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Payment Issues

Hi everyone!

Today I want to talk about something that I think we have all experienced as freelance translators: payment issues.

Unfortunately, one of the cons about working on your own is that clients can cause problems when it comes to paying us. And some of these issues or concerns can be:

Delayed Payments

As freelancers, we already have to wait for 15, 30, 60, or even 90 days to get paid. And on top of this, sometimes the payments are delayed.

This is annoying because it means that we have to start trying to get paid. We need to contact the financial department to ask why there has been a delay and when can we expect the payment to get done.

If they don’t answer, we might contact our PM, but a lot of times, this is useless because they immediately indicate that the project management department and the financial department are two completely different things, and there is nothing they can do.

Of course, this becomes frustrating. But I would say, don’t give up. Keep insisting until you get paid, I’ve done that and it has actually worked in the end.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

Incomplete Payments

Now, this is a different kind of problem. You get paid on time, but not the total amount of your invoice and their purchase order. This can happen due to many things, maybe the financial department made a mistake when entering the quantity to pay, or your payment platform charges you fees that you didn’t know about.

What is important here, is to let the financial department there has been a mistake, after you’ve checked it isn’t due to mysterious fees on your payment platform. You need to send all the necessary information to show that the payment doesn’t match what was invoiced. Luckily, they will make a second payment for the missing amount.

Getting Overpaid

Yes, you read that right! You can actually get overpaid. This can also be due to a mistake in the financial department or in their payment platform. Of course, it is nice to get paid more than you invoice, but it isn’t right. Just like we ask to get paid any payments that were received incomplete, we must let the client know right away about an overpayment. In some platforms, you can revert the payment, but the whole payment, not just a fraction. If you got the same invoice paid twice, you can do this and let the client know.

But if it is only a fraction and you can’t revert it, you can either ask them for an account where you can deposit the extra amount, or ask them to discount said amount from your next payment, whichever works better for everyone.

Photo by cottonbro on

Have you ever had any payment issues? Which ones? How have you handled them? Please leave me your experiences in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe.

Thanks to Day Translations for sponsoring this post! Click on the link to find out more about the services they offer.

Until next time, take care and stay safe!



4 thoughts on “Payment Issues”

  1. Hi Ilduana,
    Yes, this really is an annoying issue. I have handled my problems like you described and in order to avoid them in the future. I have sent complaints both to the financial department and the PMs and I’ve described the consequences, i.e. unpaid working time and the fact that I might have to turn down future requests.
    The fact is, that payments should be just as timely as the delivery of the job. An agency would never take on a translator who sometimes deliver the job weeks or even months after the delivery date. There are two agencies that I’ve really enjoyed working with, because the projects were interesting and the PMs were nice, but the payments were so delayed that I had to send up to three reminders. I think freelancers need to stand their ground; instead of being grateful for getting paid, expect to be paid on time always, as much as the agencies expect to receive their translations by the requested deadline. It’s not a one-way street, but a mutual agreement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Anna! First of all, thank you for your comment! And I agree with you, as freelancers, we need to stand our ground. Indeed, it is a mutual agreement. Agencies would never accept that you deliver a translation project weeks or months after the delivery date. So why should we accept that they pay us weeks or months after our payment is due? This has so much to do with educating our clients!


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