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Question about accepting a translation job
Thread poster: Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.
Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
German to English
+ ...
Apr 15, 2008

This question may not be new... but I am not sure how to find the answer to a spefici type of question...

It's a simple one.

I may be offered a job from a company. The pay is 30 days after completing the job. The company has a blueboard but no entry. What kind of documents/writing do I need to have from the custormer in order to feel that I have done everything possible to make sure I will receive the payment? I have been a victim of "non-payment" with complete silence, before. They just asked me to send them the translation. I did. Nothing heard after that, even though I wrote to them numerous times.

Is theresomething like a "work order" that I need to receive my e-mail? Does that make it more likely that I will be paid?

Thank you so much.

Zareh Darakjian


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:56
English to German
+ ...
100% security is often unrealistic Apr 15, 2008

Hi Zareh,

It's a simple one.

Er... no, it's not.

I may be offered a job from a company. The pay is 30 days after completing the job. The company has a blueboard but no entry. What kind of documents/writing do I need to have from the custormer in order to feel that I have done everything possible to make sure I will receive the payment?

The only way to achieve full security is to demand full payment upfront - most of the time, this is unrealistic. The other alternative to completely avoiding risk is not doing business at all. Risk is part and parcel of running a business: the key to handling risk is being aware of your exposure, and managing it.

Essentially, doing business with an unknown customer is equivalent to lending money to that person or entity. In any case, you should ascertain your customer's identity, for example, by cross-checking address details provided against public registers or directories. Calling a phone number provided is also a good idea - the person picking up that phone, and the way this is done, can say a lot.


Is theresomething like a "work order" that I need to receive my e-mail? Does that make it more likely that I will be paid?

A written purchase order will improve your legal position, but is no guarantee of payment.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Ralph for your very helpful answer.. Apr 15, 2008

Thank you, Ralph for your very quick and very clear response. Now I know what I can do on my part to improve the likelihood of getting paid. This was very helpful,
espeically coming from someone who must have a whole lot of experience in these matters.

Have a good day!

Zareh


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
PO Apr 15, 2008

Zareh

In view of subsequent comments, and even before having read them, I should point out that I don't always/hardly ever insist on POs and most of my clients don't actually issue them! So in fact I don't apply this requirement, UNLESS I have some kind of suspicion (with new clients).

But despite what Elke (I think?) says, the willingness to sign a PO is quite- even very - comforting... after all, a real signature is worth a bit more than a mere email.

Meanwhile however, what I DO make a point of doing, with my clients for whom I don't ask a PO, is confirm in an email the delivery and the price, and I make sure to get a mail in return saying yes, OK. That has no legal standing, but if there is some disagreement down the line, we can always check back over our mails.

You had a bad first experience, probably becuase you are a newcomer, and that often stands out a mile and begs for abuse. Appear and act like a pro as much as possible, and to do that, what you need to do is get informed, so read through previous posts here. Meanwhile any doubts you can post here anyway. It's terrible to see how these unscrupulous *****s take trusting individuals for a ride.

One final comment: be sure you are not vulnerable. Make sure that at least temporarily you have another income, so you don't feel desperate to take jobs. Being independent empowers you, no matter what your other job is, as even if its very menial, at least you feel that it's not forever and yet saves you from the rapacity of explotation as you "sit around" waiting for work.












[Edited at 2008-04-15 21:27]

[Edited at 2008-04-16 09:06]


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Marina Soldati  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:56
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Measure of risk Apr 15, 2008

Hi Zareh,

Ralf is right, risk is part of the business, but you can measure your risk. How much can you afford to lose?
With direct clients, I usually ask for a 40 to 50% upfront payment. They usually agree.
You can´t ask an agency for an upfront payment as they would never accept.
When I have not enough information about an agency, or they have a not-so-good Blue Board record, I only accept a job up to a certain amount (US$200) and see what happens, and I only accept a project over US$1,000 after a regular flow of jobs and on time payments.

I hope this helps and forgive any mistakes in my English
Regards,
Marina


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Marina.. Very good advice, indeed. Apr 15, 2008

Many thanks, Marina. I appreciate your explanation, especially your comments on the difference between agencies and direct clients with regards to advance payments (partial). I feel that why should noe a client agree to pay at least a part of the fee in advence? May be they don't have the money right now? Then, tha'ts not very comforting either...

Thank you again. I appreciate your advice.

Zareh



[Edited at 2008-04-15 20:09]


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Lia Apr 15, 2008

Thank you very much, Lia for your response. This is very helpful.
Is the PO supposed to have a special (tabular) format? or can it be simply
a statement regarding the agreement?

