What to charge for significant revisions, part II?
Thread poster: Emilie Fahlenkamp

Emilie Fahlenkamp  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:39
English to Danish
+ ...
Feb 1, 2008

Hi,

I know there is a thread already on this topic, but my situation is a little different: I delivered and invoiced a project (13,000 words) 7 weeks ago, with an agreed payment timeline of 30 days after invoice. I have sent several payment reminders since they failed to pay according to (their) payment deadline, and have been asked to resubmit my invoices three weeks after the payment deadline -still no payment or estimated payment date from them.
Now, they are coming back to me with the full 13,000 words, saying that the translated documents were given to a focus group, who made significant changes to my translation, and they are asking me to account for every single change. They want me to explain whether it is an error on my part, why the change was made, and the difference in meaning between the two translations. At no point did they tell me that payment was delayed because they were unhappy with the translation.
It will take me a significant amount of time to go back through the document, compare with the original, research any vocabulary changes and write down comments. At no point in this transaction has a focus group been mentioned, nor the possibility of such large changes at this late stage. I am usually more than willing to go back and amend the translation -within a reasonable timeframe after delivery. Would you charge extra for this, and how would you charge?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!

Emilie


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Michelle Grace  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:39
French to English
+ ...
Yes, charge extra but compromise Feb 1, 2008

Hello Emilie

It is unreasonable that a client asks you to go back and comment on every single amendment in the document.

If you give a translated document to a focus group for review, or anybody for that matter, and ask them to make amendments, they will certainly do so because this is what they are being asked to do.

In situations like that, many amendments will be stylistic.

My suggestion would be to give the client a one to two-page summary of the amendments made, picking out a few examples and giving your comments.
Mention to the client that if they need you to comment on every single charge, there will be a charge. This could be a set amount per page.

Hope this helps.

Michelle


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:39
English to French
+ ...
I would demand payment before doing anything else Feb 1, 2008

First off, I would not even discuss doing any additional work, whether paid or complimentary, before they pay. Not only are they already quite late with the payment but they are also asking you to do extra work for them, at no charge, while you are already extending credit to them, against your will to top it off. Then, they have waited more than a reasonable amount of time before asking you to put in extra work (in Canada, any service or product is deemed to be accepted as is by the client 10 days after delivery, unless they made a claim before the ten days were up - the invoice is then payable and cannot be contested in any way).

I somehow have the feeling these people are trying to rip you off. As my colleague pointed out above, they specifically asked the focus group to find "errors" - it is their job and they will make sure they find lots. What they are asking you to do now is editing - did you agree to editing services on top of the translation services when you got the job? If you didn't, then I see no reason for you to do anything for this client unless they pay the full price for the extra service.

Let's say you demand to get paid first and get your payment right away. Even then, you should charge the full price - they are asking for a service you didn't previously agree upon. This is then an entirely separate PO.

Let's say your client is honest and has good intentions. Still, if you accept to handle the additional task now, they will expect you to always do that from now on. What impact would this have on the other contracts you get in the meantime?

I disagree with the above post - if we all handled our clients that way, we would be doing enough volunteer work that it would make more business sense to go clean toilets. An hour of my time is worth a price - if they are not willing to pay for it, I have absolutely no problem finding other people who are willing...

[Edited at 2008-02-01 21:38]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Also Feb 1, 2008

I somehow have the feeling these people are trying to rip you off.

I think so also.


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Michelle Grace  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:39
French to English
+ ...
Support your case Feb 2, 2008

Hi Emilie

I totally agree with Viktoria's comments that you must not do any further work on this.

This is a difficult situation as you have not yet been paid, and it seems like the client is using these 'mark ups' from the focus group as a further excuse not to pay you.

On the other hand, your client might (wrongly) believe that your translation is not up to scratch.

This is why I feel you must communicate to them that the corrections are unjustified and point out the odd example to support your case.

