Unpaid translators angry as owner of firm which went bust sets up new linguistic firm

This discussion belongs to Translation news » "Unpaid translators angry as owner of firm which went bust sets up new linguistic firm".
You can see the translation news page and participate in this discussion from there.

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:24
English to French
Rings a bell May 14, 2012

I am afraid there is nothing you can do about it legally.

I experienced the same kind of misfortune with a French translation agency that went bust in 2001 with 3200 of my euros. I know I am not the only translator to have lost quite a bit of money. When the case was settled, nothing was left to insignificant creditors like translators.

Its former boss did a bit of training, boasting his achievements on a blog, then opened a new agency in Paris, with at least one former employee. The new translation agency based in Paris has a good record on the Blue Board, of course.
Tough luck was the kind of response I got when I contacted him trying to agree on a way to settle the dispute.

To further picture the kind of guy he is: Not long after I had this stiff conversation with him, I noticed weird keywords for his agency on an free French company directory: "traducteur Casablanca", "traduction MAroc", etc. And I happened to live in Morocco and operate from there. There were other oddities like "traducteur Toulouse" and can't remember what else. To me it looked like the boss was annoyed with his former creditors and tried to target them trying to divert searches that could have landed to them!

I am not enough of a thug to have people persuade him to give back what his former agency owes me, but the feeling is there.

Back to the agency featured in the article, I worked 3 times with them a few years ago: interesting projects and proper word rate. But I had quite a few issues, including late payment, so I dropped them after a few months.

My sympathies to translators/interpreters who haven't been paid.



John Fossey  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:24
Member (2008)
French to English
Old story May 15, 2012

This is the old story. I can think of at least 2 companies that are currently in business under new names, having left a raft of unpaid translators behind under the old name. Thankfully, these two have left left their tracks on the BlueBoard, for any translator diligent enough to check.

I wonder if the translators concerned have considered the question of who owns the copyright to their unpaid for translations?

[Edited at 2012-05-15 03:23 GMT]


PRAKAASH  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:54
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
I feel sad for the translators/ interpreters, who worked for them May 15, 2012

It's bad. Translators/interpreters devoted their time whole-heartedly with full dedication and hardwork and at the end, they were outplayed with no payment at all.

I don't understand why agencies do not feel good, when asked for payment in advance? Few a times, I have received responses wherein they have felt offended when I asked for partial/full advance payments, even.

For all other products, when we go to market, we have to pay right after the services are finished or we have bought the products, upon generation of bill.

In cinema complexes and entertainment venues, payment is charged in advance and then they allow you to enter their premises. Then, why should not translators go ahead and ask for advance payments or at least partial payments? I feel, that every translator should ask for some amount of advance payment at least before starting any job. If job is time-consuming, partial payment is beneficial for translators.


christela (X)
Some of them do May 15, 2012

John Fossey wrote:

I wonder if the translators concerned have considered the question of who owns the copyright to their unpaid for translations?

But prefer to have their money instead of a virtual copyright or ownership.


Richard Foulkes (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:24
German to English
+ ...
Not fair but a sign of the times... May 15, 2012

Obviously I sympathise, but the aggrieved translators may well shop with retailers who have entered CVAs and had debts written off or gone through pre-pack administrations where the directors have cherry-picked the good stores and cast off the poor performers, leaving landlords and other creditors out of pocket. There's a lot of it about...

Perhaps the insolvency laws should be changed to ensure no-one related to the failed business can take it back over, but then the insolvency practitioners are obliged to get the best possible deal for the creditors, which usually involves the people who know the business inside out. A vicious circle.

I guess it's a warning not to rack up too much invoice value with one client in the current climate.

I wonder whether there's any kind of insurance or scheme out there you can pay into that allows you to claim lost monies as a result of insolvency?


Oksana Weiss  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:24
English to Russian
+ ...
No payment in advance May 15, 2012

Why should not translators go ahead and ask for advance payments or at least partial payments?

The reason why the translators are not paid in advance is the same why office workers are not paid in advance for their work. The agency has no guarantee that the work will be done and the freelancer has no guarantee of being paid. That's the two-way mutual non-guarantee and non-security situation based on good faith (or the lack of it, as it appears from the article)


Sol Vargas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
Report Agencies May 15, 2012

I know there is not much we can do. But we should do as much as we can. I always check the Blue Board, Payment Practices and TCR List. If there is no information available or the information available is outdated, I post a question to find out about the company. I prefer not to start working with a new company if there is no information about their payment history. Please always post the name of the company and its owner(s).
Thank you so much for this one! I have listed them in my "Never work for them" list.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Unpaid translators angry as owner of firm which went bust sets up new linguistic firm

Advanced search

Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »

  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search