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Is "quality check" common to receive the full payment?
Thread poster: uky

uky
Local time: 00:19
English to Japanese
Jul 8, 2007

Hello:

I am about to sign a contract and there are a couple of issues dealing with the contract with this new company:
1) The contract offered only 2/3 of the pay from what I am offered on the phone (so they changed their mind without an explanation or scummed me?)
2) Only 60 % of the total offer of the 2/3 is promised until I complete my work and the remaining 40% will be paid if passed their "quality check/control"

I called and they ended up offering from 2/3 to 2.5/3 (gaining 0.5), saying that they meant something different on the phone (of which sounded very manipulative to me). For 2), I will be asking them but I am curious if any of you have experienced this. Would you please help me on how I can deal with this? (i.e. should I ask what they mean by it, or simply say "I cannot accept it and won't do it unless it will be all promised to pay at the completion of work).

I would really appreciate for your help! Thanks a lot.

[Edited at 2007-07-08 03:58]


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 07:19
Turkish to English
+ ...
No, this arrangement is not common. Jul 8, 2007

I have never been asked to accept such a condition for receiving full payment, nor would I agree to do so.

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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 08:19
English to Russian
screw them Jul 8, 2007

I would stop right there if I were you. Even if they eventually offer normal conditions, you'll be encountering such approach over and over (penalties of all kinds, overdue invoices, treating your emails as a spam etc.). I have worked for such company, and it was a frustrating experience.

[Edited at 2007-07-08 06:43]


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:19
English to Dutch
+ ...
Drop them Jul 8, 2007

Don't go into this, there not worth the frustration.

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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
I would not mind.. Jul 8, 2007

uky wrote:
Only 60 % of the total offer of the 2/3 is promised ...

.. as long as those 60% correspond to my standard rate ..


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two separate issues Jul 8, 2007

uky wrote:
1) The contract offered only 2/3 of the pay from what I am offered on the phone (so they changed their mind without an explanation or scummed me?)


Perhaps they changed their mind about what they're offering; perhaps the PM quoted you the rate they're getting by mistake; perhaps they decided later on to pay 1/3 to an independent proofreader... who knows? The fact that they're honest about the amount offered (ie not changing it later, during the course of the job, or afterwards) is at least honest and open.

2) Only 60 % of the total offer of the 2/3 is promised until I complete my work and the remaining 40% will be paid if passed their "quality check/control"


I have another client whose contract with me states that I only get paid when the client signs a satisfaction document or sorts. So far I haven't been burned by them -- all jobs paid.

You're afraid that your client might use this clause in the contract to screw you and use your translation without paying you the full amount? Well, don't you think that if this client was really dishonest, that they would have screwed you even without being upfront about this clause in the contract?


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:19
English to Russian
+ ...
my choice too Jul 8, 2007

Harry Bornemann wrote:

uky wrote:
Only 60 % of the total offer of the 2/3 is promised ...

.. as long as those 60% correspond to my standard rate ..


+1

I would like to add that the procedure for quality assurance MUST be explicitly specified in the contract as well, i.e. when the translator shall be advised about the results; what to do if the client fails to supply the translator with any comments within time given for quality assurance; who shall be deemed to qualify for quality assurance and could be nominated by the client, etc.

[Edited at 2007-07-08 09:43]


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uky
Local time: 00:19
English to Japanese
TOPIC STARTER
On top of that... Jul 8, 2007

Thank you so much for your helpful and practical comments everyone.

If I only get the 60% and "fail" their quality check, it will be about $0.08 US per word - which some people at this forum don't seem to mind. If I get it full it will be about $0.14 US per word.

I've also found out that there are more differences between what I'm
told on the phone and its actual work.

- while been told it's 40 pages, its actual pages were 50 pages exact.
- while been told 13000 words, the actual words were 14970 (about 15000) words.
- while been told $0.22 US per word, it was actually $0.14 US per word
(turned out that his first calculation of 0.22 was right if their original offer was said in the contract!!!)

As I hear comments, I am feeling towards either I drop this work (as some of you say) or take it by asking questions Re: what Sergei has said (to get the details of what they mean by quality control- I'll demand them to include that in the contract - thanks!). What Samuel say sounds something to me too that they are at least giving some sort of actual number in the contract.

But considering all these difference of the calculation, and the fact they demanded this urgent to be done in 5 days (I'm told I'm replacing someone so I only have fewer days to work on), I cannot help feeling suspicious...

Would you ask "urgent" fees in this situation, or is this already too much to deal...


