Safeguarding against non-payment
Thread poster: Animus
Animus  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:11
French to English
+ ...
Feb 11, 2014

Hi everyone, I've recently been offered some work translating a novel and I'd really like to accept it, but am unsure how to background check the individual involved and how I can safeguard myself against non-payment.

Does anyone have any suggestions or any practices they normally follow in these sorts of cases?

Thank you all very much for your help and advice!


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Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:11
Member (2003)
French to English
Translators' Association of the Society of Authors (UK) Feb 11, 2014

First, do you have a contract? The TA of the Society of Authors in the UK produces a Guide to Translator/Publisher Contracts - it's free if you're a member but it can be purchased for £10 – see http://www.societyofauthors.org/translators-association . Secondly I'd suggest agreeing a schedule of staged payments; lastly, have a look at Clifford Landers' Literary Translation: A Practical Guide, which from memory is very solid on this type of thing (as well as being a good read in its own right).

[Edited at 2014-02-11 18:10 GMT]


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Tim Friese  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:11
Member (2013)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Agree with pay by installments Feb 11, 2014

You should be paid by installments, including a portion as an advance. Once you agree on a payment schedule, be sure to stick to it. Make sure to not do or delivery any work if they are late on payments. Control over delivery is your only control over payment.

You can find other sample or framework translator contracts from other countries for comparison - I know there is an organization in France that does something similar. Good luck!


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:11
English to Polish
+ ...
Bank guarantee Feb 13, 2014

I guess you could require the client to collateralise the agreement with a bank or insurance guarantee, or a surety, or some similar instrument, but that could be flat out refused by someone not used to it.

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Animus  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:11
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Feb 13, 2014

Thank you all for your advice! I agree that book is quite good for an overview of literary translation. I think I will likely use the translator's association contract, once I've looked through it thoroughly enough.

We've agreed to do payment half in advance and half on delivery as the deadline is in a couple of months in any case. I'm considering encrypting the file until I receive the final payment, but will likely send them a chapter first so they can see I've actually done the work!

Anyway, thank you all for your help and wish me luck!


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:11
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Good decision Feb 17, 2014

Nicola Whyte wrote:

We've agreed to do payment half in advance and half on delivery as the deadline is in a couple of months in any case. I'm considering encrypting the file until I receive the final payment, but will likely send them a chapter first so they can see I've actually done the work!

Anyway, thank you all for your help and wish me luck!


Hi Nicola,

To split payment into 50% a forehand and 50% after delivery is quite common. And it also serves to build trust among the parties; the client pays you without having received a single page, and you will then deliver without having been paid the remaining 50%.

Encrypting the seond portion of the translation until full payment has been received (the goods remain the vendor's property until paid for fully) is also a good idea. However, before doing so, you need to inform the client as not to be faced with negative "surprises".

Much success!

Thayenga


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