Who will get the money if translator dies or get too sick to continue and send invoices
Thread poster: Darko Kolega

Darko Kolega  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 18:58
Member (2009)
German to Croatian
+ ...
Sep 25, 2013

Hi colleagues,

this is a question that came up based on fact that some of us can immediately stop the work (sudden death, sickness...). It could also happen that work done for outsources stays uncharged for the reason of not sending invoices as it would be not possible if translator is permanently or for a few months/a year disabled to do that. Outsourcers usually don't send reminders for invoices, or a fiscal year passes. Who will get the money or more precise:

How can the translator get HIS money in such cases?


I know some cases where it is said: sorry - books for last fiscal year closed, we cannot pay you...you did not send invoice. This sounds not translator friendly!

Is there any option left or translator is left to the mercy of the outsourcers in such special occasions that could get each of us unprepared. Even if we're not late with invoicing, bad thing can happen a day/week/month after completing the project (let's say a big one) > so who will know it / charge it??

Thanks for your thoughts!
Best of luck!

Darko


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It's a business risk Sep 25, 2013

Darko Kolega wrote:
Is there any option left or translator is left to the mercy of the outsourcers in such special occasions that could get each of us unprepared?


If the outsourcer dies before he can pay you, then that is no different from when the outsourcer is bankrupted before he can pay you. It is a business risk that the translator takes when he chooses not to demand payment in advance.


 

Darko Kolega  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 18:58
Member (2009)
German to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That is in case outsourcer gets in trouble Sep 25, 2013

but if you get into trouble and outsourcer has your money, but you are not able to send invoice? it is up to the good will of outsourcer not to keep the money and send it if requested at later stage, even after end of fiscal year or else.

 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not many business owners Sep 25, 2013

or at least not many business owners in their right mind/in a real world will make more of an effort to pay a supplier than that supplier makes to get obtain payment.

I can't imagine a business owner paying anyone else on an invoice raised by someone else in the event of the latter person's death either.


When you provide a service, the onus is on you to make sure you get paid for it. If you are prevented from sending an invoice through illness, death or whatever, I think that'll just be tough luck.

Nobody would "get the money". The agency/outsourcer/client will just end up with a translation they never had to pay for.

Whether the client will pay you if you raise your invoice during another financial year will depend either on the contractual terms you have agreed with this client or on their business processes/good faith.

I'm not sure if that was your question. Is it hypothetical or has something happened that you need help with?


 

Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:58
English to Russian
+ ...
I suppose... Sep 25, 2013

you must always read the agreement you sign with an agency. Sometimes it is explained in the document, so if you don't think it's fine with you to sign it, make sure they change the text (or don't work with them).

 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 10:58
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Invoice right away Sep 25, 2013

A good reason to send an invoice as soon as the job is done.

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:58
English to Polish
+ ...
... Sep 25, 2013

Darko Kolega wrote:

I know some cases where it is said: sorry - books for last fiscal year closed, we cannot pay you...you did not send invoice. This sounds not translator friendly!


That's illegal. Closed books aren't a reason to deny payment.

On the other hand, forcing them to pay and reopen the books could expose them to expenses for which they just might have a claim against you to reimburse them since your delay caused that need. So I'd be careful with collection firms, litigation etc.

Is there any option left or translator is left to the mercy of the outsourcers in such special occasions that could get each of us unprepared. Even if we're not late with invoicing, bad thing can happen a day/week/month after completing the project (let's say a big one) > so who will know it / charge it??


In my tax jurisdictions, it's possible to issue a duplicate which carries its own date of issue, which enables the debtor to expense the payment in the month and year in which the duplicate was issued, as opposed to needing to reopen his closed books.

If the translator dies, the heirs inherit your outstanding payments but the executor (or administrator) of the estate may be the person who can and should collect the payments.

Should you have an illness of the sort that could put you out of commission unexpectedly, then you should actually warn your agencies and clients about such a possibility, so that they can know what to do if they don't hear from you as the deadline approaches and the phone is silent.

Also, you can ask them to contact a specific person about your payments, but be sure to warn that person also and tell him or her what to do, what to ask about, whom to contact at the agency or at the client's etc.

