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Client refused to pay/payment in 2-3months
Thread poster: xxxPLtranslatio
xxxPLtranslatio
English to Polish
Sep 3, 2006

Hello everyone,

I have worked for this client from the Czech Republic since April '06. The cooperation was going well (one payment was made in June). In the recent jobs (around 15), there were 2 translations (total: several thousand words) where I missed few words. First translation: there were five words missing (out of 3,000). Second translation - there were around twenty words missing (2,500 words). For the second job, I had an emergency and had to postpone the deadline (I told him about this before the actual deadline, and he agreed on delivering the translation on a day later, which was deliver as agreed). There was also one more translation for which he left a ridiculous comment - that the wrong word was used ("Wystarczy poprosic czlonka obslugi" - he said that it means "penis" (??!!)), this is actually a good translation. He also refused to pay for another job, but he didn't leave any details about it. He refused to pay for all these jobs (around 7,000 words), and for the remaing jobs I am supposed to receive the payment within the next 2-3 months (??!!). I have worked for 30+ clients before, and have never any problems like that. I tried to contact him after I received his "end of collaboration" email, but he said that he's on vacation and he "doesn't have any time for me". I told him that he can deduct the money for non-translated words (=25 words), and pay for the remainder, especially since all this jobs have been done since August. I gave him 2 weeks to make the payment, and as of today, 9 days are remaining. Should he don't pay within this period, I will leave him a negative feedback on proZ.com and contact with the proZ.com officials to help resolve this issue. I am also thinking about collection agency in the Czech republic at this point.

Furthemore, he was paying me this ridiculously low rate and it seemed obvious to me that he also hires a proofreader who would in this case catch these untranslated words and send them back to me for translation. It seems like he did not. I think that he uses these small problems to avoid the payment and shun from contacting with me at any point of time.

Can anyone advise me what type of money collection would work best in my case? I'd prefer someone who has already tried to/received money from a non-paying client in the Czech Republic or in other Eastern European contries.

Please also advise on any other ways of getting my money.

Your feedback is appreciated.

Thank you,
Pawel


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:54
English to Polish
+ ...
Suggestions Sep 3, 2006

1. Post this also in the Polish forum (in Polish). We may be able to help you more "locally".

2. I don't mean to drag you down more, but "pracownik obsługi" would be a better expression. This does not change the fact that even though technically "correct", this comment is a bit, well, overzealous.

Best,
Paweł Skaliński


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:54
Member (2004)
German to English
I think you need to raise your game Sep 4, 2006

Hi Pawel,
Although I am very sympathetic about agencies that don't pay I think you need to raise your game. That means improve the work you are doing. I would never leave words untranslated in a translation. It is not acceptable to a client. From your posting I understood that, from the client's perspective, you didn't complete the work to an acceptable level and postponed a deadline. You might think that these things are small but the client thinks they are big and important. This kind of mistake is common for people who are starting out but to build a successful business the customer must be able to rely on you to deliver a good translation by the deadline. If you do that the client will come back for more. If you don't, he will get very upset. I was able to avoid exactly this kind of mistake when I started out by reading a book that told me which mistakes to avoid to set up a successful translations business. And no, I am not getting paid to sell you the book. You can contact me if you want to know the details of it. Clients need to experience you as a reliable translator on whom they can depend - no matter what happens. The deadline is a wall of fire and must be met at all costs. The quality of your work is a gold seal of approval.
I wish you success in building a successful business.
Gillian


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Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:54
Italian to English
+ ...
Raise your rates while you're at it Sep 4, 2006

I agree with Gillian - unfortunately any missed deadlines or missed words are just ammunition for an unfriendly client to fire at you (it's also very unprofessional of him to say he has no time for you - this is a matter that he'll have to sort out eventually). When I first started, a similar thing happened to me - trying to meet a rush deadline I translated "by" instead of "from" and typed a wrong figure. The agency had previously given me a lot of work (all at a very low rate), but didn't want to pay me for this job (worth 400 euros) yet thought our working relationship could carry on as normal. I thought otherwise. Chalking it up to experience, I told them in no uncertain terms what I thought of their payments policy, raised my rates and plied my trade elsewhere.

What should happen in this case is that the client agrees a reduced rate with you. Unless the whole translation was so bad that a reviewer had to basically rewrite it, which can't be the case if you have 30 other satisfied clients, you should still be paid something for your work.


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:54
Member (2004)
German to English
Accuracy is important Sep 4, 2006

I have to say that I agree with Gillian - I know we all make mistakes sometimes, but you should be falling through the floor with embarrassment at having missed out words in two out of 15 assignments. It's a fallacious argument to suggest that the client can simply not pay you for the 25 words you omitted - the cost of having someone identify that those words are missing is far higher than the mere cost of translating 25 words. Whether or not the client employs a proofreader, your aim should be to produce work that is good enough not to need checking. To justify careless work by saying that the proofreader will pick up the mistakes just isn't a professional attitude, and I can sympathise with an agency that doesn't want to employ someone who takes that approach.

Incidentally, how are you managing to miss out words so often? You need to devise a translating technique that ensures that that can't happen - using a CAT tool might be one way of doing that.


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Jande  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 21:54
Danish to English
+ ...
He is not your client anymore Sep 6, 2006

This company is not your client anymore and have stated that they "haven't got any more time for you" you'll need to get a collection agency if you want to collect your money. Be very professional in your dealings with them from now on. Official business only.

First send a warning - resend you invoice with a statement i.e. if they don't pay within x days you'll pass the invoice onto a collection agency.

If they don't pay then send the invoice on.

If it turns ugly and they want to go to court you may have to cut your losses. Just going to court will cost you more than the money itself. Don't throw good money after bad.


We all know it is not good to miss a few words, but they should still pay you for work done and try to find an amicable solution.

I don't think it is your loss to lose a client like this. I would not like to translate such words, but it doesn't help to bad mouth. All in all it's just unprofessional. You have to move on.


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maiemada
Local time: 12:54
English to Arabic
Same here! Sep 6, 2006

Hi there,

I think i have the same problem (my client wouldn't pay) but the only difference that my translation was neat and on time, and the y wouldn't pay me though!!

First problem with bank transgers, second he tols me that he is doing my best and rudely said "Do you want money to get your food!!"

I raised this issue in the OFF topic forum and i suggested creating a ablck list of all such clients and i also asked for advice about how to guarantee that my client will pay.

I wish you the best of luck with your problem

Mai


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:54
English to German
+ ...
No black lists - use the Blue Board Sep 6, 2006

Hi Mai,

I raised this issue in the OFF topic forum and i suggested creating a ablck list of all such clients and i also asked for advice about how to guarantee that my client will pay.

There is no black list on ProZ.com - but are you aware of the Blue Board, where you can exchange experience regarding outsourcers (both positive and negative)?

Best regards,
Ralf


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maiemada
Local time: 12:54
English to Arabic
Thank you.. Sep 6, 2006

I wish i have checked it before dealing with them.. they rated 1 !!

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Hi Mai,

I raised this issue in the OFF topic forum and i suggested creating a ablck list of all such clients and i also asked for advice about how to guarantee that my client will pay.

There is no black list on ProZ.com - but are you aware of the Blue Board, where you can exchange experience regarding outsourcers (both positive and negative)?

Best regards,
Ralf


[Edited at 2006-09-06 11:34]


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