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Client is accusing me of using Google Translate and now won't pay, what rights do I have?
Auteur du fil: Rebecca Metcalfe

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:00
Membre
anglais vers français
+ ...
Upwork Jul 14, 2017

I've noticed many jobs with ridiculously low budget on Upwork, where the clients almost invariably specify they don't want translators to use MT.

I'm pretty sure this does not come from privacy concerns but from sheer ignorance of the translation process (and of MT post-editing). In Upwork, you have to deal with many uneducated clients (as to translation, I mean). I don't use this platform anymore.

At the rates those clients offer, they tend to get unusable translations
... See more
I've noticed many jobs with ridiculously low budget on Upwork, where the clients almost invariably specify they don't want translators to use MT.

I'm pretty sure this does not come from privacy concerns but from sheer ignorance of the translation process (and of MT post-editing). In Upwork, you have to deal with many uneducated clients (as to translation, I mean). I don't use this platform anymore.

At the rates those clients offer, they tend to get unusable translations often comparable to a pure MT output, so they have become wary of that.

My general recommendation: avoid quoting for those jobs, only quote for jobs you find reasonable.

It is insane to offer peanuts and wait for high quality result in return or DEMAND that no MT is used. At those rates, the more reasonable/honorable thing to do would be to ask for post-edited MT at "human translation quality" (not just "good enough") level, of course, depending on the text. Some texts just aren't fit for post-editing, they require professional translation and a significantly higher cost.

To translators, MT can be an additional resource. It can speed up some jobs requiring less creativity.

By default, MateCat provides both MT and (MyMemory) TM results. If you used MT suggestions, it may be seen as going against this job's agreement. While very good in other respects, this CAT tool is ill-suited for jobs requiring NO MT whatsoever.

At this point, I too think you need to check with Upwork see what they offer on dispute resolution.

To me, since the customer agrees this is not pure GT output, the question now becomes:

Is the translation result fit for purpose? What are their comments about the translation quality itself?

I really hope this turns out well for you, it would be a pity to lose money on this (except if the quality is really subpar).

But it can also serve as a lesson to avoid taking on such assignments and putting yourself at risk.

Take care and do not let this get you down!
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 06:00
Membre (2007)
anglais
+ ...
This raises an interesting point Jul 14, 2017

Michael Wetzel wrote:
Legally speaking, I think all you have to do is send them your invoice and then, if they don't pay, send them an overdue notice. If they don't pay after that, then you initiate a small-claims procedure against them. Unless they contest that claim, you don't have to prove anything.

But this was through Upwork. It isn't the client that is paying the invoice - it's Upwork. How does that work for the purpose of legal action, I wonder?

I don't know how many hours it took you to do the translation, but it might be worth asking yourself if there is really any significant financial difference between working for $x per hour and working for free. If there isn't, why work in a completely dysfunctional situation when you could use that time to more productively prepare yourself for your future career?

I see that Upwork take a massive 20% of the first $500 you earn with each and every client, and "only" 10% after that. When you've earned more than $10,000 with any one client, they reduce it to 5%. I wonder if anyone has ever been mad enough to be in that situation.

It's making ProZ.com's bottom-feeders look positively generous - at least you get to keep all their peanuts!


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:00
Membre (2008)
français vers anglais
Upwork Jul 14, 2017

Sheila Wilson wrote:


But this was through Upwork. It isn't the client that is paying the invoice - it's Upwork. How does that work for the purpose of legal action, I wonder?



Interesting twist. I have in the past warned such clients that under copyright law I hold the copyright until paid and they do not have the legal right to use it without paying. Bringing Upwork into the picture surely muddies the picture.

In my first early days of translating I think I used Upwork (was Elance then) maybe once, then moved on.

I think under such circumstances, and with a potential loss of only $30, I would leave my warning with the client and then chalk it up to experience. And not use Upwork. There are bigger fish on this and other sites, and agencies that you can find through the BlueBoard and agency associations.


 

Shouguang Cao
Chine
Local time: 13:00
anglais vers chinois
+ ...
MT is CAT Jul 15, 2017

What's wrong with using Google Translate as a reference tool? Because Google Translate is so good that we feel like stealing other people's work? I check TAUS and myMemory as well as Google Translate a lot to find the best translation idea for some words. They improve not worsen my translation quality.

