Non Payment of Huge Amount by a Client based in USA
Thread poster: Kamran Nadeem

Kamran Nadeem  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:16
English to Urdu
+ ...
Nov 5, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you are doing well. I want your help in resolving an issue of non payment of about US$8000. We done this job in Dari language for a US Client in July 2014. This translation was of about 50,000 words and was done in MS Publisher. Since this was a huge project was very short deadline we made a team of three translators and started working of the assignment. After four days our translators pointed out that the text in the files does not match. We pointed out this to client and they admitted that they have sent wrong files to us. Ti8ll that time about 9000 words have been translated by our team. To cut a long story short the client admitted her mistake and send us revised files and promised to pay for the text that have been translated so far. As a matter of fact the deadline would have been extended by the client but she refused to do it and our team put extra efforts and completed the entire project as per the deadline. We submitted the translation and invoices to the client.

Now when we contacted the client for payment she says that the translation quality was not good so she is not going to pay us. Please let me know what should I do to get paid. Is there some forums/Institutes/departments where I can complain against this client to get paid? Are there some legal tools available for this kind of situation.

Any reply or suggestion will be highly appreciated.

Kind regards,


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Salam Alrawi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:16
English to Arabic
+ ...
BBB Nov 5, 2014

Kamran Nadeem wrote:

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you are doing well. I want your help in resolving an issue of non payment of about US$8000. We done this job in Dari language for a US Client in July 2014. This translation was of about 50,000 words and was done in MS Publisher. Since this was a huge project was very short deadline we made a team of three translators and started working of the assignment. After four days our translators pointed out that the text in the files does not match. We pointed out this to client and they admitted that they have sent wrong files to us. Ti8ll that time about 9000 words have been translated by our team. To cut a long story short the client admitted her mistake and send us revised files and promised to pay for the text that have been translated so far. As a matter of fact the deadline would have been extended by the client but she refused to do it and our team put extra efforts and completed the entire project as per the deadline. We submitted the translation and invoices to the client.

Now when we contacted the client for payment she says that the translation quality was not good so she is not going to pay us. Please let me know what should I do to get paid. Is there some forums/Institutes/departments where I can complain against this client to get paid? Are there some legal tools available for this kind of situation.

Any reply or suggestion will be highly appreciated.

Kind regards,


If the client is an agency or business based in the US, I would report it to BBB, that should affect their rating and usually businesses don't like it. I have done this before to PayPal and they fixed the issue right away.
You can also report them on the blue board here and every translation tool possible.
However, these above suggestions won't fix the money issue.

I think you can sue the client in the US, I believe the court will probably get someone to check the translation and if you guys are good then the court will force the client to pay you plus any damage as well as the guy who checked the translation in court.

Now back to you, did you check the client before accepting the job? Did they provide you proof of why and how the translation is bad? Is the client a registered proz.com or an outsource?
If you didn't know anything about the client, you should have divided the payments based on turn around, I mean you translate some and you turn it then get paid and continue, specially for a large project.

Only way the client knows (or think) your translation is bad is by them having a proofreader. You both can agree on a proofreader and have him/her check the document. There is a possibility that their proofreader is weak.

So you need to provide more about the circumstances, deadline, reputation, how and why they think the translation is bad ...etc in order for someone to give you a positive help. No need to mention names (yet).


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:16
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
What does your contract say? Nov 5, 2014

What does your contract say about quality issues? Do you have a Purchase Order? Is there some fine print on the Purchase Order about quality issues?

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:16
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Dari Nov 5, 2014

Hi Kamran

I'm curious as to how your client was able to check the translation into Dari. Is your client fluent in that language or did they rely on a proof-reader?


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Branka Ramadanovic  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 14:16
Member
English to Croatian
+ ...
Post them on the BlueBoard here. Nov 5, 2014

Sometimes it works out and clients do pay. I strongly believe that you ought to be paid for your effort. Do not work with that client any longer. Good luck!

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Mary Keramida  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:16
Member (2012)
English to Greek
+ ...
Two possible solutions Nov 5, 2014

Hi Kamran,

It's obviously a common situation and I would suggest two possible solutions.
First of all do check you PO (if there was one) and pay attention to the terms related to quality issues. However, you could ask to get specific details concerning the quality of the translation. What did the client find? (errors of meaning, form, compliance etc). You then could have this error list checked by one of the translators who worked on the project and ask them to provide some feedback. Secondly, as it's already being mentioned you can try posting on Blue Board.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
First things first Nov 5, 2014

Mary.K wrote:
you could ask to get specific details concerning the quality of the translation. What did the client find? (errors of meaning, form, compliance etc). You then could have this error list checked by one of the translators who worked on the project and ask them to provide some feedback.

That has to come well before any talk of legal procedures. You need to tie down exactly what the alleged errors are. If many were clearly the result of having too little time rather than a clear inability to do a good job, then that will definitely help your claim to full or slightly reduced payment.

I'd say that total mistranslations are not acceptable, whatever the stress level. But there are several things that are bound to be less than perfect:
- consistency of terminology and style between the various translators
- proofreading for the "from vs form" type of error (though it should be spell-checked)
- small omissions (at the level of adjectives/adverbs) that can easily result from hasty edits
- inelegant choice of synonyms (the translator having no time to go beyond the "that will do" decision)

Now, you accepted the deadline, so you can't blame anyone else there. But when the client refused to extend the deadline following their own mistake then you were put in a very difficult position indeed. I hope you got down in writing at the time that that was really not acceptable.

Once you've put your case to the client and found that payment is still not forthcoming, that's when legal help will be called for. AFAIK, payment can only be withheld if the entire job is unfit for the purpose, but that's for lawyers to haggle over.


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