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Could we extend the Blue Board system a little?
Thread poster: Astrid Elke Witte

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:12
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Jan 24, 2007

I just wondered if we could have a more useful credit reporting system. For example, I worked for an agency a few months ago that has about two dozen 5's on the Blue Board, along with comments that the guy always pays on time, often specifying that that means within 30 days. However, despite the high number of entries stating that, the information is misleading. The guy agreed 30 days with me, and paid me at 51 days. Now, I could make a Blue Board entry to say so, however I would then have to give him a "1" or a "2". However, I do not wish to do that, because that already brings in an emotional factor ("wouldn't work for him again"). I would like, instead, to be able to click the following buttons:

"Did you bilaterally agree payment terms with this client before commencing work?"

I could choose "Yes" or "No".

"Did you stipulate payment terms on your invoice?"

I could choose "Yes" or "No".

"After how many days was your invoice paid?"

I could select "51".

This would not involve any judgement, or any declaration whether or not I would work for the agency again. It would simply be a set of 3 useful, factual statements, in order to inform others. I would also find it more businesslike than the current Blue Board system. No, I don't want to regularly work for an agency that may always pay its bills 21 days late. However, I also do not want to deprive myself of future custom by stating outright, with each agency that does that, "No, I will never work for that agency again." There may come a time in the future when I am actively looking for work. However, I still wish to be able to make the above three factual statements. Any chance of this?

Astrid


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:12
English to German
+ ...
Added to the wish list for the next Jobs/BB release Jan 24, 2007

Hi Astrid,
Thanks for the proposal; I have added it to the 'wish list'.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:12
French to English
How is that useful? Jan 24, 2007

Forgive me, I may be being stupid.

If I see "51" (or any other number) as the answer to question 3, without knowing the number of days involved in questions 1 & 2, then how do I know whether the outsourcer paid as agreed (in the event of bilateral agreement) or when it said it would (in the event of unilateral take-it-it-leave-it situation), or whether this number was in flagrant breach of any 'agreement'?

I *can* see some value in a two questions along the lines of :
1) how long after issuing the invoice were you paid?
2) compared to the agreed payment terms, was this:
i) early
ii) more or less on time
iii) late
iv) significantly late
v) N/A - payment terms not specified.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:12
English to German
+ ...
Terms vs. actual Jan 24, 2007

Good point, Charlie,

If I see "51" (or any other number) as the answer to question 3, without knowing the number of days involved in questions 1 & 2, then how do I know whether the outsourcer paid as agreed (in the event of bilateral agreement) or when it said it would (in the event of unilateral take-it-it-leave-it situation), or whether this number was in flagrant breach of any 'agreement'?

Obviously, one would need to see the terms agreed upon vs. the actual amount of time.

Best, Ralf


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Paul Stevens  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:12
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with Charlie Jan 24, 2007

I fully agree with Charlie. For me, commenting on how long it was before you were paid from the date of the invoice is not really very relevant, especially as payment terms can vary so much.

For me, the most relevant factor commented on in the Blue Board is whether a client/agency pays on time. The fact that an agency is not a prompt payer is not, however, always reflected in the grading given by those making an entry on the Blue Board (e.g. I've seen a number of entries where the translator says something along the lines of "I've done three jobs for this agency, and have had to chase for payment each time, but payment was not very late" and give a rating of 5, which makes no sense to me!).

Astrid, if you feel that you might want to work with your agency again, then, according to the Blue Board, you should really be giving a rating of 3 ("I might work again with this outsourcer"). Would you have a problem with this?


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:12
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rating of 3 would be problematic Jan 24, 2007

Hi Paul,

Yes, a rating of 3 would be problematic, precisely because of the way the Blue Board is used. Even a 4 is sometimes regarded by both translators and agencies alike as a criticism. The last time I chose "3", in line with the definition of "may/may not work for the agency again", I received an e-mail from the agency concerned, stating that I was trying to destroy their reputation.

I would prefer to have something totally objective. Yes, Charlie was right, I had omitted the two further questions of, after the first question, "If so, what is the payment term you agreed with the client?" and the possibility of selecting the number of days; and, after the second question, "what payment terms did you state in your invoice?", followed, again, by a box to fill in the number of days.

There are some major credit reference agencies in existence, as we all know, where such records are kept or reported on all types of business. However, for the world of translation, it would be nice to have our industry-specific version. I would like to be able to report such figures in a purely objective manner, without saying either I would/would not or may like to work for the client again.

