Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
password protecting translations to ensure (on time) payments
Thread poster: Will Masters

Will Masters  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 12, 2011

Hey everyone,

Since starting out in translation I have collaborated both with ONG organisations as well as paying clients. Some of these clients have paid on time, others haven't. Up until now, I've been returning the completed translation and then just patiently waiting for the payment to be send. In most cases as I say, this has been fine, in a minority cases, however, payment has been late. Equally I have read threads on this site where translators have said that they have either not been paid on time, if at all.

To solve this problem in the future, as obviously I don't want to be in the same situation that I have found myself in or that other translators have been in, I am toying about with the idea of password protecting all (non-voluntary) translations I do; releasing the password to the client only when payment has been received. Obviously, the client would want to know how they could ensure a good translation warranting the full payment without prior seeing the finished thing. To get round this, I would most likely send an extract (not too short but equally not too long) from both the source text and its corresponding translation, so they would be able to see the work and assess if they are happy with it or if they want changes to be made based on the extract. Once they confirm they are happy with the translated sample taken from the finished thing, I would email them the whole password protected translation, followed by the password to unlock the text once payment arrives in my account.

Do you think this is a good idea? or am I likely to scare of potential clients if I have this approach? It goes without saying, of course, that I would inform the client beforehand that this would be the way I opperate, at which point they would be in a position to make an informed decision as to if they wanted me to do the translation for them or not.

Thanks for the advice.


 

Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 14:28
Member (2010)
Greek to English
In a word... Nov 12, 2011

Will Masters wrote:

Do you think this is a good idea?


No.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 12:28
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No! Nov 12, 2011

Dave Bindon wrote:

Will Masters wrote:

Do you think this is a good idea?


No.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:28
Member (2008)
Italian to English
No. Nov 12, 2011

No.

It would be a pity if we had to go down this route. Like all decent businesses, translating should be based on people trusting one another. Cases of abuse should be the exceptions, not the rule.

Your approach is draconian because it assumes that you can't trust anyone.

If you want to lose all your clients, go ahead.

[Edited at 2011-11-12 14:50 GMT]


 

xxxinge van dri
Local time: 13:28
German to Dutch
+ ...
No Nov 12, 2011

Contractually (even if it is an oral contract) you have to deliver usable files.

 

Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:28
English to French
+ ...
Wishful thinking Nov 12, 2011

This sounds like a good, honest and justified idea, but it won't work. For a start, in any business it is quite usual to get deferred payment, at least in France and Britain. If you have a plumber come to your house or repairs to your roof done, you will get an invoice within a week. Then, are you going to rush to pay the invoice? Not really. Nobody will mind if you send your payment two to three weeks later. So here it is an accepted plague.

The same works for translators. Although I have a few darlings who pay me as soon as they get my invoice, the usual is one moth after, sometimes two months after -- quite frequent -- and rarely nothing is coming if you do not knock on their door (online of course) and send them a gentle reminder. Sometimes, you never get paid, sometimes threats of legal action works, not always.

No, I am afraid your idea will not overcome tradition, forgetfulness or dishonesty.

Sigh....

Take heart!

Claudette


 

Will Masters  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
response to comments Nov 12, 2011

Thank you for the quick responses.

In response to your comment Tom about loosing all clients, of course that is not the idea, hence my uncertainty and eagerness to check whether it was something that was advisable to do. I know of a number translators who do work with this system, and so far for them from what I can see they haven't encountered any problems. Their clients accept the system and are happy to work with them using it. From these 3 reactions though, these translators have clearly been very lucky in as much as not having lost them.

@Claudette, thank you also for your reasoning why it is not a good idea. I suppose it was just a relative newbies wishful thinking. Better to find out this way (in less than half an hour) than to actually do it and lose the customicon_smile.gif


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:28
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Losing Nov 12, 2011

It's "losing".

 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:28
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Other methods of getting paid Nov 12, 2011

Apart from adding my "no" to the growing list, I would suggest another solution:

If you work with a new private client and the job is worth more than, say, €100, then you could ask for 50% advance payment.

If you work with a new agency, check it out thoroughly (paid email address, believable website, BB rating, assurance of reasonable terms of payment) and then ask for a PO.

These strategies have led to a 100% payment rate for me in the last 20 years, although admitedly some have paid later than agreed.

But showing your distrust from the start is not the way to go.


