Bank transfer / e-payment fees... charged to the translator?
Thread poster: Juan González Pérez

Juan González Pérez
Spain
Local time: 16:14
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 25, 2009

I decided to start this thread after receiving a job proposal e-mail today, stating as follows:

'... The mode of the payment: bank transfer. We pay international vendor/freelance via xxxx. We shall pay our bank fee, and the beneficiary should pay overseas bank fee. PayPal could be a choice of payment methods upon special agreement...'

In the last months I have received a number of similar e-mails, and I must say I am really upset about how some outsourcers try to impose these costs to their freelance translators working in foreign countries (although I know as well some cases concerning translators within the same country).

My specialty are technical translations, which of course I consider as a professional service. My invoice specifies the amount that I must receive in exchange for this service, after a previous agreement with the outsourcer. I cannot understand why I should take in charge the payment-related fees when I am not the one who has asked for the service but the one providing it.

Should I ask for the same if I decide to purchase a car in another country and I transfer the money using the bank office next to my house?

I assume outsourcers make a profit on freelancers' job, and these payment-related fees are already taken into account in their economic previsions (my reply to the e-mail above indicated these points).

I would be very glad of hearing about your experiences and opinions about these payment policies.

Have a nice evening!

[Edited at 2009-11-25 19:43 GMT]


 

Oleksandr Kupriyanchuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 17:14
Russian to English
+ ...
It depends: Nov 25, 2009

If the amount is big enough, the outsourcer usually pays transfer fees (of course, you still pay any service fees to your bank(s)).

Otherwise the latter are shared 50-50.

That is what Good Outsourcers do. Thankfully, most of oursicon_smile.gif

That would be a test for yoursicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2009-11-25 19:23 GMT]


 

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:14
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
footing the bill Nov 25, 2009

This is an interesting topic. I find myself on both sides of the fence, on the one hand as a freelancer doing work for agencies and end-users; and on the other hand as an outsourcer to translators in other countries.

As a rule of thumb, when outsourcing, we pay the bank charges, which for most EU countries are a modest 9GBP. However there are some countries for which the charges from the UK are 30GBP. More often than not we end up paying these too - though they can be onerous. However, there are cases where I do object. Namely where a translator based, for example, in Spain, bills me with payment details for a bank in, say Luxembourg. This would mean a charge of 30GBP instead of 9GBP. Had this been flagged up at first, I wouldn't object (though it might deter me from using that particular translator for a particular job). But being hit with it postfactum is a little distressing.


 

Ali Bayraktar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
I find it fair enough. Nov 25, 2009

Juan González wrote:
We shall pay our bank fee, and the beneficiary should pay overseas bank fee.


Hi Juan,

I don't know your previous business experiences but in this world almost every contract contains such rules about bank charges. Everyone is responsible for the charges in his/her country. After all you can't expect that an agency should calculate (or learn) how much a bank (or many banks in many countries) charges to it's customers for incoming transfers.

You pay for your own bank and they pay for their bank. A fair deal!

The same is applicable when you exchange mails:
You pay for your own internet connection and they pay for their.

But in Western Union transfers I agree with you. The sender should pay all expenses.


This is how I see it.

Best Regards,

M. Ali


 

Celine Gras  Identity Verified

Local time: 16:14
English to French
+ ...
Fair Nov 25, 2009

Hi Juan,

I think your bank fees are pretty much like your electricity, phone, Internet bills. You pay those services to do business, and then you deduct them from your total income when filing your tax forms.

A thing you could do is find a bank (in your country) which charges less for international transfers than your current bank.

Céline


 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 16:14
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
You should discuss the fees with your bank Nov 25, 2009

Your client is transferring your payment to the bank of your choice = your client has met his/her obligations.

What your bank then charges you to be able to receive this payment is a matter you must take up with your bank.

