What would be your reaction? (agency asks me to re-write an invoice with lower rate)
Thread poster: Ugne Vitkute

Ugne Vitkute  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 20:03
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Dec 2, 2010

A year ago I started cooperation with one UK translation agency. When asked about my revision rate, I said GBP 0.02. However, when I got the first assignment I saw that it was much more work than revision implies. I received pdfs with questionnaires to be revised, xls form to fill in, by providing revised sentences, types of errors, explanation and back translation, as well as checklists to be filled in. So, even a small revision job would take much time to complete. I asked for a GBP 0.03 rate for this type of work and the PM agreed. I asked for a PO, but they only provided PO number to quote in the invoice. They paid on time.

In the following months, I kept receiving the same type of revision work in pdf that involved filling in forms in xls and checklists. I always asked for a PO but received only their numbers. Logically, I applied the same rate of GBP 0.03 and they paid about ten invoices always on time.

The last job I did in October, it was a big job, the same type, I applied the same rate, had only a PO number. When the time to pay came, they said that the agreed rate was 0.02. I was really lost, I did not understand why I applied the rate of 0.03, but I did not think 0.02 would be reasonable for so much work. Anyway, luckily I found the year-old email with the approved rate and forwarded it to them. They said yes, this was for that particular job but not the others (although they have paid all the previous invoices with this rate). They ask me to re-write the invoice with the lower rate. I do not think that is fair or logical.

I feel a bit lost. I have been working really hard on these medical questionnaires and I believed I had a nice relationship with this company. There were no complaints. I also think the problem is in the POs that they never issue although I kept asking. What would you do?


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 00:03
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Our risky situation Dec 2, 2010

With more progress on transaction through Internet, we meet with more of such undesirable clients. I suggest "due diligence" before go on with repeating jobs of the agency with few records of payment.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


 

gad
United States
Local time: 13:03
Member
French to English
I wouldn't work with them again Dec 2, 2010

If I were faced with a similar situation, I would just always be "busy" from now on for ANY assignments from them. But that's just me. There are other clients who are more worth your while, I would imagine.

 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:03
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My suggestion Dec 2, 2010

You should charge a per-word rate for the revision and then a flat fee or hourly rate for the evaluation of the translation corresponding to the amount of work/detail required.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:03
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What about those other invoices? Dec 2, 2010

Ugne Vitkute wrote:
I found the year-old email with the approved rate and forwarded it to them. They said yes, this was for that particular job but not the others (although they have paid all the previous invoices with this rate).


Have you specifically referred to all these invoices? After all, they are tangible proof that they have been accepting this rate repeatedly. That must give your claim some weight, legally even if it doesn't help the relationship continue past this payment.


 

imatahan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:03
English to Portuguese
+ ...
We have to be careful Dec 2, 2010

We have to be careful, otherwise the companies will always find an excuse to pay us less for hard job.

We have to ask them to put all the details in each P.O. That solves half problem...


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:03
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Dec 2, 2010

Sheila Wilson wrote:
Ugne Vitkute wrote:
I found the year-old email with the approved rate and forwarded it to them. They said yes, this was for that particular job but not the others (although they have paid all the previous invoices with this rate).

Have you specifically referred to all these invoices? After all, they are tangible proof that they have been accepting this rate repeatedly. That must give your claim some weight, legally even if it doesn't help the relationship continue past this payment.

The rate for this kind of work has been applied to numerous jobs, was accepted by a PM originally in writing, and there is no reason why it should not be applied to a bigger job.

Demand a full payment of the rate agreed upon for the first job and accepted for over a year. If they reject to pay, initiate a small claims procedure against them with printed copies of all previously paid invoices and the PM's email accepting your charges.

And I think it makes sense to post a negative Blueboard entry about these people if they now feel that, after a year paying a rate, they can change the rate unilaterally.


 

Iciar Pertusa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:03
Member (2010)
French to Spanish
+ ...
past invoices... Dec 2, 2010

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Ugne Vitkute wrote:
I found the year-old email with the approved rate and forwarded it to them. They said yes, this was for that particular job but not the others (although they have paid all the previous invoices with this rate).


Have you specifically referred to all these invoices? After all, they are tangible proof that they have been accepting this rate repeatedly. That must give your claim some weight, legally even if it doesn't help the relationship continue past this payment.