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:28
Italian to English
Don't forget the principle Nov 12, 2011

I have to applaud the principle - of you setting the terms for your own business. Too often we are dictated to by agencies who treat us like employees but without employment benefits and expect us to sign up to their terms of business rather than the reverse.

How much you can set yourself apart from normally accepted practice inevitably depends on other factors: price, reliability, experience, quality and specialisation. If you stand out from the crowd in at least one and probably more of these, you might find some clients who will commission you on the basis you suggest, rather than immediately striking you off their list.

[Edited at 2011-11-12 15:25 GMT]


 

Maria Dimitrova  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 14:28
Member (2011)
Bulgarian to English
+ ...
No Nov 12, 2011

If I do this to my customers, they will simply assign the job to another translator. It is a tough time for the economy now and most businesses have to accept deferred payment, if they want to stay on the market. The translation agencies usually do not get paid for the job immediately, this is why they pay the translator about a month /or more/ later.

The only option for me is to pre-select my customers - I usually work with outsourcers that have good reputation and/or outsources I have already worked with. Sometimes I get paid late, but this is a normal thing in this global economic crisis. I would rather take some acceptable level of risk than stay without jobs.


 

Will Masters  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
further responses to comments Nov 12, 2011

Thank you Tom for bringing my attention to a typo in my last comment.

Thank you Emma for your thoughts on the subject. Normally I would have a look at the rating on the BB, it's just like I say, because I know of some translators that opperate with this method and have done for a large amount of their working lives without problems, it came across at the time that this might be the norm (cleary quite the contrary). Going off the general thought, the best way forward would be to simply continue as I am for the best results.

@Russell and Maria. Thank you for your comments. You are both quite right that it would be better to build up a good working relationship with the clients, a) to be able to eventually decide how you want/need to make your business function, and b) be able to maintain the sometimes limited work comming through due to the current economic situation.


 

Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 14:28
Member (2010)
Greek to English
Special situations Nov 12, 2011

Will Masters wrote:

...because I know of some translators that operate with this method and have done for a large amount of their working lives without problems, it came across at the time that this might be the norm (clearly quite the contrary)...


Out of interest, what do these translators usually translate, and who are their clients?

As others have said, and as you are aware, your suggestion is far from being normal practice. However, I realise that 'normal practice' goes with 'normal' situations. For most of us, that means that we're translating for agencies or for end-clients who are businesses of some sort. In either case we are providing b-2-b services, and normal practice in this situation is for the service provider to hand over a completed 'product', send an invoice, and wait for payment.

I can, however, see situations where your password suggestion would not only work, but might even be to the client's liking. If, for example, a Phd student asked me to translate his thesis into English so that he could apply to an English-speaking university, he would probably be much more comfortable with your sample/password offer than with a straightforward payment-in-advance transaction. As a private individual, rather than a business, he wouldn't even expect to be allowed to pay 1-2 months after receiving the 'goods'.


 

Will Masters  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Dave Nov 12, 2011

The translators I had in mind tend to specialise in different fields, with the main one being literature, and their language combinations tend to be more Eastern European languages into English. As for their clients, I couldn't possibly tell you as in all honesty I have never really asked them.

Regarding your last paragraph about the translation of a Phd or the like: This situation never occured to me. That said, as you say, this situation is likely to fall outside of most translators "normal" source of work, adding weight to your first answer in as much that as a general rule, adding a password to a text should be considered a big "NO NO".


 

xxxMariyaN  Identity Verified
United States
Japanese to Russian
+ ...
No payment obligation for the service not rendered Nov 12, 2011

Your translation service cannot be cosidered delivered until your client has received the entire volume you were assigned to translate duly translated, which means your client is not obliged to make any payments, even to start proceeding with the arrangements for them. Moreover, by not delivering the entire file by the time stipulated in your agreement with your client, you can miss your deadline, and guess who will be held liable for the consequences?
Your wish to protect yourself from bad payers is more than understandable, but how can you possibly invoice a client for the service that s/he has not received? Who would pay for something that allegedly exists, "just give me the money, and I'll show you how to get it"? Now this is what would sound like a scam to me if I were a translator's client.

In my opinion, due diligence and 50% upfront payment are much more useful and professional.


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

password protecting translations to ensure (on time) payments

Advanced search







SDL Trados Studio 2017 only €435 / $519
Get the cheapest prices for SDL Trados Studio 2017 on ProZ.com

Join this translator’s group buy brought to you by ProZ.com and buy SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance for only €435 / $519 / £345 / ¥63000 You will also receive FREE access to Studio 2019 when released.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search