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Ingenious ways of getting paid
Thread poster: Ramunas Kontrimas

Ramunas Kontrimas  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 03:55
Member (2018)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Feb 20

I'm thinking of forcing a late-payer to pay (naturally, friendly and other reminders haven't worked).

So I though maybe some of you have tried (hopefully, successfully) some non-standard or even outlandish ways of getting paid, like shaming the client on his spouse's FB or similar...

Any thoughts?


Armine Abelyan
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:55
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Ramunas Feb 20

Ramunas Kontrimas wrote:
...like shaming the client on his spouse's FB or similar...


If you have decided to end your career as a translator, then you can do that, of course. A translator's integrity is an essential part of his profession.


Sabrina Bruna
Erik Freitag
Elif Baykara Narbay
Teresa Borges
Yolanda Broad
Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
Tanja Oresnik
 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 04:55
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Ways That Do Not Work (And One That Does) Feb 20

Someone once owed me a sum of money (around 170 USD), and was not willing to pay at all. I sent tens of SMS reminders that did not work. I tried calling but I was not able to reach the person. I sent e-mail messages but I got no replies. Last but not least, I sent an e-mail reminder but this time I put my attorney as a CC in the message. Of course, I let the person know that I am about to involve my attorney in the case. That did not work, either. I thought of actually seeing my attorney but that would be too costly so I did not do it.

I still can not get the money. In the States, there is what they call Small Claims Court. If someone owes you a small amount of money, you file your case at SCC. There are no attorneys involved, you defend your case yourself. If the judge finds the other party guilty, s/he must pay you within a short period of time. I used Small Claims Court once when I was in the States, and I was successful, I got paid almost immediately after the court decision. Unfortunately, there is no similar action that you can take in Turkey. You live with your loss forever.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Risk assessment and management Feb 20

Hello Ramunas.

As far as the translation is not much different from any biz and you're hardly the first or the only to encounter the issue, how about googling the internet, adapting to your situation? Indeed, a service is intangible, and it's difficult to measure its true value, let alone--
The value of a service goes down quickly as soon as it is performed.


1) Always do your homework: research and doublecheck your [potential] clients!
2) Have a "watertight" contract with Title retention + Termination for cause + Penalty clauses;
3) Present clear terms and conditions on the invoices;
4) Ask for upfront deposit and part/staged payment;
5) Dictate special payment terms (e.g. 7-14 days);
6) Add volume discounts/incentives for early settlement;
7) Have sensitive papers/correspondence in black and white.
8) Communicate and react instantly, especially to late payment.

Also indirect pressing via a third party/guarantees/referrals or sending translation as a tagged .PDF with tricky watermarks till paid in full may work too.

Of course, the best case scenario is if you can recognize possible troublemakers BEFORE even starting the negotiation. While sometimes even a decent client may go wrong having bad times, always make terms tougher for latepayers or just stop working with them. You're doing biz, nothing personal)

Cheers


Eliza Hall
Noni Gilbert
Alice Crisan
 

Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:55
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Just some of my thoughts Feb 21

https://engrutra.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/non-payers-when-clients-vanish-into-thin-air/

And, yes, I once contacted the spouse of my client to get my payment.


Chris S
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Shmintegrity Feb 21

Samuel Murray wrote:
If you have decided to end your career as a translator, then you can do that, of course. A translator's integrity is an essential part of his profession.

Have to disagree.

While I can't imagine ever doing that myself, it has nothing to do with integrity. They're the ones who haven't paid, so the gloves are off.

I've never had to resort to the unconventional, but I went to the small claims court once and that worked a treat.

PS The best way to make sure you get paid is to work for a central bank!


Vadim Kadyrov
Robert Forstag
Jessica Noyes
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Daryo
 

Ramunas Kontrimas  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 03:55
Member (2018)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your thoughts Feb 21

Some interesting ideas along with more traditional considerations.
The wife thing... in my case she's in the same boat as my client (joint ownership) but not in day-to-day matters. I actually posted on her FB (and got deleted).
Indeed, sometimes you develop quite immediate, rather unofficial contact with the clients. Of course, it depends on many things, including personality types. But business, especially small time business, very often boils down to person-things. Then, all is well that ends well but when it doesn't I don't feel very business-like when trying to get what they owe me.


 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:55
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Integrity Feb 21

I disagree with Samuel and his supporters that fighting for your money shows lack of integrity. I fail to see how shaming someone (assuming the charges are true) on any possible portal is an act in bad faith. It may or not be effective, but in my book, it is ethically neutral.
Once you have posted a negative entry on the Blue Board, sent letters, phoned, and faxed---fax often, as it will run their fax machine out of papericon_smile.gif, and have received no answer---then I believe it is just fine to take off those velvet gloves.
Look for forums like Google, Trip Advisor, Better Business Bureau, and Linked In, where your client might have an online presence. Most of these places allow you to rate the business. Give them the lowest possible rating and say why. Call the police in their town and ask if they can help you. (They can't, but they just might get in touch with him.) Hire a "cobrador", https://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/aug/09/spain-debt-collectors-cobrador-del-frac or pose as as one yourself.
These are just some of the dozens of ways that you can think up to convince the client that it would be easier to pay you than put up with this type of harassment.
My husband tells me that when he was a skinny little 12-year-old, he was bullied by an older boy who would beat him up on the way home from school. He soon learned that rather than avoiding him or running away, he would fight back, tooth and nail. The bully soon learned that even though he could prevail against his scrawny opponent, he was going to get *hurt* by scratches and bites and punches.
His aggression ended soon after he experienced actual pain as an outcome of his behavior.
So I'd say that, if you are so inclined, use any honest means at your disposal not to let such people get the best of you.


