Translator fined for not meeting the deadline
Thread poster: Roberto Codognotto

Roberto Codognotto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:46
English to Italian
+ ...
May 21

Dear all,

I would need some advice from you. I have a graduation in translation studies but I am totally new in this working field. In the past few months I've been spending my time during the quarantine looking for online job opportunities as freelance translator

I found a Russian online translation agency and I completed one of their translation tests. The results were good and now they want to hire me, but I think there is something wrong with the contract they sent
... See more
Dear all,

I would need some advice from you. I have a graduation in translation studies but I am totally new in this working field. In the past few months I've been spending my time during the quarantine looking for online job opportunities as freelance translator

I found a Russian online translation agency and I completed one of their translation tests. The results were good and now they want to hire me, but I think there is something wrong with the contract they sent me

In the contract it is written that if I don't meet their deadlines or if I don't respect their quality standards or if I make any kind of mistake I will have to reimburse them

Is this normal?

Thank you in advance

Roberto
Collapse


cpoveda45gma
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:46
Member
Italian to English
"Nì" May 21

Normal... yes and no. Some agencies do make deductions if jobs are delivered late.
In the event of poor quality, the agency should give the translator an opportunity to rectify the text before making deductions.
What is the exact wording of the contract?

Remember to check the agency out on the Blue Board and with the Payment Practices site if you can (paymentpractices.net).


Teresa Borges
Roberto Codognotto
Aline Amorim
 

Georgi Kovachev  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 09:46
Member (2010)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Include your provisions in the contract as well May 21

It is normal that they look after their interests. You are not required to accept everything that has been proposed. However, if there are no particulars regarding the exact amount of reimbursement, you could request information in this respect and amend the contract accordingly.

If I were you, I would insist on adding a provision that any late payment is to incur a penalty of 1% of the amount due per month in delay.

Georgi


Roberto Codognotto
 

Tony M
France
Local time: 08:46
Member
French to English
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
Reimbursement? May 21

The fact that you take responsibility for your work, in terms of quality and timeliness, is obviously only correct, and about the only redress a customer has is to ask for a reduction in the invoice.
However, this notion of 'reimbursement' Is rather curious — is it you who have introduced this curious term, or does it appear as such in the contract? Which itself might have been translated from RU!
The point is, 'reimburse' specifically refers to 'paying back something that had prev
... See more
The fact that you take responsibility for your work, in terms of quality and timeliness, is obviously only correct, and about the only redress a customer has is to ask for a reduction in the invoice.
However, this notion of 'reimbursement' Is rather curious — is it you who have introduced this curious term, or does it appear as such in the contract? Which itself might have been translated from RU!
The point is, 'reimburse' specifically refers to 'paying back something that had previously been paid over' — wheras translations are usually only paid afterwards. So the term would only apply in 2 circumstances:
1) The job has been paid for in advance — an uncommon but feasible possibility, in which case a request for 'reimbursement' might be justified.
2) The are in fact asking you to 'reimburse' money previously paid in settlement of earlier jobs — this is clearly not acceptable in any scenario!

Your use of both the term 'reimburse' and also 'fine' is probably out of place here — in the event of a customer's complaining about my work, I would always immediately propose to put the problem right and offer them a generous discount off the invoice amount; but I'm pleased to say this has happened to me only once in 25 years translating!
Collapse


Samuel Murray
DZiW
Sheila Wilson
Robert Rietvelt
Teresa Borges
Roberto Codognotto
Thayenga
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Roberto May 21

Roberto Codognotto wrote:
In the contract it is written that if I don't meet their deadlines or if I don't respect their quality standards or if I make any kind of mistake I will have to reimburse them.


Reimbursement is strange.

Having a penalty deducted from the payment is more usual (though not common).

In cases where agency clients pay *after* delivery, I think it is assumed that if the client pays, then he is saying that he accepts the translation, i.e. that he is happy with it. Especially w.r.t. agencies, because agencies are supposed to implement additional quality control procedures to ensure that the work they deliver to their end-client is error-free.

