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Not my best performance, will I be paid?
Thread poster: Shabelula

Shabelula
Italy
Local time: 07:04
Italian to English
+ ...
Dec 25, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I offered my professional services for a long legal translation into English to be shared amongst many colleagues - due some 8 hours later. I volunteered for a part of it some 1,000 2,000 or so words just to be on the safe side, negotiated the price, etc.

Actually I did not realise at first that the whole bunch of 15 pages reached my mailbox with an alluring PO that included an urgency supplement - I was too pleasantly surprised with the pay offered. I started working after lunch and a draft was ready some six hours later.

I am native in Italian and though the project was legal and well within my expertise, it contained original concepts that required my utmost attention and careful search for proper terms. I supposed that the vendor knew that the translation had to be reviewed anyway by an English mothertongue proofreader, as basically all outsourcers do.

I finished the first draft of it, panting, and I did not have a chance even to re-read it once. I know there HAD TO BE major mistakes, but apparently the work was accepted the way it was without any comment from the outsourcer - I was granted a few MORE minutes to paginate it but not enough even for a first comparison with the original text.

I sent the PO with my invoice where indicated.

I haven't heard of them ever since, though commercial habits would impose to wait at least until the end of the year before reminding. I only wrote a Skype message to the agency explaining that I had miscounted the total number of words and that consequently the output was not as accurate as MY usual output because of the short time granted - which is basically true.

Will I be paid? Should I do something to urge the payment, or offer a rebate on their own PO offer?

Should I forget the whole thing? I am in Italy, the agency is in the UK.

advice welcome....


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Thanh Nguyen  Identity Verified
Vietnam
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Get feedbacks from them first Dec 26, 2012

I think you should contact them to ask for more information about the job which was done by you such as: Have you got someone done the proofreading ? Have you delivered it to your client, ect. As you haven't been paid, you should get feedback from them first. Legal is always a hard field, and if a serious mistake occurred in the translation, the mislead translated document will take a very adverse toll on parties involved.

Hope all will be well with you.


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Shabelula
Italy
Local time: 07:04
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
a polite request for information then... Dec 26, 2012

Thanh Nguyen wrote:

I think you should contact them to ask for more information about the job which was done by you such as: Have you got someone done the proofreading ? Have you delivered it to your client, ect. As you haven't been paid, you should get feedback from them first. Legal is always a hard field, and if a serious mistake occurred in the translation, the mislead translated document will take a very adverse toll on parties involved.

Hope all will be well with you.



This sounds very diplomatic, thank you.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:04
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
No news is good news Dec 26, 2012

...so don't stir the hornet's nest.

Pardon my mixed metaphors! Why go looking for trouble? If you haven't heard anything by now, odds are you won't, particularly on a super-rush project with multiple translators. Just remind them about payment if they do not pay by whatever deadline you have agreed and whatever grace period you feel like granting.

By the way, how do you know for a fact that there "had to be major mistakes" in your translation? Unless you recall any specific ones which you have uncovered after the fact, odds are your work wasn't any worse than what the others produced under the same conditions.

I would just move on.

[Edited at 2012-12-26 06:00 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:04
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Urgent work, problem work Dec 26, 2012

SHABBELULA wrote:
I am native in Italian and though the project was legal and well within my expertise, it contained original concepts that required my utmost attention and careful search for proper terms. I supposed that the vendor knew that the translation had to be reviewed anyway by an English mothertongue proofreader, as basically all outsourcers do.

If there is one thing my 17 years in translation has taught me, it is that the best one can do is to keep away from urgent work for new customers. It always, always, always means some kind of trouble, inconvenience, and uncertainty.

I have to say that it is extremely risky to assume things with a new customer. If you want to know whether they will review your work before delivery and this knowledge will have an influence in your work, you should clearly ask them.

In case complicated terminology requiring a lot of research has delayed you, it is best to inform the customer before the deadline and inform them that you will delay your delivery by 30-45 minutes un order to double-check everything (i.e. to re-read the translation) before delivery. They might not be very pleased by this slight delay in a rush situation, but their discomfort will turn into (now justified) anger if their end customer complains about actual mistakes later on.

Now, having said all this, unless the customer told you that there were actual quality issues, you should expect your payment as agreed, and should ask for it if it hasn't happened in due time.


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Shabelula
Italy
Local time: 07:04
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thank you... Dec 26, 2012

your advices are wise, and perhaps I am making a lot ado about nothing...

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Shabelula
Italy
Local time: 07:04
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
no major issues.... Dec 26, 2012

and no, I was not informed of major issues afterwards. I was granted some more minutes to collate parts and have a final look (too little) and actually at midtime I advised that a review would be necessary and I doubted I could finish it all, that I in fact did, so yes, they were presumably prepared.

Actually when advised to request payment to their finance department, the email ended with:

"Thanks again for your hard work, hope to work with you again soon

Have a good night!"

But that was before they could actually read it, and besides it could have just been a nice sentence after hard work (perhaps some 5,000 words all together).

I will let you know with the New Year about the payment.....


