DE->EN; many delayed payments; economic crisis in Europe?
Thread poster: Joseph Schreiner

Joseph Schreiner
United States
Local time: 06:32
Member (2012)
German to English
+ ...
Sep 1, 2015

Hello all,

I was reviewing my financial records and I wonder if I am experiencing a fluke, or a larger trend. Many of my customers (translation agencies in Germany) are delaying payments to me. These are customers with whom I have had good business relationships in the past. And it is not just one agency. There are maybe a half dozen agencies who are not paying (past 60 days, where 60 days is already an excessive delay).

I see three possibilities: 1) random fluke, 2) summer/August doldrums, or 3) finanical crisis in Germany/Europe. I wonder if German LSPs as a whole are delaying payments because of the fallout of the Greek financial crisis. The drop in the euro -> dollar exchange rate is also hurting me. I live in the USA.

Am I the only one experiencing this? Are other German -> EN/FR/ES/** translators experiencing the same delays?

I wonder if I need to hustle and get new customers. On the whole, I have been comfortable with past customers approaching me to do more work for them. But now I wonder if I need to spend time/effort to find others.

Another factor that makes me think about customer-hunting is payment rates. My perception is that agencies will lock a particular translator into a fixed rate and almost never agree to raising rates. That's OK in the short term. But almost overnight, the euro went from $1.33 to $1.11 and my customers have not increased their rates correspondingly.

Any comments are appreciated.

Thanks,
Joseph Schreiner


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 14:32
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Crisis and Payments Sep 1, 2015

I honestly do not think that an economic crisis in Europe would have any effect on timely customer payments of three-digit figures. Some customers, however, might use a crisis to delay their payments to translators. That should definitely be considered an ill will.

We see the beginnings of an economic (as well as politic) crisis in Turkey these days. Thank God I do not have a current assignment because I am on vacation now. The crisis could get worse towards the end of the year 2015. There are elections again, and we cannot predict the outcome.


 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:32
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
Maybe the summer holidays Sep 1, 2015

I do not think neither that the financial crisis in Europe is there for something. Maybe you can in deed blame the summer holiday which in southern Germany only ends at the middle of september.

Personally I work for very few agencies, but do observe the same thing with direct customers in France. If the person who does the payment is on holiday it usually is not done before the person returns to work.


 

Elif Baykara Narbay  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 14:32
German to Turkish
+ ...
I don't have any payment issues with my German clients, Sep 1, 2015

but they are direct clients rather than agencies. Maybe this plays a role.


ATIL KAYHAN wrote:

I honestly do not think that an economic crisis in Europe would have any effect on timely customer payments of three-digit figures. Some customers, however, might use a crisis to delay their payments to translators. That should definitely be considered an ill will.

We see the beginnings of an economic (as well as politic) crisis in Turkey these days. Thank God I do not have a current assignment because I am on vacation now. The crisis could get worse towards the end of the year 2015. There are elections again, and we cannot predict the outcome.



I agree with Mr. Kayhan on the anticipated crisis in Turkey. But otherwise, I don't face any difficulties in payments.


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 13:32
German to Swedish
+ ...
Why... Sep 1, 2015

Joseph Schreiner wrote:

But almost overnight, the euro went from $1.33 to $1.11 and my customers have not increased their rates correspondingly.



Why should they if you accept $1.11?


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:32
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Summer vacation time Sep 2, 2015

I think that the delayed payment problem you're experiencing is due to the summer vacation time (6 weeks) here in Germany. The good news is that the vacation period has already ended in 9 of the 16 Federal States this week, and will end by the end of this week in another 5 states with only 2 states left where they will end on September 12th and 14th.

As rough as it is on you (and I do understand the financial problems these delays are causing you), I would suggest that you send a reminder email to your clients. They should get back to you soon.


 

Joseph Schreiner
United States
Local time: 06:32
Member (2012)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your comments/observations Sep 3, 2015

Thank you all for your comments and observations. I have a few responses.

Actually, the amount due from two of my customers is in four figures, so I am naturally concerned.

I have turned down jobs from previous customers where the rate they still offer times the new euro/dollar ratio has made their offers unattractive. I get mixed signals from this. I think there are fewer offers from these customers, but sometimes they continue to make offers at the same lower rate.

I noticed a slow down in business when there was a question of whether the Greek government would default on its debt or leave the EU. As soon as the Greek government "conceded", business picked up again (almost to the very day). Then again, this was at the beginning of summer, so it is difficult to say whether this was seasonal vs. political/business.

Joseph


 

Elisabeth Maurland
United States
Local time: 06:32
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Experiencing the same Oct 14, 2015

I am waiting for delayed payment from all three companies I regularly work for, and which are usually dependable. But they are not in Germany, they are in Denmark, UK/USA, and China. I am also planning on looking for new clients (which I need more of anyway). But I wonder what the deal is?

 


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DE->EN; many delayed payments; economic crisis in Europe?

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