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Puzzled: translation ordered and then ... silence ...
Thread poster: GerSi

GerSi  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 02:52
Member (2010)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
Jun 7, 2010

Hello,

I would like to know if it ever happened to you, because I have never experienced something like this before.

A guy placed a job request on a portal (not ProZ) and I gave my quote. About a week after the stated deadline has expired, the guy contacted me over my profile page, asking me to reply to him and if I am still available for the job. He also gave me his email.

I replied to the email address by telling him I hadn't received anything from him and I would gladly help him. He sent a strange reply over his iPhone consisting of a sentence in poor English that I understood as a question if I had the text. I wrote back that I got the text and that I can send the translation 3 days later. He answered back with a simple "perfect".

I wrote him again asking him if he could send me a PO as a form of confirmation of the agreement. No reply. I did the translation anyway, finished 3 days later, wrote him again, this time I wrote I wouldn't be able to send him the translation unless he sends me info about his account etc. so I could send him the invoice.

But still no reply. The guy vanished even before he received the translation.

Is this also illegal? I mean, I was working on the translation for three days and now nothing.


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imatahan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:52
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yeah! Jun 7, 2010

It did happen to me in the beginning. That's an awful sensation of helplessly.

From that on I've learned, for more that I know the client I don't start s/he's job without a P.O. with all details agreed.

And even so, this week I had a problem with a client. I've asked fees in EUR, he said OK and sent me the P.O. in USD. Urgent work. I've complained and he disliked it. He said we were loosing time talking about trivial things...

Also, I dislike long term payments, because we never know how taxes shall be (and I work a lot with exchange rates, since most of my clients are abroad.) So, I've made an exception to this very client, to receive in 45 - 60 days...

LOL He's a genious! We have a lot to learn on earning money with him...

Take care and take real care of your work. It takes us years of studies, work and research to learn what we know.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:52
English to Spanish
+ ...
Be careful Jun 7, 2010

Let this be a lesson. Be careful about dealing with supposed "clients" you know nothing about. You've probably been had.

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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:52
English to Croatian
+ ...
No, your translation has not been ordered. Jun 7, 2010

In the first place, you should have received a Purchase Order or other relevant and official project document.

You are calling your client a "guy"; do you even have his name, address, phone number, etc?

This is not the way to work with a first-time client. You should have secured yourself better, managed risk better etc.

No, it's not illegal. Nasty yes, illegal no. No official legal paper, contract or P.O.





[Edited at 2010-06-07 21:35 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:52
French to English
Couple of points Jun 7, 2010

anc120 wrote:

I wrote I wouldn't be able to send him the translation unless he sends me info about his account etc. so I could send him the invoice.


If I were the "guy", I would be wondering why exactly YOU wanted MY account information. If I am paying you, I need your account details, not the other way round. Perhaps you've scared him away because he thinks you plan to defraud him?

It was perhaps unwise not to get a proper PO (with real address and so on), but from the initial contacts, it is possible the "guy" is just badly organised, or your work is a low priority with other things he has to do.

Obviously, don't send the translation until you have more information - although possibly NOT his bank account number! - but I wouldn't give up hope just yet, especially if this is a private customer, not an agency or company.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:52
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I have the impression that you may have misunderstood Jun 7, 2010

A translation is not a cheap item to buy (from the client's perspective), and this means that the potential purchaser needs to think very seriously about whether to make the purchase (i.e. whether it is absolutely necessary). Therefore it would be unusual for an order to be placed in an informal way, and a serious client would not expect there to be no formalities involved in placing the order.

To avoid any misunderstanding, you really need to issue an order form when detailing with a direct client. It is on your headed paper and contains the client's name, address, telephone number, etc. plus details of the order (description of the document, language pair, number of chargeable units, total price, any taxes to be added, etc.). Underneath is another line stating the date (and possibly also the latest time) when the translation will be delivered. Further lines underneath state (1) the payment terms (e.g. "cash on delivery" or "advance wire transfer"); (2) the date and time until which the offer is open for acceptance. Finally, there is a dotted line where the client has to sign in order to place the order.

