Changing the rate after work is done?
Thread poster: Efriedeman

Efriedeman
Japanese to English
+ ...
Jun 24, 2009

Hello,

I recently completed a large job where I was given a PO with a per-word rate at the beginning. I completed the work and submitted my invoice with the updated PO given to me.
A few days later, one of the PMs emails me and says that there was a mistake and I should submit an invoice with a per-word rate $.01 less, because there was an "accounting error".
I write back that I don't understand, but here is my PO and it clearly says such-and-such, so please honor that.
Now the PM is saying I am a dishonest person, that other translators would be "happy" to take the lower rate, my word count was wrong (so why not do your own?), and other very mean comments and has threatened me with no work in the future.
I cannot believe that most translators would regularly accept lower rates after the job just because the agency wants them to, but is this true? I haven't worked with that many companies and I'm not sure about how things are done.

Thank you!


 

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:29
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
The agency is clearly in the wrong Jun 24, 2009

The agency is not allowed to change the rate after the fact, when you have a written PO. Even if there is not a written PO, the agency should not change the rate after the fact. They have to pay you at the rate that was originally agreed upon.

In this case, it should be fairly easy: you have a written document stating what the agreement was, and you can pursue legal action, if necessary.

If they refuse to pay you and you do end up pursuing legal action, if they receive a letter from an attorney saying they are being sued, you can be sure that will perk them up to pay, because it is probably cheaper for them to just pay you instead of paying for an attorney, when they will lose anyway.




[Edited at 2009-06-24 22:26 GMT]


 

Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:29
Japanese to English
Where is the agency? Jun 24, 2009

Which country is the agency in?

 

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:29
Spanish to English
Totally unacceptable Jun 25, 2009

Don't believe a word of it, that is the oldest argument in the world, everyone does it, no-one else has complained.

They are both legally and morally in the wrong.

Good luck in this one


 

gad
United States
Local time: 16:29
Member
French to English
No, most translators would NOT regularly accept lower rates Jun 25, 2009

Efriedeman wrote:


I cannot believe that most translators would regularly accept lower rates after the job just because the agency wants them to, but is this true?


You can not believe it because it is not true. Most translators value their own work enough not to regularly accept lower rates.

Also, they are acting in bad faith by changing the terms after the work has been completed.

Get whatever payment you can from them and then give them an appropriate rating on the Blue Board. Also go to other similar lists/sites where you can also get the information out to other translators not to EVER work with them. They obviously do not respect translators as professionals so therefore they do not deserve to work with professional translators, and eventually that will hurt their business. You deserve to be paid at the rate originally agreed upon. I've never heard of an "accounting error" like this, after the fact!

You may choose to pursue legal action though you have to determine for yourself whether or not that is worth it. But the fact is that they are wrong, no doubt about it.


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:29
French to German
+ ...
Accounting error? Jun 25, 2009

gad wrote:
I've never heard of an "accounting error" like this, after the fact!


As per myself, I never heard that an accounting department was in charge of setting prices when an agency does outsourcing.

I would be curious to know how many percents this $.01 less per word makes out when compared to the amount agreed upon in the PO.

Unfortunately, this kind of situation seems to become more and more common. Some agencies really fight for their survival at the translators' expenses!

[Edited at 2009-06-25 06:18 GMT]


 

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:29
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Nice try, Jun 25, 2009

Well if their accounting made a mistake, let them pay for it. You are the translator, the work was done on an agreed rate, WHERE IN THE WORLD can you pay less after the work has been delivered ????
Do you advertise with "if you can find cheaper elsewhere, we'll refund the difference??"

Strange people...
nail them to the BB!
Ed


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:29
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I might accept it, but not "regularly" Jun 25, 2009

Efriedeman wrote:
I cannot believe that most translators would regularly accept lower rates after the job just because the agency wants them to, but is this true?


If the change is small and if the excuse is plausible and if there is no other indication of bad faith, I might be tempted to accept their lower offer. Your question includes the word "regularly", and that is obviously a no-no. It is up to you to decide if you want to let the client get away with it this once, but certainly not "regularly".

The issue is not black or white. The client is a business asset (albeit a volatile one). Are your margins sufficiently large to absorb this mishap? If so, it's part of business. You can choose to deal only with perfect clients, or you can choose to deal with clients who try their best but don't always succeed. It's up to you. Personally, I'd try to retain the client by accepting a little leeway... but it has to be little (i.e. within acceptable limits, both money-wise and regularity-wise).


 

Efriedeman
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for reassurance Jun 25, 2009

Thank you for your responses, I'm glad to know that it isn't normal for translators to get pushed around like this.

Samuel Murray wrote: "The client is a business asset (albeit a volatile one). Are your margins sufficiently large to absorb this mishap? If so, it's part of business. You can choose to deal only with perfect clients, or you can choose to deal with clients who try their best but don't always succeed. It's up to you. Personally, I'd try to retain the client by accepting a little leeway..."

You make a good point. Actually, this company (which has a good BB rating) had already asked after the job was completed for a 75% discount on some files with repeated words, which I thought was rude, but considering future business I gave them a smaller discount. Then to come back and "ask" for a rate change on top of that, well, it felt like they were just being jerks. I'm hoping that speaking with a supervisor in the company will help resolve this.

Rod Walters: the company is the in US, so there shouldn't be any issues there.

ScottishWildCat: Well, it was a .11/word rate, so that would be 1/11th, which is substantial.

Thank you!


 


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