I have recently switched banks, because my former bank charged a % of the amount paid, which made some payments really expensive, whereas my current bank charges a flat fee.icon_smile.gif


 

Juan González Pérez
Spain
Local time: 16:14
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Further discussion Nov 25, 2009

Hi all,

Thanks a lot for your comments! I must clarify that I have not had any problem with my outsourcers in this sense, but it is very strange to me the number of proposal I have received and been told about during the last year.

There are a couple of subjects I would like to discuss further:

'I think your bank fees are pretty much like your electricity, phone, Internet bills. You pay those services to do business, and then you deduct them from your total income when filing your tax forms.'

'The same is applicable when you exchange mails:
You pay for your own internet connection and they pay for their.'

I strongly disagree with that. In the case of internet, phone, electricity, etc., those are services I decide to contract voluntarily in order to improve my business, make easier my workflow or my daily life. But the key point in the case of translations is I am required by a third party to carry out certain professional tasks. Due to this reason, stating 'I am hiring your services but you should pay for whatever' as an initial imposition sounds really weird to me.

'Everyone is responsible for the charges in his/her country. After all you can't expect that an agency should calculate (or learn) how much a bank (or many banks in many countries) charges to it's customers for incoming transfers.'

I consider outsourcers should, after all they are offering services for which they know they are going to need translators located in foreign countries. If they do, it is a part of their business knowing about the current international bank transfer fees for those countries (even for negotiating rates with translators).

I am not only referring to outsourcers located in another world region, but even inside Europe (being euro the main currency in a good number of European countries) or Spain (where I live). On the other hand, I am not questioning exchange rates (if I decide to accept a job payed in dollars or any other currency it is obvious I have to assume my bank's exchange rate, except if I am a very lucky or a keen negotiator, but after receiving the full invoiced amount).

I negotiate with my bank the details of every operation I am responsible for, but the problem in this case is that I am not responsible for sending the transfer (I am the recipient of the transfer), so I should not be made responsible for any step/fee before I receive the full amount in my account.

---

Of course, this is only a forum discussion, and my only intention is getting the most of this thread in order to clarify all my doubts and unveiling aspects of financial issues which could be unknown to me (I am a sophomore of translation, since I started my career in 2007), as well as helping any other translator with similar concerns.

Thanks again and regards!

[Edited at 2009-11-25 21:47 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:14
English to German
+ ...
Why are you upset? Nov 25, 2009

From the view of an outsourcer:

It is quite disturbing to see that many freelancers have no idea how much it costs to initiate a bank transfer, in my case in the US. It costs $25.00 to make a wire transfer within the US, about $36.00 for an international one. In all cases we also calculate any losses based on currency exchange and PAY UP to make sure that the translator receives the net amount as agreed. I also add 3.8% to international payments via Paypal.

Translators obviously don't know about that.

In regard to any expenses that are charged by the translator's bank for incoming payments: I am sorry, we don't know in advance how much this is going to be as it varies from bank to bank and you can by no means hold the outsourcer responsible for that.

You are absolutely and definitely entitled to the full net amount but you can not expect any outsourcer to pay the overhead expenses for your business.

Juan González wrote:
I cannot understand why I should take in charge the payment-related fees when I am not the one who has asked for the service but the one providing it.


Please do not regard the fees on your side to be the only ones that occur during this transaction. Nobody is imposing their expenses on you.

Tip for future: Your overhead expenses should be included in your rates.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:14
English to German
+ ...
Here is how I learned it Nov 26, 2009

Juan González wrote:
my only intention is getting the most of this thread in order to clarify all my doubts and unveiling aspects of financial issues which could be unknown to me (I am a sophomore of translation, since I started my career in 2007), as well as helping any other translator with similar concerns.


I found my very first client on Proz.com. My first and only try on the ProZ job site turned out to be the beginning of a looooong friendship. Shortly after my monthly payments from this company ranged from $4000 to nearly $8000 per month. Yet I had the nerve to ask why I was supposed to pay $36 for incoming payments, out of mere ignorance on my side. Then they explained and I felt, ahem, a bit ashamed.


 


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