Translation agency wont pay for translation

Yeah, of course they don’t. They’re a company trying to make money.

Yeah, of course you haven’t. Again, they’re a company trying to make money, with however many translators and agencies. I doubt you can expect to have a dedicated person there reaching out to you to make sure everything is okay. I suspect you’d need to be proactive about it and contact them yourself.

Fair enough. Seems a bit defeatist to me, but your call if you prefer not to pursue it.

1 Like

I think the more important question is, I’ve always had trouble getting consistent number of translation work. But in the past I was able to get fairly large documents, and there have never been agencies who basically ran like a scam organization and not pay their translators. But today not only the documents are much shorter, but large number of people aren’t even paid at all with various excuses given. The entire industry has gone down the tube and will likely disappear in about 10 years.

Either that or all the jobs are going to a very small number of people.

Did you try to contact them?
As @Andrew said, you need to be more proactive. You have nothing to lose by contacting them. Perhaps they can help pushing for the payment, who knows?

I still don’t get why you removed the review. You did a job and they didn’t pay you. They stopped replying your contact until you wrote the review. That on itself shows that they care about that. Enough to promise to pay you half of what was agreed. You were getting nothing, then you had a promise of “some” payment. You could keep pushing and get paid in full.
But then you removed the review. Now, you have nothing (again).
If you think they won’t pay you anyway, why didn’t you leave the review there? At least it could warn fellow translators.


So I’m reading in that proz page the guy linked and it says it’s kind of a violation of code of ethics to go over the agency and try to reach the end client. So any translators out there, what is your take on this? Not to mention the end client is quite large and so finding the correct contact person could be a challenge.

As for standing by my work, there are almost no regional dialectical differences in written Chinese. That means materials for Cantonese and Beijing/Shanghai regions are exactly the same. Apart from differences in wording of various objects, grammatically it matters not if it’s Taiwan Chinese or Hong Kong Chinese. I think it’s structurally built like this so that written communication remain consistent throughout a large region of China. Therefore writing in traditional and using Word or other software to change it to simplified is a valid tactic, and in fact many reviewers says my english to chinese translations are considered “fluent” (and yes they are all translated to simplified chinese). English is another matter as writing styles seems to vary a lot between different fields, not to mention different regions! What’s fluent in Texas may not count as fluent in England. And there are far more ways to grammar nazi English than you can with Chinese. Wrong Chinese grammar is very glaring, whereas someone has to be a real grammar nazi to spot bad English grammar.

And not paying the translator for the work done is not a worse violation?!
And you don’t really need to reach the end client. Just mentioning to the agency that you are planning to do so should be enough. They don’t want to risk losing a big account.

Here we go again…
@Taiwan_Luthiers , you keep thinking on what could be the challenges of doing something and let this hold you from trying to do it. You need to change your mindset.

If you tell the agency you are planning to contact the end client and they still don’t pay you in full, then you can think on how to find the right person.
If it comes to that point, you also don’t need to tell the whole story at first. Find anyone in the end client, tell them you are afraid some of your work is being used without authorization and that you need to contact the responsible for translations in the end client.
It shouldn’t be hard.

And even if it was, you can’t let it hold you back.


Fyi there are some old threads about the regional differences issue.

1 Like

Update: They finally paid, but still at a lower amount than agreed upon. I got about 298 dollars instead of the agreed upon 400 dollars, better than nothing I suppose.

I need to be more careful about who I work for next time, and require advance payment if they are not a major translation company with automatic invoicing.


Good to hear that!

Btw, how did they justify the 25% difference?

1 Like

That’s not my understanding. Cheap agencies will switch trad to simp and vice versa but written Taiwan Chinese, Hong Kong Chinese and simplified Chinese are not the same. In higher end agencies I worked for we would always translate trad to simp via an actual translator. There’s far too many differences in usage and terminology.


There are some situations where you need to find a different word to avoid misunderstandings, and others where it’s just stylistically preferable.

Just sayin’.


No clue…

They claim that the translation was not good yet only claimed it when I started asking for payment.

If there are quality issues they should have raised it within 2 weeks of delivery.

They just pay really late and look for any excuse to cut the price, that was already low.

1 Like

Well, in that case, I’d keep pushing for the remaining 25%.
If they didn’t raised the issue within the agreed timeline, that’s their problem, not yours.

1 Like

Agreed. It seems like TL should still file the non-payment report or whatever it was called.

Also agreed. Like I said above (probably, haven’t scrolled up), even if the work was arguably substandard, I don’t think that should affect the agreed fee unless that arrangement was previously agreed upon in the contract. If a translation agency is paying bottom-of-the-barrel rates for outsourced work, they should expect to need to do some cleaning up of the text afterwards.