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Something bugging me
Thread poster: Helena Grahn

Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:36
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 20, 2014

An agency I usually work for gave me a job about 5 pm. Just two pages and I accepted it. They also gave me an authenticity sheet to sign which I couldn't as my scanner was kaput. I only found out when I finished the job but couldn't get in touch with them because they all had gone home. As the deadline was the day after at 9 am, I sent the job and just typed my initials on the sheet.

I couldn't get online the day after so when I finally did, the agency had sent me an email saying they were not happy with the typed initials and that they gave me only a couple of hrs to sort that out otherwise they would relocate the job. Of course the two hrs had passed and now they do not want to pay for it.

Should I complain? I wrote them an email and got no response whatsoever.

[Edited at 2014-06-20 14:32 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:36
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Put it down to experience? Jun 20, 2014

When I look at the following extracts from your post, from the eyes of an outsourcer (which I am not, so I'm only guessing):

Helena Grahn wrote:
They also gave me an authenticity sheet to sign which I couldn't as my scanner was kaput.
...
I only found out when I finished the job but couldn't get in touch with them because they all had gone home.
...
I sent the job and just typed my initials on the sheet.
...
I couldn't get online the day after
...
they gave me only a couple of hrs to sort that out otherwise they would relocate the job. Of course the two hrs had passed


then I come to the inevitable conclusion:
and now they do not want to pay for it.


I can quite understand your problems - these things happen. But I can also understand the agency: you didn't fulfil your contract, however good the translation. So I don't see how you can insist on payment. However, I do think you should warn them that they have absolutely no right to do anything with your translation other than delete it from their computer. They must not be allowed to profit from it in any way at all.

Maybe you and/or others see that as rather harsh? I'll be interested to hear what others have to say.


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 09:36
Japanese to English
+ ...
Yeah Jun 20, 2014

Because scanning a signature and emailing it to someone hundreds or thousands of miles away is soooo much more "authenticated" than typed initials

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Amel Abdullah  Identity Verified
Jordan
Arabic to English
+ ...
A Tip Jun 20, 2014

If you ever have trouble with your scanner in the future, you can sign or initial the document and take a photo of it using either a digital camera or a smart phone (and then send it to the client as an attachment).

[Edited at 2014-06-20 14:05 GMT]


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 02:36
French to English
+ ...
Depends... Jun 20, 2014

Did the translation have any value without the signed authenticity sheet and did it still have some value if the sheet was provided late?

- If the translation cannot be used without the sheet then it has no value. The translator did not fulfill the contract in any way and has no reasonable expectation of being paid.

- If the translation had some value but, for example, the agency had to incur extra cost to have it authenticated then the translator could reasonably expect to be paid their fee MINUS the extra charges incurred.

- If the translation can be used "as is" and the sheet provided later, the translator could reasonably expect to be paid their fee but should probably offer a discount for delivering at least part of the value late.

It's not entirely clear from the original post but it seems to me that the sheet was provided when the job was accepted so there is no question that returning the sheet with the translation was part of the contract. I.e. it wasn't an after-the-fact "surprise".

That's how I see it.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:36
Member
English to French
What about a sound relationship? Jun 20, 2014

Helena Grahn wrote:
An agency I usually work for...

They're a valued customer of yours, you're a valued provider of theirs.

You are both responsible parties knowing each other. There is a problem to solve, and if the sentence above is true, goodwill is the way to go, in my humble opinion.

If I were in your shoes, I would just drop the case and apologise: sorry, my scanner was down and my internet too, I had a migraine, my car wouldn't start, my credit card was swallowed, I dropped my phone in the drain...
Whatever the reason, deliverables were not delivered, and a two-page job won't make you lose millions.

Sound business starts with sound (and balanced, and fair, and mutually profitable) business relationships.

Only you know how bound you are to the customer and vice-versa.

Philippe

PS: As regards handwritten signatures, I have a scanned pic of mine, that I can insert in a file, then I convert the resulting file as an image pdf (with Paperport).