The problem at the start of your relationship with the client is that you have no idea how unreasonable the client's quality expectations are. So, what you can do is work for them for a while, on short jobs, but make sure you specifically cancel the agreement (in writing) if you decide that you no longer wish to work for them under that agreement. Or, put an expiry date on the current agreement. After all, you can always renegotiate (i.e. sign a different agreement) with them in future, which will cancel the current agreement.


Roberto Codognotto
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
An equal party with obligations May 21

Welcome, Roberto!

While I believe the real industry requires not "pure" translators but (1) dedicated specialists in a real field with (2) business awareness and (3) decent foreign language skills, it's crucial that one have good biz skills in any area.

* A contract is an agreement between two or more parties with the veto right.

It implies that before signing a contract all parties can freely agree (add, delete, amend) to accept
... See more
Welcome, Roberto!

While I believe the real industry requires not "pure" translators but (1) dedicated specialists in a real field with (2) business awareness and (3) decent foreign language skills, it's crucial that one have good biz skills in any area.

* A contract is an agreement between two or more parties with the veto right.

It implies that before signing a contract all parties can freely agree (add, delete, amend) to accept or decline both the entire contract and its articles.

So, are you a real businessperson? (an equal businessparty)
Collapse


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:46
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Try amending the contract May 21

Roberto Codognotto wrote:
I think there is something wrong with the contract they sent me

In the contract it is written that if I don't meet their deadlines or if I don't respect their quality standards or if I make any kind of mistake I will have to reimburse them

I'm assuming that they are proposing to reduce the amount they pay you. A good agency that everyone will want to collaborate with would expect their suppliers to voluntarily propose a discount if their work was proven to be sub-standard or delivered late for reasons that haven't been justified. In fact, I rarely sign any sort of contract as my clients and I work on the basis of a couple of emails laying out the terms of our relationship (which forms a binding contract), plus an exchange each time they have work for me. No client/customer should ever be given the right to unilaterally determine payment terms. You may feel the need to be a little less choosy at the moment, but there's even more need in that case to have the position of both parties made crystal clear before any work is done. So make sure you would, as examples (maybe not the exact ones you'd use):
-- not accept any discount if you are denied the chance to rectify any mistakes;
-- not accept any discount for a slightly late delivery if you warned them of it or if you had problems outside your control, unless it was made clear at the outset that the deadline was absolutely fixed;
-- only accept any sort of discount for poor quality if you agree or if a third party gives reasonable proof;
-- only accept a small discount (maybe agree a range of percentages) for a job that you correct yourself but subsequently deliver late;
-- only accept a small discount for jobs that were rejected for justified reasons and that you couldn't fix, so that additional expense was incurred putting the translation right;
-- only ever accept a maximum discount of 100% of the amount invoiced for that job (i.e. not be paid), and only then if your translation was never used, either for quality issues or because it arrived too late.

Condense that into a few words, insert them in the margin of the contract, make any other changes and/or deletions, and sign each amendment as well as in the normal place. Their reaction will tell you a lot about whether you want to work with them .


DZiW
Teresa Borges
Roberto Codognotto
Aline Amorim
Yolanda Broad
 

Roberto Codognotto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:46
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much! May 21

Georgi Kovachev wrote:

It is normal that they look after their interests. You are not required to accept everything that has been proposed. However, if there are no particulars regarding the exact amount of reimbursement, you could request information in this respect and amend the contract accordingly.

If I were you, I would insist on adding a provision that any late payment is to incur a penalty of 1% of the amount due per month in delay.

Georgi


 

Roberto Codognotto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:46
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! May 21

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

Normal... yes and no. Some agencies do make deductions if jobs are delivered late.
In the event of poor quality, the agency should give the translator an opportunity to rectify the text before making deductions.
What is the exact wording of the contract?

Remember to check the agency out on the Blue Board and with the Payment Practices site if you can (paymentpractices.net).


 

Roberto Codognotto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:46
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Maybe I should've used "refund" or "be charged" May 21

Tony M wrote:

The fact that you take responsibility for your work, in terms of quality and timeliness, is obviously only correct, and about the only redress a customer has is to ask for a reduction in the invoice.
However, this notion of 'reimbursement' Is rather curious — is it you who have introduced this curious term, or does it appear as such in the contract? Which itself might have been translated from RU!
The point is, 'reimburse' specifically refers to 'paying back something that had previously been paid over' — wheras translations are usually only paid afterwards. So the term would only apply in 2 circumstances:
1) The job has been paid for in advance — an uncommon but feasible possibility, in which case a request for 'reimbursement' might be justified.
2) The are in fact asking you to 'reimburse' money previously paid in settlement of earlier jobs — this is clearly not acceptable in any scenario!

