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PO changed by the agency after delivery
Thread poster: Kamila Wyszyńska
Kamila Wyszyńska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:56
Italian to Polish
+ ...
Feb 3, 2014

Dear colleagues,

I've had a rather unpleasant situation with a translation agency which I would like to share with you in order to hear your opinion.
On Friday I was offered a rush translation project, which would require from me working during the weekend. It was translation of a video game.
As the word count was high and the deadline very short with no room for proofreading, the agency decided to call the task "post-editing" instead of translation, with intention to deliver to the client something called "a draft translation".
Let's leave alone what I think of post-editing task as such - I agreed with the PM that they'd charge my usual translation rate instead of any lowered post-editing rate, and before starting any work I received a PO that confirmed that.
Today, after I've delivered the translation (and please let me just mention that the quality of the source was dramatic and the translation required quite a lot of effort, while trying to figure out what the author could actually mean… of course there were no reference available either), I received an updated PO reduced by 25%. Upon my request for explanation, they replied that as it was a post-editing task, they figured that around 1/4 of the strings didn't require my effort, as my translation was similar to MT results, and consequently they decided to lower my PO (naturally, the TM discount was applied in the first place, and they were paying for weighted and not total word count).
When I complained about that, I was kindly asked to accept this reduced PO, treating the reduction as a discount, as they have a very limited budget for that project. Moreover, they tried to lure me with a possibility of many future projects that they would offer me...

Now, please kindly let me know on what planet is such behaviour professionally acceptable, as I am not able to figure that out by myself?

Many thanks in advance,

Best,
Kamila


[Edited at 2014-02-03 15:42 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-02-03 15:42 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-02-03 15:43 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-02-03 15:46 GMT]


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Nicole Coesel  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:56
Member (2012)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Lousy business conduct Feb 3, 2014

Dear Kamila,

Thank you for sharing your exdperience with us. You should point out to the agency that you agreed to change to change 'the name of the beast' from translation into PE, and they agreed to respect your usual translation rate.
It is unheard of to change the PO in retrospect, and the fact that they are begging you to accept the lower fee indicates very low to virtually no respect for you as a translator. If you can, do not accept to lower by 25%.
Their budget may be tight, but they would not have negociated and agreed with you if they could not pay for it. This attitude is very unprofessional on their part.

Can you send them the e-mail where they confirm to pay your rate and state you actualy DID translate the project and not PE?

Good luck and keep us posted please!

Nicole.


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Radian Yazynin  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:56
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes, it's over the top Feb 3, 2014

Don't shake your fist when the fight is over!

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I assume this is a new client? Feb 3, 2014

One that you haven't worked with before, and certainly won't be working with again? Maybe I'm cynical, but I'm wondering if they had all this somewhat planned from the start - at least the idea of getting it cheaper than originally agreed to.

If you have all the agreements in writing (i.e. it wasn't all agreed over the phone or Skype), then you have absolutely no reason not to demand the agreed rate. Even if it was a verbal agreement, you still have the right, but of course it would be a little more difficult to justify in practice.

From what you've told us about this agency, my own response to them would be "Kindly pay my invoice in full before the due date." I really can't see them holding out for a discount once you show you're going all the way with this, even to taking them through the courts. They'll know they'll not only end up paying you but paying court costs, too.

I do hope you'll warn the rest of us about this agency (through your BB entry rather than naming them here).


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:56
Member
English to French
How far can too far go? Feb 3, 2014

(courtesy of The Cramps)

Urgent delivery+limited budget+no editing+weekend work+post-editing rebranding+decrease by 25% of the agreed fee.

Next step: the end customer is not happy about the translation (what can you expect in these conditions) and won't pay, the agency won't pay their translators. The entropy just increases and nothing gets done.

But I hope it all pans out for you anyway.

Philippe


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:56
Member
Italian to English
Pity Feb 3, 2014

Pity you've already delivered the job. You could have delivered it with a 25% discount on quantity.

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Kamila Wyszyńska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:56
Italian to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The fight is not over Feb 3, 2014

First, thank you for your support on that.

