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Shall we cover the costs of translation agencies?
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 08:57
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Jun 17, 2015

Hi folks,

Just got an email from one agency which some time gave me a couple of small jobs. And this email made me really mad. Of course, the best option for reaction into such emails is to ignore/delete them. But this time I really wanted to write something nasty to that agency in response (e.g. to ask them if I will also need to pay for their coffee, electricity, and other expenses, and will they pay me for translations completed, or, maybe I shall pay them). Finally, cooled down a little and wrote a formal reply telling them that such changes are not acceptable for me and asked them to delete my profile and all personal info from their databases.

The question is - shall we simply ignore such agencies and such practices (i.e. no wasted time, no reaction, etc.), or shall we already do something? I think that they really deserve some "feedback"...?

And the letter:

Dear linguist,

Please be advised that as from June 1st 2015, we will deduct the banking fees from
all payments made by wire transfers. This applies to both wires sent out of the USA
to linguists in the USA and for wires sent out of the USA to linguists around the
globe.

If you live in the USA, you may choose to receive by check or paypal.

If you live anywhere else, you can choose either wire transfer or paypal.

Currently, fees are USD 17,00 for domestic wires (within the US) and USD 27,00 for
international wires. But these fees may change without prior notice.

Feel free to contact me should you have any queries.

If you want to change your payment method, please email:


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Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 02:57
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
:) Jun 17, 2015

Union is strength...

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:57
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Higher rates Jun 18, 2015

In my opinion, a sensible response is to report that, in order to cover the loss caused by this decision, you raise your rates by a certain percentage. Obviously, the deal made when you agreed a certain rate with them is now altered and you no longer receive the same income as before from their translations, so your decision is justified.

Another approach is to simply accept payment via Paypal and move the customer to your low-priority list, so that you give priority to all other customers working with more reasonable conditions.


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:57
French to German
+ ...
Don't accept such conditions Jun 18, 2015

Either raise your rates or refuse to work with them.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:57
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Do you want the work? Jun 18, 2015

MariusV wrote:
Please be advised that as from June 1st 2015, we will deduct the banking fees from all payments made by wire transfers. .. Currently, fees are USD 27,00 for international wires.


Looks like you're going to have to start charging this agency an administration fee of USD 25 per invoice, as a line item distinct from the word count or hour count. Note sure what you'll call it -- bookkeeping fee, administration fee, minimum rate surcharge, ...


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Unexplained deduction Jun 18, 2015

Well, I've recently had a newish client of mine (an agency) deduct £6 from a £112 invoice without explanation. The agency and I are both in the UK, so there surely shouldn't be any bank-to-bank charge. No such charge was ever stipulated in the agency's POs. I've asked for an explanation, but have received no reply. The agency also needs prompting to pay by the agreed date so I've decided to demote them to the bottom of my client list.
Annoying.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:57
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
What comes next? Jun 18, 2015

Andrea Halbritter wrote:

Either raise your rates or refuse to work with them.


Exactly. Raise your rate by 10% to cover the additional costs by this unilateral change of "contract", or simply stop working for them. No one can afford to work more for less money.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 07:57
German to English
+ ...
17 USD for a bank transfer??? Jun 18, 2015

Ye Gods, that's extortionate. Time the US joined the EU!

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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:57
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Extortionate indeed! Jun 18, 2015

David Wright wrote:

Ye Gods, that's extortionate. Time the US joined the EU!


I have a client based in New Zealand, and she pays $17 to send money to me and THEN I get charged an additional £12 by some intermediary bank to receive the money! Someone is laughing all the way to the bank and it's not me or my client!


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:57
Russian to English
+ ...
Exctaly. Jun 18, 2015

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

In my opinion, a sensible response is to report that, in order to cover the loss caused by this decision, you raise your rates by a certain percentage. Obviously, the deal made when you agreed a certain rate with them is now altered and you no longer receive the same income as before from their translations, so your decision is justified.

Another approach is to simply accept payment via Paypal and move the customer to your low-priority list, so that you give priority to all other customers working with more reasonable conditions.


Definitely tell people about their practices, where allowed. Money transfers have become very expensive. Some cost $36, even if you are to transfer $20.

If they had used their brains, they would have understood that most likely—that transferring money when the amounts are small does not make any sense, and found a different method of payment.

[Edited at 2015-06-18 07:45 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
French to English
Lucky you cooled down :) Jun 18, 2015

MariusV wrote:

... to ask them if I will also need to pay for their coffee, electricity, and other expenses, ...


because obviously in fact that is precisely what all of us who work for agencies do. It's part of the reason why we only get a fraction of the money the end client is charged for work we have done (notwithstanding any value the agency might add). Not that you really need me to explain that .

I suspect with agencies of the kind to send messages such as the one you received, there are only really 2 options, either suck it up or stop working for them. The sensible suggestions you've had to offset the loss (raise rates, apply an admin fee) are unlikely, I feel, to wash with the senders of such a messages, and the outcome would be the same - work under the new conditions or don't work at all. Worth a try, perhaps, but anticipate rejection.

As has been hinted at by others, the underlying cause of the problem, and indeed most of the finance-related problems that have affected many of us over the last 7 or 8 years, is the greed of the officially-sanctioned criminal gangs often referred to as "banks"....


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:57
Member
English to French
Beware Jun 18, 2015

Charlie Bavington wrote:
As has been hinted at by others, the underlying cause of the problem, and indeed most of the finance-related problems that have affected many of us over the last 7 or 8 years, is the greed of the officially-sanctioned criminal gangs often referred to as "banks"....

These people are powerful, and if I were you I would refrain from publicly stating that banks are mostly a bunch of greedy crooks. Instead, you should see bank fees as an inevitable global tax of a few percent on every single domestic and international transaction to keep the world in good order.
Watch out for any laser-guided missile coming your way.
Good luck,
Philippe


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:57
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Reach an agreement with the agency Jun 18, 2015

I have one client who has actually asked me to add an extra line on the invoice, and pays me to cover the deduction in bank charges.

Neither of us is in the Eurozone, but the banks have their fixed charge for transfers between Scandinavian countries, and that is how we cover it. I assume my client passes it on to his end-client - and some end-clients must pay quite a lot, because my agency client coordinates a lot of multi-language work from translators all over the EU.

It makes bank charges visible at least, so people can see where the money goes.

I have different agreements with other clients, like accumulating jobs on a monthly invoice - I discuss bank charges with them, so we can find the best arrangement. We all have to cover our expenses one way or another, so we have to set our rates accordingly. They are not actually carved in stone!



[Edited at 2015-06-18 11:07 GMT]


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xxxbrg
Netherlands
Time for us Jun 18, 2015

David Wright wrote:

Ye Gods, that's extortionate. Time the US joined the EU!


to boycot American clients.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 13:57
Chinese to English
Another +1 for Tomas Jun 18, 2015

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

In my opinion, a sensible response is to report that, in order to cover the loss caused by this decision, you raise your rates by a certain percentage. Obviously, the deal made when you agreed a certain rate with them is now altered and you no longer receive the same income as before from their translations, so your decision is justified.

Another approach is to simply accept payment via Paypal and move the customer to your low-priority list, so that you give priority to all other customers working with more reasonable conditions.

This seems to me to be the right attitude and the right response. The number of different models available to work in now is enormous (e.g. that thread by Juliano; online platforms; agencies; direct clients; post-whatever it's called). It doesn't really matter what model we work in, so long as we are clear that we deserve to make a fair living under each one.

Having said that, a cheeky so-and-so is a cheeky so-and-so, no matter what model they're representing.


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