End client tries to evade payment - what can we do?
Thread poster: Marlene Blanshay

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:41
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Nov 27, 2008

I am sure this has been posted somewhere before. BUt I didn't have the time to scan the forums back to time immemorial.

I work for a small translation agency and from July to October, I translated and edited a number of articles for a magazine. There was another translator as well. THe magazine had a tight budget but I did get paid in October when it was all done.

Later, the agency contacted me and said the magazine had complained about mistakes in the copy....so I had to go over all my translations and editing. ALl I found were a few missed punctuation marks and very small mistakes (words left in)....all likely due to time, bad eyes (I just got new glassses!). We worked witih them for 3 months and they got copy every day, so I have no idea why they didnt notice these 'mistakes' until it was published, printed and out on the street....and why didn't they look at the copy before sending it to the printer?

As it turned out, these people are BAD PAYERS. This is the THIRD translator they have screwed. The woman I work for is no idiot and has had some high profile clients. These folks are refusing to pay her because they say they were guaranteed a 90percent accuracy rate, which she says we surpassed and I agree. She said that had she known she never would have signed the contract. She spoke to one of their previous translators and they still haven't been paid for the LAST issue!

So now we are hoping to meet them in person. She wants me to go and speak to the english speaking person, and is determined to get her money. She paid me and the other translator for our work, but she has not been paid. NOt surprisingly, the 'boss' at the magazine has not answered phone calls.

This is in Canada. Anyone have an idea what to do? We all get bad payers,but this is a client refusing to pay for services. I had a feeling they were up to to no good...anyways, what recourse do we have? I mean I've been paid but this woman is really good at her job and very hardworking, and I like working for her.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-11-27 21:00 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:41
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
It's her problem Nov 27, 2008

Businesses have to deal with things like this - that's what collection agencies and the courts are for.

Did your client do any proofreading, or was the job passed on as received? That is probably not ultimately relevant, but a lack of QA by the intermediate is never good.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:41
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
lac of QA at end client Nov 27, 2008

I was just chatting with the translator...they are not reachable and she's sending them an ultimatum. I am sure she's going to pursue legal action.

It sounds to me like they didn't look at the copy very closely when they got it. They got copy on almost a daily basis in french AND english. I know from experience that it's de rigeur to look at copy before you send it to the printer. It doesn't sound to me as if they did that.

I have to add that the writing skills of some of these people were ah...less than stellar. It was obvious that a lot of them are young, working for free, not writing in their native language. I had to do a LOT of work to make the english copy readable, since their writing, spelling and grammar skills were, in some instances, horrendous. Not unusual for a lot of young people these days...and it was an urban music magazine so there was a lot of 'lingo' that I had to leave alone. However, I wondered how they managed to spot all these 'errors' when it seemed to me that they were already grammatically impaired.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:41
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Just curious Nov 27, 2008

Ignore this posting if you think it's stupid or inappropriate but how does the publisher define a '90percent accuracy rate'?

Kind regards,
Gerard


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:41
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
not stupid at all! Nov 28, 2008

I wondered the same thing...it can end up being subjective. Is it accuracy in spelling? if so then THEY were the ones who weren't accurate. Since I was not the one who signed the contract with them, I do not know the definition. So it's a good question...I at least have wondered as well.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:41
Japanese to English
Here you go, this is 10% wrong Nov 28, 2008

I wondered about that too.

And besides the conceptual oddity, 90% accuracy seems very low for a translation...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:41
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes, you're right! Nov 28, 2008

it means 10% wrong...and in my own defense it was nowhere near that!!

I have no idea what was in the contract, it was between the agency and this client. My feeling is: it's something THEY insisted on so they could use it to get out of paying. That's probably their M.O and that's probably how they've shafted two others.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxPRen
Canada
Local time: 16:41
French to English
+ ...
I'm confused... Nov 28, 2008

It's the magazine refusing to pay the agency, right?



They should tell the client, in no uncertain terms, that they will take legal action, and will be either pursuing the matter in small claims court or directly contacting a lawyer. It's amazing how quickly people will pay up upon receipt of a sternly worded letter from a lawyer. Even if it costs 50% of the unpaid amount, it's worth it.




[Edited at 2008-11-28 11:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-11-28 11:33 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:41
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
90% - very strange, but can possibly be used in your favor Nov 28, 2008

I have never seen such a low figure; I have heard of 1 mistake per 400 words as a benchmark.
There are a lot of possible interpretations of "90% accuracy". If it should be understood at keystroke level then a 90% correct MS is totally unusable: if you make a typo in every second word, you still get a pass mark. If it refers to word level then the quality is still quite low - most sentences may contain a mistake. If one sentence in 10 can contain a mistake then the quality requirement is still low but the figure starts to make sense. Now publishers sometimes count by the page. That would make 1 mistake in 10 pages - which is very strict.
The client should pinpoint mistakes, and quantify them. If the benchmark number agreed in the contract is not surpassed, then the quality meets the agreed requirement. But as the contract is unlikely to contain any interpretation of "90% accuracy", the situation is not simple. I would find it reasonable to interpret this accuracy level on the sentence level - as that is the usual unit of translation.
If the case ends up in a court, this is likely to be the stumbling block. From what you wrote, I guess there are not that many mistakes.
Attila

[Módosítva: 2008-11-28 15:36 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:41
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
accuracy. Nov 28, 2008

Attila i agree with you. I dont know what was in the contract she signed, but I would have asked them to specify what they meant by 'accuracy'. Frankly if I did 10 per cent wrong I'd be mortified,and I wouldn't even submit it like that! For my own copy, the tiny errors would have amounted to about 1 per cent, MAYBE!

PRen: yes she is going to pursue whatever legal avenues she can, for sure. SHe said she is going to get her money one way or another. I have a feeling that with their reputation on the skewer, they will cave. BTW where in Canada are you? you can email me...it's nice to see another canuck.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

End client tries to evade payment - what can we do?

Advanced search







PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search