Hope this helps.

Also, this would be a very simple piece of legal advice, if you can afford an hour of a lawyer's time, which should put you more at ease than forum replies.


 

Jorge Gonza  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:58
English to Spanish
Maybe it's not the same thing... Sep 25, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

Darko Kolega wrote:
Is there any option left or translator is left to the mercy of the outsourcers in such special occasions that could get each of us unprepared?


If the outsourcer dies before he can pay you, then that is no different from when the outsourcer is bankrupted before he can pay you. It is a business risk that the translator takes when he chooses not to demand payment in advance.



I'm not a legal expert, but I'm afraid it's not the same thing. A dead fellow may still be solvent enough to get things paid. Or is it?


 

Darko Kolega  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 18:58
Member (2009)
German to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So it is a your-problem situation + thanks for understanding? Sep 25, 2013

It sounds unfair and rude, especially if there is a nice relationship between translator and outsourcer. Imagine you translate for someone 2 years, they know much about you and probably got real partners. So I cannot imagine to keep the money got from the company (owner of translation text) in any case. At least there should be invoicing reminders or else. If not, I consider it illegal statment: Sorry we cannot process payments for the jobs done last year. I'm sure there is a way to make it legally by adjusting the invoice date or putting some note on it or else. There should be a way to get OWN money, especially in case being prevented to send invoicing on time due to death, illness, hospitalization or else serious issues.
If I ever got into this situation, I'll consider such outsourcer as non-payer.

darko


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:58
French to English
+ ...
I think this would vary from country to country Sep 25, 2013

I think that in reality if it went as far as legal arbitration, there would be deemed to be a reasonable cut-off point after which it is unreasonable to suddenly claim money that you haven't claimed for the last X months/years. I'm not an expert on that specifically but I know, for example, that there are laws in some countries at least on how long credit can last with a given company before it is deemed to expire if not used (e.g. things like top-up phone cards etc). It's kind of reasonable-- for the practicalities of doing business, there has to be some cut-off at some point.

If you consider this to be a non-negligible risk in your personal case, you need to decide how to manage that risk.

[Edited at 2013-09-25 16:04 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:58
Member (2008)
Italian to English
hmm Sep 25, 2013

Darko Kolega wrote:

How can the translator get HIS money in such cases?



In the case of the translator being dead, I hardly think it matters.


 

Darko Kolega  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 18:58
Member (2009)
German to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Tom Sep 25, 2013

I think it matters a lot. A family member could send the invoice or the team member as it is only a technical matter of getting the invoice. Imagine it is a 10 000 €. It is the money from the translator, so he/his family has the right to get it.

darko


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:58
English to German
+ ...
@Darko Sep 25, 2013

For this very reason I have set up an agreement with another, highly trusted colleague here in the US. The reason is that neither she (she lives alone), nor I have any persons around who speak a single word German. My husband / business partner would have no idea what I was working on if the correspondence with clients were in German. Part of the agreement with my colleague is that in case of emergency we will pick up each others laptops and passwords and take care of any pending business transactions and communication that requires German. This also includes the communication with German family members.

 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:58
Member (2008)
French to English
Executor Sep 25, 2013

I would think that if the translator dies with significant debts owed to him, such as unpaid work from an outsourcer, it is the responsibility of the executor of his estate to collect. The money would normally be owed to the estate. Debts don't just expire because the creditor has died. It's actually something we should all think of in our wills and leave sufficient instructions for our executors to wind things up.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:58
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Executor Sep 25, 2013

I agree with John. Clearly the executor is responsible of claiming any amounts owed to the deceased person... and paying amounts owed by the deceased as well... In case of a long severe illness, I see no other option than to hire a lawyer, accountant, or secretary if no family member is versed enough in your business matters.

While those of us who have small children, spouses, or other dependant persons must make sure everything is in good order at all times should a fatal event take place, if you finally die it is important that you:

A) Have all your spiritual matters sorted out, be it with the creator, with karma, or whoever/whatever, and that you

B) Show two fingers from the great beyond to those who wronged you!


 


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