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Stupid payment terms July 1, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.

We’ve all experienced stupid payment terms, such as payment in 90 days end of month, payment on the 15th of the month after the invoice has been issued, payment after the end client pays your client, lump sum payment after the invoices total a specified amount, etc. However, this one really takes the cake. I’m also pretty sure that it is illegal.

Someone on the WPPF listserv has a client whose payment is contingent on their providing the translator with more work. WHAT?!?!? Who would agree to a payment term like that? First of all, we as translators have no control over when an agency will give us more work. We can try to be as easy to work with and friendly as possible, but if an agency doesn’t get work in our language pair for a while or decides not to work with us we have no control over that. And even if the agency did send you more work, who knows if you would be available to accept the job.

Never mind the fact that the translator did the work and should be paid for said work in a timely manner.

It is very important to find out the payment terms before accepting a job so that you aren’t stuck with a stupid payment term. And if you want to share some of the stupid payment terms you have encountered, feel free to do so in the comments. I know there are lots more out there…

On a more personal note: happy Canada Day to my Canadian readers, and I hope the U.S.-based translators all enjoy the long July 4th weekend. I know I plan to!



1. Herblay - July 1, 2010

This is really rediculous. I used to receive cheques at the end of every month, but I needed to go to a bank to cash them, so it’s not very convenient. Now I prefer bank transfer at the end of every project.

2. Tess Whitty - July 1, 2010

I totally agree. I find that I have about 6 different in QuickBooks right now, and even with QuickBooks it is hard to keep track of them all, send reminders and get paid!!

3. From far away - July 12, 2010

“I am also pretty sure this is illegal.”

Funny wording, on the one hand. Also strange in being not able to clarify one small point of law (the point of semi-legality, it seems) for certain, without hiring a solicitor. A translator should be capable of penetrating any walls of statutes, inquisitive, possibly outgoing by nature too. Ask a friend who is a lawyer. Friends are there to help when you need it.

On the other hand, if you are the one who always accepts rules rather than lays them down, even if for an organisation, then there’s a good reason to assume that you can be easily replaced, if you say ‘no’. People should learn how to say ‘no’ to things they don’t approve of. And, if you translate for a business without the mediation of a translation agency, make sure you exchange your work for money on the spot, as it were. Always. Why not?

It’s up to you to make sure you do not allow anyone to get off the ‘payment due by’ schedule and get away with it many times in a row. Nobody will let you do so, when it comes to delivering your translation, will they?

All in all, good luck.

Jill (@bonnjill) - July 12, 2010

As I said, this was not my problem but one aired by a colleague on a forum, so I certainly didn’t waste time researching the legality or illegality of it. I was just sharing it with the readers.

4. Arab Lingo - August 31, 2010

I totally agree with you, Especially that all this Escrow sites or Translation Agencies have gotten paid Indeed for the job, it’s a fraud Method neither they intend to steal you Funds , nor they keep on the money as long as they can in their bank Account to gain a profit from that
this is a completely Non acceptance method ,as translators; we should not accept this way of deal, the translator who done every thing from A to Z and the Agencies gain the most of the profit.
once , one of this fraud brokers win a project ( as I guess and sure) for not less than 2000$ and Search for freelancer to hire for only 250$ for this mass project, what a fraud ???!!!
they are nothing expect they are Brokers, Marketers and this is a very easy work , but as they have lot of time more than the Professionals whom duped by them,

at all, thank you for you post

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