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"I will pay you a half because my client does not pay me at all?"
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:51
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Jun 17, 2009

Here is a copy of an email which I received from one agency (btw, with very good BB ratings) in relation with one recently completed job. Just tell me "how do you like it" (job was done in supreme quality, the proofreader had NOTHING to change, never ever any concerns for quality came out for the job):

> Marius
>
> Good afternoon. Just a note, I will be paying you 50% of the job that
> you did for me.
> The reason is that the client that I received the work from turned out to
> be the biggest fraudulent translating firm in Europe.
>
> [title I removed] (name removed): I have done about $5000 work for him and it
> turns out that he never pays.
>
> In short, even though I am taking a 100% loss on all deals, I would like
> to pay you for your work.
>
> Please understand where I am coming from [it is Japan]. On the other hand, I will do my
> best to create a direct relationship with [title removed - this is the title of the end client] to recoup everyone's
> loss and
> To create business directly with them.
>
> Best regards,


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Ali Bayraktar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
This is a personal request Jun 17, 2009

MariusV wrote:

Here is a copy of an email which I received from one agency (btw, with very good BB ratings) in relation with one recently completed job. Just tell me "how do you like it" (job was done in supreme quality, the proofreader had NOTHING to change, never ever any concerns for quality came out for the job):

> Marius
>
> Good afternoon. Just a note, I will be paying you 50% of the job that
> you did for me.
> The reason is that the client that I received the work from turned out to
> be the biggest fraudulent translating firm in Europe.
>
> [title I removed] (name removed): I have done about $5000 work for him and it
> turns out that he never pays.
>
> In short, even though I am taking a 100% loss on all deals, I would like
> to pay you for your work.
>
> Please understand where I am coming from [it is Japan]. On the other hand, I will do my
> best to create a direct relationship with [title removed - this is the title of the end client] to recoup everyone's
> loss and
> To create business directly with them.
>
> Best regards,



As far as I see this is not the final decision (it is still open) and you may reject 50% deduction and request whole 100% payment.

But the person who wrote this obviously had troubles with his end client and asks your understanding.

A honest letter (I feel so). And now it is your turn/decision. You can understand and accept or you can refuse and demand the whole payment.

That is what I think

I hope you all would solve this problem without damage.


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
Proof? Jun 17, 2009

What proof did the agency provide you that this is the truth?
And even if you believe the story, I think you have to get paid!

Personnally I think that the problems of the agency and its client are none of your business. You should be paid 100%. (Depending on your relationship with this agency and on the sum of money involved, you could eventually be accept the payment of the remaining 50% to be slightly delayed).

None of the Japanese agencies I work with have ever delayed to tried to cancel a payment (I would appreciate if you could send me their name in a PM, just in case...).

[Modifié le 2009-06-17 13:49 GMT]


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
unilateral Jun 17, 2009

M. Ali Bayraktar wrote:


As far as I see this is not the final decision (it is still open) and you may reject 50% deduction and request whole 100% payment..



I have to disagree with you. The agency clearly says "Just a note, I will be paying you 50% of the job that you did for me".

This doesn't sound like a request to me.
One more time, it doesn't sound natural to me coming from a Japanese person, because of the language itself. They would write something like : "It would really help me if could could do me the favour of kindly accepting to give up 50% of what I should pay you, because the client stood me up and I cannot get in touch with him".

If I were you, this way of "notifying" me of their unilateral decision would upset me. I would understand that they might have written this message in a moment of panic, and I would remain nice, but firm.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:51
English to German
+ ...
Two things that are bothering me Jun 17, 2009

1.) To mention amounts and figures doesn't strike me as very professional.

2.) There is another agency in between? Are you serious?

???


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:51
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Dear Nicole Jun 17, 2009

Nicole Schnell wrote:

1.) To mention amounts and figures doesn't strike me as very professional.

2.) There is another agency in between? Are you serious?

???


It turned out that there was an agency in between (I never bothered myself about the "end client" - if it exists or what/who it is)...


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:51
English to German
+ ...
It doesn't make a difference anyway Jun 17, 2009

MariusV wrote:

It turned out that there was an agency in between (I never bothered myself about the "end client" - if it exists or what/who it is)...


