Working for direct clients- indemnity insurance, second proofreader, agreemnents, etc.
Thread poster: Iseult Harrington

Iseult Harrington  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:08
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 1, 2017

Hi All! I have a potential direct that I may end up translating for on a long-term, albeit sporadic, basis. As I have always worked for agencies, this is new terrain and though it will not be a huge source of income, I want to establish everything correctly from the beginning.

My first question is in terms of covering any possible case of non-payment or late payment- can I state a time frame in which any possible issues or queries should be raised and how as well as the payment date itself?

Also, while I know it is hard to ensure that all translations are proofread by a second proofreader due to clashing timetables, especially if there is a tight deadline, is it a good idea to have at least a portion of it proofread? (to comply with quality assurance standards and have proof of a third-party review in case of any future issues).

I am also in the process of talking to agencies that work with my specialisation area, and wondering if I could also establish certain terms and conditions with them? Practically none of the agencies I have worked for since I started out have had me sign any agreement, and I have found that the few occasions that certain issues arose (late payments, end client queries or issues), there was quite a degree of indecision and lack of clarity on the part of the agency that ended up taking ages to sort out and that could have been resolved much quicker if there were clear agreements in place from the get-go.

Also, as I find that agencies are often acting more as an intermediary and do not carry out QA checks (even though it goes without saying that all translations I send are subject to my own QA checks, and I always assume, or rather know, that my work will not be checked before being sent to the final client), is it better to charge a higher rate and offer this service (where you pay a proofreader to check your work, or at least part of it) yourself?

Many thanks for any input!

Kind regards, Isa.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
My 2 cents Apr 1, 2017

Isa Harrington wrote:
My first question is in terms of covering any possible case of non-payment or late payment- can I state a time frame in which any possible issues or queries should be raised and how as well as the payment date itself

I'm somewhat surprised that you don't already do that with agency clients. I certainly do. Agencies may well state their own terms too (which direct clients are far less likely to do) but I still reserve the right to negotiate. If their terms are unacceptable and they won't budge, I don't work with them. What is unacceptable doesn't become acceptable just because the potential client insists. I tell them all that I'll accept queries about my work until the payment due date.

Also, while I know it is hard to ensure that all translations are proofread by a second proofreader due to clashing timetables, especially if there is a tight deadline, is it a good idea to have at least a portion of it proofread? (to comply with quality assurance standards and have proof of a third-party review in case of any future issues).

I quote two rates to direct clients: the one for translating only, and the other for translating plus getting it proofread by a second native speaker. They often choose to get it proofread themselves, in which case I only give a limited guarantee. I'm only human; I can make mistakes.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:08
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Agree to collaborate with the client over proofreading Apr 2, 2017

As you translate into English, it can be an advantage to work directly with the client on proofreading. Get them to find a person who will check your work, naturally after you have checked thoroughly yourself as far as possible. (Insist from the start that YOU are the language expert, however, especially if this person is not a native speaker of English. Don't start giving free English lessons on trivial points of grammar...)

If you are translating publicity material and press releases, they may have specific ideas about their house style and the profile they want to present to the rest of the world. With internal documentation, they may have their own standard terminology and ways of doing things. Show willing to tailor your services to their wishes and get them on your side. You can always ask if there is anything you are unsure about. Then if there is anything they are not satisfied with, you can apologise and focus on getting it right for next time... and sort out issues before they turn into problems and complaints.

I work mostly with agencies, but when I worked in-house, that was the company's approach.
___________________________

You can always state your own terms and conditions. In practice I have made a checklist of mine, with things like a minimum fee, minimum rates, payment terms, the terms of my indemnity insurance, under what conditions and for how long I will accept complaints, the fact that I do not ask other clients for references, etc. I don't send it to clients, but if they ask me to sign any terms and conditions that conflict with mine, then I let them know and try to reach an agreement on my terms.

Draw up a list like that for your potential direct client. Again, it is easier to reach agreement if you propose reasonable terms, especially about insurance cover and how to deal with complaints, BEFORE they start demanding punitive and unreasonable 'hold harmless' clauses or anything like that.

I have translated plenty of contracts in which big companies limit their liability, so it is only reasonable that a translator can do the same.
___________________________

With regard to paying a second proof reader, I think it is better to offer two different rates for delivering your work with and without checks by a second proofreader. In many cases the time required for the extra process would really be better spent by you on the original translation, then taking a break and checking it yourself.

I have occasionally done 'QA checks' that I really felt were counter-productive! Neither the original translator nor I had time to do a proper job, and that was NOT the intention of the ISO certification.... I simply refuse to do them now.

Best of luck!


 

Iseult Harrington  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:08
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Many thanks! Apr 4, 2017

Many thanks for your replies Sheila and Christine!

In terms of providing a service that includes both translation and third party proofreading, I imagine that you could only offer this if deadlines were not very tight in order for the proofreader to have time to do their review?

In terms of setting your own terms with agencies, would this simply involve informing them of your terms at the same time as negotiating rates? Or would you just add it on your invoice?

Many thanks once again!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Reply Apr 4, 2017

Isa Harrington wrote:
In terms of providing a service that includes both translation and third party proofreading, I imagine that you could only offer this if deadlines were not very tight in order for the proofreader to have time to do their review?

Absolutely. You need time for the translation itself, plus a deadline for the proofreader that allows you time to check what they have to say and finalise the text. And because "things happened" each person needs some leeway to allow some slippage without actually missing the delivery deadline.

In terms of setting your own terms with agencies, would this simply involve informing them of your terms at the same time as negotiating rates? Or would you just add it on your invoice

The invoice is no place for surprises. Negotiations on terms have to be completed before you start work. I just set out my few and simple terms in an email. I ask the client (direct or agency) to explicitly accept them by replying to the email. I won't start the first job without that.


 


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