Astrid

[Edited at 2007-01-24 22:35]


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 08:12
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
I'm afraid Jan 24, 2007

this is one of things the Humankind has not invented yet

Uldis

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
I would prefer to have something totally objective.




[Rediģēts plkst. 2007-01-24 22:56]


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Marcela Mestre  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:12
Member
English to Spanish
payment terms + bank fees Jan 24, 2007

Great idea, Astrid.

I would also include a question like:

Did you bilaterally agree bank fees with this client before commencing work?"

I could choose "Yes" or "No".

My experience is that after accepting a job by phone, I received a PO stating that all bank fees would be paid by translator (from Spain to Argentina!!!) In the end I lost €84...
Of course I read the PO in detail, signed it and faxed it back, fully aware of that. I did not want to argue that topic because it was my first job with them, and I wanted to take the opportunity.

I mention this because I believe "30 days" is the rule, and I think (at least) 50-50 should be the rule for bank fees.

Please, correct me if I am wrong.

Best.
mm


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:12
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I think 50-50 is the standard for bank fees Jan 24, 2007

Hi Marcela,

Sorry to hear you were expected to pay all the bank fees. As far as I understand, 50-50 is the normal business arrangement.

If you agree to accept payment by PayPal, then you have to pay 100% of the fees to receive the money, and PayPal is not cheap, but, unless it was a large order, it would be likely to be a bit cheaper than EUR 84.00. Moneybookers costs still less, I believe. Have you looked into these options of receiving money?

Best regards,
Astrid


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 08:12
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
In Europe Jan 24, 2007

30 days NET is a LAW (unless you yourself have not agreed otherwise): here is the name of the EU Regulation

Directive 2000/35/EC

(please Google it, it's downloadable only):

and here to respective EU Member Countries' Laws:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/regulation/late_payments/implementation.htm

In my experience if somebody tells me that their practice is payment in 60 or 90 days, I always answer that our practice is to comply with EU Regulations and National Laws- "How can you expect us to cooperate with an entity ignoring your own National Laws?" (The name of National Law from the above resource added).

The result on average is 50/50 - about one half answers that they make "a special exceptions for Service Providers especially insisting on that EU Directive" and will make it also for us, the other half replies that "they are not authorised by their higher managers to do it" (read- "to perform their business according to their own National Laws"). I usually point that out to them and usually never hear from them again. Perhaps for the best

And yes- the transfer fees by unwritten default are covered by the outsourcer throughout the World- we bear them ourselves and never accept any jobs from any outsourcers, who had made us to bear transfer costs (e.g., sent cheques without specific previous agreement).

OTOH, yes, being a small nation with very limited resources of translators, we can make them to play by our rules, I understand that is not always possible when major language combinations are involved...

Uldis

Marcela Mestre wrote:
I mention this because I believe "30 days" is the rule, and I think (at least) 50-50 should be the rule for bank fees.


[Rediģēts plkst. 2007-01-24 23:50]

[Rediģēts plkst. 2007-01-24 23:53]


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Marcela Mestre  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:12
Member
English to Spanish
reason for my suggestion Jan 25, 2007

Hi Astrid and Uldis!

Thanks for both replies.

In fact, I also accept other forms of payment. The thing was that we "bilaterally agreed" the rate and the deadline, and I assumed bank fees would be (at most) 50-50. Then, in the PO, (as I have already mentioned) bank fees were clearly stated as payable by me. The key is that I didn't want to go on negotiating (I didn't want to appear greedy) and I signed, but I found it rather pushy, I could say?

That's why I suggest adding that question of "bilaterally agree bank fees".

BTW, the other overseas agencies I work for are "happy" (sic) to pay 100% of bank fees.

Best.
mm


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Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
Blue board and questions Jan 25, 2007

First of all I wish to say something about the way I (and perhaps others too) understand and need BlueBoard.
I mainly use it so see:
1. If the agency really exists and in the translation field
2. If it is a serious agency.

