delivered is illegal for them and their client to use as long as I haven't been paid;
*I will make notes on every translators' site I know of about their non-payment;
*I will take legal action; and
*I must receive the payment within 10 days if I am to refrain from any of the above actions.

This usually works.



I can only say it is a private client and I will never be able to prove wether he is using it or not. He doesn't care about translator's forums, he probably thinks I am too far away for legal action.

There is an organisation in Austria called "Kreditschutzverband". For around 40€ (small amounts) or 3,5 % (The amount has to be checked) for invoices above € 400,00, they will go to court for you to collect the money in Austria and in many of the countries of the EU (through partner agencies). In my case I won't loose more than the fee whatever the end of the suit. I will probably do it if he doesn't pay but I am going to add the € 40 to his note if he doesn't pay within 10 days.

I am not worry about it, I won't let go or the next dubious client will be at the door.


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