Refusing to pay - advice
Thread poster: Stéphanie Denton

Stéphanie Denton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:59
French to English
+ ...
Mar 20, 2011

Hello all

I, once again, hope that this post finds you well.

I am writing today as I am having payment problems with an outsourcer.

I contacted the outsourcer via telephone and spoke to him in French, he seemed to think that I was French, and asked why I was contacting regarding a FR-ENG translation. I explained that I was actually British, and he offered me the work.

One hour later he contacted me and informed me that someone had offered to do the translation for free (it was a small, 35€ project...) but if there were any issues, he'd come back to me. A little miffed, I told him to contact me if he needed anything.

He contacted me and said that the translation had been translated correctly and he wouldn't need my services for this project but wanted me to translate two other documents.

He then contacted me a good 5 hours later (after the initial deadline) and informed me that the translation was actually riddled with errors, and could I either translate it for a specific deadline or proofread it. I opted for the latter as the deadline was tight for the translation and the majority of the vocabulary was correct, the sentences just needed restructuring. I proposed to do this for 20€, which he was happy with.

I e-mailed the document back at 7pm, which we had agreed to, after a slightly snotty e-mail from him asking where it was (he seemed to have forgotten that I am an hour behind him, and didn't specify a time-zone, so for me, 7pm is 7pm: lesson learned). He then read through (even though he does not speak fluent English) the document and said he wanted it to be closer to the ST, and asked if I could have a last look over it, which I did, and changed a few more things so that it was more to his specifications.

I sent the document back, and he sent me something else to translate for 20€. This outsourcer, who clearly doesn't speak "good" English, has told me that the TRANSLATED document is full of mistakes, and that he thinks I should translate into French, my mother tongue...Whilst I am native in both languages, I am BRITISH, which means English is my mother tongue! He seems to have forgotten that I didn't translate the document, I merely proofread it.

Now, he hasn't paid me. And has said he'll get someone else to translate the second document he'd sent me, unless I wish to "prove him wrong", but if the document is "not good" he won't pay me. I feel that this is an insult, and he is merely trying to get out of paying me. I know it's not a lot, but every little counts!

What are your thoughts/feelings on this?

Many thanks

Stéphanie


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 04:59
English to Russian
+ ...
Don't waste your nerve cells over it Mar 20, 2011

I'd say write off the 20 euros, chalk it up to experience and warn everyone else not to do any business with that outsourcer.

 

Stéphanie Denton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:59
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Nerve cells already wasted! Mar 20, 2011

Anton Konashenok wrote:

I'd say write off the 20 euros, chalk it up to experience and warn everyone else not to do any business with that outsourcer.


I more needed to rant than anything else, that is what I intended to do but it's still annoying as every penny counts when you've got a baby!

How can I go about getting this out to people without using ProZ? If anyone reads this who has read my previous rant(s) then you'll know who it is.


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:59
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Make a Blue Board entry Mar 20, 2011

Stéphanie Denton wrote:

How can I go about getting this out to people without using ProZ? If anyone reads this who has read my previous rant(s) then you'll know who it is.


I'm not sure I understand why you don't want to use ProZ? If you just mean outside of the fora, that is the exact reason for the existence of the Blue Board on ProZ. I believe you can create make an entry for an outsourcer you have worked for even if there isn't one currently. Just make your comments (if any) calm, concise, and above all factual.

The "I found someone to do it for free" would have had me running in the opposite direction for good. Besides charities, who deals with people who work for free?









[Edited at 2011-03-20 19:31 GMT]


 

JH Trads  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:59
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
Theft Mar 20, 2011

You were victim of theft. If somebody mugs you in the street and steals a sum of money from you, even a small amount, you should report it to the police. Here the analogy would be to report it on the BlueBoard if the outsourcer is listed there. If the outsourcer is a company, another option is to send an email to the CEO, or contact him/her by phone. A few months ago, a New York based company entrusted me with an urgent short proofreading, I delivered it on time, the PM confirmed receipt with an inadequate and poorly written "will see..." and I got not response from the PM when I sent a reminder for payment. I sent an email to the CEO and got a very prompt payment as well as apologies.

The insistence of the outsourcer of labeling you as "French" reminds me why I prefer not to write my full name on Proz. Being equally native in two languages but having a name that sounds clearly as if it belongs specifically to one of the two cultures (in your case the "é" in your first name) can give rise to prejudice. No matter how well you explain that your "é" does not make you any less "native" in English, for some people it will just not sink in, and they will instinctively/automatically/initially resort to providers whose names sound exclusively like they belong to the target language culture.

