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Refusing after accepting
Thread poster: helena barham

helena barham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:05
French to English
Nov 1, 2008

I accepted a job with an agency and then because it didn't feel right I went to look at Proz and saw that it was, in fact, an agency that doesn't pay or pays only after a lot of pressure is put on them. I, therefore, sent an email refusing the job after all. That was Friday and now I am wondering if they can put pressure on me to do it anyway or if they will just have to find someone else to do it. Can anyone out there enlighten me? Thank you in advance.

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Confirmation Nov 1, 2008

Did you phone or e-mail? Did you ask them to confirm that they received your message? When was the deadline? My feeling is that if you are not sure that they received the message and you were expected to do this over the weekend, you may be obligated to do so.

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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:05
English to Norwegian
I would never take the chance of working for free. Nov 1, 2008

I would send an e-mail and say that because of their bad payment practices I would need payment in advance. Then, if they paid up front, I would feel obligated to do the job. If they didn’t, I would not dare to do the job, even if I had previously accepted.

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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:05
English to Dutch
+ ...
Legally binded Nov 1, 2008

If you accept a job, then you're legally binded to do it. So you're stuck, no way about it.
Take this to be a lesson to always check the Blue Board BEFORE you accept a job.

Sorry, but that's the way it is.


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helena barham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:05
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Refusing after accepting Nov 1, 2008

It is a job that has to be handed in on the 12th November. I feel bad as I have never done anything like this before but I keep thinking how I would feel after twelve days work and not getting paid and refusing other work that would be paid.

I thought it was strange as I have never worked with them before. I had to ask for a bon de commande. She was unable to give me the number of words. It was going to be down to me to give them to her after I had translated the approx. 12,000 word document in Trados


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:05
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
It is not too late to refuse Nov 1, 2008

They have time to find someone else if you changed your mind so quickly and the deadline is on 12th November.

It is not normally a good idea to accept 12,000 words from an agency you have never worked with before. The golden rule is to always test out agencies on small jobs first - and a good agency will also test out you on small jobs.

I think your only remaining obligation is to make sure that they got your e-mail turning it down. You can phone them if necessary, or otherwise e-mail them again, asking for receipt of your e-mail sent on Friday to be acknowledged. They may not acknowledge any further e-mails, however, as their interest will be to concentrate on finding the next person. That is when you will have to phone, really.

Astrid

P.S. It is usually a trifle alarming when an agency does not seem to care about the word count down to the last character. Certainly those that do not intend to pay are among those few who do not worry about the word count. They do not need to.

[Edited at 2008-11-01 16:45]

P.P.S. If, as those who know something about the subject of money always tell us, doing a job for an agency (or anyone else, for that matter) is the equivalent of lending them money, then think about whether you really want to lend a company that is a very high credit risk that amount of money which is (or ought to be) involved for 12,000 words. Presumably a bank would not.

[Edited at 2008-11-01 17:17]


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Roman Bulkiewicz  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 00:05
Member (2004)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
I did something like this recently Nov 1, 2008

I received an e-mail request for a small job from an agency I'd never heard before and responded positively after only having looked at their site, quite an impressive one. Then I thought I should check on the BB - and I am glad I did. They had 4 profiles banned one after another, with the average LWA going down from 3 point something to 1.0!
I immediately sent them another email telling I'm revoking my acceptance because of their bad record. However, I'd never received the actual work, nor confirmation of my rate or deadline, so there was no agreement between us.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A couple of good indcators Nov 1, 2008

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
It is not normally a good idea to accept 12,000 words from an agency you have never worked with before. The golden rule is to always test out agencies on small jobs first - and a good agency will also test out you on small jobs.


... though I know of "bad" agencies that do it all right on the first small job, getting ready to play the translator for a sucker in the second, BIG one.

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
It is usually a trifle alarming when an agency does not seem to care about the word count down to the last character. Certainly those that do not intend to pay are among those few who do not worry about the word count. They do not need to.


Definitely. Also in earlier stages, when you ask about desired target language variant, or if the rate is on source or target word count, and their answer is: Whatever!" You get puzzled, while you should be scared.

The worst are those that are ten times more careful with having your original, signed, snail-mailed agreement and NDA, than about telling you what the job actually is.


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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 16:05
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A thought Nov 1, 2008

It seems that the agency sent the job request just near the COB, so they did not have time or did not bother to reply to your acceptance in the first place and then to your refusal. If they did not confirm receipt of your acceptance, they still can confirm receipt of your refusal. The fact is that they have not confirmed that you can start working (except if that is clearly stated in the PO). I have observed that some agencies send rush jobs on Friday afternoons which appear to be jobs they cannot place elsewhere. Maybe this is a tactic from that agency. At any rate, this is your chance of reminding them about their bad payment practices.

Regards,

Elías


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:05
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes, technically ... Nov 1, 2008

helena barham wrote:

I accepted a job with an agency and then because it didn't feel right I went to look at Proz and saw that it was, in fact, an agency that doesn't pay or pays only after a lot of pressure is put on them. I, therefore, sent an email refusing the job after all. That was Friday and now I am wondering if they can put pressure on me to do it anyway or if they will just have to find someone else to do it. Can anyone out there enlighten me? Thank you in advance.


... you're 'in the wrong'. To those with a blinkered approach at any rate. However the theory of law and it's actual application don't always go hand in hand.

