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New Approach to Translation Payment Disputes bY Translation Company Japan

It is often very difficult to resolve payment disputes involving professional translation work.

 Tokyo Translation Company Japan

This is because stakeholders may have very difficult interests, and, also, because of the very nature of translation work.

Each party in the project will have different agendas. The end user will not only want to avoid paying full price for what they consider substandard work but may want to give the translator/translation company a figurative “slap on the wrists” to provide better work next time. The translator, meanwhile, just wants to be paid for the work they have done. If there is an intermediary translation company, they are in a more delicate situation. Their first impulse may be to appease the customer and not lose the potential customer. They also need to be careful, however, to avoid alienating the translator and have them go elsewhere. When the translation market is very tight, this is potentially equally as damaging to the translation company’s business.

The second point is that most payment disputes in the field of translation do not concern cases of complete failure of delivery, glaring omissions or 100% reliance on Google Translate. They will rather tend to be more ambiguous areas, such as non-use of technical terms or lack of fluency. Translation companies could perhaps do more to avoid disputes by tightening the terms of their agreements with the end user and translator, by, for example, stipulating that the customer cannot claim a penalty due to non-use of technical language unless they provide a terms list and make the translator liable for a penalty if such terms list is not followed. However, the translation company may be reticent to avoid making excessive demands that will lower their attractiveness as a supplier to the end user.

Additionally, the above approach does not help when the end user claims that the English does not flow properly. This dispute can quickly descend into both parties sticking adamantly to their guns in a “yes it does” vs “no it doesn’t” stand-off. When this is settled by the Japanese translation company saying that one of their reviewers has looked at it and agreed that it has poor fluency, the translator can feel railroaded.

In conclusion, perhaps there is a niche in the market for an independent organization that receives the same fixed fee from both parties and can provide impartial adjudication in the dispute. In such a system, the parties involved would only pay a fee and participate if they feel they have a legitimate claim. This would help to resolve translation disputes in a fairer way.

About the Author
Simon Way is a contributing author to SAECULII YK, the owner of the Translation Company Japan Tokyo. Visit SAECULII for the latest professional case studies, articles and news by Japanese Translation Service

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