Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Payment for terminology work and invoicing final client without order - feedback needed
Thread poster: Johannes Gleim

Johannes Gleim  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Jul 12, 2013

Dear Colleagues,

Who has experiences with terms of proofreading and terminology work?

As German native speaker (and engineer) was asked by an Italian translator to proofread his Trados translation (clutch operating manual, 88 pages, and 2100 segments). Only the style had to be improved as correct terminology had been used. I evaluated text samples and found a lot of wrong terms. All technical terms had to be verified with internet research subsequently.
First order: 200 segments, rate: 20 €/h, max. 200 €, payment period: 45 days. No discussion about the necessary time for research. The task was completed in 20 hours (worth 400 €). Invoiced as lump sum and paid in the meantime (reminded after 50 days).

Second order: Review of full text. 90 hours time invested, worth 1.800 €, based on the agreed hourly rate. The buyer claimed that this was nearly the same price he would invoice and that no research was compensable (I should know all terms by heart). In fact, I had to replace approx. 400 special terms (approx. 45 % of overall time) and to justify this. The detailed explanation required a lot of time in addition, not invoiced. I discounted the price to 1000 €, but he would not agree.

He informed that the final client would pay me 500 €, he would pay 180 € in addition and supplied me with final client’s address and IBAN. But I have no order from the final client, already asked for.

Questions:
Has the time for terminology work to be included, if no separate agreement exists?
Shall I invoice the buyer with full amount (1.000 €)?


 

Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:43
English to Russian
+ ...
It should be included in the proofreading. Jul 12, 2013

When you translate something, you wouldn't be asked to only charge for the seconds you actually touch the keyboard to type a word. You charge for the entire time spent on the assignment. What's more, time is the only thing in our work that can be measured exactly (no different point of views on what time is; no different definition of an hour, like 75 minutes in one country and 30 minutes in another). I am not aware of all the details of your agreement, but if you agreed that you would be paid based on the time spent on the assignment and your hourly rate, then the customer is wrong. If you fail to prove it, submit your comment on Blueboard and don't accept other orders from them. I think it generally makes sense to be as specific while agreeing on details as possible, otherwise it would be too late to discuss it at a later stage.
Good luck!

[Редактировалось 2013-07-12 11:40 GMT]

[Редактировалось 2013-07-12 11:40 GMT]


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:43
Member (2004)
English to Italian
My take on it... Jul 12, 2013

of course the terminology work should be included! But I think you made a fundamental mistake: when you realised that it would take you 13 days to check the translation + terminology thoroughly, maybe you should have informed him? I can understand he is angry, because you are supposed to be an expert and you took two weeks to check the terminology when, well, you should indeed know it by heart... icon_smile.gif Don't take it the wrong way, I'm trying to see the matter from your buyer's point of view as well.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Lack of communication? Jul 12, 2013

Johannes Gleim wrote:
Only the style had to be improved as correct terminology had been used. I evaluated text samples and found a lot of wrong terms. All technical terms had to be verified with internet research subsequently.
First order: 200 segments, rate: 20 €/h, max. 200 €, payment period: 45 days. No discussion about the necessary time for research.

I don't understand that last part. Do you mean you found the terminology to be incorrect, but you didn't query the spec for the job with the client there and then? You simply fixed it, which you had been expressly told was not required, it seems. Then you accepted payment for the proofreading, still not raising the matter of the terminology. Is that right? Was there anything preventing you from informing the client?

Second order: Review of full text. 90 hours time invested, worth 1.800 €, based on the agreed hourly rate. The buyer claimed that this was nearly the same price he would invoice and that no research was compensable (I should know all terms by heart).

Certainly, the need for some checking can never be discounted IF, and only if, the client wanted you to check the terminology. I'm not entirely sure if this was the same client, but whether it was or not, it's clear that you need to pay more attention to communication before starting work, and you need to keep your client informed of any problems you find. No client has a bottomless purse. It's up to you, the one doing the work, to minimise the nasty surprises, whilst at the same time ensuring you get fair pay for fair work.

