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Payment upon client's acceptance
Thread poster: Inez Ulrich

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:00
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Jan 12

Hi there,

sometimes I read in the payment terms: "upon client's (meaning my client's clienticon_wink.gif) acceptance/approval".

Do you accept this? I don't want to, but seem to be lacking arguments somehow when discussing this with my clients. So what can I say?

Thanks!


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 00:00
Member (2016)
English to German
Your contract is with the agency Jan 12

Inez Ulrich wrote:

Hi there,

sometimes I read in the payment terms: "upon client's (meaning my client's clienticon_wink.gif) acceptance/approval".

Do you accept this? I don't want to, but seem to be lacking arguments somehow when discussing this with my clients. So what can I say?

Thanks!


You should always keep in mind that your contract is with the agency and not with the end client. The agency is your customer, has to check your work and to pay your invoice, no matter if or when the end user approves the work and no matter if the client pays at all. The agency even has to defend your work against unjustified client complaints (and good agencies do that).

Another argument is that you have no direct influence on the time the end client might approve the job finally, since you don't deal with the end client. This is again part of the agency's job and the risk the agency has to take.

You can of course sign these terms if there is a maximum wait included, for example if it says "upon client's approval but no later than 4 weeks after delivery of the work to the agency".

Go ahead and ask for those changes in the terms. Terms of agencies are negotiable. If not, go away.


 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:00
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Jan 12

Thanks, Kai-Viktor - you are confirming what I thought about this myself.

I have told my client that I am willing to do corrections within 14 days after delivery but won't accept payment upon client's acceptance. They are fine with iticon_smile.gif


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:00
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
I wouldn't Jan 12

Aoarently I will secon Kay-Viktor: as log as you have no control on the client (their acceptance), there is a no go for such clauses for me.
On the other hand, the agency keeps their share of the final cost as a compensation for their risk, so let them be. The agency's direct responsibility is to assure the quality of the translation BEFORE its delivery and not rely on the client's competence, or lack thereof, leaving good faith alone.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Unacceptable bad faith, period. Jan 12

The in-between (aka agency) will check your credentials, your curriculum, your references etc., may request samples or tests, etc. supposedly doing their due diligence to find an adequate translator for the job someone (aka end-client) has assigned them. They may refrain from doing any or all of this, if they merely have a gut feeling that you would be the right choice.

They are free to choose any translator they want.

If they chose you, you accepted the job, and you mutually agreed to a delivery deadline and a payment amount, date, and method, you are committed to deliver the job as you consider it adequately done, and they are committed to pay you the agreed amount on the agreed date and via the agreed method.

If, for any reason, they don't like what you delivered, they can ask you (and nobody else) to adjust it to their satisfaction, as quickly as reasonable, at no charge. You still have the right to stand by your guns, and say that their request is not reasonable, and let it stay so.

They will be still under their obligation to pay you as agreed, on the date agreed, and via the method agreed. They have no right to hold payment under the unjustified allegation that "it was slovenly done". They have no right - unless you explicitly agree - to hire a third party to fix it to their satisfaction, and deduct whatever it costs from your payment.

However all of this will be taken into consideration whenever they have another such job in the future. They'll still be free to choose any translator they want.

Forget translators... think of a plumber, mechanic, electrician, physician, dentist, restaurant, hotel, product brand, airline, anything people spend their money on. Why should it be different?

Now the end-client will also have supposedly done their due diligence to select an adequate language services provider... or merely hire the first one they found on Google.

They are free to choose any translation agency or freelance translator they want.

If they make a bad choice on any count, they'll think it over when they need translation services again. However that's none of your business! Your only client is the in-between, the translation agency; your business deal ends right there, as it is probably stated on the NDA you signed with them.


If all parties involved are acting in good faith, you'll do your best, so that the agency will prefer using your services. The agency will pay you as agreed, so that you'll gladly be available to do your best again when they need it. The end-client will be happy from receiving your best from that translation agency, so they'll choose that agency again in the future.

Any deviation from this involves bad faith at some point, including your best not being adequate for market standards, as some translators are known overstate their skills. The agency may have thought, "let's not waste time and effort in due diligence; if it comes out bad, we'll simply default on payment". The end-client may have forced the agency to accept a clause to the effect of "if we don't like it, we won't pay a red cent", based on the thought that "we won't like it anyway".


