Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Received a proper PO but agency refused to pay
Thread poster: phoebeleong317

phoebeleong317  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 12:50
Member (2015)
English to Malay
+ ...
Oct 8, 2012

Dear all,

I've worked for a agency for about 3 years and recently have accepted a new job from her. It was a large one with 35000 words and i've received a proper PO as usual, and the subject matter is patent, which i have already completed many similar projects with this agency before.

However, I've received a complaint from her recently, claiming that the client was very unhappy with the translation. At first she said correction will be performed on the claims and they will discuss the costs for correcting the complete specification.

And today i've received another email said that the client has sent the revised file and asked me to check against my own translation and let her know my comments. She said she is trying to make them pay for at least a part of my translation and she doesn't has much hope.

What can i do in this case? I've spent more than half month for the job but i lost EUR 2000 just because she said the client was not happy with my translation.

[Edited at 2012-10-08 12:16 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

phoebeleong317  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 12:50
Member (2015)
English to Malay
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Update Oct 8, 2012

I've just read the first few paragraphs of the revised file and i realized that the whole lot were copied from my works and they did only some minor changes on the document, and they called it as re-translation.

The client claimed that they have to spent USD 3840 to have another translator to re-translate everything from the source file, but 90% of the revised file was my work. I can't accept the fact that the proofreader got USD 3840 (which is almost double of my translation cost) just to edit/proofread my work.


[Edited at 2012-10-08 12:41 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:50
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Received a proper PO but agency refused to pay Oct 8, 2012

You first need to determine if the client has a justified complaint or not.

If the customer's complaint is not valid, they you must decide whether you want to take the time to justify this fact to the agency (this seems like a valuable client for you, so you probable would want to do this) or just demand payment.

If the customer's complaint is valid, you should determine the extent of the damage and attempt to correct the damage. It is your business, so it is at your discretion, based on the value of the imperfect translation, to assess the amount of the damage and the corresponding compensation due to the client.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING here is that you accurately assess the REASON WHY this problem occurred in the first place in order to prevent it from happening again. You may have already lost the confidence of this agency, but under no circumstances do you want to make the same error twice.

Perhaps the job was too long and you got tired. Perhaps you took a job outside your area of expertise. Many agencies will assign translators jobs unaware of the hidden dangers in hiring non-specialists. Many people accept any and all jobs that come along blissfully unaware of what can and will happen sooner or later. The problem occurs when a client actually READS their translation.

For example, patents are very specialized documents and require precise wording in order to be useful to a patent attorney and for filing. If you have not read a book about patents or had considerable experience working with patents, then you should not, in my opinion, be translating patents. The same holds true for other types of work.

In theory, the agency is in contact with the client, so it is the agency who should know the purpose of the translation and whether or not an expert or amateur translation is required. However, many times a job is just assigned to the "first person who responds" and it is up to translators to walk away from jobs that are beyond their capabilities.

When you have spent an entire afternoon on a conference call with eleven executives pouring over each and every word of your translation, you will think twice before accepting a job in a field in which you are not an expert.

At any rate, take some time to cool down and then take a look at the translation later. Most of the time, the problem is not as severe as the client is claiming! Some agencies are not used to clients who actually READ their translations and then go into panic mode when there is a complaint instead of defending their trusted translators.

EDIT: In the time it took me to respond, I see you have made a determination and as I predicted, the problem is not as severe. With regard to the editing rate, perhaps you should raise your rates too!


[Edited at 2012-10-08 13:21 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

phoebeleong317  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 12:50
Member (2015)
English to Malay
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your advice. Oct 8, 2012

Apparently my agency has come to an end now.

I've read the whole document again and very sure that the work was done by me, i've requested my agency to talk to their client again regarding the matter but she gave me the following reply and i realized that now it comes to corruption, but why am i become the victim in the end.

Dear XXX
The matter is extremely annoying as it has nothing to do with the client, or us coming to that - it's far more complicated.
The client is aware that you had done quite a few patents for them in the past. They had always been satisfied.
In this particular case, the PRC official in charge of patent applications refused to accept your translation and offered to "re-translate" for the amount mentioned. Refusing this would have meant that the patent in question would not have been filed, as simple as that. One corrupt official is all what's needed. We have had similar cases before, in Korea as well as Japan. As long as corruption is acceptable, no contract in the world can prevent this from happening.
We are on your side, being translators ourselves, thus the offer of USD 500 out of our own pocket. Going to court wouldn't help either, as we, as well as the client, would have a chance of winning anything.
Sorry, but there it is.
Regards
XXX


[Edited at 2012-10-08 13:28 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:50
Chinese to English
Stand your ground Oct 8, 2012

First, maintain a consistent position. You did the work, you are entitled to be paid for the work. Be absolutely clear with them that (a) you don't want to go to court; but (b) you will take them to court if necessary.