And do people believe there is a difference between checking online TM like TAUS and checking Google Translate? What's the difference? Google Translate is more shameful just because
... See more
What's wrong with using Google Translate as a reference tool? Because Google Translate is so good that we feel like stealing other people's work? I check TAUS and myMemory as well as Google Translate a lot to find the best translation idea for some words. They improve not worsen my translation quality.

And do people believe there is a difference between checking online TM like TAUS and checking Google Translate? What's the difference? Google Translate is more shameful just because it is called Machine Translation?

To me Google Translate is the best CAT.
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Oleksandr Ivanov
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:00
français vers anglais
UK basic contract law Jul 15, 2017

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Michael Wetzel wrote:
Legally speaking, I think all you have to do is send them your invoice and then, if they don't pay, send them an overdue notice. If they don't pay after that, then you initiate a small-claims procedure against them. Unless they contest that claim, you don't have to prove anything.


But this was through Upwork. It isn't the client that is paying the invoice - it's Upwork. How does that work for the purpose of legal action, I wonder?


Basic contract law in England and Wales. If Upwork is to pay you, Upwork is the one you have the contract with. In fact you have what is called "privity of contract" with Upwork. Your contractual obligations start and stop with Upwork.
Do as Michael Wetzel says. It costs you nothing and gets you your money. Once you have got your money you can politely say "Upyours".

P.S. Don't work for them ever again and make a Blueboard entry here.

[Edited at 2017-07-15 10:05 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 07:00
espagnol vers anglais
+ ...
Ni agua Jul 15, 2017

They are simply trying to stiff you for the money, taking advantage of your lack of experience. Do not work for them ever again.

 

Deb Chadwick
États-Unis
Local time: 00:00
Membre (2018)
français vers anglais
+ ...
Just happened to me as well. Apr 18

I have been a translator for 19 years and have worked with the company that hired me for the job for five years with an excellent record. The project in question was a low paying press release written in simple language. The client accused me of using Google when I used Trados. Such clients don't mind TM when you get paid little for doing it. I explained that Google would come up with similar or exact language as there were simply few ways of translating the text. I even rewrote the text to set... See more
I have been a translator for 19 years and have worked with the company that hired me for the job for five years with an excellent record. The project in question was a low paying press release written in simple language. The client accused me of using Google when I used Trados. Such clients don't mind TM when you get paid little for doing it. I explained that Google would come up with similar or exact language as there were simply few ways of translating the text. I even rewrote the text to settle the issue but the client refuses to budge. This seems to be happening more and more often. I think some clients, no matter how wealthy, just don't want to pay the bill. Wish I was closer to retirement.Collapse


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 07:00
Membre (2005)
anglais vers espagnol
+ ...
Easy to see in Studio if you used MT Apr 18

Deb Chadwick wrote:
The client accused me of using Google when I used Trados.

In relation to the use of MT within SDLXLIFF files, I just thought I'd mention that any use of MT gets recorded in the Studio files and can be seen by the customer if they have Studio as well.

If you do any experimentation with MT and real Studio SDLXLIFF files (even from another tool that also records this information, as does memoQ), remember that such use will get recorded. This information appears with information like this inside the SDLXLIFF files:

     origin="mt" origin-system="**Here the MT plugin you used**"

Just for comparison, a new segment made interactively gets the following information:

     origin="interactive"

You can see this information easily if you open an SDLXLIFF file with an UTF-8-compatible text editor, like Notepad++ for instance.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
anglais vers russe
+ ...
No proofs, no penalties Apr 20

Meanwhile, I know several cases when an agency asks a translator to make sure the translation is different from MT engines.

Funny, the clients ignores the NDA and common sense, whereas the translators ignore the fact that rechecking requires more time and efforts, let alone there're so many different MT.


 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:00
Membre (2006)
français vers anglais
+ ...
As Shouguang Cao asked ... Apr 20

Shouguang Cao wrote:

What's wrong with using Google Translate as a reference tool? Because Google Translate is so good that we feel like stealing other people's work? I check TAUS and myMemory as well as Google Translate a lot to find the best translation idea for some words. They improve not worsen my translation quality.

And do people believe there is a difference between checking online TM like TAUS and checking Google Translate? What's the difference? Google Translate is more shameful just because it is called Machine Translation?

To me Google Translate is the best CAT.


