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Client changes/adds terms to rates
Thread poster: Paula Hernández

Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 26, 2011

Hello all,

This is just me ranting.

I have been working the whole month in a very large project, the deal was that we were paid XX rate for new words and 30% of XX for repetitions.
Now the client wants me to send them the word count, specifying new words, repetitions and fuzzy segments and they inform me that these fuzzy segments will be paid at 65% of the no match rate.

They never said this in the beginning and they even told me how hard it had been to get the client and that they agreed to a lowe rate jsut because the client accepted to pay repetitions at 30%. What I understood was that those were the only two rates applied XX for no matcha and 30% of XX for repetitions.

This drives me crazy because I set my goals for every month and this just feels like a punch in the stomach!

There, it's all out (or almost)


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What does your purchase order say? Jul 26, 2011

Whatever shows in your purchase order is set in stone.

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Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Jul 26, 2011

No PO, just exchange of e-mails

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Well... Jul 26, 2011

Paula Hernández wrote:
No PO, just exchange of e-mails

There you go. Next time, I reckon you will definitely prefer not to translate a single word without a PO.

Let me ask you this too, since this could be important: is this a regular customer, one you would like to be in good terms with in the long run, and people you enjoy working with?


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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:13
Member
French to English
+ ...
Just say no, if you don't agree Jul 26, 2011

It's too late to move the goalposts now. Unfortunately, if it's one of those brazen agencies that will try this kind of "ethical limbo" to squeeze whatever they can out of translators, I suspect they will hold your money to ransom by delaying payment until you back down and agree to the new terms. This is one reason why I don't give repetition-related discounts to new clients - it makes things simpler and it's more advantageous for me!

Ignore the spiel about it being so difficult to get the client, and the client said XYZ, etc. The agreement is between you and the agency; what the client is paying is a side issue. Don't let yourself be guilt-tripped. You had an agreement, and the new "request" wasn't part of it.


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:13
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Did the e-mail mention fuzzy matches? Jul 26, 2011

Paula Hernández wrote:

No PO, just exchange of e-mails


If the e-mails mentioned fuzzy matches (as in "rate: x for new words and fuzzy matches, 30% of x for 100% matches and repetitions"), then you can tell them that you had undertaken the project on that basis, and that you do not accept their demand for a reduced rate on the fuzzy matches.

If the e-mails did not mention fuzzy matches, on the other hand, you are in a much weaker position: you can claim that they are covered by the no match rate, but since you did accept a lower rate for repetitions, they might say that a lower rate for fuzzy matches was implied (whether that would hold in a court of law, is, of course, another matter).

I would suggest that, in the future, and for any new customer (and from time to time for old customers as well), you include in your e-mail you rates for all things covered in a project, and ask your customer to acknowledge them.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
emails can be contractual Jul 26, 2011

Hello Paula,

Riccardo Schiaffino wrote:

Paula Hernández wrote:

No PO, just exchange of e-mails


If the e-mails mentioned fuzzy matches (as in "rate: x for new words and fuzzy matches, 30% of x for 100% matches and repetitions"), then you can tell them that you had undertaken the project on that basis, and that you do not accept their demand for a reduced rate on the fuzzy matches.

If the e-mails did not mention fuzzy matches, on the other hand, you are in a much weaker position: you can claim that they are covered by the no match rate, but since you did accept a lower rate for repetitions, they might say that a lower rate for fuzzy matches was implied (whether that would hold in a court of law, is, of course, another matter).


I'm no lawyer, but I firmly believe that if a "per word" rate is mentioned, plus a lower rate for certain, specific matches, then anything not part of the specific selection would be taken as falling into the normal "per word" rate. I'm pretty sure the courts would back you up on that if it came to it.

I certainly wouldn't worry about not getting something with "purchase order" written at the top. I reckon you'll find that if there's evidence the two parties agreed to something (even verbally) then that constitutes a contract.

By the way, why do they need you to send them a wordcount? Surely they counted the words themselves at the very beginning, if only to prepare a quote for the end-client. Even if they didn't they can do it now. Sounds fishy to me - as though they're either a new and wet-behind-the-ears agency or they're hoping to bully you.

I would suggest that, in the future, and for any new customer (and from time to time for old customers as well), you include in your e-mail you rates for all things covered in a project, and ask your customer to acknowledge them.