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Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:36
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You are so right Philippe Jun 20, 2014

Just got an email from the agency after I wrote them that I wouldn't charge them.

They said they will pay me anyway as they never wrote in the instructions that without a digital signature on the certificate, the job wouldn't be complete.

So, I guess it is sorted. I apologized once again and wished the PM a nice wkend.

Thx God it was just two pages. But I also learned a lesson myself.


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 09:36
Japanese to English
+ ...
So help me understand this... Jun 20, 2014

Helena Grahn wrote:

Just got an email from the agency after I wrote them that I wouldn't charge them.

They said they will pay me anyway as they never wrote in the instructions that without a digital signature on the certificate, the job wouldn't be complete.

So, I guess it is sorted. I apologized once again and wished the PM a nice wkend.

Thx God it was just two pages. But I also learned a lesson myself.


So what exactly is the point of the "digital signature" (perhaps a loose use of the word)?

I mean, I get that you didn't exactly follow all of their instructions. I really do. And some level of chastising might even be called for. But what I don't understand is why they would give the job to someone else after you already completed it and sent it to them. Just because you didn't "sign" it the way they wanted you to?

Or did they not ultimately give the job to someone else? I couldn't tell from your original post.


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Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:36
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Orrin Jun 20, 2014

It also crossed my mind that they decided to pay me because they never re-assigned it. However, I never asked them. I am happy they are paying me as my previous email to them said I was not expecting it anymore and that I was a bit gutted that they never phoned me, realizing that I was not online when I never answered during those two hrs.

You see, we know each other. Have done several jobs for them.

I just thanked them for the payment and shook hands. If they used my translation or not... well... that is another story. I actually think they used mine but cannot be sure.


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 09:36
Japanese to English
+ ...
Thanks for the clarification Jun 20, 2014

I see, thanks.

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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:36
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
It seems to me the whole thing turned out to be nothing Jun 20, 2014

I think everybody got anxious in the process out of something trivial but that's not my point. My point is that requesting the translator to sign such a sheet is a hassle in itself.

Last month I turned down a job from a long term client by saying:

I will no longer work with XXX company unless you terminate your policy of requesting the sheet to be signed for every job.

They replied politely but they have never sent me any job thereafter. Well, good for both of us.

I think these people must have worked with the government of some countries before - in which a lot of meaningless paperwork is involved.


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Scanned copy of your signature Jun 20, 2014

I haven't tried this myself, but in your predicament it could've been possible to "cut" a previous scanned signature and "paste" it into the document, or keep it for future reference. The mobile phone or digital camera idea was great also.

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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 09:36
Japanese to English
+ ...
You can use the mouse also Jun 21, 2014

DJ Hartmann wrote:

I haven't tried this myself, but in your predicament it could've been possible to "cut" a previous scanned signature and "paste" it into the document, or keep it for future reference. The mobile phone or digital camera idea was great also.


For certifying PDFs, I just used the mouse to write my signature in Microsoft Paint then saved it as an image file. Then I can just use the feature in Acrobat to add it to invoices, etc.

Only a handwriting expert comparing them side by side could probably which one I drew with the mouse and which one I wrote with a physical pen.


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:36
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
But anyone can tell that your PDF was generated, not scanned Jun 21, 2014

Orrin Cummins wrote:

Only a handwriting expert comparing them side by side could probably which one I drew with the mouse and which one I wrote with a physical pen.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:36
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Wonderful Jun 21, 2014

Helena Grahn wrote:

Just got an email from the agency after I wrote them that I wouldn't charge them.

They said they will pay me anyway as they never wrote in the instructions that without a digital signature on the certificate, the job wouldn't be complete.

So, I guess it is sorted. I apologized once again and wished the PM a nice wkend.

Thx God it was just two pages. But I also learned a lesson myself.


That is a wonderful outcome of a tricky situation, Helen. (Thumb up )

Here's another tip that might "save" you in case of similar problems. I've signed a white sheet of paper, scanned it and stored it in one of my folders on an external hard drive (not on my computer.). Whenever I need to sign something by hand, I pull up this signature and insert it, "locking" it properly with the document.


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