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Should I ask for my colleague's rights ?
Thread poster: Joseph Samir

Joseph Samir
Egypt
Local time: 15:02
English to Arabic
+ ...
Apr 15, 2005

Dear Colleagues ,

I have a potential situation in here and I can't figure out a solution ..

A company , with some bad ratings on the BB because they didn't pay a translator or two , asked me to do an assignment for them . I postponed my reply to them and finally I decided to be very frank and straight-forward with them . I just told them that : "your ratings on the Blue Board are not good ..So , for future cooperation , I think you might need to show me some good intentions ."

There are too many options to show good intentions but assume they offered me full advanced payment ; well , this really solves my problem and secures my situation .

But what about my colleague who didn't get his money ??

Do I have the right to tell the company after their offer to me : " Thanks a lot for showing such a good intention , but what about my colleague's payment !!? "

My colleague has secured my side by his warning , shouldn't I think of him/her as well ??

In fact , I won't feel good even if I took my money and everything went smooth with this company as I will always feel some commitment towards my colleague !!

Aren't we to do this as colleagues or what ?? I am confused ..

Too much feelings , huh ?? I don't know !! I am trying to reduce my feelings when it comes to work but in fact I can't separate them totally ..

Your comments and advices will be much appreciated ..

Sincerely ,
Joseph Samir


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vixen  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:02
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Advance payment Apr 15, 2005

I think it shows sound business practice if you demand advance payment from an agency/client that has a bad record as regards payment practices, regardless of how you found out.

This has nothing to do with (lack of) solidarity towards your colleague. It's just a business decision.

Your colleague has entered into a business relationship of his/her own and should try to find ways to get paid without your intervention.

[Edited at 2005-04-15 12:44]


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:02
Despite your good intentions... Apr 15, 2005

vixen wrote:

Your colleague has entered into a business relationship of his/her own and should try to find ways to get paid without your intervention.


... there is always the possibility that your intervention could complicate thigs more for all of you, instead of making them better, so I have to agree with Vixen.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:02
French to English
Stay out of it Apr 15, 2005

Agree with the others - do not say anything to the agency about your "colleague". From the BB alone, you do not know the story - perhaps the quality was not up to standard, for instance, or delivery was late.... Don't get involved.

However, if you wish to make some kind of gesture of solidarity with your "colleague", then once the project has been done, and you have been paid, you could contact the colleague and tell them that you have worked for the agency and been paid, so perhaps they could try again to receive payment. It's no excuse, but perhaps the agency had cash-flow problems at the time, and now everything is OK again....


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:02
German to English
+ ...
Do you even know the facts? Apr 15, 2005

Maybe there is a plausible reason why payment wasn't made. I find it questionable to back up someone you don't even know in matters that have nothing to do with you.

I understand where you are coming from, but I wonder if you really know all of the facts. Perhaps the matter was settled long ago, but has simply not been corrected yet in the Blue Board. Perhaps, payment was refused because the translation was horrible.

To be honest, I can't imagine that your mentioning something like that will improve either your or the other's situation.

Besides that, were you even asked to fight this other translator's battles?

I'd be extremely careful with this kind of stuff if I were you.

[Edited at 2005-04-15 13:19]


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 08:02
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Business is business Apr 15, 2005

You are not your brother's keeper...

You make your deals, he makes his. Everyone who has contributed to this thread thus far has made some excellent suggestions, I think.

Getting paid *in advance* is not so common in this industry (or in many others, for that matter). If you wish, take the job; see what happens next, and decide from there your best future course of action.

Good luck, and all the best

Nancy


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Joseph Samir
Egypt
Local time: 15:02
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Apr 15, 2005

Dear Colleagues ,

Thank you so much for your concerns and quick replies .. They are really useful and have exposed many ideas and possiblities . I have to keep in mind that it really might get worse not better as I was expecting .. Yet , I have noticed that your concerns are mainly focusing on a colleague whom I don't know ..

So , what if I know him well (I know he's honest and he deserves evry cent of his money) or maybe the colleague has proof and evidences that he did an excellent job without violating the agreement ? Will the attitude be the same on my side and as suggested by your replies or there might be some other new possiblities ?

Sincerely ,
Joseph

PS
Nancy : that was the excuse said by the brother himself but sure wasn't the answer that God wanted to hear


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:02
German to English
+ ...
Joseph, Apr 15, 2005

Why not simply refuse the assignment? The agency will realize that it's becoming more and more difficult to find translators and maybe clean up its act.

Just my 2 cents' worth.

Trudy


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Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:02
Japanese to English
+ ...
Trudys is a good suggestion. My take... Apr 15, 2005

Trudy Peters wrote:

Why not simply refuse the assignment? The agency will realize that it's becoming more and more difficult to find translators and maybe clean up its act.

Just my 2 cents' worth.

Trudy


The gist of this thread is good, though I wish the tone wasnt so cold. We should live our lives to support each other. That said, it won't do any good to go to bat for the colleague. The client isnt going to develop sudden pangs of guilt, and it compromises your business relationship. If there were any real possibility that it would help our colleague, it would be a different story.

So the only thing you have control over is whether or not you want to help the client who has a bad record where it comes to payment. If we don't cooperate and it hits them where it hurts, and that is always the pocketbook for these people, that's the best we can do.

I'm just starting out and could use the dough, but I'd personally still be wary of doing business with them, but that's me.

Good luck with your decision.


