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Risk management for translators and interpreters

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just do it! Nov 30, 2010

apk12 wrote:
Any chances for a complement re. upfront and milestones?

Yes, I think it would make a lot of sense actually. How about adding a new section for it (simply click Edit in the topic, make a copy Laurent's section just below Laurent's, and edit the title and contents as appropriate. If you have any difficulty with it, I am sure any of us can help!


 

Sonia Acioli  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:05
Member
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Risk management for translators May 4, 2011

We should have a list of bad payers. I´ve translated several texts for a translation co. in January and up to this day didn´t receive the full payment, only small portions.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Risk management for translators May 4, 2011

Sonia Acioli wrote:
We should have a list of bad payers. I´ve translated several texts for a translation co. in January and up to this day didn´t receive the full payment, only small portions.

Sonia, such a list already exists, in the form of Proz.com's BlueBoard, which is a very useful guide about the reliability of a firm as a business partner.


 

Per Bergvall  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 14:05
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Blue Board is your best bet May 8, 2011

I look up all new agencies on the Blue Board. Anyone unlisted, or with a rating of less than 4.5, I do not work for. Accumulated loss due to bad debts over the last 17 years: zero.

 

anew-vision (X)
Local time: 14:05
English to Polish
+ ...
Bad attitude May 9, 2011

"Risk" is not the problem, the point is that our clients do not perceive translation as "product" just because a) it is intangible, b) they (in most cases) really can do without it or can delay it, c) typing a few words in another language "seems" to be a piece of cake for the translator. Translation is not stockpiled in their office and sold away with a big margin, it is not needed for their business to live on as much as gas for their limo. Basically, their teenage son can do the same thing fo... See more
"Risk" is not the problem, the point is that our clients do not perceive translation as "product" just because a) it is intangible, b) they (in most cases) really can do without it or can delay it, c) typing a few words in another language "seems" to be a piece of cake for the translator. Translation is not stockpiled in their office and sold away with a big margin, it is not needed for their business to live on as much as gas for their limo. Basically, their teenage son can do the same thing for which we want huge money (0.05 c per word).
The cause of the crisis is delayed payment for translation instead of "first pay, then download" + greed and demolishing the translation market by newcomers and "smart" translators. In the long run, they will be out of this place, but for now... sigh...
So the solution first comes in making the client aware that our work is not shelf-based, but is actually the exchange of typed letters for our time and health.
It is our (your) life energy that we put into translation. The hours spent on unpaid work are gone for good. If you are greedy and want to take that "risk" - go ahead. I was there, not a single time and I do not want to lose any more of the time that I have yet to live in return for payment notices, unnecessary worry and bad feelings about crap "clients" who do not respect you.
Screen your clients first. I mean feel them. Points, kudoz, references, that is not all there is. Feel and talk, and ... demand advance for booking your time. That you simply can make a 20 pages of contract in a breeze does not mean you are relieved of respect for yourself
Collapse


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:05
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Risk management for translators/The Blue Board May 17, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Sonia Acioli wrote:
We should have a list of bad payers. I´ve translated several texts for a translation co. in January and up to this day didn´t receive the full payment, only small portions.

Sonia, such a list already exists, in the form of Proz.com's BlueBoard, which is a very useful guide about the reliability of a firm as a business partner.


The Blue Board is, without a doubt, a valuable source of information about a customer. And yet...

I've been working for an agency on a number of translation and editing jobs over several months. Communication was good and payment always on time - sometimes even sooner than the due date declared on the invoice. About a month ago, I made (also upon request) a Blue Board entry for this agency based on my experiences with them. But suddenly, rather as soon as I've completed my entry to their Blue Board record, the tide turned: all PayPal fees ended up on me, even though they were visibly included in all (old and current)invoices which had been accepted by the agency, and had been paid by them up to the date of my entry "in their book".
It didn't stop there. Suddenly payments were made very late and only after several reminders had been sent. But they still keep sending me job notifications.

That agency's Blue Board record still shows my (at that time, sincere and honest) WWA 5. This means that I will have to wait another 11 months before I can make another entry to then reflect the true "face" of said agency. IMHO there should be a way to make ammendments to a BB entry when the outsourcer's business conduct changes so drastically.


