Dispute about payment and quality of translation
Thread poster: Mari Noller
Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:10
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Apr 18, 2005

A while back now I did a translation for agency X, a highly technical translation. I informed the agency upfront that I did not have a degree in this field, but that I had done similar translations before.
They provided me with two large texts (in total about 6000 words) and a glossary of terminology.
I did the translation and was waiting for the second and larger translation (over 10 000 words) when I received an e-mail from them saying their client was not happy with the translation and had to make changes to the text. They told me wait while they contacted a third party translator/proofreader to go over the translation.
A week later I got another e-mail saying the proofreader had found so many errors the translation had to be re-done.
They did not offer me a chance to correct my work at all.

I had a look through the corrections and saw some minor changes to the structure of sentences, but I also saw some changes to the terminology. They told me that because of my terminology and general structure of the text they could not pay me as their client refused to pay them.

That's how the case ended three months ago.

I'm not sure of my rights, but have read a few topics here of similar problems, and have again contacted the agency. I have explained how I see the translation and how I will have to contact my company's legal expert if the payment is not made.

Any advice at all?
The agency is from Italy and I'm from England. The total amount outstanding is over 600 pounds.
I can also add that before and after this translation, this is still the only complaint I have ever had of my work. I did also run the translation by a person who works with the machine the translation was about, and he disagrees with the "errors" in the translation.

[Edited at 2005-04-18 00:36]


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:10
Dutch to English
+ ...
Did you use the terminology they provided? Apr 18, 2005

This is crucial in my viewpoint even if you disagreed with their terminology. The rest of their manuals and other text will also have been based on this terminology.

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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
incautious practices Apr 18, 2005

dinamin wrote:
They provided me with two large texts (in total about 6000 words) and a glossary of terminology.
I did the translation and was waiting for the second and larger translation (over 10 000 words) when I received an e-mail...

They should have started with a 200-300 words file instead of about 6000 words, to keep the damage low and the feedback in time.

Recently I outsourced some work and I had to realise that even experienced translators can deliver crap if the text is a bit tricky and they don't get one or several early feedbacks (for each new project).

Next time I will apply a scale of 100 words (test translation), 300 words (first file), and 1000, 3000, 10000 words packages according to the necessary corrections..


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:10
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes.. Apr 18, 2005

Yes, I did use the terminology they provided for me. It was the last thing I checked before I sent the material back.

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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:10
Dutch to English
+ ...
If you followed customer intstructions you should be paid Apr 18, 2005

dinamin wrote:

They told me that because of my terminology and general structure of the text they could not pay me as their client refused to pay them.


[Edited at 2005-04-18 00:36]


If you used their terminology then just changing sentence structure does not cut it in my book. Sentence structure is not usually objective but a question of preference. You should, therefore, be paid. If the customer wanted you to use a particular style then he should have provided the style definition or referred you to the style they want (i.e. based on the EU style: http://europa.eu.int/comm/translation/writing/style_guides/english/style_guide_en.pdf). I hate prepositions at the start of sentences so I avoid them at all costs. This does not mean that using a preposition at the start of the sentence is wrong. (This is an example for the English language.)


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:10
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I know but Apr 18, 2005

What can you do when they claim to have run this translation by two other translators and both have said the text isn't good enough. And they have both changed the structure of the sentences and terminology.

Unfortunately, this company is not the only one out there who is refusing to pay because of end-users.


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:10
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Btw Apr 18, 2005

I've just checked and there was no PO for this translation. I was sent a part of the document and confirmed this was something I could do. Did not receive any instructions on how they wanted the text and did not receive the terminology (a complete glossary)I needed until after I had sent them the translation.

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