Poll: Who are the most problematic payers according to your personal statistics?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:01
SITE STAFF
Dec 11, 2005

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Who are the most problematic payers according to your personal statistics?".

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:01
German to English
+ ...
Other (please specify) Dec 11, 2005

Only once have I had problems with payment (knocks on wood): an acquaintance. Towards the beginning of my career as a translator, this acquaintance had me translate a 100-page manual on racecar parts for 1000 DM.

I never received the money. At least he didn't get the translation either. Anyone need a manual on racecar parts (cheap)?

And the worst part is that I even went and invested on a specialized, technical dictionary (300 DM) that I haven't used since, so my losses were even greater, unless you're counting experience.

[Edited at 2005-12-11 11:50]


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:01
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Other Dec 11, 2005

They can all be problematic. I find that the most problematic are the so-called one man/woman bands, who run an agency on their own. Basically, they have no time to do everything, payment is often late (disorganization) and if they go bust or are not paying is quite painful to recover the money because we are dealing with individuals who usually work from home and have no assets. Have you tried sueing a single mum with small children?

Giovanni


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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 06:01
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
Other | a little note about certain SME agencies Dec 11, 2005

My experience is that notably small and medium sized agencies that indulge in price wars have a disastrous effect on the market for translations.

Such SMEs do not only force free-lancers to take the slippery road of lowering their rates, they usually also:
1. demonstrate a crying lack for expertise in handling translation projects,
2. and therefore operate as box pusher,
3. involve in risky projects for reason of ..[1.],
4. let their suppliers suffer whenever things go wrong for reason of ....[1.],
5. try to impose deadlines that only can be met when everything goes perfectly smooth, which rarely happens for reason of.. 1.],
6. try to make their suppliers sign contracts in which they accept full and extended liability,
7. use money overdue to suppliers to finance their business.

My little piece of advice: whenever you stumble on an agency that features only one of the above characteristics, then refuse to work for them.

Number 1 in particular is The Principal Warning Sign!

All the best, and let 2006 bring you wonderful business and good relationships.

ProZ.com Staff wrote:

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Who are the most problematic payers according to your personal statistics?".


[Edited at 2005-12-11 13:42]

[Edited at 2005-12-11 14:05]


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to German
+ ...
All of these can be true for either of the other categories Dec 11, 2005

titi@home wrote:

My experience is that notably small and medium sized agencies that indulge in price wars have a disastrous effect on the market for translations.

Such SMEs do not only force free-lancers to take the slippery road of lowering their rates, they usually also:
1. demonstrate a crying lack for expertise in handling translation projects,
2. and therefore operate as box pusher,
3. involve in risky projects for reason of ..[1.],
4. let their suppliers suffer whenever things go wrong for reason of ....[1.],
5. try to impose deadlines that only can be met when everything goes perfectly smooth, which rarely happens for reason of.. 1.],
6. try to make their suppliers sign contracts in which they accept full and extended liability,
7. use money overdue to suppliers to finance their business.



There is no reason to distinguish between "big" and "small" ones in this respect.


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Francisco Bolaños  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Small companies Dec 11, 2005

I havent been paid twice. First time,it was a local company, where I worked as translator and teacher. I lost all hopes of recovering my money (900€) when the owner suddenly closed the agency and flew back to his country.
A couple of months ago I made a bid for a job appeared here in Proz, and made a couple of urgent translations for an agency based in California. They havent paid yet, and I have just seen that 2 other Prozian fellows have reported the same case in Blue Board.
As titi@home, I hope things will be better in 2006

Greetings!


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:01
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
direct clients Dec 11, 2005

All of my direct clients are really bad payers bar one...they always pay but I have to squeeze the cash out of them like a gangster..

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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 06:01
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
Please allow me to differ. Dec 11, 2005

Large translation agencies really have a name to lose. They depend largely on freelancers processing the largest part of their workflow. Large agencies also have a staff of translators, project managers, dtp specialists, engineers and what have you. Such an operation cannot be easily and quickly closed down.
SME's however can, and they do so regularly.

Please try to recall (in your mind only please ) one single large translation agency that has demonstrated a severe lack of expertise in handling translation projects. I wouldn't know of any, would you?

In case of small agencies, you will find out very quickly whether they are professionals. Do they know anything about CAT-tools. Are they able to maintain and update TMs? Do they know how many words per day is at all feasible given a certain language combination and complexity of the source text? Do they understand that some languages have distinct official varieties? Do they acknowledge that when they order a translation, the assignment does not automatically include dtp? etc. etc.

Steffen Pollex wrote:

titi@home wrote:

My experience is that notably small and medium sized agencies that indulge in price wars have a disastrous effect on the market for translations.

Such SMEs do not only force free-lancers to take the slippery road of lowering their rates, they usually also:
1. demonstrate a crying lack for expertise in handling translation projects,
2. and therefore operate as box pusher,
3. involve in risky projects for reason of ..[1.],
4. let their suppliers suffer whenever things go wrong for reason of ....[1.],
5. try to impose deadlines that only can be met when everything goes perfectly smooth, which rarely happens for reason of.. 1.],
6. try to make their suppliers sign contracts in which they accept full and extended liability,
7. use money overdue to suppliers to finance their business.



There is no reason to distinguish between "big" and "small" ones in this respect.


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to German
+ ...
Sure I can Dec 11, 2005

titi@home wrote:

Please try to recall (in your mind only please ) one single large translation agency that has demonstrated a severe lack of expertise in handling translation projects. I wouldn't know of any, would you?



And not only one of them. I would not write anything here which I would not have experienced myself.

But equally, I would not like to extend the discussion in this direction, since the poll has been posted to establish the trend mainly, not for having an argument with virtually no ending.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:01
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My worst experience was with an international organization!! Dec 12, 2005

About 8 years ago an international organization based in Washington, DC, owed me almost $10,000 for several translations. No record could be found of the work done, and a number of colleagues got stiffed around the same time I did. About 2 years later, after a lot of fuss that went all the way up to the secretary general, I finally got paid most of what was owed. I'm happy to say that that situation has since been corrected, and as far as I know there haven't been any problems recently.

Also, international organizations and government agencies are notoriously slow in paying. A check can take from 2 to 10 months to arrive.


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moken  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
not in my experience (international non-profits) Dec 14, 2005



Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

Also, international organizations and government agencies are notoriously slow in paying. A check can take from 2 to 10 months to arrive.


Not my case Muriel. I actually get hassled for invoices by the intl non-profit organizations I work with in Spain and get paid almost immediately - in no case longer than 30 days.


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