Solution to non-paying outsourcers!
Thread poster: Maria Ramon

Maria Ramon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jun 4, 2008

I am about to start a lengthy translation for an outsourcer who doesn't have a very good reputation for payments - after one bad experience I now research every outsourcer with whom I may enter into a business relationship..

In order to do the job, which is very interesting and worthwhile, and not to have to worry about payment by the outsourcer, I started some inquiries into escrow.

The best way to go is to have the outsourcer put in ESCROW the estimated total amount for the job.

After the job has been delivered, the outsourcer has to release the funds.

In case he won't release the funds and you can prove to the escrow company that you delivered what the outsourcer has to pay for, the escrow company will release the funds.

This will take a lot of worry and non-payment issues out of the way for a lot of us in translation world, and of course, also interpretation world.

If we, as service providers, use this escrow service, it will cost us a flat fee of US$ 26.00. That is a small amount for peace of mind!

This is the company I found: www.Safefunds.com

Of course, another way to go is to have the outsourcer pay a certain percentage upfront, I deliver work worth that amount, then another upfront amount should be paid, etc, etc.

I will have the outsourcer choose which way to go: either put the estimated amount + a bit more (for safety) in escrow or be paying upfront every week, till the job is completed.

I wanted to share this with all, because it is a very important issue.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:54
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Let us know how you get on Jun 4, 2008

Hi Maria,

I cannot imagine for one minute that you are going to be given the job if you require one of those two arrangements. The agency will no doubt want to get in the money from the end client first, especially for a very large job.

However, I will be interested to hear if you do manage to arrange it.


Astrid


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Maria Ramon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Better be safe than sorry Jun 4, 2008

I am curious too how it will turn out.

Now, by what I read about this particular outsourcer, he has too many non-payment problems with various translators over the course of approx. 2, 3 years.

He approached me, because he is banned from posting jobs on this site and another one.

If he doesn't agree to my terms, I will not do the job. I'd rather not do the job than be stiffed!, either way I end up with no payment, but, not doing the job leaves me in a better position: I did not lose time working for nothing and I can do other jobs.

Anyway, there comes a time when some of these outsourcers want to stay in business, have run out of unsuspecting translators they did not pay for their job, so now they desperately do want to have someone do the job.
At this point they will have to show their cards: either pay upfront in escrow or pay upfront for parts of the job, till it is all done.

Our resources to exact payment when it is an outsourcer overseas are slim to none; this way everyone can be happy.

The other side of this coin is that if the outsourcer is not happy with the job, and he would have to prove that it is a bad job!, he won't have to pay.

The escrow system protects both parties, and on this site, the outsourcer has to pay no fees at all. Only the translator pays a set fee of US$ 26.00.

I just ran into this, after checking on the Blue Board and on another site about the outsourcer. Anyone offering me a job gets checked out first, so I know what to expect and depending on the situation adjust my terms.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:54
French to English
Run a mile in the other direction and don't look back Jun 4, 2008

Just how much warning do you need that you are highly unlikely to get paid?

Even in the unlikely event that they agree to this scheme, I bet they will dispute the funds being released on some spurious quality grounds. Ask yourself how, exactly, this "safefunds" crew will assess whether your translation is worth paying for? I would give their disputes procedure a thorough examination before going anywhere near it.

And then run a mile in the other direction anyway.


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apparently the odds are 9 to 1 against finding a legitimate online escrow service. Jun 4, 2008

And that's it really. As Charlie says, run a mile. It would already be an industry standard if it worked.

http://www.lets-ride.com/classifiedadvertisements/tipsforspottingfraud.htm

Anyone thinking of using such services might want to check out that site first. And Safefunds has been targetted by scammers before. Are you sure the shiny website is legitimate?

Someone could probably knock one of those up (for the US of A that's 'create'...) in a couple of hours with FrontPage for flip sake.


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Maria Ramon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Maybe y'all are right.... Jun 4, 2008

Maybe y'all are right, and it would be better to run in the opposite direction.

Maybe Safefunds won't be safe after all.

Maybe I just ask for payments upfront, and if not accepted, no translation.

I am not going to worry, won't do me no good!

If the outsourcer won't accept my terms of upfront payment, no business. Quite easy.

I am a very straightforward person, I will tell them why I find that necessary.

Isn't it horrible that ethics are so extremely sparse nowadays?

I find it discouraging!, what is the world coming to?

