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Help - agency refusing to pay repetitions but PM said "we will pay you for full wordcount"
Thread poster: Akiko Detke

Akiko Detke
Hong Kong
Member (May 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
May 9

Hello there,

I have been troubled by a Finnish agency regarding the project I delivered in June 2017.
The project was about translating the entire website. I was given access to the WordPress and then asked to translate the entire website directly in WordPress.

Upon assignment, the project manager gave me username and password to log in to WordPress.
She also gave me a Word file detailing name of the webpages and wordcount for each page.
She said many times in the email that "Some sections have duplications, but since they are all included in the word count, please do not omit the same translation, please translate."
Her email said "We will pay full word count irregardless of fuzzy matches."
Also, in addition to translate, she asked me to update the website and see if the translation is showing correctly on the website. Here again, she said in the email "Could you please check and update all the pages even some translation is duplicated? I included all the word count and we will pay you for full word count."

After all the translation is complete, I included all the wordcount, multipled by agreed rate per word and then sent the invoice.

After sending the invoice, project manager contacted me saying below.
***
I have something to discuss with you about your invoice. I think you remember there were 3 long XXX sections in the website translation. Those 3 XXX are exactly the same text, with only the company name and address changed. I have talked to our CEO and we can only pay for 1 and some small changes you made as the other 2 text are the same. (we will pay for everything else of course.)
I am really sorry for the inconvenience. If you could update your invoice and send it to the accountant again (invoices@xxx.com), we would appreciate it.
***

I explained how the project was assigned to the CEO but they insist it is definitely unacceptable to pay me for the work I did not do. However, that is not true because I had to work on repetitions (if NO work it means I leave them untranslated) and in addition to translation, I had to update the website and check if the translation is showing correctly on the website.

I explained to CEO that I did "work" on repetitions but now CEO is totally ignoring my email and I am not paid AT ALL.

Could someone let me know how I should approach them?


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:28
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Updated website is breaching copyright, if not paid for May 11

Hi Akiko,
You should send them a polite but firm email, requesting immediate payment of your full invoice. If you do not have a PO (purchase order), then I hope you have all those emails saved where the PM explicitly stated that they will be paying for the complete wordcount.
Tell them that you fulfilled your obligation of the agreement, and therefore they should fulfill their obligation of paying you.
You can tell them that the low per word rate you agreed to is for projects where you are compensated for the full word count, and you have a different, higher base rate for projects where the agreement is to apply discounts for repetitions and/or fuzzies.
Also make it very clear that as long as the work is not paid for, you own the copyright to the translated text, so if they are using it on their website, they are in breach of copyright.


 

Akiko Detke
Hong Kong
Member (May 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Katalin May 11

Katalin,

Many thanks for your reply.
Of course I have all the email records (they did not issue PO) and I repeatedly point out that the PM said many times they will pay full wordcount but they insist they don't pay for the work I did not do.

Thanks for pointing out about the copyright though. I just sent them an email and see what happens.

Akiko


 

Akiko Detke
Hong Kong
Member (May 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Client still refuse to pay even if I mention copyright May 12

Katalin,

I did not receive reply within 24 hours so I finally called. I asked the CEO to reply to my email.
He said same thins, "you ended up submitting 100% exact copy of a long text three times - any amount of manual checking or copying would result in small changes. We can conclude that no work has been made on those additional files." so he refuses to pay for repetition.

In addition, with regard to copyright, he said "this is the first time that you have made such claim as far as I know" and I have no idea what to do...

AKiko


 

Tania123
Argentina
Local time: 01:28
Member (2017)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lawyer May 12

The only time that an agency was very slow in paying me, I told them that I would start looking for lawyers in their jurisdiction. I got paid by the end of the week. Had they not paid, I would definitely have contacted a lawyer.

 

Akiko Detke
Hong Kong
Member (May 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Lawyer... May 12

Tania,

Thank you. Actually I started looking for lawyer in their jurisdiction.
But I already mentioned to them a while ago that my brother-in-law is a lawyer (this is true) but it didn't work.

Akiko


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
PICO unokayness vs "win-win" May 12

Hello Akiko.

