Your Responses to Potential Client Using Free Email Address
Thread poster: Hipyan Nopri

Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:40
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Jan 28, 2008

Dear Fellow Translators,

A few days ago, someone (using a free email address and putting only his name without any other contact details) offered me a translation job of rather large volume (+/-13,000 words). The deadline was really generous (one month), but he asked me to give him the "best" quote.

I replied with my standard rate (US$0.12 per source word) and asked him to provide me with his complete contact details (postal address, phone/fax number, website, etc.).

In addition, after giving him with clear definitions of client category - translation agencies, organizational direct clients, and personal direct clients, I also asked him to indicate to which category he belongs.

Now, it has been three days since his last email, and I got no reply.

What would you do if you were contacted by the same person?

Thanks for sharing.

Best Regards

Hipyan

[Edited at 2008-01-29 00:27]


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Hmm.. Jan 29, 2008

Well, either you had a lucky escape or somthing untoward happened. The lack of a reply suggests he's either busy or hiding something!! Maybe he was looking for cheap labour...

I suppose in future if somebody offers you something like this you could again ask for full details, but a better strategy is just to ask for money up front. If they won't pay up early and/ or give you details, there must be other reliable clients who will.

[Edited at 2008-01-29 01:01]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:40
French to English
3 days? Jan 29, 2008

It's a long shot, but given you are in Indonesia, this peson wouldn't be in Australia, by any chance?

And you last heard from them on Friday?

Since then, we have had the usual weekend (for the "Western world", anyway), so not hearing any news either Saturday or Sunday does not strike me as especially odd.

I understand it is a public holiday in Australia today (by which I really mean yesterday, now Mon 28th anyway)

Even if they are not in Australia, it has only been one working day since you heard. Maybe they took a long weekend?

Personally, at this juncture, I see nothing untoward in the lack of contact today, especially with such a long deadline.

That does not mean the person is not a master criminal and arch-swindler, merely that silence on this particular Monday provides no evidence of this as fas as I am concerned


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:40
English to Indonesian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Usually Prompt Reply Jan 29, 2008

Charlie Bavington wrote:
It's a long shot, but given you are in Indonesia, this peson wouldn't be in Australia, by any chance?

Given the IP address, he may be in one of the middle eastern countries.

Charlie Bavington wrote:
Even if they are not in Australia, it has only been one working day since you heard. Maybe they took a long weekend?

Yes, the last time I got his reply was at about 1:00 pm on Friday. Nevertheless, previously he used to reply promptly (in about one or two hours).

islander1974 wrote:
I suppose in future if somebody offers you something like this you could again ask for full details, but a better strategy is just to ask for money up front.

My standard terms of payment are as follows:
1. Translation Agencies
a. Payment shall be made within 30 days since the date of invoicing.
b. Any charges associated with the payment shall be incurred by the payer.
c. The payee shall receive the money in full as stated at the invoice.
d. The payer shall make payment on time independent of the end client's payment.

2. Organizational Direct Clients:
a. Payment shall be made within 10 days since the date of invoicing.
b. Any charges associated with the payment shall be incurred by the payer.
c. The payee shall receive the money in full as stated at the invoice.

3. Personal Direct Clients:
a. Payment shall be made up-front or well before delivery of the translation.
b. Any charges associated with the payment shall be incurred by the payer.
c. The payee shall receive the money in full as stated at the invoice.

It could be possible that my standard rate, the terms of payment, and the required full contact details together deterred him from replying.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:40
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Free e-mail and no contact info??? Jan 29, 2008

A free e-mail address and no contact information raises doubts in my mind to begin with. I don't take such people seriously and I never respond to those inquiries.

It may be that they were looking for cheap rates and that your rate and payment terms scared them off. I am curious why you have different payment terms for different types of clients and how you arrived at them:

Translation agencies get 30 days - however 60 or even 90 days is quite common in the industry to allow the agency time to collect from the end client first.

Organizational direct clients get 10 days - however, it is extremely difficult for most companies or organizations to meet that requirement. At the organization I work for, for example, we have to submit a request for payment of an invoice before the 15th of the month to have payment made by the end of the month. After the 15th, it will take till the end of the following month before payment is made. My organizational clients usually take about 2 months to pay.

Personal direct clients must pay up front or upon delivery - however in my experience these are the clients I am least worried about (and I have a lot of them). I give them 30 days and rarely if ever do I have to send out a reminder.


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:40
English to Indonesian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So Far They Work Very Well Jan 29, 2008

Tina Vonhof wrote:
I am curious why you have different payment terms for different types of clients and how you arrived at them:
Translation agencies get 30 days - however 60 or even 90 days is quite common in the industry to allow the agency time to collect from the end client first.

So far, there is no agency that disagrees with my 30-day standard term. To me, a 60/90-day payment term may indicate financial problems on the part of the agency.

Tina Vonhof wrote:
Organizational direct clients get 10 days - however, it is extremely difficult for most companies or organizations to meet that requirement.

It works very well so far. Indeed, in practice, some paid fifteen days after invoicing, but it is certainly tolerable.

Tina Vonhof wrote:
Personal direct clients must pay up front or upon delivery - however in my experience these are the clients I am least worried about (and I have a lot of them).

On the other hand, personal direct clients are those I am most worried about. Unlike agencies and organizations, which have complete contact details and website, personal direct clients generally use free email address and of course they can disappear easily if I do not apply the strict term of payment.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Payment terms Jan 29, 2008

Tina Vonhof wrote:
I am curious why you have different payment terms for different types of clients and how you arrived at them:
Translation agencies get 30 days - however 60 or even 90 days is quite common in the industry to allow the agency time to collect from the end client first.

Hipyan Nopri wrote:
So far, there is no agency that disagrees with my 30-day standard term. To me, a 60/90-day payment term may indicate financial problems on the part of the agency.


I wonder if translation agencies really offer their end clients so much time to pay. I'd believe most of them receive COD, unless there is a continuous, unceasing inflow of work from a specific client.

I guess that 10 days are enough for the agency PM to check the job done, send it to the client to check it again, and for the money to make all its due course to the translator. Good translation agencies manage to do it.

Otherwise the agency will build a positive cash flow at the translator's expense. Hence I'm not as euphemic as Hipyan to say longer payment terms may indicate financial problems, but I firmly believe they do!

Another possibility, as good as these problem$, is that the translator is dealing with a secondhand outsourcer, who already got that job from a translation agency, to make a cut in reoutsourcing it.

And the final one is that whoever is outsourcing the job wants to buy more time to vanish and erase their tracks before defaulting on payment. At last, back to the main issue, these would be the ones always using free e-mail addresses.


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