The client is being difficult and you may not want to work with them again, but at the same time, you want them to pay you for 13,000 words.

Michelle


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:39
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ehem Feb 2, 2008

I would not assume the worst given that you lack a lot of information. How about actually asking them what is going on?

A polite phone call with tactful questions may go a long way to calming your fears. Depending on how the call goes, you should be prepared to adjust your plans regarding the job accordingly.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:39
English to French
+ ...
I assumed Emilie was going to do that Feb 2, 2008

Edward Potter wrote:

A polite phone call with tactful questions may go a long way to calming your fears. Depending on how the call goes, you should be prepared to adjust your plans regarding the job accordingly.



I agree - but I was assuming Emilie was going to do just that, except that she wanted to consult with other people who have ideas concerning her situation in order to be better prepared to make that call.

I still believe, though, that she should ask to be paid for the work already done and for which payment is already overdue, no matter what else she may agree upon with her client for the remaining work.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:39
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
But it is the job of the focus group to explain the amendments! Feb 2, 2008

Surely it is those who make the amendments who have to explain in detail why they made them! They have taken on the responsibility of making them, so they inherit the responsibility of explaining them. How can anyone else explain their amendments if they cannot?

Astrid


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Carol Gullidge  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:39
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
agree with Astrid Feb 2, 2008

I agree entirely with Astrid! Surely it's up to the revisors to justify their own changes! How can anybody else know what was going through their mind... And very often, revisors make changes that are merely stylistic - i.e., to them it "sounds better" their way, whereas there may have been nothing wrong with the original. This is only natural, but the least they should do is to provide their own explanations, including being honest about when (and why) it's simply a matter of personal preference rather than a translation error. This then gives the translator a chance to justify their own original decisions, or to learn from any mistakes.

You could also find that the revised translation is no better than your own. There's nothing more irritating than to have someone come along and - in a flash of "inspiration" - reject something you already considered at length and from every possible angle, only to replace it with something you'd already rejected and with good reason.

So, although I still feel that the revisors should explain their changes first, it could still be worth your while taking the time to justify your logic.
After all, you have your reputation to think about! But I'm not sure whether you should charge extra for this - perhaps just push for the original payment and put the rest down to experience...? And there's always the Blue Board...

Good luck, anyway!


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Pundora  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 15:09
English to Hindi
+ ...
Astrid is correct. Feb 3, 2008

I also agree with Astrid, totally. I'd like to share an agency gives me proofreading jobs. They give me clear instructions and provide a table with four blank columns. The headings of columns are – (1)US English complete wording (2)Existing Hindi translation (3)Suggested changes and explanations (4)Final revised translation. They specifically ask me not to make any changes in the existing Hindi and only type it separately the way I would like the sentences to be. This sounds good and this is how it should be. Why should the translator be asked to explain my preferences? The agencis can then show such suggestions and explanations to the translator(within reasonable time) and ask whether they agree or not.

Good luck

Pundora


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Emilie Fahlenkamp  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:39
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Update and thanks Feb 4, 2008

Hi all,

Thanks for your advice and insight, I was glad to get my suspicions confirmed. Many amendments were in fact stylistic, so I replied giving a short justification (they talked about "errors made") to my translation, and asked that should any further explanation be needed, I would need to see the comments from the focus group and that I would need to charge extra for this. We'll see if they are satisfied with this, but I am definitely prepared to push for payment before accepting anything else from them. As Viktoria said, if I do this for them now, they will expect me to keep doing so and effectively extend my credit with them.

Again, I appreciate your insights!

Emilie


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 12:39
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
No claims accepted after an overdue payment date Feb 5, 2008

As simple as that. No other discussions.

Well, problems might arise, there can be errors (no one is ensured against that), but why they did not mention anything BEFORE the due payment date? In any case, all claims shall be real concerns about quality, not some inventions, rewordings, etc. - if they want it to sound otherwise - they can do whatever they want as long as they received correct, quality translation done on time.


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