As far as you have done the job properly:
1) Is there a contract or PO?
2) You still have the official reply regarding the repetition payment, right?

They just try to post-negotiate the deal for many reasons, including the fact translators are poor businessmen and that after rendering ANY service loses its price.


I would really recommend to learn communicating/negotiating from such gurus as Jim Camp ('Start with NO').


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:28
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Questions May 12

1. Akiko, do you have a CAT-tool? Have you used it, actually were you able to use it on this project? You mentioned logging into WordPress and working there, which may prevent he use of any CAT-tools.

2. How much text did you work on in total? How many words were in this disputed section?

3. His comment about this being the first time you mentioned the copyright issue is ridiculous. Just because you did not have to mention this before, it does not mean it is invalid. How much work have you done for this client in the past?

4. You said this job was done in June 2017. How come that you are talking about it now, in May of 2018, roughly a YEAR later? What kind of payment terms were agreed? HOw much is the total amount on your invoice? (This would determine whether you could consider the European Small Claims procedure.)

5. Do you still have the password to log into the Wordpress site where you updated the website?

6. Have you made a BlueBoard entry about this agency?

7. Was this translation done for the website of the agency, or for one of their end clients?


 

Akiko Detke
Hong Kong
Member (May 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for help. My reply May 13

DZiW wrote:

Hello Akiko.

As far as you have done the job properly:
1) Is there a contract or PO?
I have a contract with the company. For PO, not for this project because the project was assigned off the agency's portal.

2) You still have the official reply regarding the repetition payment, right?
Yes I still have the email from PM saying "We will pay full word count irregardless of fuzzy matches. " or "Could you please check and update all the pages even some translation is duplicated? I included all the word count and we will pay you for full word count."

They just try to post-negotiate the deal for many reasons, including the fact translators are poor businessmen and that after rendering ANY service loses its price.


I would really recommend to learn communicating/negotiating from such gurus as Jim Camp ('Start with NO').


You are right. I have a right to refuse anything not related to "translation".


 

Akiko Detke
Hong Kong
Member (May 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you. My response May 13

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:

1. Akiko, do you have a CAT-tool? Have you used it, actually were you able to use it on this project? You mentioned logging into WordPress and working there, which may prevent he use of any CAT-tools.

2. How much text did you work on in total? How many words were in this disputed section?

3. His comment about this being the first time you mentioned the copyright issue is ridiculous. Just because you did not have to mention this before, it does not mean it is invalid. How much work have you done for this client in the past?

4. You said this job was done in June 2017. How come that you are talking about it now, in May of 2018, roughly a YEAR later? What kind of payment terms were agreed? HOw much is the total amount on your invoice? (This would determine whether you could consider the European Small Claims procedure.)

5. Do you still have the password to log into the Wordpress site where you updated the website?

6. Have you made a BlueBoard entry about this agency?

7. Was this translation done for the website of the agency, or for one of their end clients?



1. Yes I do and I have used it. I can copy and paste the content into Word and import the Word file to CAT tool, translate, export and paste the translation into WordPress.

2. 23,744 words. With regard to the disputed section wordcount, I don't know because I was just provided full wordcount (with no breakdown) and I told the agency that it is not my job to do the wordcount.

3. I started working with them in May 2017. After we had this argument, I am not working with them anymore. I think I worked with them just for a few months.

4. Because they do not reply to my email. I contacted through Better Business Bureau (because they also have location in California, USA) but they ignored. I called but no answer. Yesterday the CEO answered my call and I demanded he reply to my email. The CEO said he did not reply because I would never understand their claim.

And his email response said "We have been unable to pay because of your refusal to submit a correct invoice." "If you continue to refuse to send an invoice for the work done, we continue to be unable to pay for it. You could at least send us an invoice for the undisputed parts.If you refuse to do that, we can take the Japanese text offline on the basis of your copyright claim (this is the first time that you have made such claim as far as I know)."