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:00
French to English
The long and short of it Jan 12

The short of it.
The short answer is "of course not". Your contract is with the agency. You do the work your client (agency) asks you to do and that client (agency) pays you according to the terms agreed. It is wholly unacceptable for those terms to be until the client is satisfied; some are never satified! If the agency is satisfied with the work you have provided, they have to assume that, for better or for worse.

The long of it.
I recently had the experience of an end client sending a small piece back to the agent with "corrections". Before being sent to the end-client, the work had been proof-read in-house by a native speaker of English. The agency is professional and polite and generally provides a copy of the work they send the client. The final responsibility for the work sent to the end client is that of the agency. If the end-client goes bankrupt, if they decide not to pay, if they don’t like your work or if the wind changes direction, if their dog is sick before they leave for work in the morning, none of that is your problem immediately and it is certainly NEVER a reason for you not to be paid.

In practical terms, if you wish to keep the client, then you may decide to re-read and perhaps correct certain things that have been pointed out. That may be a moment to consider how the agency works though. On the one hand, it seems fair that you be given the chance to "defend" your work; on the other hand, the agent is responsible for what is sent to the end-client. The agent should proofread the work it sends are therefore act as guarantor of the quality of the work it provides to its clients.
You need to be aware that some end-clients are never satisfied and that some end-clients will hassle the agent with “corrections” that are simply not justified. It can go on endlessly. There is a balance to be struck. The agent knows this.

My recent experience was unpleasant. I found it destabilising to have 3 pages of a 5-page translated “corrected” by an end client who is a native speaker of French, not that I consider myself infallible. I've too much experience to think that. However, I do think I can recognise good suggestions from native and non-native speakers and embrace them (the sugegstions, not the people!). The document was returned to the agency with the request from the client to have the document “corrected and revised” in accordance with what they (the French end-client) had corrected themselves.

I reminded the agency as politely as I could that the document had been proofread in-house by their own native British proofreader. I also explained that the client had in fact come back SIX WEEKS after having received the document. It seriously smacked of someone having time on their hands and wishing to show how good their English was. They succeeded (irony intended). They had introduced a truly French flavour, making mistakes no English native would ever make. They had perverted meaning and added a plethora of grammatical mistakes and incorrect uses of tense, not to mention a number of mistranslations and false friends. I offered to revise and “Frenchify” the rest of the document for my usual hourly rate and never really heard much more about it.

Obviously, a conscientious translator will do his best to provide the best work he/she can in the circumstances. Not only is it a matter of professional pride, but it is not to our economic advantage to provide unsatisfactory work. We don't want to spend (mch less waste) preciosu earning time by rehashing returned work for an after-sales revision service! No. By “in the circumstances”, I mean taking into account deadlines, but also the rate you are being paid. I had plenty of time to do the work, but I still had to do it within a particular time limit to use my time profitably. Some rates are so low that you have to be very careful about the time you spend on a piece of work. This was the case here. Once I’d put my foot down, I never heard of it again. It’s the agent’s problem, not mine and one of the downsides of the agent’s job. I did a couple more jobs for them but am not happy with the rate and the payment terms which are way too long. It plays havoc with my budget and I’m not prepared to accept it any more. But that’s a different story. 😉


[Edited at 2018-01-12 20:54 GMT]


 

Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 00:00
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
Assume approval Jan 12

Inez Ulrich wrote:

Hi there,

sometimes I read in the payment terms: "upon client's (meaning my client's clienticon_wink.gif) acceptance/approval".

Do you accept this? I don't want to, but seem to be lacking arguments somehow when discussing this with my clients. So what can I say?

Thanks!


You could, as a minimum, add that if no concerns have been raised within 7 days, this will be considered to be acceptance/approval ...


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:00
French to English
Mair Jan 12

Yes, approval has to be assumed within a certain time. It is difficult to put a limit on it, but "reasonable" time would be great. Within a few days of the work having been returned seems reasonable. Within a few weeks does not. The substance of the claim being made also has to be "reasonable". In my example, in my recent experience, I argued that it was unreasonable of the client to refer back to the translator 6 weeks after the work had been supplied and unreasonable in terms of what was being requested. It is then to the agent to argue what they consider reasonable with their client. Most agencies will impose their terms and conditions, and are unwilling to negotiate. If you are not happy with what they propose, you go somewhere else.

I'd not sign with an agent that would link their obligation to pay for the work supplied to anything the end-client does.

[Edited at 2018-01-12 21:04 GMT]


 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:00
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Jan 12

Thanks for your highly appreciated opinionsicon_smile.gif!