 

CEW (X)
Local time: 21:05
English to Japanese
+ ...
A suggestion Jul 4, 2011

hi,
how about making an Escrow here?
In this way the freelancers are safe.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Risk management for translators/The Blue Board Jul 4, 2011

Thayenga wrote:
That agency's Blue Board record still shows my (at that time, sincere and honest) WWA 5. This means that I will have to wait another 11 months before I can make another entry to then reflect the true "face" of said agency. IMHO there should be a way to make ammendments to a BB entry when the outsourcer's business conduct changes so drastically.

Although I fully sympathise with the situation and understand your motives, I think that the 12-month waiting time makes lots of sense, since it protects the Blueboard from becoming a collection method. When people make a negative comment because of payment problema, they know that it will stay there for at least a year, even if they are paid.


 

Barbara Antonieta
Argentina
Local time: 09:05
English to Spanish
:) Dec 8, 2011

I agree with you John.

 

Nani Delgado  Identity Verified
Germany
German to Spanish
. Dec 8, 2011

Thayenga wrote:

That agency's Blue Board record still shows my (at that time, sincere and honest) WWA 5. This means that I will have to wait another 11 months before I can make another entry to then reflect the true "face" of said agency. IMHO there should be a way to make ammendments to a BB entry when the outsourcer's business conduct changes so drastically.


It´s several months ago since you wrote this but I am sure you can edit your BB entry within the year, no need to wait a year for a new one. I would do it if the behavior changes that much. I´ve done it once indeed.


 

Lydie Parisot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:05
French to English
+ ...
Payment terms Nov 6, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:
While I can see you point, Tomás, I think that linking to the EU guideline on payment terms could not do any harm.

Yes, I agree that preferring 30 days is very legitimate indeed. However, a bad customer can say yes to a payment in 30 days (or in 21 days, or in 3 days, for that matter) and then ignore it completely. I think that the page as it stands now serves the main purpose: making sure a customer is legitimate and establishing the job at hand.

About the payment terms, I would add it as a separate section in the same page, with a reference to the EU guideline and the recommended conditions of Associations if you have them.


I agree with Tomás. Unfortunately a bad payer will eagerly agree to all terms, since he has no intention of following through.
The bottom line is to discern a paying client from a fraudster. Once the work is delivered, a serious client will comply and pay of his own will, with or without a Purchase Order. However, when dealing with a disreputable client, a nonpayer, then a Purchase Order serves principally to cut your losses by establishing the limits and contours of the project, rather than ensuring payment made good.


 

BeaDeer  Identity Verified
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Translation profession or an industry? Nov 8, 2012

I admit that the term "translation industry" annoys me very much.
I do not see myself as belonging to an "industry", I belong to a profession.
How we refer to our work impacts the perception of value of our work, don't you think?


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree Nov 8, 2012

BeaDeer wrote:
I admit that the term "translation industry" annoys me very much.

Although in my life I try not to get annoyed by too many things, so that I can live a generally happy life, I actually agree with you and will take it into account in my own comments about our profession.


 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:05
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Thanks for the article but... Nov 27, 2012

Your points are well worth considering, especially when one has just started. What about a blacklist of people who do not pay-up? Can we report people who do not pay up or can ProZ.com start such a service or a group start such a service? People would be warned about these companies/clients.

 

JOHN PENNEY  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:05
Portuguese to English
+ ...
What about risk management for "clients" ? Jan 4, 2013

I agree with a lot of TC´s points, all of them focused on the risks run by translators. However, some thought also needs to be given to the risks incurred by those posting jobs on the site. It is of course incumbent on the latter to assess a translator´s qualifications and quality before recruiting him or her for a job, but this exercise is time-consuming and full of pitfalls. Many translators are less than forthcoming about their real qualifications to do a particular job.I have recent exper... See more
I agree with a lot of TC´s points, all of them focused on the risks run by translators. However, some thought also needs to be given to the risks incurred by those posting jobs on the site. It is of course incumbent on the latter to assess a translator´s qualifications and quality before recruiting him or her for a job, but this exercise is time-consuming and full of pitfalls. Many translators are less than forthcoming about their real qualifications to do a particular job.I have recent experience as an occasional "client". I posted a job (part translation of an academic book from Spanish to English)and was inundated with replies (about 60 in a 24-hour period). I selected 5 candidates from what appeared to be the best qualified of these. Three turned in very good work in the specified time frame. Two submitted the most atrocious rubbish,late, which I had to spend many hours revising, editing, etc before achieving a minimally readable text. I stuck by my agreement to pay them all promptly, which I did. This just goes to show that translation is a two-way, highly risky, enterprise for both translators and their clients.Collapse


 
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