Checking for a company in the states
Thread poster: Yolande Haneder
Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:29
German to French
+ ...
Jun 29, 2006


This question is for translators living in the states : I have a request for quote for a text of about 70 000 words into many languages.

How do you usually proceed in the states for this kind of job? Is there a listing where you can check how long the company had been existing?

If I get the job, is it possible to sell the invoice to somebody in the U.S (which would run after the client if needed).

What about the discount in this case?

I take such a job is at least 2 months job. Are partial payment usually accepted in the states? I take the translator would expect partial payment.

Which steps do I have to take care (is faxed P.O accepted in the states or must it be written and signed?)

Thank you for any answer you may have.


P.S. After some though I may ask for a letter of credit for each partial payment against the translation.

I am not a limited company yet, if the client takes the translation and disappear it will break my neck for many years to come. It seems interesting though.
I think I have something about the procedure somewhere in my books.

Does somebody have experience with letter of credit?

[Edited at 2006-06-29 05:20]

[Edited at 2006-06-29 05:20]

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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:29
German to French
+ ...
Update - we won't do it Jun 29, 2006

After having calculated the amount of the offer (I am not cheap either) to nearly equal to the amount of a small flat, we are not doing it.

It is too much risk and we prefer to say on our side of the atlantic and keep our client here happy even if it is for much smaller amounts.

America is the land of unlimited opportunities but also of unlimited risks.

My bank could not be contacted for a security like a letter of credit.
The other bank with whom we are in contact looked at us funny and said "whaaat a request - a letter of credit for a translation?!".

A translation is not a material good that I can ship and therefore they don't issue a letter of credit (I wonder if I would have to send the translation in a container with all bills of shipping to be allowed this??)

Anyway this is a very risky issue for us and I am sure it will please some other agencies over there that I don't try to get on their market.

[Edited at 2006-06-29 17:11]

[Edited at 2006-06-29 17:12]

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Paul Greer
United States
Local time: 09:29
English to Arabic
+ ...
A couple of things to check... Jun 29, 2006

The first thing I would do is to see if this company is really incorporated. Almost all of the 50 states allow online access to corporate filings, letting you see when a corporation or LLC was founded, and if it is in good standing. A little searching on Google will usually produce results rather quickly. Suggested keywords "State name" + business entities + filings.

Another way is to check if the company has a Dun and Bradstreet profile at

D&B can be slow, but usually you can get an idea if a business entity exists, because in the States you really need a so called DUNS number to do regular business. Unfortunately no guarantees here either, anybody can get one. DnB offers in depth reports too, but often they are way behind and do not reflect up to date information, aside from being very expensive.

Last but not least you can also check with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) at See if they have something on the company in question.

However, mind you, none of the information these entities provide for free or for a fee can really assure you will receive payment. In most states you can incorporate within one day for a small fee. A DUNS number is a formality, and the BBB has a tendency to be very member friendly. Meaning, if they receive a complaint and a "Member" company plainly says we tried to resolve the issue, they may report it as good faith attempt to resolve already. However, the number of complaints can still give you an idea.

Last but not least a little playing with Google search terms can also provide valuable information.

Mind you though, even all three suggestions producing positive outcomes, say company filed in good standing with their State, DUNS number present and no bad BBB entries, there is still no guarantee of getting paid.

Hope this helped a little bit.

All the best

[Edited at 2006-06-29 20:56]

A letter of credit is only any good if it is issued by the bank of the entity directly. Usually they come on standard bank forms.

[Edited at 2006-06-29 20:58]

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