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
I would drop it, or: Jul 8, 2007

Under these conditions I would insist that those $0.14 US correspond to the 60%, because with such a workload of 15000 new words in 5 days I could not deliver a solid quality.
I usually accept 1000 new words on the first day of a project, 1500 per day in the first week and 2000 per day later on, in En-De and Fr-De.


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Jim Tucker  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
Don't encourage these people Jul 8, 2007

...by working with them. This is clearly a manipulative practise, of the "bait and switch" variety. These people have already signalled you several times to expect the worst, and on that point at least, I am inclined to believe them.

There's plenty of good work out there to be had from reasonable people as well!


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:19
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Looks like a schnorrer Jul 8, 2007

For those unfamiliar with Yiddish folklore, please see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schnorrer

This sounds like the joke...
A schnorrer goes to a tailor, and asks:
"How much would you charge me for a pair of pants?"
"$ 60."
"Aw, that's too much. I'd pay only $ 30."
"Okay, I'll make them for $ 40."
"Ah, then I'd be willing to pay only $ 20."
"All right. $ 30, and that's it!"
"Can't do. How about $ 10?"
"Okay, you win! Just because I'm happy, my sister had a baby yesterday, it's my first nephew, I'll make them for free, just for you, only this once."
"Great! So I want two pairs!"



The lesson here is that if these guys start by setting up a deal that will make the price go lower and lower, they will end trying to find umpteen reasons for not paying you at all for a flawlessly done job.

No use in entering a deal where you strongly suspect that will end with your WWA = 0.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 23:19
English to Russian
+ ...
In fact, it depends Jul 8, 2007

2 of my prime contracts contain clauses regarding gradual payment reduction in case of a royal screw-up. They also contain several clauses protecting me and guaranteeing timely payments and professional and logistics support with round-the-clock emergency numbers to make sure that all I care about is translation/interpretation. It's good to know who you work with...

Funny, in my memory these reduction clauses have been applied only twice, and not to me:-). In one case it was a translator who himself was very good in the required field and informed the agency that he can help and subcontract his people to meet the deadline for the price for editing/proofreading, which he was supposed to do himself.

The person did not even bother to take a look and sent us 65 pages of horrible, partially machine translation apparently subcontracted to 2-centers. To give you an idea - in the description of explosion on the drilling rig lower deck there were missiles and jet fire. From the received translation into Russian we have learned that rockets have been launched and reaction control system jets fired... 4 or 5 people, including a DTP specialist, had to work round the clock for nearly 3 days to redo, re-format and compile a bid proposal volume in time. Guess what - he was punished by me, I was a PM at the time and the right clause was in place in the contract. The second time a person did a lot of cutting and pasting from the wrong version in a 80-pager. The agency had no time to make him redo the work and again, 2 people have been called in at 7 pm and worked overnight. I served them drinks and dinner:-). He had to pay a part of their wages. So, these clauses are necessary for the agencies but you are right, it must be 50/50.

Actually, good agencies do not abuse, and often do not even use these clauses. What they do is after tests they send small paid jobs first - 1000-2000 words, and when things turn out really bad, sometimes proving that the test could have been done or edited by someone else, which happens, believe me, they just pay for their mistake and forget the translator's name for good. It takes something like I've described to enforce those punishment clauses. If the agency is honest, that is:-)

Good agencies are not interested in killing golden geese. In my 10-15-year history with them I've made mistakes, missed sentences, asked for deadline extentions... Never heard of any punishments. I'm not afraid to sign contracts like that if
1. they are mutually fair, and
2. I know who is behind it.

If I ever go back to the agency business I will have these clauses in my contract and those who know me will sign it. Frankly, I'll be working with the known or recommended team only:-). With the team that recognizes all signatures of good job without a reminder so they won't be afraid either. They also know my attitude towards editing as they have the same, so they won't have to be afraid of editorial changes and suspect potential cheating on my part. Such clause is but an extra insurance for emergency situations. In fact, sloppy contracts, non-protective for both sides, make me wonder...



[Edited at 2007-07-08 17:04]

[Edited at 2007-07-08 19:24]


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uky
Local time: 00:19
English to Japanese
TOPIC STARTER
I hear you... Jul 9, 2007

Hello all:

I'd like to thank you all for your comments that were
coming from your precious experiences.

I've decided to let them know that I won't do it because too much
of contradictions between what they say and what actual condition is.

It is so encouraging to hear that there are good clients and better jobs out there! I've never really had to take work that comes from unknown people and this turns out to be a good expereince for me. But more than that, learning from you all has been the best of this!

thank you all and hope you don't have to face this sort of thing in the future


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:19
Italian to English
+ ...
You made the right choice Jul 9, 2007

The whole thing stank like a week-old fish.

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