Bottom line is you have reasonable doubts, based on subsequent and reliable information, that you are not going to be paid on time or at all.

Yes, with hindsight, it's easy to say you should have checked their rating beforehand. You didn't. No doubt next time you will.

I understand you feel 'bad'. You obviously take your work seriously and aren't in the habit of reneging on undertakings. And none of us should be. But don't make a mountain out of a molehill. They can try and put as much pressure on you as they want. So what? Only question is whether you are going to cave into it. At the end of the day, nobody is going to put a gun to your head.

You no longer want to do the job in view of their rating. Your main concern is to protect your interests. You have to - nobody else is going to do it for you or erect a statue in your honour because you 'did the right thing' and finished the job without getting paid, are they?

Their only concern is to place the job and have it done on time. There is more than enough time for them to do so in this case. They are not going to waste much time trying to find common ground here. There isn't any. Their only practical option now is to pay you upfront. It's easier to find another translator to dupe.

It will blow over. I'm sure it's something they're pretty used to dealing with, given their poor payment practices. I wouldn't lose sleep over it, even though it's not pleasant. Don't let 'guilt' rule the day. Just learn from the experience and do your homework first next time.

Good luck
Debs


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Anton Nesteruk
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:05
English to Russian
+ ...
a way out Nov 1, 2008

in some countries (although I am not a lawyer) there is a certain provision in civil or administrative (depending on the country) legislation that lets you get out of a contract (which is pretty much what your email acceptance is) painlessly, if you become aware of things that seriously affect the matter of the contract, and that the client had not informed you of before. you can consider finding information about client's non-payments as such a reason. but that's just a thought and maybe someone who is more familiar with the situation can inform you better

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helena barham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:05
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Refusing after accepting Nov 1, 2008

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

If you accept a job, then you're legally binded to do it. So you're stuck, no way about it.
Take this to be a lesson to always check the Blue Board BEFORE you accept a job.

Sorry, but that's the way it is.



I appreciate your point of view. And, I should have checked up on them before. However, I have never checked up on the other agencies I have worked for and everything has been fine up until now. It all went so quickly that it was only once all was said and done that it didn't feel right and I felt I should delve a little deeper. One lives and learns!


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helena barham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:05
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Refusing after accepting Nov 1, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

helena barham wrote:

I accepted a job with an agency and then because it didn't feel right I went to look at Proz and saw that it was, in fact, an agency that doesn't pay or pays only after a lot of pressure is put on them. I, therefore, sent an email refusing the job after all. That was Friday and now I am wondering if they can put pressure on me to do it anyway or if they will just have to find someone else to do it. Can anyone out there enlighten me? Thank you in advance.


... you're 'in the wrong'. To those with a blinkered approach at any rate. However the theory of law and it's actual application don't always go hand in hand.

Bottom line is you have reasonable doubts, based on subsequent and reliable information, that you are not going to be paid on time or at all.

Yes, with hindsight, it's easy to say you should have checked their rating beforehand. You didn't. No doubt next time you will.

I understand you feel 'bad'. You obviously take your work seriously and aren't in the habit of reneging on undertakings. And none of us should be. But don't make a mountain out of a molehill. They can try and put as much pressure on you as they want. So what? Only question is whether you are going to cave into it. At the end of the day, nobody is going to put a gun to your head.

You no longer want to do the job in view of their rating. Your main concern is to protect your interests. You have to - nobody else is going to do it for you or erect a statue in your honour because you 'did the right thing' and finished the job without getting paid, are they?

Their only concern is to place the job and have it done on time. There is more than enough time for them to do so in this case. They are not going to waste much time trying to find common ground here. There isn't any. Their only practical option now is to pay you upfront. It's easier to find another translator to dupe.

It will blow over. I'm sure it's something they're pretty used to dealing with, given their poor payment practices. I wouldn't lose sleep over it, even though it's not pleasant. Don't let 'guilt' rule the day. Just learn from the experience and do your homework first next time.

Good luck
Debs





Thank you so much for your good advice. All true and all right. A lesson to be learnt.


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helena barham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:05
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Refusing after accepting Nov 1, 2008

Elías Sauza wrote:

It seems that the agency sent the job request just near the COB, so they did not have time or did not bother to reply to your acceptance in the first place and then to your refusal. If they did not confirm receipt of your acceptance, they still can confirm receipt of your refusal. The fact is that they have not confirmed that you can start working (except if that is clearly stated in the PO). I have observed that some agencies send rush jobs on Friday afternoons which appear to be jobs they cannot place elsewhere. Maybe this is a tactic from that agency. At any rate, this is your chance of reminding them about their bad payment practices.

Regards,

Elías



The ease with which I got the job with an agency I have never worked for before makes me think that they had run out of translators due to their bad payment practices and I was a new one for the books. I have written to let them know that due to their bad payment practices I am refusing the job. Late in the day, I know.

Regards,


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helena barham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:05
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Refusing after accepting Nov 1, 2008

Tina Vonhof wrote:

Did you phone or e-mail? Did you ask them to confirm that they received your message? When was the deadline? My feeling is that if you are not sure that they received the message and you were expected to do this over the weekend, you may be obligated to do so.


Had it been a short translation I would have made the effort to do it over the weekend even if there were a risk of not being paid. However, a 12,000 word translation is another story altogether!

Regards,


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