Thanks again.

Zareh


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:56
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Remember that a P.O. does not guarantee payment Apr 15, 2008

Agencies who do not pay (for example, who have no intention of paying, even before you do the translation) almost always issue a P.O. That is one thing they are good at, especially if it is going to help to give you a false sense of security.

Astrid


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 04:56
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
A PO is a document of legal importance Apr 15, 2008

Is the PO supposed to have a special (tabular) format? or can it be simply a statement regarding the agreement?

... and its form is relatively unimportant, it's the contents, that count: who is buying from whom, what is he buying for what amount of money and what are the conditions. It is the basis for me to provide services and to charge for them.

a (mis)use case: "They just asked me to send them the translation. I did. " Looks like you had no PO from them. So your invoice (if you ever sent them one) probably sits somewhere in administration / File 13, because the office lady doing the paperwork cant connect it to any purchase order. Of course, it can be worse than that - i.e. somebody simply robbed you, but that's less probable.

As others already said, PO is absolutely no guarantee you will get paid ("Every minute a sucker is born"). I had my share of unpaid invoices, believe me - it's the education we have to pay for.



[Edited at 2008-04-15 21:19]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
PO content Apr 15, 2008

Zareh Darakjian Ph.D. wrote:
Is the PO supposed to have a special (tabular) format? or can it be simply
a statement regarding the agreement?

Zareh



You can set it up any way you want, but it should include:

1. Your business details (name address tax no etc)

2. Their business details (name address tax no etc)

3. Date

4. Full description of the job

(EXAMPLE: translation Portuguese to French of the document entitled "XXXXXX", a research article whose title in Portuguese is "YYYYYYYYYYYY", length 5789 words (including scanned figures, estimated at 350 words), excluding references*

5. Price

(EXAMPLE: 5789 words at X cents per source word. Note that if the references totalling 896 words are to be corrected/minimally checked, these will be charged at 10% of the reference word count, that is, 90 words x X cents).

6. Delivery

(EXAMPLE: Delivery in x days /by DD MM YY provided job is confirmed within x hours).

7. Payment conditions

(EXAMPLE: Bank transfer at 30 days / Paypal transfer at 45 days, etc)

8. Reference Number

(Optional, but no harm to have one, I use for example the day's day and the company number, eg for IBM today, the PO would be 150408_IBM. Simple, but I rarely have to issue POs for my clients, so it's an adequate system:-)


Finally and most importantly.

9. The client's signature!
And to be able to doublecheck it, a photocopy of client's ID with photo and signature.




[Edited at 2008-04-15 21:50]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
FAR FAR better than nothing, surely? And good practice, surely? Apr 15, 2008

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

Agencies who do not pay (for example, who have no intention of paying, even before you do the translation) almost always issue a P.O. That is one thing they are good at, especially if it is going to help to give you a false sense of security.

Astrid


I think it's VERY misleading to give the poster the idea that maybe it's not worth having a PO!!!!

Look through previous forums, there's general agreement that legally one hasn't a leg to stand on without a PO.

A signed PO legally constitutes a contract.

However, as you say, even if some companies sign it, they still may not intend to pay.

For example, for a "PO" is issued in the following circumstances (individually or combined):

a. the translator is apparently a novice/naive so can be bullied

b. the translator is located in another country (and esp. if geographically/culturally different)

c. the amount is relatively small

(And other circumstances ....)

So, any translator needs to weigh up the risk associated with b and c especially.




[Edited at 2008-04-15 21:48]


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 15, 2008

Thank you, Astrid.. for your warning..

I hope you are not talking from personal experience!!

Zareh


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Vito... Apr 15, 2008

Thank you, Vito for your input and your sobering warnings. Now, I see that while a PO is no guarantee, it's better to have it just in case there is the intention to pay..

Thanks again

Zareh


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Lia for your latest comments Apr 15, 2008

Thank you, Lia for your latest responses to my question. THey do help me to act in a way which is not too conservative, but on the other hand not too trusting.

I appreciate your letting me know that a PO can be if significant importance in many cases as it it a ** contract **.

Thank you for taking the time to provide a detailed response to my question.


Zareh


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much, Lia Apr 15, 2008

Many thanks, Lia for your help and additional information entered just 30 minutes ago.

So, it is my understanding that the PO and signature have to be sent by mail and not e-mail. Is there an e-mail signature? Is it just writing the name? Or should I get a paper copy of the PO and signature?\

Thank you

Zareh



[Edited at 2008-04-15 23:24]


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