According to the contract, it states "Contractor is to submit invoice to XXX by the 15th of every month and will be processed and payable thirty (30) days from the date of invoice." I sent them invoice on June 30, 2017. I couldn't confirm payment within 30 days so I sent an accounting department an email on August 8 for follow up. Then the PM contacted me by email saying what I have written in my first post (I have something to discuss with you about your invoice....).
The total amount in the invoice is US$2,949.96.

5. Yes I still have it. I just checked but it looks like they changed my password? I could not login.

6. Yes I did. I gave 1 star saying payment was not made in accordance with terms.

7. The project was about translating the agency's website into Japanese.


 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 05:28
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
This is making me sick - can we settle the issue of repetitions once and for all? May 13

All right, let's agree on a universal principle, as follows:

- Whatever material is processed by the translator must be remunerated accordingly. Repetitions are paid at the proofreading rate, since they must be checked by the translator just like everything else.

- If the client wishes to pay 0 for repetitions, they should either remove them from the text (preferably), or mark them unequivocally to be ignored by the translator.

Everybody happy? Outsourcers too?


Thao Tran
 

Akiko Detke
Hong Kong
Member (May 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The agency is not understanding May 13

Daniel,

Thank you for your reply but rate for repetitions/TM match differs by agency to agency.
The problem is that according to the contract with this agency, they do not require vendors to have CAT tool. They do not have CAT tool discount breakdown in the contract either.
What is worse, as you see the CEO's reply regarding copyright, he does not seem to understand the translation business.

I did point out that most of agencies pay 20% to 30% (it depends) for repetition and I have never heard of NO pay for repetition.
But his reply said "The 20% pay for matches is because you still need to look at the context as TM may give you a 100% match but the previous sentence may require changes to the translation (plurals, genders, etc) so there is work to be done. We also pay for duplicates when working with TM matches. A full file with duplicated content is a completely different thing."

I did mention that if the client wishes to pay 0 for repetitions, they should have removed them from the text OR I should have left the text untranslated. But the CEO ignored that point.

I am having difficulty because CEO does not reply to my emails.

Akiko


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:28
Member (2004)
English to Italian
How much money would you lose? May 13

If you agreed to their conditions? Sometimes it's better to limit your losses and chalk it up to experience... even if it's a matter of principle. What's the alternative? Losing the lot? Because it looks to me like they won't pay the full amount, regardless of what you do and your threats. And you are not in Finland or Europe either...

[Edited at 2018-05-13 12:30 GMT]


 

Akiko Detke
Hong Kong
Member (May 2018)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Grazie Giovanni May 13

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

If you agreed to their conditions? Sometimes it's better to limit your losses and chalk it up to experience... even if it's a matter of principle. What's the alternative? Losing the lot? Because it looks to me like they won't pay the full amount, regardless of what you do and your threats. And you are not in Finland or Europe either...

[Edited at 2018-05-13 12:30 GMT]


Thank you Giovanni. I did not do the wordcount myself so I don't know. They are insisting I do wordcount myself, subtract the repetition wordcount and resend the invoice.
Indeed I am not in Finland or Europe either but the CEO is based in California They are incorporated both in Finland and California.
My husband is US citizen and actually I am moving to the US sometime this year. My brother-in-law is a California lawyer. Is it worth waiting more?


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:28
Member (2004)
English to Italian
yes, but... May 13

Akiko Detke wrote:

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

If you agreed to their conditions? Sometimes it's better to limit your losses and chalk it up to experience... even if it's a matter of principle. What's the alternative? Losing the lot? Because it looks to me like they won't pay the full amount, regardless of what you do and your threats. And you are not in Finland or Europe either...

[Edited at 2018-05-13 12:30 GMT]


Thank you Giovanni. I did not do the wordcount myself so I don't know. They are insisting I do wordcount myself, subtract the repetition wordcount and resend the invoice.
Indeed I am not in Finland or Europe either but the CEO is based in California They are incorporated both in Finland and California.
My husband is US citizen and actually I am moving to the US sometime this year. My brother-in-law is a California lawyer. Is it worth waiting more?


You must know roughly the amount of repetitions... if you are going to lose $200, so be it... at least you get some of the money... unless you don't need money...icon_smile.gif


 
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