I'll pay you when he pays me!
Thread poster: chopra_2002

chopra_2002  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:38
Member (2008)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Oct 12, 2005

While some of the translation agencies pay me as per predetermined terms and conditions, the others have a peculiar and unusual system as they don't specify a time-limit by when the payment will be released. Instead, when I contact them after the lapse of 30 to 45 days to remind them about making payment, they inform me since they have not been paid yet for this job by the end-client or outsourcer, they can't make the payment and they'll pay me when they are paid for the job.

Do you also face the same situation?


Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
+ ...
The same old story Oct 12, 2005


This topic has been discussed here several times.

Of course you shouldn't wait until your client has been paid by his client. It's all crystal-clear: You have a contract with your client only (outsourcer) and not with your client's client (or how many links there are this long chain). Imagine what would happen if the translator is the 7th link in a long chain - waiting for months and months for money due for payment maybe 30 days after delivery has never been very satifactory.

So tell your client that after all he's earning some percentage on this deal, and in case he doesn't have enough money to pay you before his client pays him, he shouldn't be doing this kind of business at all.

Good luck!

Erik Hansson ( SFÖ )
Technical translator DE-SV
Hansson Übersetzungen GmbH
Am Birkenwäldchen 38
D-01900 Bretnig-Hauswalde, Germany
Phone +49 - 3 59 52 - 321 07
Fax +49 - 3 59 52 - 322 02
E-Mail info@hansson.de
Internet www.hansson.de
Internet www.t-translators.net
Internet www.technical-translators.net
ProZ profile http://www.proz.com/pro/21654

[Edited at 2005-10-12 17:47]


Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:08
Member (2004)
English to French
Please see the following post Oct 12, 2005

This is a frequent topic, but always relevant. Please see the following post: http://www.proz.com/topic/35280
The agency is your client, so they should plan to have the necessary funds to pay you and then get paid by their client. If your PO says net 30 days for instance, they can't change they rules if it suits them. Also, it depends on what you agreed upon.



Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
You can sue him when I'll sue you! Oct 12, 2005

This would be an appropriate response - although I have never had
to apply it. When your client forgot to specify the due date in
his PO, and you forgot to specify it in your invoice (:oops:) you can still agree on a reasonable date.

And you will know your client well enough (at least I know mine)
to assess whether he really is in such a financial trouble or
whether it is just a pretext.icon_smile.gif


Brandis (X)
Local time: 11:08
English to German
+ ...
demand down payment Oct 12, 2005

unless you have some kind of circular contract with them. and some percentage on delivery and the balance in about 30-45 or days. Or demand a 90 days LC within your own country, that might work. general delivery in 90 days upon proof of being able to pay. Best Brandis


Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:08
German to English
What the... Oct 12, 2005

langclinic wrote:
Do you also face the same situation?

The question should be "Does he also face the same situation." No serious trader puts up with the situation you describe. Simple. End of.

[Edited at 2005-10-12 21:21]


Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
This attitude seems pretty frequent Oct 12, 2005

I start sending reminders after 30 days have passed and the invoice has not been paid. It is quite common, however, to still have to wait several weeks or even a couple of months before the money comes in. I suspect that it is often due to the agency waiting for their client to pay them first. However, it is very unwise of them to tell me so. I have only twice had an agency or translator-outsourcer say directly to my face, "Sorry, I am not going to pay you until he has paid me, however long it takes." Once someone has actually said this sentence to me, they will never receive another translation from me again.


Brandis (X)
Local time: 11:08
English to German
+ ...
cream of my chat with an outsourcer Oct 13, 2005

seems that allah didn´t wish that I be paid, so I don´t get paid. Fact is that crap and inexperienced agency started too early without having any working experience in international markets. What do you say to that now?? Low profile and moral for not eating the whole day, because the religion forbids it and translator have to pay and wait?? This is the end of the world I would say. Brandis


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I have no objection to this Oct 14, 2005

langclinic wrote:
...they inform me since they have not been paid yet for this job by the end-client or outsourcer, they can't make the payment and they'll pay me when they are paid for the job.

I have no problem with this, in principle. However, if the end-client defaults on his payment, then the agency is still liable to you for payment, but that's what insurance is for.


Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
Member (2005)
French to German
+ ...
Beware! Oct 14, 2005

langclinic wrote:
[They say:] since they have not been paid yet for this job by the end-client or outsourcer, they can't make the payment

Or, phrased in another way: They say in outright words that their liquidity has become dangerously low and that bankruptcy is near, possibly very near.

Beware. Remember: you usually won't get paid anything at all from firms that have actually gone bust. So the longer you wait for your fees, the greater will your hazard be to get nought. Don't let yourself be led up the garden path; and don't wait too long before taking definite measures.



tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 11:08
+ ...
The attitude IS frequent... Oct 14, 2005

...especially among advertising agencies.

In my view, the translation community should stand together on this issue and RESIST this laughable attempt at giving us the short end of the stick. This is basically carte blanche for non-payers.



Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
English to German
+ ...
Extending credit to agencies Oct 14, 2005

Hi Peter and all,
Or, phrased in another way: They say in outright words that their liquidity has become dangerously low and that bankruptcy is near, possibly very near.

It doesn't even have to be that bad - after all, there are numerous 'box shifters' who build their business on this basis. Still, I believe anyone outsourcing work should have the financial resources to pay regardless of third-party performance.

It's amazing to me how many translators are perfectly happy to lend money to strangers they have just met on the internet. That's exactly what you do by working for unknown customers without prepayment.

And even if you have worked with an outsourcer for some time, an excuse such as the one we're discussing here is certainly a signal to bail out.

Best regards,


Local time: 11:08
English to Spanish
+ ...
I hold my work hostage Oct 15, 2005

I do not work with translation agencies because there is no such thing here where I live. My colleagues and I only work with direct clients. I have however encountered the same problem with clients who provide a service themselves (for example lawyers). I have been told by several of these types of clients that they are not able to pay me because their client has not paid them. Legal matters can sometimes take an extremely long time to be settled. Sometimes I have had to wait for payment of a small document (10 pages) up to six months. I have learned my lesson and now what I do is that I write up an agreement that has to be read and signed by the client (I keep a copy and they keep one) stating that I will deliver only against payment. It is strange how suddenly they all have the money to pay on the day of delivery. I know that this is probably not possible with an agency but it has certainly worked with my direct clients. Up to now they have not had a problem signing this document and abiding by it.

I have also learned to ask specifically for their payment policies, because some clients only pay on certain days of the week or month or after a certain period after delivery. In this case, I also ask for these policies, signed and in written form just to be sure that I have documentation to back me up in case of non-compliance. In any case, I would suggest that you ask about payment policies before taking on a job. If the client does not have any policies then write up a document and discuss it with the client. Always make sure you have, or at the very least try to have, something written to back you up, even if the agency or client is punctual with their payments. This may all sound a bit extreme, but experience has left me no other choice and one can never be too careful. Many people will come up with the strangest explanations as to why they are unable to pay you at the moment. I am sorry you have had trouble with this one agency, but I hope that this suggestion for a solution will help you out with future clients.

good luck

[Edited at 2005-10-15 08:45]

[Edited at 2005-10-15 08:53]


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