How It Works
The Payment Practices™ database consists of two main components: translation agency information and
responses and comments (see Comments below) by freelancer translators and interpreters who have first-hand experience with the agencies. No hearsay or third-hand information is permitted
in responses. The system is structured to make the information provided as objective as possible, keeping subjective opinions to a minimum in the "Comments" section
of responses about payment or the separate Comments. All responses and
comments are reviewed and edited if necessary to ensure the highest quality and avoid any legal problems such as charges of libel.
The translation agency information includes the agency's name and contact data, and if this contact data has been verified. Translation agencies for which responses have been received are assigned scores (see below) indicating their adherence to agreed payment terms and the freelancer translator's willingness to work for that agency again. There may also be separate comments containing pertinent information but which is not related to payment issues. If an agency is not already in the database, or if the responses for that agency are out-of-date, members can add the agency into the database or request new, additional responses.
Responses are provided by freelancer translators and interpreters who have
worked directly for the translation agency. Each response contains information about the agreed payment terms, when the work was performed, the amount involved, and, most important, the timeliness of payment. The freelancers also indicate if they would work for the agency again and may provide additional comments to either explain a particular situation or give additional information about their experience with that agency.
Comments are used to provide pertinent information about an agency
that is not related to direct experience with payment issues. Such
information may include the agency's pricing structure, project organization
(or lack thereof), bankruptcy proceedings, reorganization or mergers with
other agencies, or other information that may be useful to you in
determining whether you wish to work for that agency. Unlike responses,
comments may include hearsay or third-party information as long as such
information is clearly indicated as such and the source of such information
is provided. (See the User's Manual or FAQ for additional guidance.)
When a subscriber searches the database, the hits are displayed and each agency link may be opened to view the agency's information and the responses and ratings for that agency.
Additionally, "alerts" are sometimes sent via email to all active members about breaking, time-sensitive news such as the filing of bankruptcy proceedings or when a individual or agency is banned from one of the translation portals. Thankfully, these alerts are rare but they do alert active members to potential loses and fraudsters.
The Rating System
Agencies are given two ratings based on the responses by freelancers: the PP Reliability Score (PPR Score™) shows the agency's reliability in terms of making on-time payments; the Translator Approval Score (TA Score™) is assigned to each response based on the translator’s willingness to work with that agency again. Used together, these two scores make it easy for freelancers to decide whether to work for a particular agency or client.
The PPR Score indicates the agency's adherence to the agreed payment terms, i.e. did they pay on time. The PPR Score uses a scale of 0 to 5 as follows:
|Payment was received
|on time or not more than 10 days late
|11-25 days late
|26-45 days late
|46-90 days late
|more than 90 days late OR payment reduced unilaterally
The 10-day "grace period" permitted for a 5 rating allows for things such as postal delays, holidays, internal accounting procedures and other normal events that may delay payment slightly.
Payments that are reduced unilaterally by the agency (usually for alleged "quality problems") are automatically given a 1 rating. Note that this does not include reductions due to bank fees or currency conversion. If the agency discusses the reduction with the freelancer and the freelancer accepts such a reduction, then the response is rated based on when payment was received.
Also note that the rating system is based on the number of days late as per the agreed terms. If the agreed terms were net 90 days, then any payment made up to 100 days from the invoice date/receipt of invoice, would receive a 5 rating. If no payment terms were specified or agreed upon in advance, then the rating is based on the information available. This may be the agency's standard terms, customary terms for the country in which the agency operates, or the freelancer's terms as stated on their invoice.
The TA Score indicates the freelancer's willingness to work with that agency again and is completely independent of the PPR Score. The TA Score is based on the responses to the question, "Would you work for this agency again?" and is rated as follows:
|No, no way
So what kind of scores should you look for? That is your decision and only you can make it. Naturally, an agency with an average PPR Score and a TA Score of 5 or close to it is certainly a candidate. But you might also be willing to accept small delays in payment if the agency has a strong TA Score but the PPR Score is closer to 3 or 4. It's your choice. Read the responses, and the comments in particular, and then make your decision.