Translation agency wont pay for translation

I did some translation for an agency… at very low rates. However after the payment term they still won’t pay and said that they were on vacation and that the client did not pay. So after a week of this and them not responding at all, or did not get back to me when they said they would, I left a negative feedback on ProZ. Now they said they wouldn’t pay me unless I took that feedback off.

I need to take legal action against them, but how would I do this? What agency should I go to? The police? The labor department?


You go to a lawyer.


Do you have one you recommend?

You’re gonna have to negotiate with him in terms of cost. Usually the scary letter is enough to make people cave.


Which agency?

It’s called “TransHarvest”.

this is their Blueboard record:

They paid very quickly at first for a small job, then I got bigger jobs that they started delaying on payment, using honeymoon or vacations as an excuse, and they did eventually pay. However right now they owe me about 400 US on some really large jobs, that took me a long time (had to work 12 hour days for it), They were supposed to pay me 2 weeks ago but they kept dodging the question when I asked about payment. At first they said they were on vacation, then they said the client didn’t pay so they had to find out why, and it just seemed very last minute and response is slow if they responded at all. Disgusted with their attitude I changed the blueboard entry and they send an email immediately telling me to take it off or else they will not pay me at all. I told them they owe me money and they either pay me within 24 hours or the record stays.

I haven’t heard from them since.


Where are they based? Is it really Palestine, as the listing suggests?

If they’re international, I doubt you’d have much luck at all getting a Taiwanese lawyer to send them a letter. Especially over 400 USD - it’s simply not worth it for this amount. So you’re probably stuck with working with them and/or the platform to find a solution. Would be better to try to keep it civil/professional, if that ship hasn’t already sailed.

Obviously, once you’ve got the payment, if you do get it, you shouldn’t do any more work for them (especially without upfront payment). Seems like there were enough red flags in your previous interactions with them, tbh.

Not to mention the very low rates - probably better not to undersell yourself with bottom-of-the-barrel assignments like that if you want to avoid sketchy clients.

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So basically they know it’s not worth hiring lawyers or suing so they basically do it to various people?

If you can steal a couple of bucks from a million people all over the world, you can easily end up with a million dollars.

Really such a rough business. It’s true, their clients often don’t pay. Years ago I had a contract for $250,000 USD and had to settle for $75,000. I was doing translation and QA on the functionality of their software and got screwed.

Get references. That Blue Board works both ways. Really terrible for a company or translator to get trashed there. I had a disgruntled vendor trash me there and of course none of what they were saying was true yet proz didn’t care what the truth was.

Forget lawyers. Just be diligent in asking them to pay

I’ve had several occasion where agencies aren’t paying and it’s often at the worst possible time, like expecting money to pay bills only to find out they wouldn’t pay. And the problem is I don’t get enough work to hedge it so it meant I wasn’t paying bills or exceeding landlord’s patience.

If you file a nonpayment report they won’t be able to write on your blue board record.

I mean, technically that would be two million dollars, but yeah. I’m not familiar with the platform, but it sounds like you can file a non-payment report and try to deal with it that way? Outside of the platform and trying to keep a good relationship with the client, I don’t think you have much recourse.

I guess I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never had a non-paying client in 10 years or so of freelancing. I almost exclusively work with regular clients, though, not one-off jobs where clients might have more inclination to not pay. I’ve just had one assignment where the client was being sketchy and unresponsive after delivery of the work - they paid in the end after mild threats of legal action, and I never worked for them again because it wasn’t worth the stress in my opinion.

I’ve had a lot of struggle of getting regular work, and I’m not quite sure why. I don’t know what’s the criteria and according to ProZ you have to pay for their membership (which isn’t cheap) in order to get access to clients. And almost everyone I worked with promised regular work and then not deliver (basically end of communication after a small number of jobs).

Threaten with a lawyer AND say you will take the review down only if they pay you first.

Do not get a lawyer. The law in Taiwan is not on your side if you do not understand the system.

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I had a really strong business in the 90s and early 2000s. It was a different world then. I worked for all of the major tech and computer companies in more than 24 languages. It was insane. We did software and hardware manuals and DLLs and GUI and marketing materials. The pay today is a fraction of what it was and of course the translation tools are incredible now.

It was extremely stressful back then. With all of the competition today I bet the stress is many times more and with much less reward.

Best of luck getting paid. It really sucks


Care to elaborate?

It seems to be an international client in this case, unless TL cares to clarify. What do you think a letter from a Taiwanese lawyer is going to achieve, except costing more money?

It was in reference to @TaipeiGuy2000’s remarks.

I’ve had not had a chance to work for a Taiwanese client for a very long time. They are few and far between. Right now I have this media company that I can translate into Chinese but even then work has been spotty.

90% of the work I have gotten that involves Chinese is simplified Chinese, so it follows that very few of those clients will be Taiwanese. If I translate into Chinese I just translate into traditional and then just convert it to simplified. No one complained about that, it’s not really THAT different, more like US vs. British English.

I just think this has got to be some kind of recourse about this as translation or any remote work is all international. Otherwise people are just going to get stolen from constantly.

Plus if you think about it it’s basically fraud… and that’s against the law in any country that I know of. I have no idea about Palestine though…

So were my comments, and presumably his because that’s the thread we’re writing in. It’s not good advice to contact a lawyer here, given the nature of the client and the size of the disputed amount. Maybe if it were one or two orders of magnitude higher, it could be worth considering…l

Jail for these thugs