Poll: If you have ever not been paid for a translation delivered, have you taken legal action?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:19
Oct 21, 2005

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If you have ever not been paid for a translation delivered, have you taken legal action?".

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John Walsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:19
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Add a field Oct 21, 2005

You should add "I have threatened to take legal action".

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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
+ ...
Split up one of the answers Oct 21, 2005

I think the answer "I haven't taken legal action" should be split up, giving the reason:

a) "I haven't taken legal action because client finally paid"

b) "I haven't taken legal action because the amount was too small"


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 2005-10-21 14:43]

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Marjon van den Bosch  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:19
Member (2004)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agree with John and Erik --other answer possibilities Oct 21, 2005

I had a Belgian agency which owed me a relatively low 3-figure sum for 13 months. After umpteen emails, expensive Global Mail letters, emails and still no reply, I sent emails to the European and Belgian Translation agency organizations laying out my story. Both called agency XXX "idiots" for giving the agency industry such a bad name with translators. When I posted my problem on a Dutch translator site, one member (a translator in Belgium) was kind enough to refer me to an attorney he once used to (successfully) collect from this agency. Well, I never heard back from this attorney (probably coz amount was peanuts to her) BUT then my Belgian colleague forwarded an invitation he had received from agency XXX, inviting him and agency XXX's clients to a fancy horse race cum party event. I took that invite, faxed it to them with a cover note noting "you can pay for fancy parties, but do not pay your translators...shame, shame...my brother in NL and a translator colleague will be crashing your party and tell your customers the turth about your immoral practices." One week later: a bank wire transfer received (alas no interest or expense reimbursement, but this was a matter of principle to me -- I had never been stiffed before and I'm not going to let it happen again, despite the cost)

John Walsh wrote:

You should add "I have threatened to take legal action".

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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 17:19
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I didn't have anything in writing. Oct 21, 2005

It was early in my career, I had face-to-face contact with the client, and he seemed very reputable and trustworthy. Unfortunately, his short novel didn't sell and I never got the last 2/3 of what he owes me. Never again! Everything in writing!

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Marion Schimmelpfennig  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:19
Member (2003)
English to German
Legal action: only my last resort Oct 22, 2005

I did take legal action once and got a nice paper which said my claim was correct, but it was too late - the client was already bankrupt and the money left went to the employees of that company.

I usually avoid taking legal action because it takes a lot of time, effort and money. And it is very difficult to take legal action outside your home country.

There are other possibilites: I had a few non-payers and simply threatened to tell ALL their clients. Usually, the clients are listed on their homepage. So far, this threat has worked wonders. Needless to say I would have contacted the clients if they would not have paid

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Sam Berner  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:19
Member (2003)
English to Arabic
+ ...
I threatened and it worked Oct 28, 2005

John Walsh wrote:

You should add "I have threatened to take legal action".

Only once in my career the agency (and it was a reputable one) was very late with the payment and I subtly threatened legal action (as well as spreading the bad news around). Worked like magic. I suggest you don't do this at home alone, though, unless you have a severe case of gab-gift

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