No reply from agency
Thread poster: Anne R

Anne R
Italy
Local time: 12:32
English to French
+ ...
Jun 1, 2012

Hello All, would like some advice on the part of more experience translators. I have been working a lot recently for a translation agency abroad on very interesting projects (to me), that have continued to be sent to me on a regular basis. I have been dealing with the same PM for a good few projects now and have not had big problems, although I have been surprised to get no answer to some queries I have had on the original documents, where I wanted to check the client's preferred terminology for instance, since more than one translation/term could be used. That in itself is surprising since that agency has a reputation of always replying to queries and of the staff being very helpful. In the end, not getting any answers, I have chosen to send the translations back with embedded comment for the attention of the proofreader, in order to explain my choices etc. Another slighlty disagreable aspect is that the PM has tried once or twice to pay me less, sending a PO the day after at a lower rate than that agreed or in the case of proofreading for a lower amount of time than the one I specified I had spent on it when sending back the proofread translations. However, I have held onto my times and requested a new PO, and that was rectified. I was sent a new project last week for a rather big document that I have to send back at the end of next week, and the PM told me she would send me the PO once she had received some additional file that were in my document for translation but as photos, adding that I could go ahead. And since then, nothing. I have written to make some comments about additional abbreviations to be added to the original English file and my translation, to query whether she had had a chance to get those files, adding that I can translate them as such in any case, and asking for a PO, at least twice this week. I also have acknowledged payment of a first invoice, but I have not heard anything back from the PM at all. Her colleague answered me that she does not know about this project - I got an out of office yesterday - and that I should wait for the PM to get back to me most probably today, but I still have not had any acknowledgement or answer whatsoever to my emails. I am slightly baffled ... I could send back the translation before the due date since I think I'll have it ready before, but I have not received the PO for it and I really want to have that one and make sure the wordcount is right before I do. I have not experienced that with other agencies either. I don't know how a more experienced translator would react and would be happy for some feedback. Since I have not got any answer to my emails, I guess the next step would be a phone call early next week, or not? Thank you for your thoughts.

[Edited at 2012-06-01 16:08 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Carol Rush  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:32
French to English
+ ...
Stand your ground Jun 1, 2012

hi Anne

If I were you I would stop all work until you have received a PO from the PM. From your past experience it sounds like you are likely to have problems if you send the translation with no PO.

If they complain that the work is due on XX date, then just explain that you were unable to contact them, which you tried to do on several occasions, and that without a PO you cannot continue work.

This is after all, business, and you need to be paid for the work you do.

I would email again explaining that this is what you are doing (ie stopping work until they make contact with you and issue a PO), and if you feel you want to, a phone call wont go astray, although make sure they send something in writing with the PO afterwards.

Hope that helps, and good luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anne R
Italy
Local time: 12:32
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Very tempted to stop all work but Jun 1, 2012

Carol Rush wrote: hi Anne If I were you I would stop all work until you have received a PO from the PM.


Hello Carol,

in fact I am very tempted to stop all work, as you say, but I would be worried not to get paid at all, regardless of my telling them I have not got a PO. On the other hand I want to be paid for what I have done so far, which is a lot, all the more since I have refused work from other agencies that I have had to refuse other work because of this 'order'. But on the very other hand, I would rather want to resolve this problem without having to go as far as 'menacing ' to stop the translation, which is likely to end all possibility of working with them again, when the reason why I have not got the PO yet maybe simple. Would a phone call not be best before this?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:32
Member (2008)
French to English
Agreement exists Jun 1, 2012

Anne R wrote:

... adding that I could go ahead.


I think that if you have been told in writing to go ahead, that's an agreement. It sounds like they're a little disorganized, but since they rectified problems in the past it's likely they will again, if necessary. By all means maintain communications, by a phone call if that's appropriate.

[Edited at 2012-06-01 16:57 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Carol Rush  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:32
French to English
+ ...
I agree... Jun 1, 2012

Hi Anne

Yes, I see your dilemma, about wanting to get paid for what you have done.

I agree with John in this case, if you have it in writing to do this project, then that is binding, so go ahead but persist in contacting them to get a PO.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:32
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
a last email, perhaps? Jun 1, 2012

I agree you need to complete the translation. But how about sending an email saying: I have completed the translation but I don't feel I can deliver it until I have received...