He informed that the final client would pay me 500 €, he would pay 180 € in addition and supplied me with final client’s address and IBAN. But I have no order from the final client, already asked for.

Hmm...why do you need the client's IBAN? Doesn't the client need yours?

I really don't know if/how that can work. Why not contact the end client and see what they propose? If they're happy with the arrangement, I don't really see any problem, although I'd get their acceptance in an email rather than over the phone. The authorities don't generally like us receiving money from people who don't seem to be clients, particularly if they're abroad. But if there's any doubt at all, then the end client should pay your client, and he can then transfer 100% to you. That would be the "correct" way to go about it, I'm sure.

@Giovanni - I don't think it's safe to assume that terminology should be checked in 100% of proofreading jobs. It depends on your definition of the word, and therein lies the problem - there are as many definitions as clients. I grant that in 99% cases of bilingual proofreading, terminology most certainly needs to be checked. However, I sometimes get asked not to, or I receive texts where I have to say I can't guarantee the terminology, only raise a doubt. That's because I do monolingual reviews in all subject areas and I can't possibly be a terminology expert in all.icon_smile.gif Maybe the requirement not to is rare in bilingual proofreading, but in the first case the OP states that he was told it was correct i.e. don't spend time on it.


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:43
Member (2004)
English to Italian
maybe... Jul 12, 2013

@ Sheila...


I don't think it's safe to assume that terminology should be checked in 100% of proofreading jobs.


Johannes Gleim wrote:
Second order: Review of full text.


But Johannes talks about "review" in the second case... I would include a terminology check in a review, but not if I'm doing a simple proofreading. Having said that, I always ask the client... icon_smile.gif


 

Johannes Gleim  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for discussing this problem! Jul 12, 2013

You agree that terminology work must be included in the work, even not detailed in the offer and I learned that it would be better to stipulate a certain rate for this part of work. Otherwise only the style should be corrected and not the (wrong) terminology (very unsatisfying situation). I informed the customer that I worked 40 years as engineer in different industrial sections, but not in this very specific branch.

The need of terminology work was also communicated, I informed the customer about my corrections, he asked for explanations, and accepted most modifications at the end. The customer argued that terminology work should be for free and I discounted the price to make concessions.

I never had contact to the final client in order not to cheat my customer. The customer informed me that the final client would pay a part of the bill and provided me with his address (same as already included in the documents, no responsible person) and its VAT no. (not the IBAN, sorry for that mistake).

I cannot charge the final client as I have no order from him directly. That's the problem.





[Bearbeitet am 2013-07-12 14:03 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
No choice, then Jul 12, 2013

Johannes Gleim wrote:
I cannot charge the final client as I have no order from him directly. That's the problem.

As far as I see it, if there's an insurmountable problem in charging the end client (although I'd say that if they are in agreement then it isn't that much of a problem), then you have to do what you have a perfect right to do: charge your client what's due and insist on being paid. Let him get the money from his client.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:43
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Included or not Jul 12, 2013

Sheila, I agree with Giovanni that proof-reading is always monolingual. Consequently, a terminology check is not included in the assignment. The moment this is requested by the client it becomes a revision. And the rate for it is, naturally, higher.icon_smile.gif

Johannes Gleim wrote:
Otherwise only the style should be corrected and not the (wrong) terminology (very unsatisfying situation). I informed the customer that I worked 40 years as engineer in different industrial sections, but not in this very specific branch.
The need of terminology work was also communicated, I informed the customer about my corrections, he asked for explanations, and accepted most modifications at the end.


And at this point in time, Johannes, is where you should have re-negotiated your contract with your client. Proof-reading does not include terminology research, let alone providing the client with any explanations as to why you have changed/corrected the terminology (which is not one of the duties of a proof-reader).


Johannes Gleim wrote:
The customer argued that terminology work should be for free and I discounted the price to make concessions.