I agree that old invoices are the best proof to show them that they have accepted your rate not only for the first job, but also for the next ones. Ask them to check those documents (maybe it is just a misunderstanding...) and if they still won't want to pay you at the agreed rate, accept their rate and never work for them again.


 

Ugne Vitkute  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 20:03
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Already done Dec 2, 2010

Mailing them all the previous paid invoices with the same 'higher' rate was the first thing I did. But that did not resolve anything. They ask me to provide proof that rate was agreed for all the next jobs after the first one (as if their payment of these invoices does not prove anything).

I feel a bit sad about the situation. I liked their editing jobs, I liked the PMs, they were always nice. And they have straight 5 LWA in Blue Board. I feel I worked hard and earned the rate I was paid (yes, there are times with other assignments that I feel they are easy for me to accomplish and too well paid, but not these ones). And all this situation truly pains me.

[Edited at 2010-12-02 20:55 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-12-02 20:57 GMT]


 

Ivan Rocha, CT
Canada
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Bona fide Dec 2, 2010

Ugne Vitkute wrote:

Mailing them all the previous paid invoices with the same 'higher' rate was the first thing I did. But that did not resolve anything. They ask me to provide proof that rate was agreed for all the next jobs after the first one (as if their payment of these invoices does not prove anything).

I feel a bit sad about the situation. I liked their editing jobs, I liked the PMs, they were always nice. And they have straight 5 LWA in Blue Board. I feel I worked hard and earned the rate I was paid (yes, there are times with other assignments that I feel they are easy for me to accomplish and too well paid, but not these ones). And all this situation truly pains me.

[Edited at 2010-12-02 20:55 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-12-02 20:57 GMT]


While I can understand your internal conflict on this issue, I would not work with them anymore. If they are doing this (and obviously not in bona fide) with you know, just imagine what they can do after they attest that you are flexible to unreasonable demands...


 

Frances Leggett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:03
Italian to English
+ ...
If you still want to work with them... Dec 2, 2010

Perhaps you could agree to invoice at this lower rate for this particular job but before you do, speak to the Project Managers and see if you can come to some agreement on a job-by-job basis, so that once you have evaluated the type of revision you need to do, you can agree on either GBP 0.02 or GBP 0.03 per word for the revision.

It could be that the project managers themselves have been under fire to save costs and haven't been given authorisation to pay a higher rate unless it was specifically agreed for this job. In such a case, agreeing with Project Managers that the rate will be agreed upon after evaluating each specific job could be an option for the future.

If you truly do enjoy working with this agency and enjoy the work they give you, this might be worth a try.


 

Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 17:03
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
I'd just be honest Dec 3, 2010

If I had such a good relationship with the Project Managers, I'd just be honest with them: "We've worked for over a year at a rate of 0.03GBP and you know that. If you insist on paying 0.02GBP for this job, fine, but in future I won't be handling any more work without a signed PO with the rate clearly stated on it." CC whoever else in involved so they know you mean business. Then just go about your work like you always do.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:03
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Have you called them? Dec 3, 2010

Ugne Vitkute wrote:
I feel a bit sad about the situation. I liked their editing jobs, I liked the PMs, they were always nice. And they have straight 5 LWA in Blue Board. I feel I worked hard and earned the rate I was paid (yes, there are times with other assignments that I feel they are easy for me to accomplish and too well paid, but not these ones). And all this situation truly pains me.

At this point in time, and seeing that you do care about your future with this company, may I recommend that you simply call them and talk to their vendor manager? Explain your mixed feelings about this situation, the reasons why a rate of 0.02 would not cover the time required to comply with their requirements, and how much you would love to continue a healthy relationship with them.

Maybe there is some kind of accommodation you can find, but it is a lot easier to do it over the phone.


 

Ugne Vitkute  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 20:03
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Invoice with normal rate paid Dec 3, 2010

Thank you for the ideas. I wrote a reasonable email to the PM in charge enumerating all the points that led me to issuing invoices with that rate. And naturally in the end I offered to re-write the invoice with the lower rate if they think that it is completely my problem. The PM has not replied but the invoice was paid. I don't know how this situation will affect cooperation with the company in future but I am happy their LWA 5 in Blue Board indeed shows they are decent people.

 


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