What will they think of next… September 9, 2011Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.
After 16 years in the business I thought nothing could surprise me anymore, but I was wrong. There is a discussion on one of the payment practices listservs to which I subscribe about the following contract clause from a translation agency, which states:
After the Purchase Order is approved by the translator, he/she has to start the translation immediately and deliver the first 800 words within the next 2 hours. If the translator fails to do so, the PM will write a warning email and call, if no reply within 3 hours, the PM will assign the project to another translator and current translator won’t be paid.
Are you kidding me?
First of all, most of us usually have several jobs on our desk. They expect us to drop everything and deliver the first 800 words within the next 2 hours? Partial deliveries are NEVER a good idea. I guess quality isn’t all that important to them…
Secondly, this is an inequitable clause because we are independent contractors. The nature of our work is characterized by autonomy from the client. It is up to us to decide on the best time to begin the job. It is up to us to decide whether or not we will translate more or less than 800 words within the first 2 hours. I don’t sit chained to my desk panting and awaiting the next translation job. If I don’t have a translation job lined up I am usually running errands or enjoying living my life. As independent contractors, we cannot be bound by work constraints in this way.
I say delete inquiries like this and don’t look back. There are tens of thousands of translation agencies out there. You do not have to work with the ones of which you do not approve (or of whom you are suspicious) and you can still make a good living as a translator.