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Joseph Samir
Egypt
Local time: 15:02
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well , Trudy , your note is very precious .. Apr 15, 2005

That's what I am trying to do ; to solve a suspended situation and to help a colleague if he deserves my help .. Opening the case in the way I proposed might result , after all , in one of two :

1) If the client is guilty : he will know directly and with a strong impact that the translators' awareness of his bad reputation is increasing and that their behaviour changed ; i.e. instead of working with him to try for themselves or even remain silent without revealing that the reason is their colleague's previous experience , translators are simply and directly telling him that your reputation is not pure .. I think that this will result in either the client vanishing (so we cleaned up our way ) or as you said "cleaning up his acts" (which is good too)..

2) If the client isn't guilty : he will provide evidences and clean his reputation easily ..

I think this is fair enough for both sides but it can only happen if we acted positively yet "carefully" as some colleagues said ..

So , What do you think ?

Sincerely ,
Joseph

PS
By the way , Nancy , I know that *advance payment* isn't common but if the company is guilty , it will do anything to clean up the mess it left behind , right !!

Trudy Peters wrote:

Why not simply refuse the assignment? The agency will realize that it's becoming more and more difficult to find translators and maybe clean up its act.

Just my 2 cents' worth.

Trudy


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Benno Groeneveld  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:02
English to Dutch
+ ...
Joseph Apr 15, 2005

I agree that you maybe should refuse the assignment. But DEFINITELY raise the issue with them. If they have an explanation, so much the better. If they don't, they will get at least an inkling that translators communicate with each other and they can't screw over people for too long with impunity.

As a matter of fact, I recently threatened (in a nice way) a company that developed payment problems (they do pay, but it can take more than three months) with exposing them to the translators' community. It seemed to help.

Translators of the world unite, we have nothing to lose but our payments.

Benno


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:02
German to English
+ ...
There are always two (or more) sides to a story. Apr 15, 2005

If you give a text to ten translators, you are almost certain to come up with ten different translations. Interpretations of things like "truth," "fact," "guilt," and "innocence" are similar (IMHO).

Again, I urge caution and reservation - one rarely knows the whole story.

[Edited at 2005-04-15 20:35]


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 14:02
English to French
+ ...
It is *Business* Apr 15, 2005

I completely agree with Derek, with what he says in the two posts. There is nothing more to say.

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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:02
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
some cold, hard logic Apr 15, 2005

The way I see it you have to sit down and think about what you are trying to achieve and how you want to do it. From what you have already posted it is my understanding that:

a) you need/want this job (otherwise why would you go through all this trouble?)

b) you would like your friend (?) to be paid by this agency as well

Now think about your possible actions; you can:

1) accept the job
2) accept the job only on the condition that they pay your friend
3) decline the job
4) decline the job and tell them it's because they didn't pay your friend


Assuming they will agree to pre-payment (not in itself a likely scenario) you can choose 1-4. 1 and 3 are simple, 1 gets you the job and the cash but nothing for your friend, 3 gets you nothing and has no impact on your friend.

2 and 4 are basically the same, since you are telling them you will only work for them if they pay your friend (if you decline the job (4) and they (promise to) pay your friend, you'll probably agree to do it, even if you initially declined it).

Now consider your position. You translate from English into Arabic and back. A quick look in the directory suggests that there are plenty of other people who work in this language pair. This agency has already gone through all the trouble (it is big trouble not to pay people) of not paying your friend, do you really think they will start "producing evidence of their innocence" to YOU? I reckon they'll just find another translator.


From all this it seems quite clear that you should simply take the job but we forgot to incorporate the final ingredient; your relationship with your friend. If you feel that you want to show solidarity and can afford to then 2&4 are your choices. Nobody here can advise you of how you feel towards this person and what your relationship is: I can only say that I don't think YOU have any influence over whether the agency will pay your friend or not, you have no leverage at all as 99% of us are substitutable (to a degree) therefore any attempt to force them into anything will simply result in you losing a job and feeling bitter towards your friend about it.

Good luck and may you choose wisely!

[Edited at 2005-04-15 22:30]


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Joseph Samir
Egypt
Local time: 15:02
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Can , Benno and Derek Apr 15, 2005

Thank you so much guys , just some few comments on yours in addition please read my last posting to Trudy ..

Can : You agree with me that we should support each other and this is great . But since we can't completely say that our intervention will help the colleague or not , I think we can give it a try carefully and cautiously as Derek said .. Well , a client will only deserve to be helped if and only if he really wants to clean up his acts .. Just one thing that I am not sure I understood completely : "though I wish the tone wasnt so cold" !!?? Thanks again for the comment ..


Benno : Then you agree with my last posting , we should really support each other positively .. Benno , do me a favor !! please let me know about the nice way because I will be doing the same kind of threatening next week !! Thanks in advance

Derek : Well , Derek , just a small question (which in fact was the motive that forced me to have these feelings and to reveal them to you all in here) .. If you were in this colleague's place ; i.e. you did an excellent job with no violations to the agreement and then not paid , would you believe that there is another side of the story ?? I am just trying to feel my colleague and imagine I am in his place ; in fact I was once and it seems that no body supported me and this really feels bad ..
So , if one of us had passed through a bad experience and feeling , why don't s/he help others to avoid going through the same ? Thanks a lot Derek for your honest advices , I really appreciate this ..

Sincerely ,
Joseph


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