Payment in stages
Thread poster: Nedhead

Nedhead
Local time: 05:51
French to English
Aug 1, 2009

I'm in the process of negociating for quite a substantial job translating an international guide which should be re-published annually. Potentially a source of regular income over several years, with content which I find particularly interesting, so I'm keen to secure the work. Much of the translation costs can be financed directly by the people paying for advertising that will need translating. However, there's likely to be a large amount of text to translate the first time round which will have to be invoiced directly to the company producing the guide.

Trouble is, it's a young project and I can't get away from the fact that the folk producing the guide have limited funds available (yes, I know, that old chestnut) until the advertising fees start coming in. I really want the job, but at the same time can't wait for months on end before I get paid. Do any of you use a staged-payments system for such jobs and if so how do you structure it?

[Edited at 2009-08-01 07:36 GMT]


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Kai Döring  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 12:51
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
Payment after delivery of a section Aug 2, 2009

You may try to invoice after delivery of a section / chapter.

It should not be your problem if your client has limited funds. If the client wants a translation he should be able to pay for it and not just after he was able to sell the material. Try to propose the above mentioned invoicing and see what they say. Very often your client might tell you what is possible for him.

Just ask and mention your concerns!


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:51
French to German
+ ...
Down payment Aug 2, 2009

When I deal with a new client with that kind of volume, I generally ask for some down payment. Agencies generally decline for various reasons, but direct clients find this practice quite normal (after all, they manage their money and not OPM, plus they have a direct contact to the service provider). 40% of the total amount seem to be fair and you can combine that with the method suggested by Kai.
As per the client waiting for funding through advertising fees, I have my misgivings (you may call me paranoid) as this is akin to the old lines we know so well: My client has not paid me, so I cannot pay you. This potential client of yours -and I understand it is a direct client- seems to be putting the horses before the cart.

So much for now.

Laurent K.


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Nedhead
Local time: 05:51
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Payment in stages Aug 2, 2009

They haven't said they won't be able to pay me until they've been paid, I'm just trying to pre-empt their arguments in advance of a forthcoming telephone conversation about terms. I suspect their modest budget may be an issue but was hoping to be able to offer them a variety of different payment solutions.

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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Please take a risk that we were not happy to accept Aug 2, 2009

If a young start-up cannot pay quickly because it is a young start-up then you should read between the lines.

The reading may go something like this:

"We don't have enough cash to pay you because we were not prepared to mortgage our homes to finance this business. We didn't mortgage our homes (or somebody else's home) because we were not entirely sure that the business would be a success. So.... we would like you to take the risk of not getting paid instead...."


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Nedhead
Local time: 05:51
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Staged payments Aug 2, 2009

I take from your comments that payments in several parts are a no, no then? At no point have they said they won't be able to pay me, but I'm trying to pre-empt a potential problem. I know the clients already, they already have a well established sport-horse publication. This is a new venture for them and start up funds will almost certainly be an issue. Although I can't take all the risk (they haven't asked me to) as I have a family to feed, I don't mind sharing a bit of the risk if it means I can secure the contract for several years to come. I'm pretty sure they're onto a good, durable, profitable project, and can also see other opportunities off the back of the work.

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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Payment in thirds Aug 2, 2009

For book-length translations, I insist on delivery and payment in thirds.

In other words, they don't get the second third till I'm paid for the first, and they don't get the final third till I get paid for the second part.


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Nedhead
Local time: 05:51
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Payment in stages Aug 2, 2009

That's really helpful, thanks. This is bordering on book-length.

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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:51
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
risk = reward Aug 2, 2009

John Rawlins wrote:

So.... we would like you to take the risk of not getting paid instead...."



I have to agree with John on this.

If one of their arguments (in your upcoming phone call) is that they don't have the money to pay you on delivery of the translation you have to loook very closely at the business and see if you think they can establish themselves.

Without knowing anything about the business I can't have an informed opinion, but let's say for the sake of argument that you do have enough information and you decide the business can be a success and you want to work with them.

You should ask for a percentage of their profits, after all it sounds like the guide needs the translation so without the translation there is no guide, so tell them you want a percentage of their profits, or a fixed amount that is larger than your normal fee, or a per word rate that is higher than normal, or whatever you feel best, what I me an is if you have to share in the risk, you should also share in the reward.

If they are not willing to accept this I would definitely not work with them.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:51
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Payment in thirds - makes total sense to me! Aug 2, 2009

Steven Capsuto wrote:
For book-length translations, I insist on delivery and payment in thirds.
In other words, they don't get the second third till I'm paid for the first, and they don't get the
final third till I get paid for the second part.

Indeed. This makes total sense to me.


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:51
French to English
+ ...
Is how they pay really your problem...? Aug 2, 2009

I guess it depends on how much you want the job, but I don't quite see why it's a translators job to provide credit facilities. If the company wants to use your services but they don't have the ready cash to pay for them, then there are financial instruments that exist for precisely this occasion: credit cards, overdrafts, loans, pawning your underpants, whatever... Which method they use to get the cash together is really up to them, but I don't see the logic of making their cash flow your responsibility. You're running a translation service, not a branch of Barclays Bank.

So personally, I'd politely remind them that if they use Paypal, they can use their credit card to pay you...

If you're really concerned they won't have the means to pay you, I would even go the other way and ask for a deposit before starting work. A "valuable, long term relationship" is worth nothing to you if you never get paid.


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Nedhead
Local time: 05:51
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Payment in stages Aug 2, 2009

All very valuable comments, and certainly food for thought. Many thanks.

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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 10:21
German to English
+ ...
Risk and return Aug 3, 2009

Alex Lago wrote:

You should ask for a percentage of their profits, after all it sounds like the guide needs the translation so without the translation there is no guide, so tell them you want a percentage of their profits, or a fixed amount that is larger than your normal fee, or a per word rate that is higher than normal, or whatever you feel best, what I me an is if you have to share in the risk, you should also share in the reward.



I agree. If you share in the risk, you should also share in the returns.

The job you describe is a perfect example of how important translation is to the success of a client's business.

Investment bankers get paid a percentage of a deal (and boy, does that work out to a pretty packet!) merely for bringing two parties together and taking care of some routine procedural formalities. Translators bring two parties together through an accurate flow of information that requires painstaking research and work. Surely such activity qualifies for a percentage of the deal too. And that even if risk is not taken into account. How much more so if risk is considered.


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Maria Papadopoulou  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
English to Greek
+ ...
Totally agree Aug 11, 2009

Steven Capsuto wrote:

For book-length translations, I insist on delivery and payment in thirds.

In other words, they don't get the second third till I'm paid for the first, and they don't get the final third till I get paid for the second part.


This is the most fair solution indeed.


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