Translation payment advice for Nina

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am turning to you in need of a professional advice. I am having serious problems with a fellow translator/client who ordered a high volume translation from me (obviously he took the order from another client at a larger fee and then he forwarded it to me, so he gets paid however even if he didn’t do anything. The problem is the following. It was a dense technical text, the source words were 24,175 and the target words 25,109. We agreed on a per word rate, but it was indefinite if the count should be done for source or target words (it was up to his client). I was sent a pfd file and I did the “human” translation (I don’t have Trados or any other machine translation program). It was all done in just 5 days and I worked for 50 hours in order to provide a professional, high-quality translation, which I did. When I sent my invoice, the colleage/client has told me that he cannot accept it because the word count is 11,000 !!???

It seems that there was a TM in his (and his cl ient’s possession) of which I knew nothing and that he “forgot” to mention that the count would be done according to “new matches” and “repetitions”, which I obviously did not have, since I didn’t use Trados nor has he ever mentioned anything similar. This is absoulutely unfair and he cannot do this!

I have rejected other jobs and really worked hard on this one and he never, ever mentioned any TM, Trados, repetitions and similar. He says he was wronged too, because he didn’t know anyhting about it, but I find that quite impossible. Now, I really want to get paid for the work I did (not for one third of it!), as I was honest and professional from the beginning, but he doesn’t seem to understand or pretends not to understand that this is just wrong. He should have been honest from the start about all this Trados thing.

What I really need you to do is to tell me (and him) can this sort of word count be done if there was no TM delivered (or even mentioned) to the actual translator. Furthermore, I have no way of confirming even that what they say is true, because I cannot perform that kind of word count.

All I know is that I have translated over 25000 words in 5 days and that we agreed on a price per word. And so it should have been done. I can’t understand why this person, who also claims to be a translator is not able to understand that this is ill-treatment of a colleague and completely unfair. He will get paid, however, just for receiving the file and sending it to me. And all my hard work? Who will pay for that? I have told him that I would get legal help or at least blacklist him, and he responded arogantly that he doesn’t care and that he is “trashing my e-mails”!

This person’s name is: Enrico Honnorat. His e-mail is: [email protected]

What can be done about this? If you provide your professional opinion about the fairness of payment practices and he gets to read it, maybe he will come to his senses. Please, be so kind and help me resolve this. I thank you in advance. Sincere regards, Prof. Nina Feric, PhD, MA


Hello Nina, you are right, he should have told you the conditions in the beginning. If he made a mistake he should pay for it and not you. In the least he should give you everything and do the management of the job for free. You should definitely post this on various sites, because he is not taking responsibility for his mistake. If he is located in another country than you, there is little or no legal recourse you can take against him, as is explained here:

If in the same country, legal recourse will be very difficult anyway, and generally not worth the effort and costs.

If you do not have legal recourse then it is best to be polite, extract the maximum you can out of him, then pummel him on all the internet forums about translation agency payment reputations. If he wants to start his own business, which is not a problem for a translator to mediate, he has to learn that he cannot do so if he has a bad reputation. So your response to this is important, to warn others, but there may be nothing you can do about it. As the page above explains, you need to carefully research any new client. So you took a chance with a noname and now you paid for it, so you made a mistake as well. But in this industry we simply must take risks sometimes. Best not to take any risks if you already have guaranteed work for which you are confident you will get paid.

Hope this helps, Karel

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