If the agency wants to not pay you, they must demonstrate that you breached your contract. The burden of proof is on them.

In your arguments, remember that the end client is actually irrelevant. You don't have a contract with the end client. Whether or not the agency is able to sell the translation to the end client is irrelevant. What you have to do is to perform your duties as described in the contract. If there's no contract, standard terms will be assumed to apply, which are "translate to widely accepted standards". But it's the agency's responsibility. If they cannot provide clear evidence that you messed it up badly, then they have to pay.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:50
Italian to English
A different perspective Oct 8, 2012

Hi Phoebe

I do sympathise, as a not dissimilar thing happened to me a few years back (although in my case it was the agency that was corrupt and I eventually got paid in full by standing my ground).

I suppose you will have to believe your agency's story - it might just be an excuse - but it doesn't change the basic position:

Your contract is not with the end client and it is the agency's responsibility to carry the whole risk of this situation. They should pay you in full.

Having said that, if you do believe them and want to carry on working for them, you could try to reach some sort of compromise. In that case, start by claiming the whole amount so that you are in a strong bargaining position. If they won't play ball, there is always the ProZ.com Blue Board ...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:50
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Received a proper PO but agency refused to pay Oct 8, 2012

Based on this new information, you should demand payment in full and NEVER work with this agency again. How can you be sure that this same problem will not occur in the future with this agency? The corrupt official is not your problem. That is the client's problem.

One of the pitfalls of operating an agency is that sometimes a client doesn't pay and it is the agency that has to bear this burden, not the translator. If the agency does not have cash reserves or is not collecting at least your fee up front from the client, then all payments to you are at risk.


phoebetrans wrote:


As long as corruption is acceptable, no contract in the world can prevent this from happening.

Going to court wouldn't help either, as we, as well as the client, would have a chance of winning anything.



[Edited at 2012-10-08 13:39 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

phoebeleong317  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 12:50
Member (2015)
English to Malay
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's the answer Oct 8, 2012

Hi Russell, Phil and Jeff,

Thanks very much for your advice and this is the answer i want. I just need some advice to make sure that i should not feel guilty in claiming my money back.

Seriously i've worked for many agencies in the past, but none of this has happened to me.

I know i'll have to stand my ground and get what's belong to me. I don't even know how to write a proper email that won't get her mad or ignore me. This USD 2000 means alot to me.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:50
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
E-mail Oct 8, 2012

I sympathize with your situation. In your e-mail to the agency be friendly but firm. Emphasize the points made by others above: your contract is with them, not with the end client. As an agency, they should have an emergency fund for situations like this and they can claim the non-payment by the client as a business loss on their tax return (in business there is no such thing as 'out of our own pocket').

[Edited at 2012-10-08 15:09 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:50
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
The blackmailing official is not your problem Oct 8, 2012

phoebetrans wrote:
We are on your side, being translators ourselves, thus the offer of USD 500 out of our own pocket. Going to court wouldn't help either, as we, as well as the client, would have a chance of winning anything.


That doesn't make any sense at all, IMO. The agency can sue the end client for non-payment. And probably will! If the end client has received a perfectly acceptable translation (regardless of whether it was accepted by the Patents Office), then the end client must pay for that translation.

Of course, the question of getting the patent out of this corrupt official without paying extra for it, is another thing. I can well imagine that that would be complicated. But that's the end client's problem - not yours and not the agency's.

