Would you work with a translation agency who did not make first payment?
Thread poster: amelie08

Local time: 23:35
Turkish to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 12, 2018

Lets say you did a translation, they owe you 1000 euro or 500 euros, as the payments are paid 30 days later, he wants to assign you another task which is urgent and in the end you will earn good money (if he pays).

Would you do it? I didn't and I feel like I missed the opportunity. I received first payment 40 days later more or less.


Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:35
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Credit limits for new and/or infrequent clients Jun 13, 2018

I have a sort of "credit limit" with all clients with whom I have not yet established a firm, trust-based relationship. I will accept jobs up to about that limit, and then I will ask that they settle their account before I accept any more work from them.

This "credit limit" is an amount that I know I can afford to lose if for some reason the payment never arrives, and it's tempered by other risk factors, such as whether the client's credit rating is good and how trustworthy and genuine the interaction with the client has been thus far.

For me, whether the new request from this client is potentially lucrative or not does not really come into the equation. It's only lucrative if the client pays, and until you have a good idea of how likely it is that they will pay, it does not seem productive to think too hard about that aspect of the new job request. For me it would come down to, does this new request push this client's account over the limit I've set for them? If yes, then I proceed with caution, either asking for advance payment to bring the amount they owe overall down, or declining the job until the first payment period has passed without issue.

I don't think you made a mistake. You were protecting your business interests, and there will be other opportunities.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 20:35
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My 3 cents Jun 13, 2018

For me it depends on who the client is. If it is a private person it will be a no-no (unless they are willing to pay upfront or they have been referred by a trusted colleague). If it is a translation agency I may accept or not depending on their market reputation (performing due diligence is a must). I’ve been working with some European and international organizations and I must say that in over 30 years I’ve never had a payment issue with them (though their payment tends to be delayed by very time-consuming processes).


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:35
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
There it is Jun 13, 2018

amelie08 wrote:

Lets say you did a translation, they owe you 1000 euro or 500 euros, as the payments are paid 30 days later,...
... I received first payment 40 days later more or less.

If I understand this correctly, then the client already paid - more or less - 10 days later than agreed. If s/he doesn't have a very good reason (e. g. total power outage for days, earthquake, etc.) for paying you late, then there's your answer right there.

Lian Pang

Local time: 23:35
Turkish to Spanish
+ ...
It was our first cooperation Jun 13, 2018

I preferred him to make the first payment then accept another job. When you work with an agency, you have also doubt if he is going to pay or not. He paid late than he had to pay. When the payment is high, your stress grows up day by day.


Armine Abelyan
Local time: 00:35
Member (2017)
English to Armenian
+ ...
Individual/trusted translation agency Jun 13, 2018

If you work with an individual whom you do not know yet, try to set up more precise payment conditions and deadlines in order to receive the payment once you delivered the translation. If this is a trusted translation agency, it is ok to accept the second job until their accounting proceeds with the payments.


Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:35
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Definitely not Jun 13, 2018

If the said agency/direct client-I hope you demanded up-payment in the latter case seeing you couldn't very well verify if they are non-payers or not which is usually not the case with an agency-does not pay for the very first job without bullet-proof justification, won't you be risking by accepting another job from them? I would not accept another job and I would create a WWA entry for them too to warn others. Isn't the concerned agency trying you out by sending you another job? I would not trust that agency and would refuse the job-or ignore the second request- and definitely would not feel I am losing out! On the contrary, I would feel I am not risking as I am not willing either to risk not being paid or have to worry and chase that agency for payment. Agencies behave the way they do just because translators go on accepting such conditions!

[Edited at 2018-06-13 14:20 GMT]


Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:35
German to English
40 days not necessarily a caution sign Jun 13, 2018

Some agencies have their own payment cycle despite your stipulation. I've had agencies that pay twice a month. If you submit your invoice by the 15th of the month, they pay on the last day of that month. If they receive the invoice on the 16th, they pay on the 15th of the following month, or even after, depending on their payment cycle. I have another client that has a 10th of the month cut-off date. Invoices submitted on the 11th are paid at the end of the following month.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't take a large job unless you have more confidence that this client will pay. Due diligence pays off!


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:35
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Depends on how they react to a reminder Jun 13, 2018

I have had that problem several times.
As soon as the due date has passed - day 31 - I send a gentle reminder if I have not been paid. I just ask politely if there has been some mistake. Sometimes there had been a glitch in registering bank details or something like that. If the agency apologises and sorts it out at once, then I would (and did) continue working for them.

Two or three quite good clients started that way. However, I normally only do small jobs, so they did not own me sums like 500 or 1000 euros the first time.

If they start making excuses, or tell me for the first time that their normal payment terms are 45 or 60 days etc. then I would probably drop them. I tell them that MY terms are 30 days from my invoice date, usually the end of the month, and that is quite long enough IMHO.

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT
Lian Pang

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