We all have the same opinion on this. As I already mentioned, I have declined this policy and will get payment 30 days after delivery. Corrections can be asked for within 14 days after delivery and this has nothing to do with my payment.

I normally have really, really great clients and only rarely have to deal with such things, but this client immediately agreed on my suggestionicon_smile.gif


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:00
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My view Jan 13

I would not agree to any terms in which payment for my services was contingent upon “client acceptance,” which can be based on entirely arbitrary and unfair criteria.

Something like the following seems fair and reasonable:

“In the absence of conclusive evidence that the translation I have produced is fundamentally flawed, I will expect payment in full by [agreed date].”

The virtues of such an approach are as follows:
1.
It sets forth objective criteria for justifying less than full payment.
2.
It places the burden of proving a bad translation squarely on the shoulders of the agency.
3.
The use of the phrase “fundamentally flawed” makes it clear that minor errors or a client’s preferences for one acceptable term over another acceptable term will not constitute grounds for non-payment or discounted payment.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:00
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Go by the contract Jan 14

The contract is with your client, that is, with the agency. As soon as they have accepted your translation, they must adhere to the prior agreed payment terms between them and you. If they find no severe flaws or, in case they do and you have corrected them, then they have to pay you. Nothing else matters but the agreement between you and the agency.

[Edited at 2018-01-14 10:53 GMT]


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:00
French to English
Contract Jan 14

Thayenga wrote:

The contract is with your client, that is, with the agency. As soon as they have accepted your translation, they must adhere to the prior agreed payment terms between them and you. If they find no severe flaws or, in case they do and you have corrected them, then they have to pay you. Nothing else matters but the agreement between you and the agency.


I agree. I think the Asker's was just wondering if making payment conditional upon a client's acceptance was usual. I don't think she's signed any such contract (yet).icon_wink.gif


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:00
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Agency's responsibility Jan 16

Payment should never be in question.

The agency should also be able to judge whether client complaints are justified.
The agency should be able to expect that you fix your mistakes.
The agency is free to discontinue the cooperation if the quality fails to meet standards.

But in the end, they assigned the project based on their judgement of your abilities.
Sometimes agencies make mistakes there, and I guess that can really hurt a smaller agency.
I recently had 2 clients send me big projects (over 20k) for review that clients had returned, where the original translator really messed up, and clearly failed to understand the subject matter.
I found it really painful to tell the agency that the client was correct and justified in these cases.
At least with one of them, I know the agency managed to keep the end client after the revision.

That's an extra expense that wasn't planned. But it is the agency's responsibility to put a QA system in place to prevent it, to make funds available to fix it, and to smooth things out with the client.
This is what they charge higher rates for, this is their added value.
They cannot make you assume the risk for their mark-up.

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

My recent experience was unpleasant. I found it destabilising to have 3 pages of a 5-page translated “corrected” by an end client who is a native speaker of French, not that I consider myself infallible. I've too much experience to think that. However, I do think I can recognise good suggestions from native and non-native speakers and embrace them (the sugegstions, not the people!). The document was returned to the agency with the request from the client to have the document “corrected and revised” in accordance with what they (the French end-client) had corrected themselves.



[Edited at 2018-01-12 20:54 GMT]


Well, that's a fairly common habit of German end clients, especially smaller companies with executives under 35.

Agencies also frequently get positive feedback from clients. In addition to their internal QA procedures, this feedback will quickly put them in a position to judge how well your translations are received in general. If that is good, they won't be worried about the odd client coming back with error creations - or in my case, germanised texts.
Their inhouse team generally appreciates any assistance in dealing with it. It's easy enough to provide links to grammar sites or dictionary entries in the comments for such "corrections".
I don't get worked up about it, it's just something that Germans do.


 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:00
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all for your comments! Jan 16

Thanks all for your replies - there is always something new to learn and I'm very glad I can ask for your advice here. I wish all of us nice and professional clients and absolutely no trouble for 2018!

 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:00
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Jan 16

in fact, right now I'm struggling with another issue with this job: the agency said there are 50.000 words of which 10.000 words are repetitions (excel cells with identical content) - which in my eyes means that I only have to deal with a certain amount of words once and then am finished with those, because of those identical cells. Now they say they never said it was only about 40.000 words to work on. Sometimes the sh... never ends.Lesson learnt again: always ask twice if you got everything right >:(



[Edited at 2018-01-16 18:55 GMT]


 
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