Most customers do see it this way. They want the "whole package", that is a polished document, and are convinced that all additional work requirements and the affiliated time are included in the "package price". But in the business world absolutely nothing is free. Making concessions is a noble deed, whilst working hours, even days without pay isn't.

It's always best - and safer for both parties - to negotiate the job at hand down to the smallest detail. All additional word, e.g. termonology checks/research, rendering explations, etc., should be negotiated and a price for them agreed upon prior to starting the work.


I do hope that you will be able to work this out, Johannes.icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2013-07-12 17:39 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:43
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Insufficient negotiation? Jul 12, 2013

My take about this is that you should have analysed the materials in detail and should have issued a written quotation document to your customer with the exact amount you would charge. That quotation is what you would then invoice.

If after reaching an agreement it takes you more time to do the work, then tant pis pour vous since you are the one who should be capable of estimating an approximate working time, and such loss of time would be your loss.

Leaving the cost kind of open and negotiating things after delivery is a frequent source of trouble, mostly because you will have to take whatever you are offered... and with whatever excuses... It is always best to issue a proper quotation before touching any text, and stick to it.


 

Johannes Gleim  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
proofreading or terminology work Jul 13, 2013

is different, indeed.

For your information: We negotiated in German, not in English and used the term "Korrekturlesung", what equals to "proofreading". The point is, that the terminology was wrong, too, but we both did not treat this item as additional item. I communicated all wrong terms and proposed the correct terms, which were accepted.

Next time, if only proofreading is required, I will inform the client about the errors in his text, but not modify the terms, only improve the style. May the client be happy with this, if he likes.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:43
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Proofreading and editing mean the same Jul 13, 2013

to a lot of UK agencies. Some US direct client use the term "review" to mean editing.

In most cases, the client expect you to finalize the file no matter which term they use.

In my opinion, checking the file against a glossary is part of the job and should never be separately charged. If they give you a long glossary to check with, you should negotiate a higher proofreading/editing/review rate in the first place.


 

Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
While I agree with Tomás Jul 13, 2013

in that that problems and discussions are preprogrammed if you do not quote in a verifiable unit (e. g. volume) or at least within a range (from xxx to yyy, not more than...), the more you didn't know the translator you worked for (I suppose) and there was no mutual trust beforehand, I also agree with Thayenga that proofreading is monolingual and as such does not include terminology check (and terminology check would anyway not have been necessary, according to the translator's statement). Nonetheless, if you found wrong terms, you should have called the translator's attention to this fact before proceeding.

I would in no way bill the end customer under these circumstances. You only risk to face still more hassle. Your price and payment agreement was with the translator, and now he/she is to pay you and eventually should claim what he/she thinks is due from the customer.

[Bearbeitet am 2013-07-14 10:31 GMT]


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:43
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
You can also renegotiate Jul 13, 2013

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

My take about this is that you should have analysed the materials in detail and should have issued a written quotation document to your customer with the exact amount you would charge. That quotation is what you would then invoice.


I totally agree with you on this.

I also came across situations in which I substantially under-quoted the clients. In these situations you still have chances to re-negotiate for a higher rate. In most case the client would agree.

I once accepted a job to proofread an online slide show ( A PR training course) between English and Chinese. The translation was so poor that you need to correct every sentence. What made it worse is that they wanted me to make corrections on an off-line Word file, which has a totally different layout to the online PPT. What made it even worse is that they also wanted me to correct a corresponding TTX.

This job had more than 40000 words, and they had "allocated" a fund of $420 for me.

I didn't realize this was a pea nut job until I had spent 8 hours. I found I couldn't continue if they wouldn't increase the payment to 4 times higher than planned. Because this used to be a mean client ( they paid their translators 4 cents a word, and they used me as a proofreader, for which i usually get an OK rate, though), I didn't think it was possible to increase the fee to $1280. Therefore I totally gave it up and told them that they should find someone else to work on it and they didn't need to pay me for the time I had spent.

They agreed they would find someone else without arguing with me.