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 08:04
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Chances are nobody will ever read the text Dec 26, 2012

The outsourcer must decide, if the nature of the job requires careful editing or not. I sometimes take rush jobs for an American agency, when they are short of translators and need urgently to place the last few thousand words for "tomorrow noon". Never have I had any feedback but invoices are paid very soon. In that way have I been able to get new fields of experience which I otherwise would not have dared to tackle. I know they use double proofreading, so I'm on the safe side.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:04
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
How many? Dec 26, 2012

SHABBELULA wrote:
it could have just been a nice sentence after hard work (perhaps some 5,000 words all together).


5000 words to an absolute deadline of 8 hours? By 'absolute deadline', I mean including visits to the loo, cups of coffee, the odd meal break etc., which should reduce the actual working time to only 6-7 hours.

If that's the situation, I'm not surprised you're worried about quality issues, unless you work an awful lot quicker than the average trasnlator. But as others have said, they'll complain soon enough if they aren't happy. What do your terms say about corrections? Do you have a limit, after which you consider the translation accepted in its delivered form? Mine is due payment date, but I know others leave the client a shorter time to come up with comments. Of course, I'm conscientious, like you, and if I really thought I might have delivered substandard work I'd waive that restriction. But I wouldn't go looking for trouble where it may not exist.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:04
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Erm... erm... Dec 26, 2012

SHABBELULA wrote:
A couple of weeks ago I offered my professional services for a long legal translation into English to be shared amongst many colleagues...


Do you mean that you were going to hand out portions of it to some of your colleagues, or do you mean that you were one of the colleagues to whom some other translator had handed out portions of?

I volunteered for a part of it some 1,000 2,000 or so words just to be on the safe side, negotiated the price, etc. ... Actually I did not realise at first that the whole bunch of 15 pages...


How many words is 15 pages?

I started working after lunch and a draft was ready some six hours later.


Do you mean by "after lunch" that you used up 1 or 2 hours of the 8 hours for lunch, before you started doing the work?

I supposed that the vendor knew that the translation had to be reviewed anyway by an English mothertongue proofreader, as basically all outsourcers do.


Does the fact that you made this assumption mean that the person who sent you the translation is a translation agency and not simply a colleague?

Will I be paid? Should I do something to urge the payment, or offer a rebate on their own PO offer?


You feel bad about your translation, but you have no idea what the client did to it before using it. It would be stupid of you to admit in advance that you had made a bad translation. Just wait until you get more information. Do not assume that any action by the agency is a result of your bad translation. It may be that there were fewer errors than you think. It may be that they had had it proofread by someone who did not care to comment on the quality.

My advice is that you simply treat this like any other job, and DO NOT apologise or admit wrongdoing unless you are actually accused of something.


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
5,000 words... Dec 26, 2012

Didn't the poster originally between 1,000 and 2,000 words? Personally, I think that it very bold of you accepting to do an into English translation for a British agency, regardless of the deadline. Naturally there will be quality issues with a translation performed by a non-native, that is a given. I strongly encourage translators to set their own high standards, otherwise the translators will never be taken seriously as professionals.

But sit tight, it looks like you may have got away with it this time.


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Shabelula
Italy
Local time: 07:04
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
happy New Year anyway.... and thanks for all your input Dec 26, 2012

I do feel at discomfort for this.

They are an agency, and I had applied offering to share some 1,000 words or so - I work alone and did not offer for more. As I work for the Court in Rome, notaries, practitioners etc. I usually know the legal jargon and understand the meaning etc, knowing how to move in legal documents; . It was a pdf (two actually) so I could not count the exact quantity of words until finished, obviously it was more than 2,000 words but how many I had no idea. At that stage I had already accepted and translating as fast as I could. Probably they chose me and not an English-mothertongue colleague because the Italian was really twisted.

The Word automatic corrector did not underline or spotted funny things, I am ok with grammar etc, but in the end the sentences were extremely long and confused, Italian-style, and needed cutting: my main target had been giving a decent readable meaning in English. Some concepts were new and I had to research terms a lot, something that I usually do without asking colleagues (unless I am at a standstill).

I had some 1\2 lunch while negotiating the work (about one o'clock) then started at about one GMT. The delivery - with some additional 45 minutes - was just before seven pm GMT.

At about 5 I sent half a document saying it was far too long for me and that it was a draft of course for review. the instructions were to finish drafting, and not to proofread the first part.

So I believe that I acted as correctly as possible. But I might be wrong.

Overall you are all right, better not to stir the issue at all, and send a gentle reminder for payment in a few days politely asking for comments if any. - I am ready to waive something, actually, but I won't play down any more....

Thank you all, wishes for a good 2013 INCLUDING THE MODERATOR.... please keep advising....

[Edited at 2012-12-26 11:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-12-26 12:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-12-26 15:24 GMT]


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Anne Pinaglia
Netherlands
Local time: 07:04
Member (2011)
Italian to English
+ ...
Do not assume Dec 26, 2012

SHABBELULA wrote:

I supposed that the vendor knew that the translation had to be reviewed anyway by an English mothertongue proofreader, as basically all outsourcers do.



I would never assume that an agency or outsourcer would review your translation. I think most translators would agree that the translation they provide as a final draft should be just that - final. If you can't assure that you're providing mother tongue-quality translations for your clients in English then it's probably not a good idea to be doing them; I'm afraid that from your profile and post it seems that your English is unfortunately not quite up to par (though it is quite good).

Best of luck to you!


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