[Edited at 2011-03-21 01:18 GMT]


 

Stéphanie Denton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:59
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Outside of ProZ Mar 20, 2011

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

Stéphanie Denton wrote:

How can I go about getting this out to people without using ProZ? If anyone reads this who has read my previous rant(s) then you'll know who it is.


I'm not sure I understand why you don't want to use ProZ? If you just mean outside of the fora, that is the exact reason for the existence of the Blue Board on ProZ. I believe you can create make an entry for an outsourcer you have worked for even if there isn't one currently. Just make your comments (if any) calm, concise, and above all factual.

The "I found someone to do it for free" would have had me running in the opposite direction for good. Besides charities, who deals with people who work for free?









[Edited at 2011-03-20 19:31 GMT]


I have made a previous post regarding this outsourcer and mentioned his name (my own fault, I didn't realise you couldn't name outsourcers, nothing negative was said), and I also didn't realise that you can use LWA. I've just discovered this. I shall await a response from said outsourcer and take it from there.

I should have run for the hills, but work is hard to come in this current economic climate...

When discussing invoicing, before this problem arose, he said:

Leave this one to me, e-mail me this invoice directly and not the agency, I'll pay you.

It would appear that I am rather naive and have much to learn!


 

Stéphanie Denton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:59
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Contacting company and name Mar 20, 2011

Hugo wrote:

You were victim of theft. If somebody mugs you on the street and steals a sum of money from you, even a small amount, you should report it to the police. Here the analogy would be to report it on the BlueBoard if the outsourcer is listed there. If the outsourcer is a company, another option is to send an email to the CEO, or contact him/her by phone. A few months ago, a New York based company entrusted me with an urgent short proofreading, I delivered it on time, the PM confirmed receipt with an inadequate and poorly written "will see..." and I got not response from the PM when I sent a reminder for payment. I sent an email to the CEO and got a very prompt payment as well as apologies.

The insistence of the outsourcer of labelling you as "French" reminds me why I prefer not to write my full name on Proz. Being equally native in two languages but having a name that sounds clearly as if it belongs specifically to one of the two cultures (in your case the "é" in your first name) can give rise to prejudice. No matter how well you explain that your "é" does not make you any less "native" in English, for some people it will just not sink in, and they will instinctively/automatically/initially resort to providers whose names sound exclusively like they belong to the target language culture.


I have looked at the outsourcers ProZ profile, and from what I can understand, the translation agency is a family run business. His WWA entry is from someone with the same surname. So I don't think I'd have much luck there.

As for the "é" in my name...I'm now at a loss for what to do as certain peers recommended having my full name as that's what outsourcers are looking for and you have given me a perfectly valid reason not to...


 

xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 22:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Famille je vous hais ! Mar 20, 2011

A quick squint at the Proz directory, picking out Russian/French interpreters based in the country to which your job related, will give you the name of the outsourcer’s brother (or cousin, maybe) and business partner. A Google search for their names plus the name of that country will lead you to their business website, giving you full contact details and curious tidbits of information in three languages (one of which is an approximation to English). I say ‘curious’ because, for example, they are not remotely explicit regarding the languages for which they have Belgian Court accreditation as sworn translators. Neither of the partners seems particularly competent in English, which was the target language of the job you have been working on; and , if I remember correctly from a previous thread, the English translation was to all intents and pufrposes certified by your outourcer even before the translation was started.

Stéphanie Denton wrote:
(The outsourcer wrote) Leave this one to me, e-mail me this invoice directly and not the agency, I'll pay you.


If I were in your shoes, I’d be very tempted to send copies of all the emails exchanged in the course of this rip-off to your outsourcer’s brother and business partner. There’s nowt quite like a bit of brotherly love to put the world to rights…

MediaMatrix


 

AndersonT  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2010)
German to English
Non-native seems to be the flavor of the month lately... Mar 20, 2011

I'm glad I'm not the only one out there that apparently doesn't provide "native" translations because the bill is paid into a source language country bank account haha.

I totally hear you on the aggravation level.

I'm an American currently working for the DoD at a German embassy, it's a 6 month stint so far. Apparently having a German phone number is enough these days to develop a "German writing style"icon_smile.gif

Seriously though, as aggravating as that episode must have been, the amount is not worth the hassles going after it. Just another client on your blacklist really.

Amazing though how non-native speakers identifying "non-native" translations seems to be the flavor of the month lately. I've heard similar stories from at least 3 colleagues within the last 8 weeks.


 

xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 22:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Probable fraud - Please send support ticket Mar 20, 2011

Stéphanie Denton wrote:
His WWA entry is from someone with the same surname.