Christel Zipfel
Álvaro Espantaleón Moreno
Klára Kalamár
Kuochoe Nikoi
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
YOU! SHOWED! YOURSELF! WEAK! Feb 21

Jessica is talking: a predator (or perpetrator) mostly attacks only when he checks or sees some [possible] weakness, a vulnerability: if a potential victim is alone, too polite, very shy or otherwise helpless.

Why should a strong pay a weakling?

While precautions may help to avoid unnecessary troubles, the persistence and common sense should explain to a latepayer that he is mistaken)

Although it's rarely the case with freelance translators, yet for really big and b2b project they often prefer escrow contracts--
an agreement between two people or organizations in which money or property is kept by a third person or organization until a particular condition is met


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:55
Member (2018)
French to English
reputation Feb 22

So you're just idly scrolling through your FB feed and suddenly you come across a post on a friend's wall by an angry translator who claims they haven't been paid. You feel bad because you actually recommended that translator to the friend!
Now this friend can be something of a jerk but you had a pint with him in the pub the other night and he'd mentioned being rather disappointed with the translator and asking him to correct his mistakes. Which he didn't because he claimed there weren't any! Well, you know your friend knows his business inside out and he often has to negotiate with clients in London so his English can't be that bad, he must at least know the terminology in his field. You've always been happy with the guy's translations, but you don't speak a word of English so you've always just trusted that the guy knows what he's doing. And you thought it's probably because of Brexit that your website in English hasn't really taken off. Or is it?

[Edited at 2019-02-22 08:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-02-22 08:09 GMT]


Chris S
 

Ramunas Kontrimas  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 03:55
Member (2018)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Kay, what's your point? Feb 22

That you recommended a translator without knowing a thing about his quality?

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:55
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Iron fist Feb 22

Chris S wrote:

...... They're the ones who haven't paid, so the gloves are off.....


I agree. Once it's clear that someone has no intention of paying you, it's time to come down on them like a ton of bricks.

Very politely, you need to find effective ways of informing the client about what will happen to them, without further notice, if they don't pay within the next seven calendar days.

You then warn them that you are cutting off all direct communication between you and them.

When they realise that you mean it, that there is nothing they can say about it, and that it's going to happen, they pay.

That's my experience anyway.

[Edited at 2019-02-22 08:48 GMT]


Daryo
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:55
Member (2018)
French to English
No Feb 22

Ramunas Kontrimas wrote:

That you recommended a translator without knowing a thing about his quality?


No. My point is that very often the client is not in a position to properly assess your work. In the event of a dispute, people are more likely to believe their friend than a mere business acquaintance. Any potential or actual client seeing that you're prepared to name and shame on social medial will decide to look elsewhere. You could tell your client that you wouldn't do it to them since they always pay promptly, but the client heard from their friend that he didn't like the quality of your work. They start thinking maybe they should have looked more carefully at the quality themselves. They think that if ever they do dispute the quality and refuse to pay until you have ironed out whatever issues they found, they'll be named and shamed on social media. Translators being two a penny, they'll easily find someone else.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:55
Member (2008)
Italian to English
One in a million Feb 22

Kay Denney wrote:

.....Translators being two a penny...


Not GOOD translators who can deal with problematic non-routine specialised texts that can't be done with CAT tools. They are one in a million.

[Edited at 2019-02-22 09:45 GMT]


DZiW
Cetacea
Inge Meinzer
 

Ramunas Kontrimas  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 03:55
Member (2018)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I beg to differ Feb 22

Kay Denney wrote:

My point is that very often the client is not in a position to properly assess your work. In the event of a dispute, people are more likely to believe their friend than a mere business acquaintance. Any potential or actual client seeing that you're prepared to name and shame on social medial will decide to look elsewhere. You could tell your client that you wouldn't do it to them since they always pay promptly, but the client heard from their friend that he didn't like the quality of your work. They start thinking maybe they should have looked more carefully at the quality themselves. They think that if ever they do dispute the quality and refuse to pay until you have ironed out whatever issues they found, they'll be named and shamed on social media. Translators being two a penny, they'll easily find someone else.


1 very often the client is not in a position to properly assess your work. -- that's their problem, they should find a way
2 people are more likely to believe their friend than a mere business acquaintance -- unprofessional, but human, I agree
3 They start thinking maybe they should have looked more carefully at the quality themselves -- they should've done that in the first place
4 They think that if ever they do dispute the quality and refuse to pay until you have ironed out whatever issues they found -- a professional translator will always do that but you MUST BE qualified to dispute it
5 they'll be named and shamed on social media -- only after the translator runs out of other means
6 Translators being two a penny, they'll easily find someone else. -- and so will the translator as he won't want such a client around

[Edited at 2019-02-22 10:13 GMT]


 
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