Should I ask for pecuniary compensation? (extra work)
Thread poster: Kirsten Bodart

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:21
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jul 12, 2012

We've been working with this agency a while. I suppose they are happy, because they return regularly. They pay well, always on time, we have never been late, and they are professional as well.

So far so good.

Now, the issue yesterday:

I had got a translation with two files in Powerpoint last week (Wednesday), to be ready by Monday 9am UK to be one in XTM for them. So, fine, uploaded, all great. Sunday night I finish the tasks in XTM, everything proofread.

On Wednesday, they ask me to approve the final version. I open one of the files, corrupted, second file not corrupted but displays mysteriously little text. I think no more about it (you never know whether the computer is not being a little stroppy), anyway, I have a look in XTM, confirm all the changes and send it back. They had asked to send the exports to an intern who was going to do the Q&A.

I ask whether the files are fine because we had had trouble with the XTM server. All fine, apparently. Some of the boxes were optional, so it would be OK.

Of course, about one hour later, the same person returns: big disaster, half the file is missing.

In the end, long story short, they were not even angry with us (I don't think), they just threw in the towel and asked whether I could copy the text that was in XTM (proofread and ready) into the Powerpoint where it was missing (faulty export evidently).

It then dawned on me that all the text that was in the original file, was also in XTM, but jumbled up. i think because of the sheer amount of boxes and features (hallmark of a bad presentation). So, then XTM didn't know where to put it back, evidently. Maybe there could have been an issue with ppTX instead of ppt, but as XTM is fairly new, that would be surprising.

Point is, my husband and I were occupied from about 5pm to 1am, doing those two files again, he verifying in XTM and I updating the powerpoints.

Needless to say, we were not amused, but what could we do? Surely we couldn't put up our hands and say, 'Solve it yourself, your fault.' The client is waiting for it , that's the point.

However, could we ask for some pecuniary compensation for these 6 hours extra work? We delivered on time, XTM was not our idea, we could not export the file (their licence), alhough I could have looked earlier and verified whether not everything was jumbled up (although what would that have done?). That's maybe the only weak point in our case. From the other side, I don't want to ruin our good relationship.

What do you all think?

Any other person employed to d this, would have got some money or this, right?

PS: Forgot to mention that they thanked me for the good work this morning.



[Edited at 2012-07-12 09:54 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:21
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Accidents happen Jul 12, 2012

As you say you've been working with them for a while, and they are solid payers, I'd just let them know exactly what happened (so they'll also take steps to avoid recurrence), and what it took you to deliver.

Were it a new, infrequent, slow-paying, or any other kind of less valuable client, I'd certainly request compensation for the additional work.

I did once have a similar incident with one of my best clients. I did all the extra work required so they'd be able to deliver a finished job on time. I explained them the situation and what I had to do, but asked for nothing. When the dust settled, they wrote me... Please invoice us for $ XXX on this same PO, so we can compensate you for the extra work. Thanks!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rifraf
Local time: 08:21
you should be financially compensated Jul 12, 2012

I work at an agency and we would definately have paid you for the extra hours.

However, if it happens again in the future, I personally would not deliver the final files before stating that it took you several hours (with two persons) to correct them, and that if the agency wants to receive the final versions, they should agree to paying you (a fair hourly rate).

And, what you actually should have done, before accepting the extra work, is state your hourly rate and that you will keep track of the time it costs you to recreate the translations.

Hope this helps and I'm sure that if the agency enjoys working with you, you will be compensated for these extra hours.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:21
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Charge half the cost - And another alternative Jul 12, 2012

If I was in this situation, I would clearly report that copying/pasting everything to the Powerpoint files took 6 hours of work and that, in honour of your good relationship so far, you are happy to split the charge and cover half of the amount. The rest (3 hours) should be covered at your usual hourly rate by your customer.

Make a clear statement that using XTM was not your preference and that clearly the issue was caused by XTM and not yourself, so that this stays out of the discussion. It would be totally fair if they paid you for all your time, but assuming part of it yourself you show that you are trying to be helpful and that you can make commitments if that helps gaining a happy end customer.

Now, having said all this: if this was a very good customer for me in terms of income (more than 20% of my income), I would probably assume the whole extra effort and cost, but making sure that they are aware that all this was caused by XTM and that in future similar situations one might have to charge them for the work. This will be an incentive for them (and for XTM's developers) to flatten out any glitches before they cause any more damage.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 14:21
Chinese to English
Align yourself with the agency? Jul 12, 2012

Last time I had something similar, I told the agency to get some compensation from the client (it was definitely the client's fault in my case), and then to give me what they could.

However, this should not be regarded as sound advice, because I got nothing...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:21
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the advice! Jul 12, 2012

They were really happy that we did what we did, so that's great. Got a thank you without asking for it, twice.

We definitely let them know we spent 6 hours on it. I doubt we are going to see anything substancial, but as they work with credits, maybe we have gone up in the list, who knows.

I'll post the issue on the XTM forum and see what comes out of that and post them the link if it is interesting. Pptx files are certainly supported by XTM, judging by what there is to find on the internet, so it was probably a quirk of that time only. We can only learn and avoid what happened.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:21
English to German
+ ...
Put it on the invoice... Jul 12, 2012

Put the 6 hours on the invoice, but charge nothing.

That's what I do if I do something for free. This way there is a record of the work you did, even if you did it for free. It might help you one day.

Elke


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:21
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes! Jul 13, 2012

Elke Fehling wrote:
Put the 6 hours on the invoice, but charge nothing.

Oh wow. That is indeed a good idea. I might use the suggestion myself with some customers. Thanks for sharing it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
A really good suggestion Jul 13, 2012

Elke Fehling wrote:

Put the 6 hours on the invoice, but charge nothing.

That's what I do if I do something for free. This way there is a record of the work you did, even if you did it for free. It might help you one day.

Elke


This is the sort of thing the 'good' agencies can use to explain to end clients why their rates are higher than the sweat shops. They need solid evidence that work has been done. (And they need not tell end clients you did not charge.)

They may even pay you another time. It is all part of telling people what we actually do for our money - because people who have never tried translating cannot always imagine what it involves.

We must make sure that we are not completely invisible, or our rates look like a big, unnecessary expense!

Thanks for the tip, Elke!


Direct link Reply with quote
 


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


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

Should I ask for pecuniary compensation? (extra work)

Advanced search







Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

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