As a mere 'user' of this site I cannot see all the BB/WWA data for this outsourcer. But if you are sure that the WWA entry is from someone with the same surname - and especially if the two persons involved are those who can be identified as business partners as per my previous post - then you should send a support ticket to have this WWA entry 'reviewed' by staff.

MediaMatrix


 

Stéphanie Denton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:59
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Feedback Mar 20, 2011

I've FINALLY received feedback from him.

Here is how the land lies:

He is a Russian native, who makes plenty of mistakes when he writes to me in French. English is his "third" language.

Now, he has permitted himself to proofread my document, when he is neither a French, nor an English native speaker. 3/4 his corrections make NO sense, and the remaining 1/4 are merely him paraphrasing my sentences (I.E. Resides at, residing).

He has even changed date formats, when mine were perfectly acceptable.

I know it's not worth the money, although he has now said he will pay me. It's a confidence knock. I've never had a single "complaint" about my translations or proofreading to date (obviously, there are sometimes questions about certain choices, or preferences), and I have been at this since 2002. I'm currently doing an MA and am predicted a distinction... I am furious at the insult.

I also don't want to get a bad review off someone when it is not my fault, but his lack of professionalism. You know what they say about ten recommendations being ignored because of one complaint...

If I had made a mistake then I am honest enough to say: "I apologise, here, have it for free." I feel as though he is making a scapegoat out of me for his errors.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:59
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
It is not possible to post a negative review on your profile Mar 21, 2011

Stéphanie Denton wrote:

I also don't want to get a bad review off someone when it is not my fault, but his lack of professionalism. You know what they say about ten recommendations being ignored because of one complaint...


Stephanie,
Are you referring to a case where he would post an unjust negative WWA on your profile?
You don't need to be afraid of that, as it is not possible to post a negative WWA.
The only thing he can do is reply to your LWA posting on the Blue Board. However, if you make your post factual, perhaps mentioning that he, a native Russian "corrected" your FR->EN translation, then I don't think people will take him seriously whatever comment he makes in response.

I am sorry for this nuisance - just get rid if it as soon as you can and don't ever look back. It doesn't worth it.
Katalin


 

JH Trads  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:59
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
in writing Mar 21, 2011

Stéphanie Denton wrote:

He is a Russian native, who makes plenty of mistakes when he writes to me in French. English is his "third" language.

Now, he has permitted himself to proofread my document, when he is neither a French, nor an English native speaker. 3/4 his corrections make NO sense, and the remaining 1/4 are merely him paraphrasing my sentences (I.E. Resides at, residing).

He has even changed date formats, when mine were perfectly acceptable.

I know it's not worth the money, although he has now said he will pay me. It's a confidence knock. I've never had a single "complaint" about my translations or proofreading to date (obviously, there are sometimes questions about certain choices, or preferences), and I have been at this since 2002. I'm currently doing an MA and am predicted a distinction... I am furious at the insult.



Because the proofreader is not qualified for this job, this episode should not shake your confidence at all. Another thing you could/should do is to send the proofreader a short email, just for the record, (a long one would be a waste of nerve cells, as Anton says) letting him know that his suggestions make no sense and that he is not qualified for that task in that language combination.


 

Signe Golly  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:59
Danish to English
+ ...
the é... Mar 21, 2011

Stéphanie Denton wrote:

Hugo wrote:


The insistence of the outsourcer of labelling you as "French" reminds me why I prefer not to write my full name on Proz. Being equally native in two languages but having a name that sounds clearly as if it belongs specifically to one of the two cultures (in your case the "é" in your first name) can give rise to prejudice. No matter how well you explain that your "é" does not make you any less "native" in English, for some people it will just not sink in, and they will instinctively/automatically/initially resort to providers whose names sound exclusively like they belong to the target language culture.




As for the "é" in my name...I'm now at a loss for what to do as certain peers recommended having my full name as that's what outsourcers are looking for and you have given me a perfectly valid reason not to...


People get hung up on the smallest things and make assumptions. Although it might seem silly or annoying, perhaps you could consider just going by 'Stephanie Denton' (without the accent on the 'e') for your translation work in order to make your name more "linguistically ambiguous?" Depends on how attached you are to the accent...


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:59
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Forget about it, and next time ask for payment in advance Mar 21, 2011

Believe me: asking for a payment in advance with new customers with small jobs makes wonders! You will keep away of precisely this kind of customers. Serious customers who know what they are doing and what you are capable of will be happy to pay in advance. Other customers... you definitely want to keep away from them.

Good luck!


 


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