Now serious for me, at least for the time being means more to work good, to have a permanent contact, agreeing a good price aso.
The financial matters, especially those regarding the delayments of payment are not so important for me.
Perhaps it would be good to put on ProZ a corner for beginners where to mention also the financial aspects.
I mean I do not not know exactly the number of days for a normal payment.
Some agency told me (and this is in Germany) they pay to 40 at days and not 30. Personally I have only heard at an accounting course, about 30 days as usual clause. Is there a general law in this context? I don't think so, because if it would be, people would obey the law. Or not?
For me even 30 means a lot, I mean one could receive the payment in a few days (needed by the bank processing), but then I thought they may need a longer time in order to receive first the payment from the final client.
I do not know how agencies actually work.
At least now as newby in freelancing, I am not so much concerned about the payment delays, important is that I receive the money.
I am more affraid of not serious people/agencies, meaning, who do not work correctly in other aspects than financial.
I may have understood wrong those references (1-5) for agencies, what they really mean. It is not written anywhere.
Also another aspect: I had a bad experience with an agency which had almost only 5 and good references from colleagues translators. So what does it mean?
Anybody can mistake anytime and also that it depends on more aspects. In my case it was about a potential project which never came true. Who was guilty? Who knows? Was the agency to blame?

Coming back to the suggestion of Astrid I would suggest to make financial references (price, payment delays or else) separately, because they are sepparate things.

For newbies and people who are in the stage of building their client database, financial matters (except the price) are on the 2 nd place and we need information about the profesional features of an outsourcer. Later on (if and when we have a lot of good clients) we can use payment delays in order to select them and only have the "creme de la creme" as clients.


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Marcela Mestre  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:12
Member
English to Spanish
slightly disagree Jan 25, 2007

Ruxi wrote:

For newbies and people who are in the stage of building their client database, financial matters (except the price) are on the 2 nd place and we need information about the profesional features of an outsourcer. Later on (if and when we have a lot of good clients) we can use payment delays in order to select them and only have the "creme de la creme" as clients.


When you prorate the bank fees paid by you, you realize that "the price" has changed, sometimes drastically.

Also, payment delays from an agency may have a domino effect on your side: rent, Internet connection, etc., providers who usually charge you some kind of interest for overdue payment.
And keep prorating...

Best.
mm


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Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
I am affraid I don't understand you Jan 25, 2007

I mean yes, I understand that thing with 50-50 suggested by Marcella, but what has this to with Blue Board?
I mean some of the problems discussed here are private bilateral decisions of the two sides, which does not make an outsourcer better or worse (at least not for everybody).
E.g I don't and am not likely to work with oversea clients due to my language pairs (obviously more European), so that I would not refuse to work with an outsourcer only because it does not accept that 50-50 matter which does not affect me. Yes, if I would be affected it would be different.
I consider that only most important and general matters should be written in Blue Board. Many things are only things which could affect an individual translator.
Why should I consider the outsourcer mentioned above (with 50-50) as bad outsourcer?
Exactly this is why I suggested financial matters to be put sepparate, so that people could judge and decide easier.
If I see a 3 for an outsourcer on BB what should I understand: it did not communicate well, not serious, wanted sample and never answered again did not pay at all, delays payment, did not accept 50-50, or else?
Why not put a reference for profesional and comunication matter and seriosity and another reference for financial matters?
If I see 5 for the first category and 4 or 3 for the other I may accept, or be careful when negotiating, but not refuse a priori.
If I see 3 and 5 I refuse him. What can I do with a not serious oiutsourcers, never comunicated or wishing I don't know what, or using bad manners aso, but good in financial matters?
I am not sure if my first message has been understood and am not sure this one is clear enough.

Question: what do banks stipulate for fees payment? Who and when should pay? I think they have their rules for such matters too, or not?
And also: there are two banks involved in this transaction, at which of them do such fees occur?

I ask because e.g a client sends some money through his US bank, this one sends it to the bank where the translator has his account. How does it work with the fees?


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 03:12
English to Spanish
Good idea! Jan 25, 2007

Great idea, Astrid. What would you say to something along the following line to make it simpler:

1. Was payment received within the agreed days (native speakers, please make my English more readable)?
yes / no answer

2. if not, please state the number of days delayed.



Marcela, am I mistaken or is payment through Paypal a real hassle in Argentina?


Ruxi, I somewhat disagree in saying that issues about private bilateral decisions do not make an outsourcer worse, because if someone agrees on 50/50 bank fees and the outsourcer doesn't comply, it means that they are prone to disregard business agreements. That affects everyone. In the case of someone who does not have the 50/50 issue, their disrespect may reflect on them changing the POs or disregarding payment terms. The core problem is still disregard for agreed business terms, and they affect each and everyone of us, regardless of where we are.

Greetings all


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