Sheila


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:32
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Phone call Jun 1, 2012

Pick up the phone and call your PM. If you don't get an answer, leave a message.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:32
Member
English to French
Are you "low-maintenance" of "high-maintenance"? Jun 1, 2012

Agency PMs often expect translators not to interfere with their own activities. They usually have tons of work and projects going on, and prefer "low-maintenance" translators.

If you send e-mails asking them to choose the term they prefer, they will likely get upset after a while. You can state your choices and reasons in the email when you deliver. It's not the reviewer's job either to remove your comments and choose terms for you.

Same with payments: no need to acknowledge payment or send a thank you note. You're paid for your work and that's just normal. Conversely, do not hesitate to harass people who forget to pay.

As for POs sent after delivery, it happens to me all the time. Simply ask for a job number. I understand that you don't trust them, with them trying to move the goal posts after delivery. Dodgy indeed.

My take: as little communication with PMs as possible, group topics within the same message, etc. Acknowledge receipt of source text/instructions/etc., then keep quiet (unless vital to the outcome) until you deliver. PMs will likely thank you for that.

Calling is a good idea to get reassured.

Let us know how it develops.

Philippe

PS: please split your message in paragraphs. I've got a headache. If you send emails without line breaks, no wonder they stopped reading them!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:32
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
learning experience Jun 1, 2012

Dear Anne,

I was sorry to hear your story, and I'm afraid there is not much you can do in this particular situation. For the future, however, I recommend that you keep in mind a very simple basic rule: NO WORK should be done WITHOUT a written Purchase Order. Period. Not for long-standing clients, not for colleagues, not for friends - - there should be no exception. Clear instructions and terms must be in hand PRIOR to commencing any job. This has been my experience (and trust me, over the past 19 years I have had my fair share of unpleasant* surprises) and the lesson is to NOT even get started without a written purchase order. Some clients tend to contact several vendors at once but only one of these vendors will actually receive a PO. Others have a habit of sending POs late (not intentionally but because of being swamped), but even they will react promptly when they see my standard message: "Thank you for sending the new assignment. This is to confirm safe receipt of the source files. I shall proceed with the translation upon receipt of your Purchase Order."

I don't think any client would stop sending you work just because you stand your ground and conduct your business in a professional manner. If they do.... it's their loss, not yours.

I hope this particular project will come to fruition in the end. If not, at least you eliminate a client that's not worth your time and effort, making room for those who are. : )

*A while back, a client of many years sent me on a Friday afternoon an "extremely urgent job to be completed over the weekend" but no PO. She then left the office. I was trusting and loyal (naive?) enough to do as she asked and delivered Sunday night. Come Monday, no confirmation of receipt. Several reminders sent - no response. A month later payment reminders - no response. It wasn't until 3 months after delivery that the PM emailed me, saying that because the job was urgent, she had placed it with another translator, and that because there had never been a PO, they would not be able to pay me for my work. Needless to say, I no longer work with them.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anne R
Italy
Local time: 12:32
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Resolved! Jun 1, 2012

Philippe Etienne wrote: Calling is a good idea to get reassured. Let us know how it develops. PS: please split your message in paragraphs. I've got a headache. If you send emails without line breaks, no wonder they stopped reading them!



Hello All, first of all thank you all for your comments and encouragements! In the end I picked up the phone, did not get to speak to my PM, who seemed to be out already, but to another PM who I presented the situation with. Just said that I wanted to send the translation earlier but really wanted to get the PO before doing so since I had not heard anything back from my PM to my emails . He was very nice and we checked the file together and he has solved the problem since he has sent me a PO for the job.


Philippe sorry about not splitting the message, I usually do, I can confirm!


As regards terminology, I guess you are right, better put a note on the file and tell them the reason for the choice, but in some cases - like in this file - I have seen 3 translations /terms used for the product I am translating, all three of them used by this UN agency in their various publications - I guess it depends on the translators they used previously, so it would not be a bad idea to check with them before whether they want to use 1 term only 'from now on' in order to harmonize their publications. Anyway, will retain the "the less a PM hears from you till you return the translation, the better" advice.


Have a good weekend every one and thank you again! Anne

[Edited at 2012-06-01 18:14 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

No reply from agency

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search