Handling Disputes in the Translation Industry - Part 1

June 20th, 2016

Any freelance translator will be aware that disputes arise with clients from time to time.

Handling Disputes in the Translation Industry - Part 1 | One Hour Translation

Any freelance translator, indeed anyone running their own business, will be aware that disputes arise with clients from time to time; and these disputes need to be resolved in such a way that both the client and translator are satisfied and, hopefully, that the relationship already established can be maintained. The only way to resolve any type of dispute is through communication, because, let’s face it, nobody wants the expense and stress of involving lawyers or debt collection services.

Good Communication Is Key to Running a Successful Translation Business

So, what should a translator do when a client believes they’ve received substandard work, or alternatively, the translator believes they’ve been treated unfairly by their client? This is just part-and-parcel of running your own translation business and for the good of all concerned, these issues need to be resolved as quickly as possible.

As a translator, you may believe that your translation was accurate and of high quality, and perhaps even your colleagues agree with you – therefore you deserve to be paid for work delivered. However, the client has a different opinion. They believe the translation they received is unusable and that, due to your inconsistent or inaccurate work, they may lose a client. Therefore, they don’t believe they should pay for the work you’ve produced. It’s a terrible situation, but the fact still remains that this dispute must be resolved to the benefit of both parties.

There are many issues that may cause a dispute between a client and a translator, with the most common being issues of quality. Of course, ‘quality’ is a very subjective area. Other areas of dispute can be more clear-cut, such as the translator failed to meet a deadline, or the client didn’t pay on time. Unfortunately, when the issue revolves around the quality of a translation these disputes can often become quite acrimonious.

Below we’ve listed our advice on ways to both avoid and resolve dispute situations –

Sign up to a Translator Agency Rating Service

The first point to make is that it’s very important that every translator belongs to a translator agency rating service, which means that you can check the service prior to accepting a job from a new client. If you’re running your own freelance translation business, in our opinion this is an absolute must for the successful running of your business. By doing just a little research before blindly accepting what appears to be a great translation project from a client, you could save yourself a lot of heartache. It’s only a small investment to make, and you’ll have the ability to see if a specific agency or client has a track record of non-payment. No-one deserves not to be paid for the work they’ve completed, so once you belong to a translator agency rating service you’ll be able to check out other translators’ experiences with clients you may be considering working with.

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