[Edited at 2013-07-13 18:53 GMT]


 

Johannes Gleim  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What I negociated was Jul 14, 2013

- a lump sum for the correction work of one page (safety warnings) in May and
- a hourly rate with a upper limit for selected segments,
all finished in May. The customer was satisfied.

In June I received the order to correct all remaining segments. All wrong terms were verified and replaced if need be. I had to report regularly all time used, the current segment I am working with and to supply work corrected so far. The customer challenged some modified terms and asked for explanations.
Two samples:
She liked to translate "thermocouples" instead of the correct "thermostat" as the Italian technician spoke of such item. But the file contained "termostato" and the figures in the PCF showed a thermostat in fact,
or to translate "ATEX-Anwendung" (application ATEX) instead of "ATEX-Ausführung" (execution ATEX). The Italian term was "esecuzione ATEX".

I applied the hourly rate agreed upon previously, multiplied with the hours. It was in the middle of the work, when she told me not being able to pay more then a certain amount (already exceeded) as she would not make a loss. The work stopped and we discussed again. Then she informed me that the final client would pay a lump sum in addition and I continued. The work was delivered and I indicated the total time used, applied an discount of 45 % for the invoice and asked whether she agrees. She did not. and argued Internet research were not payable.

I will not charge the final client, unless I receive an order from his side, but to charge my customer, if no supplemental order arrives in time.


 

Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Disagree about "proofreading" Jul 16, 2013

Thayenga wrote:
... proof-reading is always monolingual. Consequently, a terminology check is not included in the assignment.

Christel Zipfel wrote:
I also agree with Thayenga that proofreading is monolingual and as such does not include terminology check...

I very strongly disagree with these sentiments.

It may be true that in the best of all worlds, "proofreading" is supposed to be a monolingual activity, but in the real world, "proofreading" (or "Korrekturlesen", or any other term used by the client) means exactly what the client wants it to mean, nothing more, nothing less.

This is why it is extremely important to always verify with the client exactly what is expected.
Christel Zipfel wrote:
Nonetheless, if you found wrong terms, you should have called the translator's attention to this fact before proceeding.

I do agree with this. Whenever instructions are given not to correct terminology but blatantly incorrect terminology is found, this absolutely must be discussed before any further work is done - even if a "sample" (or smaller) project had been completed the same way. The bigger the project, the more important it is for both parties to know exactly what is to be done and how much time is allotted.

Even at that point there are very few options: either the time must be spent to replace the incorrect terminology (and to do any research that may be required) - which will require renegotiation of the price - or the work must continue as per the initial brief without correction of terminology - in which case, the "proofreader" must disavow any and all liability for quality matters outside of the specified parameters (i.e. spelling, syntax, grammar, typos).

Johannes, it sounds to me like you didn't realize you should "warn" the client (fellow translator) about the time required for this very complete proofreading until the "money ran out". IMHO, that can be an acceptable way to proceed, but only if it has been agreed by both parties in advance.

I'm sure you've earned your money, but I am sad to say that IMHO you do bear at least some responsibility for the situation by failing to clarify the "sticky issues" earlier in the process.

It is a sad lesson to learn, but one that stands as a warning to us all.

As for billing the end client without a PO - since this was actually suggested by your client (fellow translator), you could certainly contact the end client by phone or eMail to politely explain the situation and discuss (potential) billing arrangements. It would be difficult - in particular you would need to refrain from "badmouthing" your colleague for her use of incorrect terminology - but you could explain that both you and your fellow translator were very concerned about the accuracy of the terminology, which in the end required much more research than initially anticipated, and that you can now stand by the final quality of the translation. In this case you can only approach as a supplicant, not as a party entitled to payment, but at least it offers you a chance to get your money. Otherwise, I'm afraid you may have to write this one off.

I wish you luck with it all!

[Edited at 2013-07-16 12:19 GMT]


 
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 »

Payment for terminology work and invoicing final client without order - feedback needed

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 »
SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



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