You only have one client. You should demand the full amount for your work.


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
completely agree Jun 17, 2009

Nicole Schnell wrote:


You only have one client. You should demand the full amount for your work.



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Ulf Norlinger  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:51
English to Swedish
+ ...
The agency should pay you the promised sum Jun 17, 2009

You agreed about the payments BEFORE the work was done. You have nothing to do with the agency's problem (i.e. that's purely the agency's problem). If the agency doesn't pay you the full amount, it is breaking the agreement approved beforehand.

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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:51
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Turns out... Jun 17, 2009

Your client is an agency too. Agencies assume a business risk. Your client profits from some jobs, and loses on some other jobs. It's "business as usual".

Imagine that you have a restaurant. You go to the grocery store and say "I'll buy meat, vegetables and drinks but I won't pay you because my restaurant didn't make a profit yesterday".

In my life so far, in any of the 3 countries I've lived, I have not seen anywhere else the stupid things that are going on in the translation business. It's like a giant kindergarten.

So, we have your client saying that he's not going to pay you because he had an unlucky monent, and then we have people in here who say in their profiles that they provide financial translations and then they ask questions such as "how do I issue an invoice?".

If this industry was at least funny, that would be a form of additional compensation. The problem is that it's not funny - it's stupid to the point of suffocating.

Demand full payment. For the same reason that your landlord demands the rent, regardless of your business profits, and for the same reason the electric company demands full payment of the bill regardless of how satisfied you are with the lamps in your home, or how well your refrigerator works. ("Dear Electric Company, I won't pay the electric bill this month because my clients didn't pay me...").

I have never seen an industry in my life with so many members completely clueless about the nature of the most simple transactions, but claiming that they can translate complicated financial reports.

If he doesn't pay you, use the BB and alert your colleagues about the specific incident. The more you guys keep quiet, the less you earn each year, since the problems in our industry spread like cancer in the absence of full disclosure.

"To mention amounts and figures doesn't strike me as very professional."

Why not... Even when you guy a house, you can see in the local newspaper the exact address, the parties involved, and the price the house was sold. We also know prices of other big ticket items, such as airplanes, not to mention military contracts etc (all over the news - "our country paid 5 bil for F16s" etc), and from the balance sheets of public companies we know pretty much everything about them. So, I don't see why disclosure of "approximate" amounts is unprofessional, especially when included in an informal email sent to Marius. Whether it was 5K or 6K or 4K or 10K that's another story.

We have to shake off this weird (yes, weird) and unsubstantiated "secrecy" in our business, if we ever want to see any progress in rates, behaviors, documentation, respect, etc. The more "secrecy" and "absolute privacy" we have, the more it sets us apart - how does it go? "Divide and conquer"?

Normally, Marius should be able to first ask his own friends and colleagues, and not trying to ask questions through an internet forum. But then again, how many people - in his language pair - does he know personally? Maybe only a few, or none to the level of calling and asking for advice. Not even a local association or something like that. Because of the "secrecy" we call professionalism. Nothing to do with it.

This industry needs - among other things such as common sense - a real "disclosure shoker"!


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:51
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
"Please understand where I'm coming from" Jun 17, 2009

Just a note about this phrase - it is not making any reference to Japan, or any other place that the person is "coming from". It is a set phrase in English which means "please understand my reasoning behind this (request)".

With regard to the payment issue, it seems that your client has already made the decision regarding the payment, i.e. that you have no say in the matter. I would contest this. After all, your agreement was with your client, not with any other client that may be involved further down the line.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:51
French to German
+ ...
No way of checking the client out? Jun 17, 2009

MariusV wrote:

"The reason is that the client that I received the work from turned out to be the biggest fraudulent translating firm in Europe."



Hi Marius,
the "biggest fradulent translating firm in Europe" (whichever firm/agency/company is meant under this designation) does not simply "turn out" to be that. Such fraudulent firms usually have been reported by colleagues, either on ProZ or elsewhere.

It is our duty to check out any business partner we deal with. Too bad for your client if they did not take basic precautions before accepting a contract. You did the job and are therefore owed 100% of the fees agreed upon with your client.