Secondly, I am sorry, because maybe I didn't make myself clear enough - naturally, on no account am I accepting this ridiculous "offer", which, of course, I communicated to them.
Yes, I do have an email stating our initial agreement as well as the original PO in pdf – I think it is enough for a proof.
After exchanging a few emails stating our views, I am currently waiting for their final answer. Regardless of their reply, I am going through with that – I’ll demand that they pay full invoice, no matter what. Sorry, it’s just not the way it works…


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:56
English to Dutch
+ ...
BlueBoard Feb 3, 2014

...and by all means, give them a very low rating on the BlueBoard, so that your fellow translators won't have to go through the same ideal.

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Mark Benson  Identity Verified

English to Swedish
+ ...
Exactly my words Feb 3, 2014

Kamila Wyszyńska wrote:

Now, please kindly let me know on what planet is such behaviour professionally acceptable, as I am not able to figure that out by myself?

Many thanks in advance,

Best,
Kamila


[Edited at 2014-02-03 15:42 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-02-03 15:42 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-02-03 15:43 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-02-03 15:46 GMT]


That's my exact words. The problem is just that posting here doesn't help. What do you do when they don't want to pay? They should pay or go out of business.

Edit: Was going to say this already in Siegfried's topic about the Translation Year 2014. There are obviously translators who would like to get organized and see about how we can keep on charging.

Should you have to feel guilty because you're a part of a service industry and you like to charge for what you do in it? Not on my shift.

I am clear about what I charge, but there's a lot of other stuff going on around here too. That's part of my overall service and day-to-day life as a translator. I get such good deals from the majority of those I work with anyways. I don't have to keep track of, or take any interest in, any exact amounts, small jobs and favors. That kind of stuff is merely tax related in my office.

If I'm contacted with somebody suggesting a project, I don't care what they do with my service if I have the possibility to accept. And I'm even less interested in their ability or willingness to pay. I repeat: They should go out of business if they can't pay, or worse if it's that they won't.

I'm both personally and professionally committed to making that a reality in my lifetime.

[Edited at 2014-02-03 21:37 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:56
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Blueboard! Feb 4, 2014

A PO from the customer is the firm order we base our work on, or better said, the one by which we decide to do or not do a job. They cannot convince you to take the job with a higher PO and then change it unilaterally after the work is delivered.

My advice is that you ask your contact person for the contact details of the manager of the agency so that you can discuss this in detail. If the manager agrees with the PM's decisions and does not honour their first PO... they are a perfect candidate for a low score in the Blueboard so that others are warned of what can happen to them with this customer. If their word is no good, this should be known by other translators as part of their decision process.


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Kamila Wyszyńska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:56
Italian to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Happy ending Feb 4, 2014

Hello again. Fortunately they came to their senses and decided to pay the full invoice. I'm happy that it finished that way, as surely I wasn't going to let it go. Thanks once again for your support - you can imagine how frustrating I found this situation!

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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:56
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
And keep it happy Feb 4, 2014

I would suggest to get your money and delete them from your list. That they dared to reduce the price in the first place is warning enough.

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xxxnrichy
France
Local time: 22:56
French to Dutch
+ ...
Keep it happy 2 Feb 4, 2014

How far this can go? Well I had a good relationship with an agency, which suddenly decided to cancel my PO (yes, cancel) because the client was not happy. Before that, they decided to have me discuss with the client why he was not happy (which of course also meant that I suddenly had to sign a confidentiality agreement). It took hours and hours, but no avail. The argument was that due to my bad translations they lost the client altogether, even in the other languages.
And without PO, impossible to send an invoice.
So stay firm, these are bad practices.


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Mark Benson  Identity Verified

English to Swedish
+ ...
A miracle ;-) Feb 4, 2014

Kamila Wyszyńska wrote:

Hello again. Fortunately they came to their senses and decided to pay the full invoice. I'm happy that it finished that way, as surely I wasn't going to let it go. Thanks once again for your support - you can imagine how frustrating I found this situation!


Good for you, you got your money. I know how frustrating it is. I have so many nonpayments, I know most people just let go when it turns out they were working at an embarrassing level of the market.

They should go out of business if they don't comply immediately when put pressure on.

Enjoy your money the way I will if I ever get any. It's so surprising to hear what you're telling us that it almost seems like a miracle has happened.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:56
English to Polish
+ ...
Not professional and not legal Feb 4, 2014

Asking for a change, openly and making sure you know they know it's a favour, is one thing, but trying to amend an already confirmed PM unilaterally is a whole different kettle of fish. All they said is something they should've brought up with you before getting you to accept the job.

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