I am a very positive person, try to find a solution for situations that arise, but sometimes it seems it is better not to have to do with some people.

Anyway, thank you all for your input; it was worth discussing because it is something we all have to deal with.

Maybe get an escrow account with my bank? I'll ask them.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Scenarios Jun 5, 2008

Scenario 1: You do the job, then don't get paid for it.

Scenario 2: You set conditions (escrow, pay up-front or whatever) and they don't go for it. No business.

Which one will make you cry the most?


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
Get paid upfront ... Jun 5, 2008

... or don't do it at all.

That's my advice as a colleague, who just happens to be a lawyer


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Rosa Diez Tagarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:54
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
don't see the point Jun 5, 2008

What's the point of working for somebody you have been warned it's a bad payer?

Better spend your time building on your relationships with honest outsourcers or, alternatively, reading a good book, going for a walk...

I wouldn't get near those people if I were you, Maria.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:54
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Why on earth do you feel sorry for agencies that do not pay? Jun 5, 2008

Why on earth do you want to help them to stay in business?

An agency of this kind has let translators do hard work for it over a period of several years (and translating really is hard work, without any short cuts, whether we use CAT tools or not) and has not paid a single one of them. Do you honestly believe either (a) that it will stay in business indefinitely; (b) that it deserves to stay in business?

An agency of this kind makes its own decision whether to stay in business or not on each occasion that it does not pay a translator. Your interference or help is not required.

Astrid


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Annelise Meyer  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:54
English to French
+ ...
agree! Jun 5, 2008

Rosa Diez Tagarro wrote:

What's the point of working for somebody you have been warned it's a bad payer?

Better spend your time building on your relationships with honest outsourcers or, alternatively, reading a good book, going for a walk...

I wouldn't get near those people if I were you, Maria.


I definitely agree with Rosa. With the summer coming, I got several messages from agencies which were banned from Proz but are still able to access my profile and contact me through it. I was quite straightforward everytime, replying that given their reputation, I would rather not establish any relationship with them. One of them did not answer, while the other one thanked me for my frankness and told me that they hoped they would soon be able to reverse the current situation.
Anyway, as service providers there is always a risk that we won't get paid, though if I only thought of the risk I would not dare working anymore! When you work for someone, you have to trust that they will pay you in the end. The Blue board is one great indicator (if not the only one!) and when it tells me that a company has problems with more than one provider, I choose to trust this indicator and stay clear of it!

Annelise


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Rosa Diez Tagarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:54
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
completely agree Jun 5, 2008

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

Why on earth do you want to help them to stay in business?

An agency of this kind makes its own decision whether to stay in business or not on each occasion that it does not pay a translator.

Astrid


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Rachel Mackay  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:54
French to English
+ ...
Don't do it Jun 5, 2008

Quite a few years back, I had the misfortune of doing a large translation for an agency which, at that time, had no bad feedback on the Blue Board. They owed me around £1,500 and it took constant emails, phone calls, threatening with legal action, etc. to eventually get paid 8 or 9 months after the due date.

Since having them banned from posting on this site, I have been contacted by at least 6 other translators who have also had the misfortune of doing translations for them without getting paid who have had to resort to debt collectors (who couldn't find this agency) and getting Euro MPs involved.

Whenever I was contacted by other translators after this agency was banned my first question was why they agreed to work for them given their dreadful payment history?

What may be most applicable in your particular case is that this agency did agree to pay up front for one translator but only paid up front for the first part of the job (the smallest part - surprise, surprise!), thus fooling the translator into thinking they would continue to pay up front - which obviously did not happen.

Unless this agency is willing to pay you the full amount up front, then I just wouldn't do it. Thanks, but no thanks. Any agency wishing to restore what little credibility they had in the first place can only do so this way. Otherwise they will use all sorts of excuses not to pay you ranging from the quality of the translation being very poor to the end client not paying them.

People like these are the scourge of the translation industry and I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them. Don't encourage them by agreeing to work with them. Set down your terms and if they don't agree to them, then let them find some mug who will.

Regards

Rachel


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Maria Ramon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all... Jun 5, 2008

Thank you all for your comments!

Last night I already sent this outsourcer an e-mail conveying my research about the agency and that I found that it had not paid translators on many occasions; that the only way I would work for it was if I would receive the estimated amount upfront.

If the agency would not pay me upfront, before starting the job, there would be no translation at all.

I am awaiting a reply and will let you know what the answer is.


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