Your use of both the term 'reimburse' and also 'fine' is probably out of place here — in the event of a customer's complaining about my work, I would always immediately propose to put the problem right and offer them a generous discount off the invoice amount; but I'm pleased to say this has happened to me only once in 25 years translating!


 

Roberto Codognotto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:46
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much! I will follow your advice May 21

Samuel Murray wrote:

Roberto Codognotto wrote:
In the contract it is written that if I don't meet their deadlines or if I don't respect their quality standards or if I make any kind of mistake I will have to reimburse them.


Reimbursement is strange.

Having a penalty deducted from the payment is more usual (though not common).

In cases where agency clients pay *after* delivery, I think it is assumed that if the client pays, then he is saying that he accepts the translation, i.e. that he is happy with it. Especially w.r.t. agencies, because agencies are supposed to implement additional quality control procedures to ensure that the work they deliver to their end-client is error-free.

The problem at the start of your relationship with the client is that you have no idea how unreasonable the client's quality expectations are. So, what you can do is work for them for a while, on short jobs, but make sure you specifically cancel the agreement (in writing) if you decide that you no longer wish to work for them under that agreement. Or, put an expiry date on the current agreement. After all, you can always renegotiate (i.e. sign a different agreement) with them in future, which will cancel the current agreement.


 

Roberto Codognotto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:46
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! I appreciate your sarcasm :D May 21

DZiW wrote:

Welcome, Roberto!

While I believe the real industry requires not "pure" translators but (1) dedicated specialists in a real field with (2) business awareness and (3) decent foreign language skills, it's crucial that one have good biz skills in any area.

* A contract is an agreement between two or more parties with the veto right.

It implies that before signing a contract all parties can freely agree (add, delete, amend) to accept or decline both the entire contract and its articles.

So, are you a real businessperson? (an equal businessparty)


 

Roberto Codognotto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:46
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much! This is the most complete answer to my post :) May 21

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Roberto Codognotto wrote:
I think there is something wrong with the contract they sent me

In the contract it is written that if I don't meet their deadlines or if I don't respect their quality standards or if I make any kind of mistake I will have to reimburse them

I'm assuming that they are proposing to reduce the amount they pay you. A good agency that everyone will want to collaborate with would expect their suppliers to voluntarily propose a discount if their work was proven to be sub-standard or delivered late for reasons that haven't been justified. In fact, I rarely sign any sort of contract as my clients and I work on the basis of a couple of emails laying out the terms of our relationship (which forms a binding contract), plus an exchange each time they have work for me. No client/customer should ever be given the right to unilaterally determine payment terms. You may feel the need to be a little less choosy at the moment, but there's even more need in that case to have the position of both parties made crystal clear before any work is done. So make sure you would, as examples (maybe not the exact ones you'd use):
-- not accept any discount if you are denied the chance to rectify any mistakes;
-- not accept any discount for a slightly late delivery if you warned them of it or if you had problems outside your control, unless it was made clear at the outset that the deadline was absolutely fixed;
-- only accept any sort of discount for poor quality if you agree or if a third party gives reasonable proof;
-- only accept a small discount (maybe agree a range of percentages) for a job that you correct yourself but subsequently deliver late;
-- only accept a small discount for jobs that were rejected for justified reasons and that you couldn't fix, so that additional expense was incurred putting the translation right;
-- only ever accept a maximum discount of 100% of the amount invoiced for that job (i.e. not be paid), and only then if your translation was never used, either for quality issues or because it arrived too late.

Condense that into a few words, insert them in the margin of the contract, make any other changes and/or deletions, and sign each amendment as well as in the normal place. Their reaction will tell you a lot about whether you want to work with them .


 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 16:46
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Don't get me wrong, May 22

but I avoid agencies from certain countries, and Russia is one of them.

Katalin Horváth McClure
 


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