Client asks me to work for a 10% benefit on his sells.. Is it common ?
Thread poster: Mélodie Duchesnay

Mélodie Duchesnay  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:08
Spanish to French
+ ...
Sep 15, 2014

Hi,
A client asks me to translate some texts, proposals that they send to their final-clients.
Then they want to give me 10% of their sells (for the final-clients contacted through my translations).
Is it a common contract in translation ?

Thank you.

"Somos una empresa de servicios de Internet (diseño gráfico, diseño y programación web, bases de datos, SEO, SEM, redes sociales, marketing online, etc.) hemos traducido nuestro portal al francés y la vamos a sacar en breve.

Buscamos un traductor o traductora, para que nos traduzca una propuesta genérica para enviar a los clientes franceses, y los textos puntuales que haya añadir a la propuesta de cada cliente, las comunicaciones y los presupuestos de los clientes, a cambio le pagamos el 10 % de los proyectos aceptados y realizados a los clientes.

Cada proyecto tiene un coste mínimo de 1000 o 1500 €.

Decirle que a medida que se hagan presupuestos traducidos al francés, para el siguiente se usará el texto traducido que valga de proyectos anteriores, es decir que no que habrá traducir los presupuestos completos.

También le podemos pasar las traducciones de nuestros clientes para traducir entre castellano-francés o viceversa, a cambio de que nos haga un descuento del precio que le ofrece a sus clientes finales y de que traduzca al francés los nuevos contenidos de nuestro portal que son nuevos proyectos realizados y referencias de clientes nos lo traduzca, sin ningún coste para nuestra empresa..

Todo se plasmaría en un contrato."


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Uncommon Sep 15, 2014

That is not a common way of paying for translations. In my opinion, they are trying to pay you less than you should have been paid for a normally-priced translation.

Do they pay their rent, utilities, accountant, and everybody else the same way? One must doubt it.

How would you be able to verify their sales objectively?

Nothing prevents you from accepting their offer, but you should then check their proposal through like any other business proposal, as if you were to invest the amount of money a translation should cost. Is the expected return on investment realistic? Do you have the experience to evaluate such a proposal and the company involved? If you don't have the experience, my suggestion would be to decline and ask for your normal translation fee. They have all the cards on their hands to scam you if they want. We can't know if that's their intention, but my hunch is that it is.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
No, it is not common Sep 15, 2014

Translators should be paid for their work. They are neither investing in nor gambling on the success of the client company.

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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
I wouldn't take it Sep 15, 2014

Unless it's a huge, multimillion dollar company, I don't think I would get my investment back. Not to mention that they're requesting a discount and free work.

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Thomas Rebotier  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
English to French
not normal, your call Sep 15, 2014

I'd never heard of it before,

I wouldn't reject the offer without looking into the potential. Most likely they offer this because they can't afford to front the money and that is a bad sign. On the other hand, 10% of sales may end up being a real bit of money over the years if they do well. You need to do the math -- how much work, now much work with follow up down the line, how much money are you likely to get, what's the bottom and what's the low end. And of course, will you have to refuse better paid work in order to make them happy...


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:08
French to German
+ ...
Already had that demand a few times Sep 15, 2014

Well Facebook started like this too and the guy who accepted is rich now...

I had that demand 3 times this year. Twice I refused because the project was not interesting and I thought it would not sell. For the third project I made a proposition with a very low minimum fee and a pourcentage of the sales because it was an interesting project of some students and I thought it might sell.

As Thomas said such companies are not able to afford the money a translation costs and they trie to get it this way...


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 20:08
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Well Sep 15, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Translators should be paid for their work. They are neither investing in nor gambling on the success of the client company.

As a rule, they are not. As a rule, they shouldn't. Occasionally, why not? If I got this request and I got the feeling that it is a one-man business that has no cash right now but it might be successful later, and the person struck me as honest, I might bite.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:08
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I fell for it once Sep 15, 2014

I remember that about 15 years ago I accepted to do the localisation of a number of software tools with no charge, to be compensated with a certain percentage of the sales of the tools. I had no control on the sales and did not receive any reports from the company about how many units of the software were sold, so in the end I did not see a penny for the many hours invested.

I like to think I am not a greedy person, so since that time, I humbly demand payment for the work I do and graciously give the customer all the money that would have come my way had I accepted the percentage/commission/royalty.

("A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush!")

[Edited at 2014-09-15 21:02 GMT]


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Michael Bastin  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:08
English to French
+ ...
Free translation of proz Sep 15, 2014

Back in the day, Proz was translated, and may still be, by professional translators for free. They didn't even get a free membership. I am not sure how this has changed today though.

If you believe in their idea and if it doesn't represent too much work, you might consider it and grow along with them.

Of course it's not usual, but the entrepreneur in you may decide it's worth some time.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:08
Member
English to French
Toss a coin Sep 16, 2014

But my take is that the probability to become rich is lower than that of working for free.
Un "Tiens" vaut mieux que deux "Tu l'auras".
People can be very imaginative when it comes to cheating providers.

Philippe


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You may; but it's usually unwise Sep 16, 2014

FarkasAndras wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Translators should be paid for their work. They are neither investing in nor gambling on the success of the client company.

As a rule, they are not. As a rule, they shouldn't. Occasionally, why not? If I got this request and I got the feeling that it is a one-man business that has no cash right now but it might be successful later, and the person struck me as honest, I might bite.

I do agree, FarkasAndras. It can't be an absolute rule. But the only payment you can be (reasonably) sure of is one that arrives within a set period of doing the work and can be itemised on an invoice; anything else, you must be prepared never to see. If this is a client that you've only been in contact with recently how can you trust him/her?

The only time I would agree to that sort of arrangement would be as a personal favour for someone I knew, not as a business proposition. In fact, I'm just about to do that: spending my free time proofreading a fiction book that I enjoyed enormously, written by a neighbour. I'm not doing it for the money. But if it's successful, there will be further books to proofread...for payment.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:08
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
The value the client derives from our work Sep 16, 2014

It's very uncommon, because of the difficulty in confirming whether they actually sold anything and/or ascertaining the true sales potential.

Most translators would probably reject this arrangement out of hand. However, it does raise an interesting point: why is there such a huge disconnect between what we charge for our work and the value the client derives from it? In one of my source language countries, attorneys and notaries charge more for the same quantity of legal work (time-wise) as the value at stake increases. So a contract for real estate transaction of EUR 500k costs considerably more than contract for EUR 50k, even though the time to draft it is about the same.

Why shouldn't the same apply to a translation of such a contract? If a client is going to use my brochure translation to help sell a gazillion dollars of drug X, or my patent translation help win a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit, shouldn't that be worth *considerably* more than translations of a bunch of birth certificates or e-mails full mindless intra-company jibber-jabber?

If not, why not? Just some food for thought...


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