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How do I protect my work against outsourcers with late payment record
Thread poster: Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer

Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:28
English to German
+ ...
May 10, 2007

I recently got a larger job offer (did not apply) by an agency that has a very mixed record on the Blue Bord. Some freelancers had payment issues with them, though not all. They either pay late or in one case less than agreed too.
I know that the Blue Bord is not always reliable but it is some help to make a decision. I usually look for the names of translators that I trust to see there judgment. Unfortunately none of the names looks familiar.
My question: Is there any way to protect myself from those problems? Did anyone of you ever ask for partial payment upfront or a deposit maybe in or anything like that? Or do I just have to take the risk? I would be interested in this job, but not enough to work for free
How do I phrase my quote for this job to ask for some security in this matter?

Thanks to all of you


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:28
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Is it worth the risk? May 10, 2007

Dear Hildegard,

When I am approached by an outsourcer, I do the same as you do: carefully check the Blue Board. If there are one or two late payment issues, that might be due to a misunderstanding but if there are more, that raises a red flag in my mind. I also check the outsourcers responses: are they apologetic or do they blame everything on the translator? And, like you, I check to see if any of the entries, either good or bad, are from translators I know. If I'm still uncertain, I ask myself: is it worth the risk and the headache? Usually the answer is no - I tell them I'm sorry but I'm all booked up right now, leaving the door open for the future.

I doubt that those same outsourcers would agree to a payment up front but I think if it is a large project that could be divided into installments, you could ask to be paid after each installment.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:28
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Try other translation sites too May 10, 2007

Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer wrote:

I recently got a larger job offer (did not apply) by an agency that has a very mixed record on the Blue Bord. Some freelancers had payment issues with them, though not all. They either pay late or in one case less than agreed too.
I know that the Blue Bord is not always reliable but it is some help to make a decision. I usually look for the names of translators that I trust to see there judgment. Unfortunately none of the names looks familiar.
My question: Is there any way to protect myself from those problems? Did anyone of you ever ask for partial payment upfront or a deposit maybe in or anything like that? Or do I just have to take the risk? I would be interested in this job, but not enough to work for free
How do I phrase my quote for this job to ask for some security in this matter?

Thanks to all of you


Dear Hildegard,
You could try looking them up on other translators' websites as well as the Blue Board. If you contact me privately I can give you a couple of organisations that are also very helpful, but I'm not allowed to mention them here.
jenny @ jennyforbes.wanadoo.co.uk
Best of luck,
Jenny.


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Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 19:28
Italian to Danish
+ ...
Tell it to them straight forward May 10, 2007

I have been approached a few times by agencies with a 'not quite convincing' Blue Board record. Since I simply don't want to spend time on chasing my payments I have told them - veeery politely - that due to their record on the Blue Board I would have to ask for payment in advance.

Although these outsourcers said that they might not have problems with advance payment I didn't get any of the jobs - but I am so glad that they know we keep an eye on their records. They might choose to improve...


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Partial member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
It happened to me once May 10, 2007

But it was a direct customer (so no Blue Board for him) that I didn't know at all. I was approached for a rather big job. I told him outright about the payment problem and asked him to pay a little bit more than half of the job at the delivery of the first part (a little bit less than half of the job). Upon receipt of payment I would have sent him the second part of the translation with an invoice with "normal terms" (1 month). Apparently he was not upset by this proposal but agreed immediately, sent me two days after the first invoice the bank confirmation for the payment, and also the second invoice was paid perfectly in time.

But, I repeat, this was not an agency, and I doubt agencies would agree to such a practice. But I wouldn't take any chance if I were you and make sure by all means I get my payment!

Anyway, I am firmly convinced that we should always tell to agencies when their reputation on the Blue Board or on other websites is not good (I did it myself a couple of times) and that we are reluctant to take over a job for this reason. Sometimes, this could be due to temporary difficulties or whatever and they could explain why this happened, but I think they should know that we are well aware of the means we have. Otherwise, they are all useless.

[Bearbeitet am 2007-05-10 19:38]


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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:28
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Blue Board is for *all* our clients May 10, 2007

We are not limited to just making Blue Board entries for translation companies. Direct clients may not be as likely to seek further translation help for other language pairs, but it is possible they will. LWA (Likelihood to Work Again) entries can and should be used for all our clients (unless there is a privacy issue, of course).

For instance, once you'd completed that job for that direct client whom you didn't know beforehand, there *was* something you knew about him that you could share with others: he paid faithfully.

Note, also, that when you post a positive LWA for someone, they receive a notice about your posting. So, in effect, this is a way to say thank you for appropriate behavior. In addition, your client is welcome to leave a message in reply, so this is a good way to collect good references about your own translation abilities.

Christel Zipfel wrote:

But it was a direct customer (so no Blue Board for him) that I didn't know at all.


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:28
German to English
+ ...
To Jenny May 10, 2007

I don't understand why we aren't allowed to mention other payment practices and/or translators' sites on ProZ.

The other sites don't seem to have such restrictions. What is ProZ afraid of??


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Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:28
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, to all of you May 12, 2007

Thanks to all. I think I will ask for partial payment after part of the job. It makes the most sense and will show if they are willing to do that.
The other sites that Jenny mentioned didn't have entries for that company. How lucky can you be?

Anyways, thank you and Happy Mothers Day!


[Edited at 2007-05-12 03:45]


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Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:28
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Helpful Article May 12, 2007

I just wanted all of you to know about this article that I found last night. It seems very helpful to me and I will certainly follow some of Andrei's suggestions.
http://accurapid.com/journal/26collection.htm
Hope it helps us to find only "good" agencies.


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Ugne Vitkute  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 19:28
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
They pay in advance sometimes May 29, 2007

I have recently been asked to translate a 2300-word document by a Dutch agency which has a BB rating of 2. It was a non-paying customer, it seemed. So, I replied that I am willing to translate the text only after the full advance payment. The PM tried to negotiate but I kept my ground. Eventually (I was really surprised) he paid it by bank transfer, so I delivered the translation on the same day (I did not start it before I got the payment). I did not hear thanks or any reply ever since but I cannot care less, I was paid. What I want to say here is - be not afraid to ask for the advance payment.

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