Laurent K.

[Edited at 2009-06-17 06:31 GMT]


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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:51
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
The profit margins Jun 17, 2009

Alternatively, of course, you could demand 90% of your agreed upon payment, and tell your client "I'm giving you 10% discount as a good will gesture".

Now, if he was supposed to pay you $2000, then 10% is $200. That's like buying him lunch 10 times. Not bad at all.

But why, why should anyone have to explain such simple things?

The real problems in our industry have to do mainly with its own nature (subjectivity of language), and it's infrastructure (most agents are not bilingual).

Ah, and something else: There is another agency in between? Are you serious?

I'm not picking on you Nicole, but why the surprise? I asked a sales manager, friend of mine, of a very large agency, and he told me "on this project, for example, we are the 4th in line". Meaning, 3 more agencies before them. End clients sometimes pay amounts that, if calculated per word, amount to even half a dollar per word.

The new factor in our industry are the agencies which do not have translators - just other agencies to sell the product directly for 10-15%. WHY did this happen? Because translators have such low rates, that they really open up a huge profit margin.

Marius, think of your friend - if you receive 10 cents per word, and your friend another 5 cents per word, and the original agency another 10 cents per word - add the taxes and tell me what the end client pays for the translation.

If the end client pays an average of 25-30 cents per word, and the "proz" translator receives only 7 cents, can you imagine how many agencies I can fit in those free 18-23 cents? Huge margin. I can fit three more agencies easily, each receiving 6-7 cents per word without doing anything.

That's the market proz opened up - even regular translators use the site and contacts through the site to subcontract jobs - they get jobs for 8 cents per word, and resell them for 4 cents per word to other colleagues that they "respect" enough to choseicon_smile.gif

Years ago, when the translator received 12 cents and the agency 20 from the end client, there was only one agency in the middle - and this agency was making more money than it makes now!


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
something like a'la Japanese auction? Jun 17, 2009

Sayonara. Just a note, I want you to pay me 100% of the job that I did for you.
The reason is that I have nothing to do with the fact that your client that you received the work from turned out to be the biggest fraudulent translating firm in Europe - you are my client (yet).

I'm glad that you have done about $5000 work for him and it's a pity that it turns out that he never pays.

In short, even though I always take my 100% profit on all deals, so I would like
you to pay me for my work. That's it.

Please understand where I am coming from [it is Lithuania]. On the other hand, I'm glad that you will do your best to create a direct relationship with [title removed - this is the title of the end client] to recoup everyone's (your) loss and to create business directly with them.

Best regards

Eleftherios wrote it best, but a few points:
1) the agency takes minimum 30+% of every order;
2) the agency is a middleman/reseller and is to guarantee both quality and payment;
3) if you have a contract then use it;

And now let's take a $1000 job proposal:
1) $1000 - 30% = $700
2) $700 - 50% = $350
Isn't $350 almost 1/3 of the initial bid? Then why the agency cannot check and guarantee the payment for the remaining $650? What its role at all?

P.S. Marius, why does one of your keywords say 'free lithuanian translator' ?)


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:51
English to German
+ ...
@Eleftherios: Jun 17, 2009

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:

"To mention amounts and figures doesn't strike me as very professional."

Why not... Even when you guy a house, you can see in the local newspaper the exact address, the parties involved, and the price the house was sold. We also know prices of other big ticket items, such as airplanes, not to mention military contracts etc (all over the news - "our country paid 5 bil for F16s" etc), and from the balance sheets of public companies we know pretty much everything about them. So, I don't see why disclosure of "approximate" amounts is unprofessional, especially when included in an informal email sent to Marius.



According to the NDAs and contracts that I have with my direct clients, any disclosure of information is unacceptable.

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:If the end client pays an average of 25-30 cents per word, and the "proz" translator receives only 7 cents, can you imagine how many agencies I can fit in those free 18-23 cents? Huge margin. I can fit three more agencies easily, each receiving 6-7 cents per word without doing anything


I don't work for 6-7 cents, neither do any of our freelancers.icon_smile.gif


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