You start work once the client returns the form to you in some way, bearing his or her signature as a commitment to pay for the work.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:52
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Excellent advice Astrid! Jun 7, 2010

You should definitely add your post to one of the ProZ wiki pages:
http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Special:AllPages


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Rifraf
Local time: 02:52
never abandon procedures Jun 8, 2010

anc120 wrote:
I wrote him again asking him if he could send me a PO as a form of confirmation of the agreement. No reply. I did the translation anyway


Why did you abandon your procedure; now you (unfortunately) pay the price for doing so!
I pressume you have learned your lesson.


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GerSi  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 02:52
Member (2010)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The "guy" :) is a director of a company Jun 8, 2010

Thank you all for your contribution and Astrid for terrific solution to preventing this kind of problems.

The money and requirements were already settled in the posting of the job which I confirmed and I thought since it had been past deadline (taking into account that he may be busy with other things) I had to hurry.

I must say, I'm not new to this business I guess I was just lucky so far.

Lingua 5B: I know who he is and the name of the company, but the policy of this forum is not to mention any names.

Charlie: I didn't actually ask him for his account number, I wasn't paying attention when I was writing this post. Thanks for noticing. I asked him for detailed information about his company: full name, address and tax ID.

I always check my new clients, the company exists and I even found it in references of other people (not translators) working for them.

I was just writing to tell you their internet page was broken and I went to check again in which country they are situated in and now the page is set up. I guess I must have caught them during a renovation or something. I will try to contact them from there.


[Edited at 2010-06-08 08:34 GMT]


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Ioanna Orfanoudaki  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 02:52
French to Greek
+ ...
Terms and conditions Jun 8, 2010

I would recommend that along with the payment terms, you should also establish a minimum of terms with regard to non payment, when an order is consider as officially placed, etc.
In case the client orders the translation (formally) and then disappears, then the PO would also be binding if you have already done the translation and the client changes his mind! Your time is precious and if you have spent time working on your client's project, you deserve to be paid!


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Sandrine Ananie  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:52
Member (2009)
English to French
Sorry, but... Jun 8, 2010

I fail to understand why you considered the translation had been ordered. A simple "Perfect" does not mean "Go ahead". You dedicated three days to working on something you were not even sure had really been ordered - and would be paid! I feel truly sorry for you.

To me, you were still in the negotiation part, where we have all kinds of back-and-forths before settling on a price, deadline, and get to know what kind of job the client really expects from us.


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GerSi  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 02:52
Member (2010)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I see it differently Jun 8, 2010

Sandrine Ananie wrote:

I fail to understand why you considered the translation had been ordered. A simple "Perfect" does not mean "Go ahead". You dedicated three days to working on something you were not even sure had really been ordered - and would be paid! I feel truly sorry for you.

To me, you were still in the negotiation part, where we have all kinds of back-and-forths before settling on a price, deadline, and get to know what kind of job the client really expects from us.



Sorry, in case of emergency a simple "perfect" through the phone to me it means "go ahead". Especially if the person does not come from an English speaking country.


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
I agree with Sandrine Jun 8, 2010

And although I don't agree that it is up to the translator to issue some kind of "order form", I never begin a translation until the other party has (re)confirmed all of the terms, including rate, currency, submission deadline/eMail address(es), payment deadline, etc. - no matter how urgent it is.

Sometimes this seems silly if all of those things have been discussed or stated elsewhere, but it is the best way to CYA. You can frame it as follows - if it's truly urgent, all they have to do is type "Confirmed" in response:

"Just to be clear, I will translate document "XYZ" for you by 11:00 AM CET on June AA, 20BB at a rate of EUR .XX per target word, I will send the translation to you at clientmail@company.com, and you accept my business terms and agree to send payment within 30 days. As soon as I receive confirmation from you I will go ahead and schedule this in."

Better safe than sorry.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:52
English to Croatian
+ ...
"Perfect" through iphone and the job posting. Jun 8, 2010

You say you basically understood the job posting content as fully settled and final project terms (a job posting never details a job fully, btw) and the client's short reply "perfect" as an official confirmation of the deal. Then you actually began working on the translation even though you got only "silence" from the other side after you had asked for some sort of official project paper and official confirmation.

I've never heard anything that bizarre, even from beginners.


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GerSi  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 02:52
Member (2010)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
We are imperfect learners in this imperfect world Jun 8, 2010

Lingua 5B wrote:

I've never heard anything that bizarre, even from beginners.



Good for you. We learn something new every day now don't we.

I am glad I was able to broaden your horizon a bit further.


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