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No payment when typo present?
Thread poster: Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.

Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 07:49
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
Sep 24, 2007

Hello,

I have recently completed a translation for a new agency. Unfortunately I missed a typo when I proofed my translation. Before the translation went to print I was sent a copy to check it for errors, which was when I spotted my typo and made the agency aware immediately. I was obviously rather embarassed, apologised and pointed out my error immediately.

The agency has now contacted me and stated that they wish to continue working with me but expect zero typos, and should there be any typos I would have to agree to forfeit payment for the whole translation!

I will let the agency know that I have no desire to work with them in the future, but i just wondered what your opinion is on the subject matter. I have never heard of a clause where the translator agrees to forfeit payment for the whole translation should there be any typos or spelling errors.

The client has, of course, the right to receive an error free translation, without question. But surely the agency/client has no right to forfeit payment for the whole translation in case of a typo?

Thanks for your opinions.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:49
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
No, certainly they do not have a right to withhold payment Sep 24, 2007

An agency is supposed to proofread a translation before sending it to the client - not necessarily against the original. However, the very least the agency should do is to compare the formatting (and, if necessary, polish it up) and also read the translation through to ensure that it makes sense, as well as to correct any typos.

One typo in a translation is not a lot, and it is part of the agency's job to find it. However, they even made you do the final check for them, and you did their job for them and notified them of the typo. End of matter. They should be pleased that you did them the favour of doing their part of the work - conscientiously.

I translate carefully, and then proofread carefully. Often, however, I glance over a translation once more after having sent it to the agency - even though I was sure it was thoroughly proofread before I sent it. On a few such occasions I have suddenly noticed a glaring typo or formatting error, and immediately written to the agency, either indicating the error or saying, "Please find attached a corrected version of the translation". The most common response from the agency is "Thank you for being so conscientious", or something of the kind.

Any agency that makes threats like the one you have recently dealt with does is not a serious business partner. Serious business partners do not negotiate in that type of way. Anyhow, there are plenty more fish in the sea, as far as agencies are concerned.

Astrid


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Narcis Lozano Drago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:49
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No way Sep 24, 2007

Unless we are talking about a very, very, very short translation (like the title of a novel, a company motto, etc) I think there is no justification for such behavior. Just a cheap excuse for not paying.

And when an agency or costumer doesn't pay (or wants to get himself a nice 100% free discount, like in your case) and starts to say how much they wish to work with you IN THE FUTURE, you'd better be careful. 99% sure it's a scam.

Stop them short.

Narcis


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Beatriz Galiano
Argentina
Local time: 18:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
No typos Sep 24, 2007

Well, that sounds like a declaration of war.

I'd feel they are very upset or unwilling to trust me again, and I would not work for them any more, just because they said it.

Doesn't sound right, does it?


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:49
Portuguese to English
+ ...
They must be kidding! Sep 24, 2007

Well, in any case, this "agency" will soon be dead, since they are digging their grave with their own teeth. Dump 'em.

Amy


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Ditto Sep 24, 2007

This agency needs to employ a proofreader. Too many people want to make a quick buck these days so they cut corners.

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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
I agree with Astrid (and everyone else, too!) Sep 24, 2007

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

I translate carefully, and then proofread carefully. Often, however, I glance over a translation once more after having sent it to the agency - even though I was sure it was thoroughly proofread before I sent it. On a few such occasions I have suddenly noticed a glaring typo or formatting error, and immediately written to the agency, either indicating the error or saying, "Please find attached a corrected version of the translation". The most common response from the agency is "Thank you for being so conscientious", or something of the kind.

Astrid


I've had the same experience over and over again. As a manuscript editor, I can tell you that at least three people read every book that goes into print: The author, the editor, and the proofreader.

The author reads it when s/he sends it in, as s/he works with the editor, and in galley proofs. The editor sweats over it. The proofreader is trained to find small mistakes.

And yet how many times have we all found typos in books that we've bought or gotten at the library!

Amy's right: This agency is digging their own grave with their teeth! RLOL!!


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 23:49
English to German
+ ...
Correcting your mistakes is within your rights Sep 25, 2007

Hi! I think I know this agency. They did cut 50% for one mistake and I quit working for them since then. Infact they also had mentioned in one of the mails that this is their standard procedure, no mistakes. I had also immediately changed that PO, stating that only I reserve the right to make changes. The time frame was very short and there was indeed one mistake, the agency did neither send me the mark-up file, nor point out where the mistake was and did not pay. I had posted a remark on the BB, they posted another remark mentioning that they had to employ 5 translators and another 5 proof-readers to validate my mistake as mistake and hence cannot pay. The offered rate was very low, and I wonder how an agency of this can manage employing somany others correcting and validating mistakes. I did not believe anything they said. And that was the end of the story. Making mistakes is human and in any given branch of the trade whether products or services a customer 3% to 5% quality deviations are bound to be and professional clients understand that. The source text they gave me was nothing complicated at all and was very badly prepared, and I am sure they did not employ 5 translators and another 5 proof-readers and the project was a website and they forgot to send half the content initially and there was much confusion with the page numbers ( they sent html copied to a word file), and the formatting, later came with a range of additional paragraphs in the mail attaches. The source text was in a miserablly bad english. The value I lost was not much, but the principle of mutual agreements were not adhered to by the client, so it is not worth working for them any more. Best regards, Brandis

[Edited at 2007-09-25 04:07]


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 00:49
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
For double my rate, I'd work for them - maybe Sep 25, 2007

I'd work for them only if they paid double my regular rate! And we'd need to agree on the definition of "typo," of course.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Take the upper hand Sep 25, 2007

islander1974 wrote:

This agency needs to employ a proofreader. Too many people want to make a quick buck these days so they cut corners.


Any agency that doesn't have a quality control department isn't worth dealing with. I proofread all my work meticulously, but as Astrid mentions, we're only human and even experienced proofreaders can make an occasional error.

I would insist they pay me for the translation and perhaps negotiate the proofreading fee you should be charging them for doing their work. You need to take the upper hand or expect the same treatment every time you deal with them.


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:49
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Rip-off Sep 25, 2007

Agree completely with Narcis, it definitely appears to be a cheap way to get out of paying. This cannot be a serious agency, so let them know that their policy is completely unheard of and unacceptable.

Good luck.

Woodstock


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Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 23:49
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Absolutely illogical Sep 25, 2007

Why on earth did they send you the file for a final check, if one single typo that _you_ noticed kills all payments?

Avoid them. They probably are notorious nonpayers.


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Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 07:49
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Future translations Sep 25, 2007

Thanks for all your replies.

I just wanted to clarify: The agency did not actually make any reference to the payment for THIS translation in question, so I am assuming I will receive full payment.

However, they wanted me to commit that for any FUTURE translations I would forfeit payment should a typo or spelling error be spotted. They claim this is their only "guarantee" that I would hand in error free work!!

I will certainly not work for them anymore.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:49
Flemish to English
+ ...
The plusvalue of an agency Sep 25, 2007

is amongst others (marketing, dtp,...) reviewing your translation and correcting typos.
If they are going to demand every translator to adhere to that policy, they may just as well close their doors.



[Edited at 2007-09-25 09:11]


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Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:49
English to French
+ ...
BB Entry Sep 25, 2007

Hi Nicole,
Don't forget to make a BB entry on that agency!

Marie-Céline


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