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Reliability/blue board list on translators?
Thread poster: Andrei Albu

Andrei Albu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 17:55
Member (2002)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Sep 18, 2010

I assigned a job to a translator who bound himself to deliver on time. He is now 11 hours late - and fails to reply to my e-mails. All right, he may have had an accident, or may have fallen ill, or what have you... But I seriously doubt it, because we had already had some communicaiton glitches, which he had blamed on the time zone difference... His profile shows that he is located in the US - but in fact, he lives in China. He told me"sorry for not letting you know where I currently live". OK, let us assume that he was so busy, that he did not have the chance to update his profile... Needless to say, I will not pay him, even if ultimately he delivers the translation, because my PO clearly states "Payment of... will be made to you via Moneybookers within 30 days net after receipt of your invoice, subject to your delivering the translation as and when agreed." I know the issue has been discussed before, but should not there be any way to make these things known to the community? I would love to be able to make his name public...

 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:55
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Why not? Sep 18, 2010

The relation client-translator is a two-way street. You expect us to deliver a good translation on time, and we expect you pay us well and on time. Therefore I see no reason why f.ex. Proz couldn't start a Blue Board fot agencies (although they already have something like that). This "Blue Board" should be used in an honest way, not for purposes of "revenge".

So, I agree with your idea, not with your reasons.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:55
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Did you document the requirements in writing? Sep 18, 2010

Before we discuss the usability of a "Blueboard for translators", let me ask you this:

- Did your PO state the day and time of delivery?

If it did not, I reckon you are not really entitled to keep the payment even if the translator clearly did not perform as agreed verbally or over email and --I entirely agree-- his/her behaviour is a shame on the profession.

My interpretation of the situation is that the translator simply saw that he cannot perform in the agreed time (for whatever reason, maybe difficulty or whatever) and simply does not respond. Your best bet is to ask another translator to do the job, since it does not look like this person is working on it. If this person was close to ending the job, he would have told you so that you don't get desperate about it.

I completely sympathise with your situation!

[Edited at 2010-09-18 08:02 GMT]


 

Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:55
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
WWA entries Sep 18, 2010

As far as I understood, there was previously the option to post negative WWA entries, which I suppose were visible to the public. Now there is only one option, the positive (Yes) one.

I am curious why the feature for posting negative WWA entries is no longer available. It would save time an resources for designing and creating a Blueboard list for translators, which I agree with.


 

Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:55
English to Russian
+ ...
bumerang?? Sep 18, 2010

... Needless to say, I will not pay him, even if ultimately he delivers the translation, …


One of the reasons why the person has already dropped dealing with your project? He/she knows that he/she is already late. And according to your own PO hs/she cannot count on any payment.

Why deliver at all?

[Edited at 2010-09-18 08:37 GMT]


 

Andrei Albu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 17:55
Member (2002)
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Terms were clearly stated in my PO Sep 18, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

- Did your PO state the day and time of delivery?


Hi Tomas,
My reply to your question was already included in my original post. Here it is: "I will not pay him, even if ultimately he delivers the translation, because my PO clearly states "Payment of... will be made to you via Moneybookers within 30 days net after receipt of your invoice, subject to your delivering the translation as and when agreed."

Thanks for sympathising!

Best,
Andrei


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:55
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Good point Sep 18, 2010

Sergei Tumanov wrote:

... Needless to say, I will not pay him, even if ultimately he delivers the translation, …


One of the reasons why the person has already dropped dealing with your project? He/she knows that he/she is already late. And according to your own PO hs/she cannot count on any payment.

Why deliver at all?

[Edited at 2010-09-18 08:37 GMT]


Good point.

But I sympathise with Andrei. What is he to do if he entrusted a job to someone who then disappears? Andrei may lose an important client because of this.

On the other hand, Andrei should not entrust work to people he doesn't know or feel 100% confident about.

[Edited at 2010-09-18 08:48 GMT]


 

Andrei Albu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 17:55
Member (2002)
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The reasons are not a revenge Sep 18, 2010

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

So, I agree with your idea, not with your reasons.


I wonder, what better reasons would be needed apart from the fact that this person seems to be dishonest? If an agency fails to fulfil their obligations, you (should) report them on the Blue Board or whatever payment practice lists. And by no means is this considered a revenge. But just a way to warn others and let them be duly informed before deciding whether to enter or not a business relation with someone.


 

Jennifer Barnett  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
The 'sin' here is surely the failure to communicate Sep 18, 2010

Sergei Tumanov wrote:

... Needless to say, I will not pay him, even if ultimately he delivers the translation, …


One of the reasons why the person has already dropped dealing with your project? He/she knows that he/she is already late. And according to your own PO hs/she cannot count on any payment.

Why deliver at all?

[Edited at 2010-09-18 08:37 GMT]


Should this be the case there is no excuse for not communicating with the client to inform them of the situation. As it is, how is the outsourcer to know whether or when to give up and rapidly switch to plan B? It is not only bad business practice but also bad manners not to do so.

Of course the translator may have suddenly fallen seriously ill or had an accident, making communication impossible. If so, one would assume that he/she would contact the outsourcer as soon as is he /she can or get someone else to do it.

