Roles of project manager
Thread poster: Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 07:43
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Mar 22, 2016

I searched the Proz forum but did not hit an instance. I hereby post here to warn translators and expect some suggestions.

I did translation for a big global chemistry crop science firm as English > Thai documents on procurement training materials. The document volume is about 2300 words and I translated with Trados 2015 CAT tool. The translation agency is a non-Prozian located in Beijing, China: no Blue Board records so far.
The agency PM came back to me with wording consistencies. He/she came back again that the client was not happy with the non-idiomatic way of the translation. The PM sent me materials to point out my bad translations but they were confusing and unclear.

I checked and wrote back to the PM that complaints of the client were totally subjective and personal preferences of the client. I did wording control as assigned in Trados [no reference on writing styles or previous translation were given to me]. I could not use idiomatic or non-standard writing styles.

Although I repeatedly explained to the PM about my stances, he/she neither replied me swiftly nor settled the issue. The main reason was that he/she did not read the Thai language and could not understand what I was explaining about the translated documents (as I mainly explained by using MS Word Find/Replace, Compare side by side, Document compare and Trace change functions as well as many screenshots.). In fact, he/she told me at first that he/she has about 15-year translation experience.

Of course, he/she never paid me the translation fee as promised in the PO. He still demanded me for further explanation.

Could anybody suggest me how to handle with this PM and how to conclude this issue?
Thanks in advance.

Soonthon L.


[Edited at 2016-03-22 02:49 GMT]


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Contact the PM directly Mar 22, 2016

In these situations it's always so difficult to gain a proper understanding through emails. This is especially true if both parties are using their non-native language to communicate. If I was you, I'd telephone the PM immediately and try to gain a better mutual understanding of the situation. The fix might be straight forward.

Good luck!

DJH


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 07:43
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good approach Mar 22, 2016

DJHartmann wrote:

If I was you, I'd telephone the PM immediately and try to gain a better mutual understanding of the situation. The fix might be straight forward.


Thanks a lot, DJHartmann. This can be an excellent wisdom to deal with a difficult project. I expect more ideas, though.

Soonthon L.


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Somchai Brown  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 07:43
English to Thai
+ ...
Skype Face to Face Discussion Mar 22, 2016

สวัสดีครับ อาจารย์ Soonthon,

From my experience as Project Manager, he or she is the middle man between the customer and you. The project manager himself, as DJHartmann had explained, may not fully understand the Thai translation. Although calling this Project Manager immediately is the solution, however, if he is not fluent in English, that will prove challenge. My suggestion is using the Face time discussion, so you can show what the translation for each wordings means (several example). And why was his client stated of using the idiomatic or non-standard writing styles.

By having a face to face discussion, the PM should know how serious this matter is to you and to his client.
If the PM is not willing to do a face to face discussion, obviously, he or she has something to hide.

That would be my thought ครับ อาจารย์

ขอบคุณครับ
สมชาย


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 07:43
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Face to face meeting Mar 22, 2016

Somchai Brown wrote:

By having a face to face discussion, the PM should know how serious this matter is to you and to his client.
If the PM is not willing to do a face to face discussion, obviously, he or she has something to hide.



This is attractive another clue. In fact, most jobs are done through Internet based contact. This is quite risky for translators unless advance payment is generally made.
Legal terms have ways to deals with international trades but I fear that translators are not much protected. Face to face meeting is also not easy to arrange since PM is in another global zone.

I accepted this risky job even without Proz.com Blue Board records since the client, a multinational enterprise, is also located in my country and I can have pressure on the client for this issue.

Soonthon L.

[Edited at 2016-03-22 05:50 GMT]


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 01:43
Member (2005)
English to German
Are you saying what I think you are saying? Mar 22, 2016

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

I accepted this risky job even without Proz.com Blue Board records since the client, a multinational enterprise, is also located in my country and I can have pressure on the client for this issue.


It is risky to contact the end client behind the back of the agency. It might land you in big trouble. It might also be explicitly forbidden by your contract with the agency. Of course, there might be a chance of a positive outcome, but you will have to decide if it's worth the risk. In the worst case, the agency can sue you for breach of contract.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:43
English to Japanese
+ ...
In China, no holds barred Mar 22, 2016

Ricki Farn wrote:

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

I accepted this risky job even without Proz.com Blue Board records since the client, a multinational enterprise, is also located in my country and I can have pressure on the client for this issue.


It is risky to contact the end client behind the back of the agency. It might land you in big trouble. It might also be explicitly forbidden by your contract with the agency. Of course, there might be a chance of a positive outcome, but you will have to decide if it's worth the risk. In the worst case, the agency can sue you for breach of contract.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 07:43
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Legal aspects Mar 22, 2016

Ricki Farn wrote:

It is risky to contact the end client behind the back of the agency. It might land you in big trouble. It might also be explicitly forbidden by your contract with the agency. Of course, there might be a chance of a positive outcome, but you will have to decide if it's worth the risk. In the worst case, the agency can sue you for breach of contract.


If possible, I want to avoid legal issues. A number of laws theoretically protect translators but they are doubtful in general practices.
Lawsuit is annoying and it is not positive to any counterpart.

But the problems of non-payment and breach of copyrights of translated documents are more serious than being complained about how to contact.
In a special case, I can say that negative feedback of a big American camera film company [now bankrupted] to my complaints indicated that the client itself was in a poor condition and translators have better not work for it.
For the case in this question, an oversea client headquarter told me to fully provide this case to the client with relevant information. I guess that it is not going to bankrupt too early.

Many thanks to Ricki.

Soonthon L.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 07:43
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More to do May 7, 2016

Soonthon L. wrote:

In a special case, I can say that negative feedback of a big American camera film company [now bankrupted] to my complaints indicated that the client itself was in a poor condition and translators have better not work for it.
For the case in this question, an oversea client headquarter told me to fully provide this case to the client with relevant information. I guess that it is not going to bankrupt too early.


In the case of this topic, I find a number of approaches to enforce the payment. At least, I find that Proz.com staffs no more move to protect translators positively. (Its movement is different from early days of Proz.com in the last decade). Legal approaches as well as partnership and friends who live oversea are probably exact.

I will report more about my success or failure.

Soonthon L.


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