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Fellow translator owes me €600 from an invoice sent in December last year
Thread poster: Jenny Duthie

Jenny Duthie  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:37
French to English
Jun 26, 2012

Hello I did a job with another translator in December, for the translator's customer. At the time the translator (who I'd already been in contact with) assured me that his customer is a regular & that the customer is a reliable payer. My invoice for this job was just over €1000. Since the payment was due the translator has paid me just over €400 via 3 PayPal (he's in the UK, I'm in France) payments in February, March and May, & he's told me his customer did not pay him & that he is trying to get the money together to pay me. I think I've been very patient, a few weeks ago I suggested that he pays me €200 per month over the next 3 months, but since each time I ask him about it he says he's broke and that he's trying to get the money together; I'm really fed up as I really need this money and I've told him this. We communicate via email and Skype, but I really need to get this money. I don't want to threaten him with a debt collection agency, but I don't know what to do? Any suggestions please? I do believe that he is struggling but surely he should have recovered the payment by now, as he knows a lot about legal matters as he is trained in law & has actually given me links to help me recover money from an errant customer in Europe! I have a horrible feeling that he received the payment & it has been absorbed into his expenses and now he is struggling to pay me.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Not your problem Jun 26, 2012

Jenny Duthie wrote:

Hello I did a job with another translator in December, for the translator's customer. At the time the translator (who I'd already been in contact with) assured me that his customer is a regular & that the customer is a reliable payer. My invoice for this job was just over €1000. Since the payment was due the translator has paid me just over €400 via 3 PayPal (he's in the UK, I'm in France) payments in February, March and May, & he's told me his customer did not pay him & that he is trying to get the money together to pay me. I think I've been very patient, a few weeks ago I suggested that he pays me €200 per month over the next 3 months, but since each time I ask him about it he says he's broke and that he's trying to get the money together; I'm really fed up as I really need this money and I've told him this. We communicate via email and Skype, but I really need to get this money. I don't want to threaten him with a debt collection agency, but I don't know what to do? Any suggestions please? I do believe that he is struggling but surely he should have recovered the payment by now, as he knows a lot about legal matters as he is trained in law & has actually given me links to help me recover money from an errant customer in Europe! I have a horrible feeling that he received the payment & it has been absorbed into his expenses and now he is struggling to pay me.


It is not your job to support him as he works through his money issues. Those are none of your business. He is legally and morally obliged to pay you whether or not he has been paid. If one of you has to make sacrifices, it's him - not you.

I hope he reads these threads.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Sad story Jun 26, 2012

Sorry to hear of this, Jenny. I'm sure you don't need us to tell you of your rights - of course you're entitled to be paid, now and in full, but I can understand you hesitating, as it's not a "them and us" situation, but a fellow translator who's clearly struggling. (If it's any consolation, my son has an almost identical problem in the IT industry).

What I think I would do is send a solicitor's letter setting out the most generous terms acceptable, and telling him it's that or legal action. It shouldn't cost (too) much. Or just kick off the court action straight away. I have no experience of the EU SCC, but the French one costs a very reasonable 38€ for the first step. IMO, you've been very fair to him; now you need to be fair to yourself.

Sheila


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Jing Nie
China
Local time: 18:37
Member (2011)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I also feel sorry for you. Jun 26, 2012

I have been cheated many many times, but never by fellow translators. If it is me, I also hesitate to deal with this problem.

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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:37
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Before you do anything else Jun 26, 2012

I would suggest that you ask the other translator what instalments would be acceptable to him. Maybe you can reach reasonable agreement. If the other guy is really broke you can spend a lot of money on solicitors and still not get a penny. Besides maybe he's really in a difficult situation.

Alternatively - just as an idea - maybe you could subcontract to this translator some work - payment for this work would be deducted from the money he owes you?

Cheers
Stanislaw


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Elisabeth Toda-v.Galen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:37
Dutch to French
+ ...
Sounds like my own story... Jun 26, 2012

Jenny Duthie wrote:
I have a horrible feeling that he received the payment & it has been absorbed into his expenses and now he is struggling to pay me.


And you're probably right in your last sentence. I did some jobs for a colleague (and "friend") too, for 2000 euros, of which she paid 500 in these 3 years. During 3 years she kept me on a string, she, too said she was struggling, with excluses like "my mother has cancer in a final stage" (she never had and is alive and kicking), I'm sooo tired, they say I might have a cancer" (yeh... sure), "my son had an accident" "my marriage is breaking up", "I fell off my horse and broke my arm, I can only work with one arm" and the last one, the best for me "the URSSAF has seized my house for non-payment of the charges by my husband, I rent a small office in town and I sleep in my office....". So you see, when someone says he/she's struggling it's not necessarily the truth...

Ofcourse in my case she has been paid by her customer since a long time, even admitted it, and she spent the money "I have so many charges!!, yeh sure, and I don't, even with a kid in a private IT school in Paris and his appartment/charges"

I finally got so fed up I gave the file to an agency to get my money, but she filed for bankruptcy. I passed the invoices on to the person in charge of the case, but I don't have any hope to get anything. I've seen a new profile she created on LinkedIn or Viadeo. She started a new company, not in translation but as intermediary for companies desiring to establish an office in France.