[Edited at 2010-09-18 11:14 GMT]


 

Catherine Gilsenan
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:55
French to English
+ ...
Code of Ethics/Code of Practice Sep 18, 2010

It is advisable to conduct business with translators who are members of the professional body(ies) in the relevant country, and adhere to their code of ethics/code of practice.

The Chartered Institute of Linguists (UK) has a code of ethics template which can be used by their translators to form a Code of Ethics/Terms of Business which the translators can then use as a basis of a contract for doing business with agencies, companies and direct clients.

If the translator (and translation company/agency) are doing their jobs correctly, there should be a Purchase Order (or contract) with an agreed payment amount, date and form of delivery etc in writing before the project commences, and both translator and company/agancy should have easily referable and agreed terms of business/contract.


[Edited at 2010-09-18 11:57 GMT]


 

Kipale78
Italy
Local time: 16:55
English to Italian
+ ...
I never delivered late but... Sep 18, 2010

... Needless to say, I will not pay him, even if ultimately he delivers the translation, …


One of the reasons why the person has already dropped dealing with your project? He/she knows that he/she is already late. And according to your own PO hs/she cannot count on any payment.

Why deliver at all?

[Edited at 2010-09-18 08:37 GMT] [/quote]

I do not understand why he should not be paid at all if he delivers 12 hours late. A cut of, I don't know, 20% or whatever, ok, but not paying at all is shameful. Shame on you. You should always consider a possible delay when dealing with a project, and take it into account.

If I were the person who does the translation and knows that any delay means 100% loss, NO WAY I am going to work on it once I realize I cannot make it on time, and why bother telling you? You gave an ultimatum, not a contract. It's wasn't right to disappear like that, but that was a perfectly understandable option, with such conditions.

Then we can discuss about his behaviour, his accepting a job he couldn't perform and so on. But at those conditions, to me, you are on the wrong side, and you put yourself in that situation. Now you have no translation at all, instead of a late translation that would have cost less.

[Edited at 2010-09-18 14:05 GMT]


 

Andrei Albu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 17:55
Member (2002)
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Then what is the point in signing a contract? Sep 18, 2010

Kipale78 wrote:

If I were the person who does the translation and knows that any delay means 100% loss, NO WAY I am going to work on it once I realize I cannot make it on time, and why bother telling you? You gave an ultimatum, not a contract. He was right to disappear, with such conditions.


Precisely, that is the point. You would not agree to my conditions. Fine, it is up to you, no harm done, we don't do business together and that's the end of it. But the fact of the matter is that he did agree to the conditions stipulated in my purchase order. And, as any responsible adult that is consciously signing a contract, he should be bound by the terms therein. So, I have absolutely no reason to be ashamed. He should, instead.


 

Kipale78
Italy
Local time: 16:55
English to Italian
+ ...
exactly: risky contract, risky business Sep 18, 2010

Andrei Albu wrote:

Kipale78 wrote:

If I were the person who does the translation and knows that any delay means 100% loss, NO WAY I am going to work on it once I realize I cannot make it on time, and why bother telling you? You gave an ultimatum, not a contract. He was right to disappear, with such conditions.


Precisely, that is the point. You would not agree to my conditions. Fine, it is up to you, no harm done, we don't do business together and that's the end of it. But the fact of the matter is that he did agree to the conditions stipulated in my purchase order. And, as any responsible adult that is consciously signing a contract, he should be bound by the terms therein. So, I have absolutely no reason to be ashamed. He should, instead.



Exactly: risky contract, risky business. Maybe, and I say maybe, next time you should think about a more even contract, to lower the risk of such a loss. It would protect your business. And it would be more fair towards the translator, which would be nice, wouldn't it? You have been shortsighted, and put yourself in that situation. Maybe you shouldn't complain.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:55
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
it is not ethnically feasible to have a blueboard for translators Sep 18, 2010

Negative blue board entries would only make an agency harder to find a good translator but will not have a lot of impact on its abilities to get new client. However, one negative comment on the performance of a translator can push him or her out of the market, because no agency would dare to use such a translator anymore.

It so happened that some translators did have poor performance in working with the assignments I assigned them. I would just consider the use of such translators as my own fault and the only thing I can do is to stop using them.


[Edited at 2010-09-18 17:20 GMT]


 

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:55
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I would imagine... Sep 18, 2010

Veronica Lupascu wrote:

As far as I understood, there was previously the option to post negative WWA entries, which I suppose were visible to the public. Now there is only one option, the positive (Yes) one.

I am curious why the feature for posting negative WWA entries is no longer available. It would save time an resources for designing and creating a Blueboard list for translators, which I agree with.


I would imagine it was probably because agencies who did not want to pay would come up with anything as an excuse not to pay, and colleagues would try to 'eliminate competition' by being unfair. Since we pay for our subscriptions on this website, I would imagine it to be very unfair on us and a system to indeed verifiy what's real and what's not would be unreliable (not to mention troublesome).

Unfortunately, we can't trust people to be honest and ethical, and translators have the most vulnerable position in the situation - so I agree with the poster above, an agency can overcome a bad comment, a freelance translator cannot.

I really believe that'd be really unfair and counterproductive.

I have outsourced work to translators who did not come up with excellent work, but that's a risk we take when we're outsourcing. Ideally we can sort that out by doing tests and starting with small assignments, simple as that, so I take full responsibility if my desperation did not allow me to choose better.

[Edited at 2010-09-18 18:26 GMT]


 
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