As others have said, stand firm. You have the law on your side.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elena Markina Harrison  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:50
Russian to English
+ ...
Same Thing Here! Oct 8, 2012

Hello everyone. Unfortunately, almost the same thing just happened to me today. The project was not as big, but urgent. Had to translate 4000 words and proofread 5000 in under 24 hours. Did the job, sent it to outsourcer, she asked me to correct a few minor mistakes - and that's it. I started suspecting that something was fishy when I sent her the invoice and didn't hear back from her confirming the receipt. Only after I e-mailed the invoice for the 3-d time via ProZ, did she reply - and it was very vague. She confirmed the receipt and said that she would come back to me on that. So... a week goes by and nothing. I send another e-mail - nothing. I send the e-mail via ProZ and here it comes! An e-mail stating that my work was unsatisfactory, that she had to hire another proofreader and now she has not made any money on this project (!!!) and she can only pay me 48 Euro. (Total was 430 USD). I replied back to her - trying to be nice and polite and commenting on each point that she was trying to make. I am extremely disappointed today, since it has never happened to me before, and I have been on ProZ for 9 years... I guess my question is - is there something ProZ could help us with in such scenarios? I believe I recall that a few years back ProZ was helping resolve disputes (or am I making it up?), but I could not find anything about it now... I know that Blue Board is always an option, but - if the outsourcer is already making false accusations, who is to say she is not going to post something ugly about me? I would hate to have my reputation spoiled over this as well - I have a perfect record so far Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

Direct link Reply with quote
 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:50
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
No negative WWAs possible Oct 8, 2012

Elena Markina Harrison wrote:
I know that Blue Board is always an option, but - if the outsourcer is already making false accusations, who is to say she is not going to post something ugly about me? I would hate to have my reputation spoiled over this as well


The outsourcer can respond to your BB entry, but AFAIK it's not possible to leave a negative WWA for a translator.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:50
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Then again... Oct 8, 2012

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

Elena Markina Harrison wrote:
I know that Blue Board is always an option, but - if the outsourcer is already making false accusations, who is to say she is not going to post something ugly about me? I would hate to have my reputation spoiled over this as well


The outsourcer can respond to your BB entry, but AFAIK it's not possible to leave a negative WWA for a translator.

It's not allowed to make a negative BB entry when there are allegations of quality issues.

Has the agency come up with exact details of what the errors were, Elena? That's the first thing to do - find out what the accusations are, then you know where you stand. Could it be that you rushed the job and quality suffered? You really need the facts. If the agency isn't willing to provide that info, then they can't prove their claim of poor quality. And if they can't prove it, they have no reason to withhold any money at all.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:50
Member (2008)
French to English
Corruption of foreign officials Oct 8, 2012

Be careful. If corruption is involved, OECD anti-bribery provisions, applicable within many countries and to which Malaysia is associated, makes it an offense to participate knowingly in any form of bribery of foreign officials.

The Canadian implementation of this international treaty is:

"Every person commits an offence who, in order to obtain or retain an advantage in the course of business, directly or indirectly gives, offers or agrees to give or offer a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind to a foreign public official or to any person for the benefit of a foreign public official."

So if you agree in any way to participate in the corruption of this official, you could be liable under your own country's laws. Now that the corruption is known, you couldn't claim ignorance. You cannot accept a lower price if it's due to a corrupt official, even if indirectly.

[Edited at 2012-10-08 23:14 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

phoebeleong317  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 12:50
Member (2015)
English to Malay
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I need advice again!! Oct 9, 2012

Hi all, i have an update today.

The agency has got the verdict from an independent proofreader based in mainland China, here's the comments:

"If it is a patent, the revised file is more professional than the original file. The two translations are not the same, but almost identical."

In my opinion, the original file was done by me, and the client has amended the file based on my translation, i would expect the quality is better than the original.

After forwarding the message to the client, the client said the translation needs to be an exact translation and that minor translation errors can have serious consequences. But from what we've found, there's only few minor translation errors out of a 35000-words project where most of it were not important. The client said "If we would instruct your translator to correct only these errors in the description, other mistakes in the description might remain."

That's what i think proofreaders are so important as they see what the translator can't see. But now the point is, i realized that the the agency just submitted my translation to the client without having an independent proofreader to proofread my works. Is it a normal practice for a translation agency?

Now the client rejected the job, i'm the one who have to bear the consequences.

I don't know who's to be blamed now... apparently the agency didn't have a proofreader to proofread my work, or maybe the client doesn't want to pay more and opt to do the proofread on their own. whichever is it, how can they just reject the whole translation and claimed to say that they need to re-translate everything?

What should i do now



[Edited at 2012-10-09 08:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-10-09 08:35 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
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 »

Received a proper PO but agency refused to pay

Advanced search







CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »



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