Asphodel Works

I would like to warn the visitors to this website against fraudulent agencies and customers who have used my services but never paid for them and never respond to follow-up emails. I hope that my experience might help you protect yourselves against these dishonest customers/agencies that are a blemish to the profession.

  • Translation India, New Delhi - 110003, Delhi, India, Ram Kumar Kesarwani

    I did an "urgent" Bulgarian translation/localisation of the Euroteam website in February 2007. They never paid the agreed amount of 110 euro and never replied to my emails. The company still exists but has changed its name slightly - to Translation in India - and the Manager seems to be someone new as well. Following this incident, I developed a genuine mistrust for any companies from India, partly through the experience I've had, partly through the manner in which their boastful emails, loudly advertising their business, sound - or the full-of-promises ones, when requesting translation services.

  • TransPerfect USA

    TRANSPERFECT, advertising themselves as "The Leader in Global Language and Business Services", are based at 3 Park Avenue, 39th Floor, New York, NY 10016, USA. Their website is http://www.transperfect.com.

    I was contacted by them on 13th January 2011 with a request to do a transcription "test" in order to determine the quality of my services. The contact person's name was Brian Tubman btubman@transperfect.com and he'd found me on TranslatorsCafe.com.

    I was given a very short deadline - a 4-minute and 32-second interview, 700 words: "Please transcribe and return within approximately 35 minutes from when the download finishes. I will be notified when you download the file."

    Although I delivered promptly and a perfect transcription, done according to their formatting guidelines, I was never contacted back despite writing to them a couple of times. I guess I just did a "free" transcription job for them...

  • Attimedia SA, Greece

    I was contacted by Vartan Maroukian tra4.attimedia@otenet.gr, HR & Project Coordinator of Attimedia SA Greece, http://www.attimedia.com, on 5th August 2011. After a lengthy registration process on a poorly built website (only works in IE), and with very odd definitions of what "one page" equals - "2000 characters without spaces" - I was requested to do a two-part paid test. The first part, "209 words, or 0.77 pages (page of 2000 characters). At EUR 7 per page, it works out at EUR 5.39", was an English-Bulgarian translation to be done in Trados. And the second part was a proofreading/editing assignment where

    Total page count is 1.01 + 1.53 pages (page of 2000 characters), so it works out to: 2.54 x EUR 5 = EUR 12.70. The word count is 409 + 545 = 954 words. The price per word works out to 0.013 or so.

    After a confirmed successful completion of the test assignments, I was requested to send them an invoice for the total amount of 20.24 EUR – sent on 18th October 2011, supposed to be paid within 30 days of receipt. I contacted said Mr Maroukian again on 28 November 2011 (40 days later) and he promised "You should receive the money within a few days. If there are any problems, please let me know."

    I last attempted sending an email on 23rd December 2011, saying that there was indeed a problem, as I'd received no payment, but received no reply.

    On 9th April 2012, I suddenly received a phone call from a hidden number. It was the above mentioned PM. In a tone which I can only describe as occasionally trespassing the borders of politeness, he started questioning me why I had published the above comment and insisted that I remove it. He offered to send the payment in an envelope via ordinary mail, which I said was risky and in violation with the policy of both the Bulgarian and the Greek Posts.

    He said that it was my fault (!) that I had contacted him on 23rd December as they were on holiday from 22nd December and explained that "my email had gone in some folder". I asked why he had not bothered check if my payment had been sent nearly 30 days (my previous email was dated 28th November) or a total of more than three months after the payment deadline. He attempted an excuse that it was not his responsibility and also said that I had failed to specify a payment term on my invoice or in my accompanying email. To this I responded that it is the company's obligation to specify the payment terms they have, if they are different from the worldwide (and Europe-wide) standard of 30 days from invoice.

    On 12th April 2012 I received an envelope containing 30 (thirty) euros - he had said that he would send me that amount because he couldn't send coins (!). He never attempted to apologise for the FIVE MONTH delay and offer the extra amount as due compensation.

    In his emails, Mr Maroukian wrote that they "expected" me to fully retract my post and delete everything. I explained that I will not do this - I am under no contractual or even oral agreement with them not to share my opinion and it is my inviolable human right to express my views and speak my mind, as long as I am not telling a lie. Judging by the fact that he only contacted me BECAUSE he had come upon my publication - otherwise I would have never heard from him and would have never received my payment - it is clearly a good thing that I had made this post.

    Dear readers, please take my experience in consideration should you ever think of working with said Mr Maroukian and the company he represents.

  • Multilingual Planet, LLC from Boston, USA

    On 19th May 2011, I was contacted by JuanFran Gomez, a project manager at Multilingual Planet, LLC (multilingualplanet@gmail.com). The rate and deadline was agreed and I accepted the order. I had to contact the PM twice about abbreviations in the source text that they hadn't bothered write out and about translating location and institution names, which were answered promptly and politely. I delivered the completed translation of the 1056 source words on 21st May, two days in advance. Receipt was confirmed and invoice details sent to me.

    In the delivery email I included the following line: "Standard payment terms are 30 days of project completion/invoice. Please confirm." JuanFran Gomez's reply was "Please send us your invoice and we’ll process the payment via paypal within 30 days."

    I wrote an email to the PM on 23rd June 2011, saying "I would like to remind you that your payment for my services is now three days overdue. Our agreement was "within 30 days of delivery/invoice" and that makes June 20th the latest." The payment appeared to have been sent the next day but took five more days to clear. And despite the express statement I had included both in my initial email and mentioned in our telephone conversation that "All fees are on payer", 4.4% of the amount was deducted by PayPal.

    An argument ensued in which the PM said "It’s the first time a translator has ever asked us to assume a “payer fee” using Pay Pal." and intentionally shifted the focus from what is a matter of principle (respecting agreements) to the amount size: "We suggest if this amount is very important to you, you should include it on your invoices." This was in an email titled "Re: Stefan SKILLS - BULGARIAN Translator", which anyone would construe as an open insult and a statement that my work is wanting in terms of quality. JuanFran did, however, specify in his email that he was referring to "qualities that makes a great manager". It was only later that I discovered Multilingual Planet and said PM had received negative feedback from other translators, too.

  • Vincenzo Rotondo, Rotondo.Vincenzo@libero.it

    In the evening of 30 April 2016, I was contacted by Vincenzo Rotondo, who sent me a power of attorney in Italian to translate into Bulgarian. Because Vincenzo only wrote in Italian, I had to ask my Italian translator to translate the email to and from him. The scanned copy he sent was of very poor quality, barely readable, so I had to request a better scan, which I received on Monday at 10:38 PM, asking for the translation to be completed the next morning. I explained this was not possible and offered Tuesday late afternoon. Vincenzo offered to pay triple the price quoted if we could deliver Tuesday morning but I said this was not possible. He confirmed the order at 10:26 AM on 2nd May. The translation was completed in the afternoon on the same day, printed, stamped, and signed by my Italian translator as required for the translation of a power of attorney, and emailed him to arrange collection. Vincenzo never replied and never answered my phone calls.

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