Very good advice. I don't often receive POs but I always make sure my client explicitly agrees with the rate(s), payment method/period, wordcount and delivery deadline before I start work. Oh, and I must have their full invoicing address, of course.

As Peter says, nothing in the world obligates you to accept lower remuneration now that you have done the job to their satisfaction. I just hope they agree to pay you. Remember to warn the rest of us with a negative BB comment if they don't.

Good luck!

Sheila


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Laura Bissio CT  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 00:13
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Did they provide a TM? Jul 26, 2011

They cannot ask for fuzzy match discounts based on your TM which you have created this job and populated with your own work. This issue may be pretty obvious, of course, but since they are asking for a WC after the job is initiated I wondered if they may be trying to take advantage of this too.
I find it strange to count the words after the job (or part of it) is done. Normally you agree on a WC on the PO before starting to work, and even if you don't have a PO, you may have agreed on a WC by e-mail, haven't you?
When the client/agency provides the TM they usually ask for fuzzy match discounts, and when they don't they ask only for discount based on repetitions. In any case, I think this must be clear form the beginning, and if it wasn't specified otherwise, as Sheila told you
"anything not part of the specific selection would be taken as falling into the normal "per word" rate. "


Good luck!

Laura


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Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not the first time... Jul 27, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

There you go. Next time, I reckon you will definitely prefer not to translate a single word without a PO.

Let me ask you this too, since this could be important: is this a regular customer, one you would like to be in good terms with in the long run, and people you enjoy working with?


It's not the first time I work without a PO and never had problems. The first e-mail was pretty clear and stated the no match rate and the repetition rate, it said nothing about fuzzies.
About the client, well, the project is going to last a few months so it is interesting for me.
In any case, you are right that from now on I will always request a PO!


Sheila: it is one of those projects where I get a ton of files and are given a deadline of about two weeks, then there are more files and another deadline, I guess they do not want to spend time making POs and counting words, so they leave that to me. Not the first time I've done it this way, either.

Laura: They did not provide TM, just a few glossaries.

After the initial panic, I did the math and if I do it their way, more than 2/3 of the repetitions become fuzzy matches and the final amount is higher. So I am not so unhappy now Still, this is not the way to do business and I guess it's what I get from working with a Spanish agency...

Thank you all for your comments!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
POs and STDs... Jul 27, 2011

Paula Hernández wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
There you go. Next time, I reckon you will definitely prefer not to translate a single word without a PO.

It's not the first time I work without a PO and never had problems.

I don't mean to be vulgar here, but if you have unprotected sex with people you don't know... chances are that you get an STD. A PO is your protection against the kind of trouble you described.


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Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
(xD) Jul 27, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Paula Hernández wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
There you go. Next time, I reckon you will definitely prefer not to translate a single word without a PO.

It's not the first time I work without a PO and never had problems.

I don't mean to be vulgar here, but if you have unprotected sex with people you don't know... chances are that you get an STD. A PO is your protection against the kind of trouble you described.


hahaha Tomás, as always, straight to the point! I love the comment!


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:13
French to German
+ ...
Even better than a PO Jul 27, 2011

Even better than a PO: YOU have the client sign and stamp your quotation (including your GT&C), which then becomes de facto the purchase order.

I can only say: document everything you can! Your lawyer and the judges will certainly thank you for facilitating their job should problems arise.


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matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:13
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Spanish Agencies Jul 27, 2011

Paula, I really don't see your point about working with Spanish agencies. Can you elaborate a little?

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Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
well Jul 27, 2011

matt robinson wrote:

Paula, I really don't see your point about working with Spanish agencies. Can you elaborate a little?


If you spend some time reading the forums, you will see how people feel about working with Spanish agencies: they pay less than what is generally accepted as a fair rate in the community. And they usually come with a few added problems, like delayed payments, etc.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Unfortunately... Jul 27, 2011

matt robinson wrote:
Paula, I really don't see your point about working with Spanish agencies. Can you elaborate a little?

Unfortunately I have to agree with Paula: Spanish agencies are not the ideal customer these days. A vast number of agencies were created by people who have themselves been translators or have worked as PMs; apparently when they worked for or with international agencies they did not quite grasp the idea of how to treat their providers, defining work exactly, and honouring committments.

Very many Spanish agencies have a lot to learn from their colleagues from Northern Europe, in terms of professionalism, accuracy in their dealings with translators, and respect for the people (us) who make their business possible.

[Edited at 2011-07-27 10:19 GMT]


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