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Extremely late delivery + insults - preset rules = payment?
Thread poster: arwam

arwam  Identity Verified
Egypt
Member (2014)
English to Arabic
+ ...
May 31, 2014

Hello colleagues,
I'm wondering what the professional and ethical way to behave would be in the following situation:
Upon my client's approval, I used a colleague to help me with a project. We agreed on daily deliveries. He started off good, delivering early. Then he started notifying me of extensions he gave himself. He seemed trustworthy at first, so I didn't make a fuss. A few extensions later, I found the time I gave myself for proofreading shrinking. I gently reminded him that we were behind and told him that my client would apply deductions if we didn't finish on time. A few days later, which was 3 days after the deadline I set for him, when I was expecting the last submission any minute and the remaining time was barely enough for proofreading, he sent an e-mail also giving himself yet another extension. I found myself in a situation where I had to drop everything else and do the translation myself. I told him to stop. I said I'd take it from there because I was afraid the deduction would mean I wouldn't be able to pay him and literally lose money (having already paid other translators), not to mention my regular client. (The cute things is that he didn't respond to that until after the end of his last extension.) His following responses were very impudent and insulting with some threats and curses, an "I think you know why [you act that way]" and a "keep your money for yourself", although I hadn't told him or even known for sure by then whether or not a deduction would apply or whether or not I'd pay him. After a few insulting e-mails, in which he tried to prove the deadline wasn't there yet, he sent another translated part.icon_smile.gif Then, he resumed the insults.icon_smile.gif
When I first told him to stop working on the project, I started merely with a blunt tone. However, after the insults, I honestly lost my temper for a minute, during which, I sent an unprofessional message. No direct insults but a lot of sarcasm, though.
Eventually, I managed to deliver with a 5% deduction and maybe a negative review (I didn't get it yet). I also still don't know if the client will work with me ever again. It's unlikely. The 5% is slightly more than what I was supposed to pay him for the part he delivered before I stopped him. That means I lose money if I pay him.
My question here, how much do I owe him? Bare in mind that I didn't set any rules regarding late delivery nor did I mention any deductions before we started.
Slightly irrelevant: I'm also really concerned he might publish the source text as some sort of revenge, although he signed an NDA, but I don't think I can do anything about that at this stage.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Pay for what you have received May 31, 2014

Although I completely sympathise with your situation, in my opinion you have no option but to pay for the part of the work you did receive, i.e. all work up to the point where you asked this person to stop working.

Even if you lose money, and as unfortunate as the situation is, it would be the fair way to go since you did not establish fixed penalties for late deliveries with this translator. This could perhaps mean that you lose money in the project, but in that case it might serve you as a good reminder never to subcontract work to people you don't really know.


 

arwam  Identity Verified
Egypt
Member (2014)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! May 31, 2014

Thank you, Tomás. I see your point regarding my obligation to pay him.
But you don't really know someone unless you work with them, or be friends with them. As in my case, one might need more help than their translator friends could provide. Then, your only option is to risk trying.icon_frown.gif But maybe that should be with smaller projects.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:45
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
YOU delivered late, in breach of YOUR contract May 31, 2014

I agree entirely with Tomás. You can't do anything but pay for the work received before your "stop work" email. Even though some deliveries were late, you accepted them, delivered them, and are being paid for them, albeit with a discount.

When you start working with a new partner, it should be on a small, non-critical job, giving yourself time to clear up any mess.

Unfortunately, I don't think there's any action of any sort you can take against this translator, short of refusing to pay for the last delivery. You can only give positive feedback here.


 

arwam  Identity Verified
Egypt
Member (2014)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You're right May 31, 2014

Thanks, Sheila. You're right regarding testing a new partner and it seems everyone agrees I have to pay him.

 

arwam  Identity Verified
Egypt
Member (2014)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Just to be clear May 31, 2014

Not that this changes much, but as I explained, the deduction is larger than what I'm supposed to pay him. The 5% was applied to the whole project, not just his part. (The client wouldn't accept a partial delivery.) I might be paid for his part, but I'm actually losing money, because of him, on other parts. I'm still responsible too, though.
Thanks, anyway.


 

arwam  Identity Verified
Egypt
Member (2014)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"I don't want your money" May 31, 2014

That was his response to me asking for his banking information. Now what?

 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
If he says he doesn't want your money May 31, 2014

If he hasn't sent you an invoice, and if he has told you (in writing) that he doesn't want your money, why pay him? Despite his rudeness and general sleaziness, it may be that he still retains a shred of honor and professionalism.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
He's probably just angry... ask him again in a week May 31, 2014

arwam wrote:
That was his response to me asking for his banking information. Now what?


He's probably just angry... ask him again in a week. You have to pay him unless he persists in telling you that he doesn't want to get paid (even after a cooling-off period). Strictly speaking you'll owe him money until he specifically says that there is no debt.


 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:45
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
A cheque May 31, 2014

I agree with Tomás as well and would say send a cheque. I also think Sheila's advice to work with someone you dont know on small projects first is rather good and that's what I do as well.

 

arwam  Identity Verified
Egypt
Member (2014)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hmmm Jun 1, 2014

Thank you all.
Jessica, that's possible since the insulting e-mails stopped suddenly. He might have reacted defensively and irrationally at fist then came to a realization of the situation.
Samuel, I honestly and really don't think I can or should beg him to pay him for this. I'd still pay him whenever he sends his information, though. Also, I can't figure out a reason why he might be angry! Except for my sarcastic message, which only followed his insults, I didn't wrong him a bit. Was warning him about penalties wrongful?
Andrea, yes. I think I learned my lesson here. As for the cheque, I don't have his physical address either. (The cheque has to be sent there, right? I've never sent/received one.)


 

nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:45
English to French
+ ...
Waiting for invoice Jun 1, 2014

Send him a last email summurising: your order, the deadline, the work really delivered by him before the deadline, and the corresponding amount.
Tell you are waiting for his invoice.
And that's all, no need for further discussion.

If/when you receive the invoice, just pay the amount by your usual mean.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:45
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I sensed that linguists are always more favored than out-sourcers in discussion of disput resolution Jun 1, 2014

This is because the majority of us who participate in the forums are linguists other than out-sourcers. What if you lose a good client merely because of the poor performance of a linguist?

Is there any mechanism for the out-sourcer to claim damages?

Think of a situation in international trades. If a buyer receives a shipment of blankets, and there are substantial spills or holes on some of them, what will the buyer do?

[Edited at 2014-06-01 17:35 GMT]


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:45
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I once had a Tagalog translator who were 2 full days late in delivery. Jun 1, 2014

He said he had an emergency but who knows. It was so scary. Although the client still worked with me after that, what if the client got mad and stopped cooperation simply because of his behavior?

I paid him without asking for a discount but I would never work with him again.

[Edited at 2014-06-01 17:33 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-06-01 18:00 GMT]


 

Attila Kosik  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 22:45
English to Hungarian
+ ...
The reason why he acted angry is simple. Jun 1, 2014

He knew he was at fault with the delivery, being angry was merely part of his defensive reaction when you challenged him on that.

As for the rest of the issue, I would simply send an email requesting his banking info, setting a deadline of a few days, noting that after that date, his claim to the money would be void.

For the future: I understand that sometimes there just isn't enough time to find the perfect person to work for you. In these cases, I tell them that missing the deadline will cost them money.


 
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