Payment from client
Thread poster: Genevieve Tournebize

Genevieve Tournebize
Local time: 19:33
English to French
+ ...
Dec 20, 2005

As you know to get paid the entire amount for the work done is one of the problems encountered today in our translating job. I have thought long and hard about this. The way to remedy this is that we need to tell client that there will not be a discount for the work to be re proofread etc. After all when you go to the doctor you don't ask for a discount if he does not cure you right away, everytime you go (even for the same problem, you pay.) I a plumber or an electrician comes to your house and does not fix the problem , you pay the established rate but after that he has to come back until the work is done. As long as we agree to give them discounts clients are going to argue the final cost. All translators and agencies would benefit of the rate established from the beginning if they said from the beginning "we have a firm price...no discount when the job is done, payment as soon as the job is done. No 60 days or 30 days wait. No, no, no one waits that long to be paid for work like this. When the company give the work to the client they should pay, but they may give suggestions of changes which will be done at no cost. There may be as many versions of the same translation as there are translators, everyone has his or her style, we should not be penalized for style. I noticed also that clients tend to highlight all sentences, words etc. they think are wrong but when I go back I find that among all the corrections they made many are no corrections at all. They have highlighted the text but made no corrections at all. I have client that were trying to argue because they had more space between words on certains lines...this is something typical if your text is left and right justify...you can do nothing about this. Then when you remove those "mistakes", you find that there maybe just a few differences in choice of words that mean the same and that can be easily corrected, no difference in cost because it is a preference of words, some like "blue sky" other prefer "light blue", at any rate it means the same. Sensibilities towards words is not taught in many schools; therefore interpretations are possible. Some people are more poetic, others more technical and precise, other the two combine, but the bottom line is that this are adjustments not mistakes and should be corrected to the client satisfaction but at any discount. Notice also that we are paid by words we should discount by words if we want to discount at all; although I don't think we should make any discount at all.

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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 07:33
English to Indonesian
+ ...
You are right Genevieve. Dec 20, 2005

Payment is the most severe problem to all translators. I also wonder the agencies' reasons for paying after 30 or 60 days following the delivery date.
Like other transactions, the payment should be made as soon as the product/service is provided.
Maybe our fellow translators/agencies have any ideas of how to make the payment for translation services much sooner; for example, not more than one or two weeks.

[Edited at 2005-12-20 10:51]


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Genevieve Tournebize
Local time: 19:33
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
unfortunately I see more and more on the board payment after 30 or 60 days Dec 20, 2005

If you look at the bids area of proz.com you will see that a great majority of the translations are offered with a 30 to 60 days delay in payment. During that time you may be doing other translations for the company and you are encurring the problem of spending your time for translations that won't be paid. It would be great if one week was the maximum time to wait to be paid but look at the offers and you will see it is true.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:33
Flemish to English
+ ...
Needle in the Haystack...; Dec 20, 2005

Hear, Hear. After a week... if we could enforce that....and if we could enforce that bank-costs should be shared....
In the E.U., 30 is the legal maximum. After 30 days you are entitled to ask the interest-rate of the ECB per day delay + your own interest of say 2 per cent.
But given globalization and global competitions amongst translators not many people object to late payment terms.
No you can not argue about style, you can only argue about grammar, spelling, omissions etc.. Looking for the needle in the haystack is a business practise intermediaries use to gain even more on your back: Say, you make a translation, they pay after 60days + your are asked to give a reduction, because on a tool you forgot to translate the "start" and "stop" button, or just because the person who revised the text was a bit overzealous and "corrected" what was correct....
Result: Please give a discount or "You understand that payment has to be delayed because of revision". Of course, the agency who corrects the text will not give this discount to its end customer.

[Edited at 2005-12-20 17:29]


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:33
Member
Italian to English
Drawn out payment times Dec 20, 2005

Hipyan Nopri wrote:

I also wonder the agencies' reasons for paying after 30 or 60 days following the delivery date.


Unfortunately while the money is waiting to come to us it's making money for the agencies in terms of interest and goodness knows what else. IMHO. It's not just translation agencies either - I've heard of companies in other sectors paying after 90 or even 120 days.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:33
German to English
+ ...
Perspective Dec 20, 2005

Fiona Peterson wrote:

Unfortunately while the money is waiting to come to us it's making money for the agencies in terms of interest


This needs to be kept in perspective. A thousand words at a reasonable rate of, say, $0.15/word is $150. At a realistic interest rate of, say, 7% p.a., that $150 has earnt the agency (and cost the translator) the grand total of $2.

Yet people complaining about this not infrequently seem quite happy to charge in the order of $0.05, and earn $50 from their thousand words. Given the $100 difference to a reasonable return on their work, there seems to be little point worrying about $2 in lost interest.

Marc


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:33
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Avoiding non-payment Dec 20, 2005

Genevieve Tournebize-Iliev wrote:

If you look at the bids area of proz.com you will see that a great majority of the translations are offered with a 30 to 60 days delay in payment. During that time you may be doing other translations for the company and you are encurring the problem of spending your time for translations that won't be paid.


Hi Genevieve,
Hi everyone,

When a company with rather bad payment practices contacts me, I ask them for pre-payment before I even start working on their project. In some cases they understand and pay. In other cases they don't. Either way I don't waste my time and avoid not being paid.

The same goes for follow-up projects when the first project with a particular agency has not been paid. If I don't trust them, I ask for payment of the first project before I agree to the second, third, etc.

Checking the Blue Board here on Proz.com as well as other lists of payment practice is very important and can save us all a lot of hassle.

Good luck, everyone,
Stefanie


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 07:33
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Should we take it for granted? Dec 22, 2005

Thus, it can be concluded that 30/60 days payment delay has been a common practice among agencies.
Given this fact, should we just take it for granted? And we just accept our destiny as the powerless party?
Or, is there any solution to solve this annoying problem in order that the payment delay would be reduced significantly?


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Genevieve Tournebize
Local time: 19:33
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
payment after 30, 60 or 120 days Feb 4, 2006

I have read in many places that payment after 30, 60 or 120 days is normal. It maybe ok for some industries, but why do we have to accept this standard when there are so many other industries where you are paid on delivery? Why are we contented with the wait? Are we too rich? I believe a wait is obnoxious. the work is done the payment is due, there are not to ways about it. We are waiting for our payments as translators because some people realized that no one was protesting about it; therefore, it became the norm rather than the exception. We did it to ourselves. There are no good reasons to wait for a payment, except for the agencies to do extra dollars out of our earned money. That is the only reason why we wait... This needs to change. And the only people that can reverse this trend is us.

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