So you see, you're not alone, we might even start a club...

Elisabeth


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
It doesn't matter who he is Jun 26, 2012

It doesn't matter who he is. He owes you money and is ripping you off. For every day that he fails to pay you, you are losing interest and he is probably not suffering at all. You should completely discount the fact that he is also a translator. It has no relevance to the fact that he's a cheat (which is the politest word I can think of).

Time to get heavy. Show him that you have teeth. If you just go on being "nice", you will *never* get paid. Put a lawyer on the case NOW.

Then he'll pay.

[Edited at 2012-06-26 18:32 GMT]


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:37
German to English
+ ...
Do you know who the end client is? Jun 26, 2012

If you do, you might consider threatening the translator with contacting the end client directly. Works wonders sometimes

Trudy


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Rifraf
Local time: 11:37
get paid in advance Jun 27, 2012

Elisabeth Toda-v.Galen wrote:

Jenny Duthie wrote:
I have a horrible feeling that he received the payment & it has been absorbed into his expenses and now he is struggling to pay me.


And you're probably right in your last sentence. I did some jobs for a colleague (and "friend") too, for 2000 euros, of which she paid 500 in these 3 years. During 3 years she kept me on a string, she, too said she was struggling. So you see, when someone says he/she's struggling it's not necessarily the truth...



Perhaps it's better never to work with befriended colleagues; just as you should never loan money to a friend or family member (only if you can spare the money and seriously take into account that you will never get it back).

If you do work with a colleague, I would always ask to be paid in advance!


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Jenny Duthie  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:37
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Agree with Tom in London Jun 27, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

It doesn't matter who he is. He owes you money and is ripping you off. For every day that he fails to pay you, you are losing interest and he is probably not suffering at all. You should completely discount the fact that he is also a translator. It has no relevance to the fact that he's a cheat (which is the politest word I can think of).

Time to get heavy. Show him that you have teeth. If you just go on being "nice", you will *never* get paid. Put a lawyer on the case NOW.

Then he'll pay.

[Edited at 2012-06-26 18:32 GMT]



Thanks for all your responses, I agree wth Tom, I think he's going to keep stringing me along unless I take legal action - I'm going to see a lawyer!


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Jenny Duthie  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:37
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Re: contacting the end client Jun 27, 2012

Trudy Peters wrote:

If you do, you might consider threatening the translator with contacting the end client directly. Works wonders sometimes

Trudy


I'd do this if I had contact details ; I know the name of the organisation (a large very well-known international charity) but I don't have any contact details/name.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Great! Jun 27, 2012

Jenny Duthie wrote:
Any suggestions please? I do believe that he is struggling but surely he should have recovered the payment by now, as he knows a lot about legal matters as he is trained in law & has actually given me links to help me recover money from an errant customer in Europe!

Good. Now you know what to do, since you have an errant customer again. Use the same method against this person.

I agree with Tom: your colleague's struggles should be none of your business. He shouldn't have hired you if he did not have the money to pay for your services in the event the customer did not pay.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Good ! Jun 27, 2012

Jenny Duthie wrote:

Thanks for all your responses, I agree wth Tom, I think he's going to keep stringing me along unless I take legal action - I'm going to see a lawyer!


I'm glad to hear it. I recently had trouble with a "very distinguished architect" with an international reputation who repeatedly failed to pay me for translating an (extremely challenging) book.

Thanks to the kind help of Prozians, I was able to find a very friendly lawyer based in the same city as the "distinguished architect".

He asked me to send all the documentation I had, and then we discussed what the strategy should be.

Just as he was on the point of writing a first "extra-judicial" letter, out of the blue the "distinguished architect" suddenly paid me ! So even *asking* has a magical effect !

I would recommend asking here if anyone knows of a good lawyer based in the same city as your recalcitrant, non-paying, ripping-off "brother translator".

P.S. in the end, my lawyer refused to let me pay him !

[Edited at 2012-06-27 09:35 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not acceptable Jun 27, 2012

Trudy Peters wrote:
If you do, you might consider threatening the translator with contacting the end client directly. Works wonders sometimes

I do not agree at all. One of our utmost obligations as translators is privacy. Contacting people all over the shoppe when in trouble with an unreliable colleague is not an option if you ask me.

Another key obligation for us is to ensure payment and make sure that our customer (in this case our colleague) is a reliable business partner. If we work for some other colleague, we should clearly expect some advance payment or other guarantee as we would do with any other new customer. If such advance payment cannot be secured, it is best to reject the job.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I agree with Tomás Jun 27, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

I do not agree at all. One of our utmost obligations as translators is privacy. Contacting people all over the shop when in trouble with an unreliable colleague is not an option if you ask me.


If working through an agency or other third party, the translator should NEVER contact the end user.

You can have no idea what the relationship might be between the agency/other third party and the end user. You might be stumbling into a minefield. And anyway you would only be wasting more time. Call your lawyer!

[Edited at 2012-06-27 09:34 GMT]


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