Payment issue for a large translation project
Thread poster: alexandraroc (X)

alexandraroc (X)
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:51
+ ...
Apr 26, 2011

I want to share this experience with other colleagues due to its outcome that I never expected to experience with a translation agency. I also would like to hear your opinion on this if possible.

I've just had a payment issue with an UK agency that I've been working regularly for the last years.

The job was a large translation project that was somehow technical and without valid terminology in the market.

The file was sent on the deadline and as usual unclean. They never acknowledge receip and I had to inquiry on that. I also sent comments on terminology to address at a late date but never had any feedback on it.

After 17 days the editor, who is also the financial director and review/edition/quality director sent an email about some missing sentences that I didn't know about.

Then began the real nightmare with a lot of negative comments on the translation. There were indeed some minor issues from our side regarding spelling and consistency because one of the editor (worked 4 translators/editors in the file) did not implement them in the last unclean version.

Any standard review procedure would deal with them without fuss and, if the editor contacted us accordingly it would have been solved in a matter of minutes (they knew my qualifications from past jobs). He does not have ANY standard procedure for review nor any qualification to review/proofread a large project much less in several languages, as he claimed at some stage.

So, the negative campaign continued without any proof of his review and I had to ask several times for proof and received a lot of nonsense instead. Then he sent his discount claiming that he had to change everything and it would amount to 75% of the payment, 1800.00 pounds.

I didn't agree because I knew my work and I would never sent a job like that to a client and still had to consider the other colleagues, if there is no proof I had to pay them. Finally he sent his edited version and one of the translator revised it and we hired an independent translator to review as well sending a final report on each change. I also contacted several large agencies asking for advices and info on Lisa, etc.

We found out that the agency just corrected a few spelling mistakes, made stylistic change to some terminology and few other sentences and apart from these the entire structure/translation was intact. These changes amounted to just a few hundreds and the entire file had 30.000 words.

That to us was lot of arrogance and lack of respect because he thought that since he claimed that he spent 40 hours to revise it (he sent PDF pages full of risks, handwritten marks, etc) he didn't need to send proof nor reply to our queries on his review procedure and qualifications as editor and, specifically, on all these language pairs.

He said he spent 5 hours to revise other language pairs, but when we revised his edited file, we spent at least around 10 hours, just comparing sentence by sentence. How is it possible a fairly complex large job be revised in this short period and in many languages? Why? Because he is the financial director and want to profit as much as possible without any standard review procedure?

It was his reponsability to send this report detailing each mistake, changes, etc he found in the file but he sent none and never acknowledged it.

After much discussion he sent his breakdown of the time spent on this project:

reading time:
5 hours in normal office hours
2 hours 45 minutes in evening
3 hours at weekend

correction time:
2 hours in normal office hours
10 hours at weekend

pasting the entire Portuguese text into the English file:
at least 3 hours in normal office hours

Applying the standard rates of time and a half for evening work and double time for weekend work, this equates to over 40 hours of normal time.

Our basic proofreading and editing charge is £45 per hour, and 40 x 45 = £1,800.
- (He usually pays the editor 20.00 pounds per hour)

This calculation is completely ridiculous and far from the truth (I also cleaned the file and spent 20 minutes to put the format back in its place (It was done on purpose just to see how far he would go to in his arrogance) against his at least 3 hours.....

We didn't reach any agreement in the end and since he continued to behave as a junior editor I said I had enough of these lies and contacted his end client to stop it going live in their website according to the lawyer's recommendation. Legal right is still ours if there is no payment and the lawsuit is ready now.

I find all this rather stupid and a complete madness mostly due to lack of respect and ethic. From time to time we get in touch with a scam agency but this one was someone I knew from past jobs.


Alexandra Rocco


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Payment issue for a large translation project

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