Purchase Order
Thread poster: Vladislav.


Local time: 16:36
English to Russian
+ ...
Jun 29, 2014


I am relatively new on this website and would like to know what kinds of Purchase Orders there are. Are they needed in all cases when a translator accepts a project on proz.com? Are special forms used and required? Who provides them? Could you describe the typical process of accepting a translation job offer and doing work on this website? Are translation projects usually handled in the same way on other websites?

Kind regards,
Vlad Kotenko


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:36
Member (2007)
+ ...
Welcome! Jun 29, 2014

Hello Vlad and welcome to the site.

I think you'll find a lot of answers to your questions in the FAQ, here: http://www.proz.com/faq/

But to address the ones you've raised, we don't actually do business through ProZ.com, as happens on many freelancers' sites. ProZ.com play no part in the process, beyond putting us in touch with potential clients, whether that's through the public job board, via directory search selections, or directly through our profiles. It's up to us to negotiate with clients, work with them, collect our payments etc. OTOH, ProZ.com does provide some tools to help us, in the form of the Blue Board, an invoicing interface, etc.

POs? I rarely receive them so I'm no expert, but when I have they've included just the basics that we've agreed on (rate, volume, format, deadline...). However, I normally state all those things in an email and get their agreement, then I start work. Others will tell you never to start work without a PO - just goes to show that there are no hard and fast rules to this gameicon_wink.gif.

Process? Once they've got in touch with you (see above), it's up to you - you're on your own. Do make sure you read all about doing business safely first. Go to http://www.proz.com/about/translator-scam-alerts/ to avoid being scammed; to http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Risk_management to make sure you reduce your risk to an acceptable level; and have a good look through this forum and the Getting Established forum threads to learn from others' experience.

Good luck!



Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:36
English to German
+ ...
When you run your own business, you determine the terms and conditions of your service Jun 30, 2014

Here's another Proz.com Wiki page for you that talks about what it means to be a freelancer.

Quote from above website:
" Payment terms usually depend on the individual client and what the client and translator have agreed on during negotiations prior to accepting the translation assignment. They should be clearly stated in the purchase order, contract and in the translator's invoice to the client. 30 days is usually the standard, although agencies in some countries stipulate 45, 60 and even 90 days."

My comments:

First of all, as a freelance translator, you are the one who determines the payment terms (and the payment amount!!) You are not an employee, and you don't ACCEPT "job offers."
As far as the "jobs" on the job board are concerned: posters often declare how much they are willing to pay - mostly completely unacceptable rates.

Regarding payment terms:
Consider this: when you deliver the translation, your work is done and payment is due. Just like for any other service in other industries.

If you decide to give the client a grace period to pay, it's up to you what that is: 7,14,30 days ... but keep in mind, YOU are the service provider. You should not agree to wait a long time for payment.
This needs to be specified in the PO and the contract.
30 days is given by many translators as a grace period - I don't see why you should have to wait that long. It's not good to trust in the thirty-day grace period. Especially if you are dealing with agencies that don't want to pay professional rates - and there are way too many of them. So don't deal with them at all.

A lot of times, this so-called "standard" waiting period (by the way, there is no official standard!!! to have to wait for payment in our industry, it's only a wide-spread bad practice) is abused by bad clients/agencies who think they must be allowed to wait until the end client has paid them and only then have to pay us, the translators. That's completely wrong and the article above talks about that, you just have to read it.

If you allow for that reasoning, the next thing you hear after 30 days is "sorry, we can't pay you yet, we haven't been paid ourselves."
No - your business relationship is between you and the person or agency that ordered the translation or whatever language service from you. They better have the money to pay you the day you deliver the project.

Are there any exceptions regarding accepting someone else's terms? There probably are just a few. When you deal with a book publisher for example. But again, you will need to understand how "low" is clearly unacceptable.

And my thoughts regarding PO and "accepting projects":
Yes, I do recommend always getting a PO or contract - but make sure the PO reflects YOUR terms. A PO will do with professional agencies. But for large projects and new clients, no matter who orders it, I issue my own signed contract which the client has to co-sign. I don't sign contracts or forms of other people - except as I explained above. I am the service provider, and the clients need to abide by my terms or I will not take on the project. It's a crucial principle for freelance translators.
Is there room for negotiation? Hardly.
Also, for very large projects or with new clients, consider up-front payments or a certain percentage of your fee due up front.

The good news: there are good clients out there who are willing to work with professionals on a professional basis.


[Edited at 2014-06-30 04:22 GMT]


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Business through ProZ.com Jun 30, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:
We don't actually do business through ProZ.com, as happens on many freelancers' sites. ProZ.com [only puts] us in touch with potential clients. ... It's up to us to negotiate with clients, work with them, collect our payments etc.

That is true for the most part, although I do recall that there is one, small, relatively unknown feature on ProZ.com whereby clients can actually post jobs that go via ProZ.com (whereby all of the translator's contact with the client is through ProZ.com's system). I can't find it now.

However, to confirm, what you wrote was what I would have written too. On some other sites, all or most communication between the translator and client takes place via the web site, and the client pays the translator via the web site, and the web site takes a commission off the payment, but ProZ.com does not work like that. ProZ.com only brings clients and translators together, but after a client has found a translator, he and the translator has to communicate with each directly and do things like they would have done if they had found each other in the Yellow Pages.



Local time: 16:36
English to Russian
+ ...
Translation work on Proz.com Jul 2, 2014

Thank you for the valuable advice and explaining how things work on this website. Although I have never done a single project on Proz.com because of the high competition, I will try to make improvements in how I approach translation projects.


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