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Order cancelled because of sickness
Thread poster: Natalia Pedrosa

Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:37
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 2, 2017

Dear translators,

Hope you can give me some advice as to how to proceed with the following.

Yesterday I was assigned a 15,000 word job to carry out in 5 days.

At the beginning I said I would only do 10,000 words, then 12,000, then they told me if I could do 15,000 because Trados was being used.

This morning I got up with a fever and the doctor told me I could not work till next Monday.

So accordingly first thing in the morning I told the agency I could only translate 10,000 words till the deadline. 3 hours later, I received an email saying the order was cancelled altogether.

But that's not the end of the story. Yesterday evening I refused an 8,000 word project because of this older one.

Do I have the right to suit the agency?

Looking forward to your input.

Natalia


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:37
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Short answer is no Sep 2, 2017

Sue for what, exactly? Did you already start the job? If not then you have no financial damages to sue for.

As for the other 8,000 word job, I am not sure if you meant to say that you yourself refused it (you can't sue for that) or that the agency refused to assign it to you (you can't sue for that either; they have the right to give the work to someone else, just as you have the right to refuse the work).

As far as I see it, you only really have any damages if you did work and are not compensated for it.

Don't sue them, just get well soon and move on with your life.


 

Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:37
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Angela Sep 2, 2017

It's not worth wasting even more my health because of them.

I'm going to follow your advice.

Have a nice weekend!

Regards,
Natalia


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:37
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Agree Sep 2, 2017

Angela Rimmer wrote:

Sue for what, exactly? Did you already start the job? If not then you have no financial damages to sue for.

As for the other 8,000 word job, I am not sure if you meant to say that you yourself refused it (you can't sue for that) or that the agency refused to assign it to you (you can't sue for that either; they have the right to give the work to someone else, just as you have the right to refuse the work).

As far as I see it, you only really have any damages if you did work and are not compensated for it.

Don't sue them, just get well soon and move on with your life.


icon_smile.gif


 

Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:37
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification Sep 2, 2017

Thanks for your point, Robert.

Both Angela and you are right.

I thought I could sue the agency for losses caused, but now I see I can't.

Regarding the other job I REFUSED IT BECAUSE OF THIS ONE.

That's all I have to say.

Have a great weekend you two.

Regards,
Natalia


 

Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:37
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Incredible! Sep 2, 2017

Now the agency tells me my illness is a mere excuse.

I've told them they don't deserve being called an agency.

I've never come across with such lack of professionalism in my 10 years in the profession!

How much sxxx!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It sounds as though it got far too personal Sep 2, 2017

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:
Now the agency tells me my illness is a mere excuse.

I've told them they don't deserve being called an agency.

There's clearly been a great amount of anger here in exchanges of emails that we aren't privy to. That really isn't the sign of a healthy business relationship. Neither side should be taking it personally. It isn't a love affair - it's just business! You agreed to do a job - you had contractual obligations to fulfil. You were then taken ill - it happens, hopefully not often, but it does happen sooner or later to us all.

The normal procedure is that you (I'm using the pronoun in a general sense here, i.e. to refer to any freelance translator) apologise for your unexpected inability to fulfil your obligations and ask if you can help minimise the inconvenience by arranging an extension to the deadline, taking on just a small doable part of the work, or recommending someone else (if you can). The client wishes you a speedy recovery and then goes away and sorts things out the best they can. You briefly inform them of your return to work, as soon as possible, so they can assign more jobs to you - always accepting that they have the right not to.

There's absolutely no need for anyone to start getting personal about it and certainly no call for threats about suing anyone. Far better to do whatever the doctor advises and just switch off from work until you're better. I hope that's very soon.


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 09:37
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agree with Sheila Sep 2, 2017

As usual, Sheila gives thoughtful, professional advice. That is how the situation could or should have been handled. At this point, I'm not sure if this relationship can be salvaged - it looks like you may have lost this client.

I recommend to anyone that you arrange to have one or more alternates you trust, so you can mutually refer clients when you are sick or on holidays. I even have alternates for specific types of jobs, such as technical or IT. That way I can decline the job but the client will appreciate the referral and come back to me for other jobs.



[Edited at 2017-09-02 15:54 GMT]


 

Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:37
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Sheila and Tina Sep 2, 2017

To Sheila,

Thank you once again for your wise and soothing words. They really calm me and there's not need for such hot exchagge.

To Tina,

I could not subcontract the work, otherwise I would be penalised.

Thank you both for your input.

I just want to move on with the matter and recover my health.

Regards,
Natalia


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sickness is always around the corner Sep 2, 2017

Although being a freelance is the best guarantee of health (we rarely have the time to get sick), we are human after all and are always at risk of missing a deadline because of sickness.

In the situation you describe, I do not think you can sue the agency as it was you who declared that you could not fulfil the agreed deadline for the whole agreed job and they had no option but to choose another person. I also think you cannot sue them for losing the other 8,000-word job, since it was you who turned it down.

To protect your interest in future situations, it is always advisable that you look for a "sickness partner," someone in your same language pairs who you select for his/her specialisations and available tools and with whom you have done mutual translation tests as a guarantee if his/her quality (and yours towards the other person). You can kind-of vow to assist with translation in a sickness situation, and can/should eventually keep the machine oiled by exchanging the occasional small job.

(In my case, I have other colleagues working in the office, so last time I was sick to a point that kept me from working for several days they piled my work onto theirs and I had the luxury of being allowed to feel like a rotten rag for a while with no big concerns.)


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 09:37
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
@Natalia Sep 3, 2017

Indeed, you cannot subcontract without the client's permission. But what I meant is a referral, whereby you simply give the client the name and email address of a colleague and the client can contact that person and make their own arrangements. The client will then also pay your colleague directly. You are sick and you will have nothing further to do with it. When you are ready to go back to work, and if the relationship is good and no angry words have been exchanged, you can let the client know.

 

Otha Nash
United States
Local time: 11:37
Member (2017)
Arabic to English
+ ...
What Sheila Said Sep 4, 2017

+1

[Edited at 2017-09-04 01:03 GMT]


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:37
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Against my logic Sep 4, 2017

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:

But that's not the end of the story. Yesterday evening I refused an 8,000 word project because of this older one.

Do I have the right to suit the agency?

Looking forward to your input.

Natalia


Having read all these posts, I haven't got any hint why you would want to sue the other party because you have declined a 8,000 word project.


 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:37
Serbian to English
+ ...
It's exactly because of that kind of situation Sep 4, 2017

that "cancellation fees/penalties" have been dreamed up ages ago, probably already at the time of barter economy.

In all fairness you should be able to claim cancellation fees - only the amount should be open to discussion, not the principle.

What realistic chances you have of collecting them them is another matter.

Having the kind of "support" [and respect for their own profession] too many other colleagues are showing (in general, not only in this thread) is really going to help you - and the profession in general.

The same ones who wouldn't dream contesting cancellation fees for cancelling a rent-a-car contract before it even started, of who wouldn't dream of asking for a refund of the ticket after the show started can't see what's wrong in what this agency is doing.

With "friends" like that, who needs enemies?


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:37
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Can you clarify your point? Sep 4, 2017

Daryo wrote:
The same ones who wouldn't dream contesting cancellation fees for cancelling a rent-a-car contract before it even started, of who wouldn't dream of asking for a refund of the ticket after the show started can't see what's wrong in what this agency is doing.


 
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