There is a great deal wrong with using Google Translate. I think the most serious thing wrong with it is that by using it you are putting your client's confidential text onto the Google servers and allowing Google to retain and use it for a number of years. That is a serious breach of your duty of confidentiality to your client. It is essential that we help explain to our clients the difference between CAT tools and machine translation, so it is very worrying that some ProZ members seem not to understand that difference. My TMs are my own work. If a client provides a TM, I only use it subject to them agreeing that I use it for reference and only accept and use matches if I think they are good translations that fit the context.

If you think that Google Translate or GT4T is so good, perhaps it would be more ethical to suggest that, instead of your client paying for your services as a translator, they should run their text through GT4T themselves. You can offer to post-edit the result at a much lower rate than they would pay for a professional translator!

Actually, even DeepL Translator (which seems to be better than Google Translate) does not produce the quality or accuracy that one should expect of a professional translator. MT frequently produces nonsense because it cannot understand detailed context, odd phrasing or specialised terms and turns of phrase, nor can it recognise errors in the source text. I occasionally use MT for rough and ready translations of text written in languages I don't know. I would not use it for anything important and certainly would not use it in my translation work. As a source of ideas for translating words or phrases, I do use Linguee. Unlike Google Translate, Linguee provides a variety of results (of very mixed quality) that can be scanned for ideas.


Cetacea
Viviane Marx
 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:00
Membre
anglais vers français
+ ...
The situation is more nuanced than that Apr 20

This is an old discussion, and I won’t go into the difference between a CAT and an MT service, as I don’t think it requires an explanation here. Nevertheless, here are some additional considerations:

MT AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Regarding confidentiality and MT use, the situation is much more nuanced, from what I have gathered so far.

There is generally a big difference between the consumer and the professional versions of these generic MT engines.... See more
This is an old discussion, and I won’t go into the difference between a CAT and an MT service, as I don’t think it requires an explanation here. Nevertheless, here are some additional considerations:

MT AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Regarding confidentiality and MT use, the situation is much more nuanced, from what I have gathered so far.

There is generally a big difference between the consumer and the professional versions of these generic MT engines.

For example, when using the free online (web) version of DeepL, Google Translate, Bing Translate, etc., data may be stored and used for MT training, which poses an explicit confidentiality threat and is a no go for most professional translation assignments, whatever the confidentiality agreement.

In contrast:

DeepL Pro (both the web and the API access) does not store the texts from your requests or their translations. Only metadata about the request (e.g., the time of the request, the IP address, or the number of translated characters) are saved for billing and statistics purposes. Please see the DeepL Pro Terms & Conditions for details regarding data privacy.

Reference:
https://www.deepl.com/pro-faq.html
https://www.deepl.com/pro-license.html#pro

Google Translate

For its [paid] Cloud Translation API, Google will not use any of your content for any purpose except to provide you with the service. See the Data Usage FAQ for more information.

Reference:
https://cloud.google.com/translate/faq
https://cloud.google.com/translate/data-usage

Microsoft Translate

Customer data submitted for translation through the Microsoft Translator Text API are not written to persistent storage. There will be no record of the submitted text, or portion thereof, in any Microsoft data center. The audio and text will not be used for training purposes either.

The free Microsoft Translator end-user products for which audio and text translations are recorded for service improvements purposes are listed below. Please refer to the Microsoft Translator Privacy Statement to learn about the protections for your data that are in place with or without no trace.


Reference:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/translator/business/notrace/

---

Then, it’s a matter of defining confidentiality for the purpose of a specific translation service.

Data confidentiality is generally described in NDAs, contract agreements or (by default) in the translator’s terms of business.

For example, if we take the terms of business recommended by the SFT (France):

The Service Provider agrees to preserve the confidentiality of information the Service Provider becomes aware of before, during, and after providing services. Original documents shall be returned to the Client upon simple request. The Service Provider shall not be held liable in the event that information is intercepted or used by a third party during the transfer of data, especially on the Internet. Therefore, the Client must inform the Service Provider before the provision of services or at the time the order is placed of the means of transmission the Client would like the Service Provider to use to ensure the confidentiality of any sensitive information.

Reference:
https://www.sft.fr/clients/sft/telechargements/file_front/4b50d11ac6881.pdf

So, in a context where online work and electronic means of transmission are accepted (which is the most common scenario), the specific professional use of the above general MT engines should not pose a confidentiality issue, unless otherwise agreed.

Of course, any online transmission is still risky, and could be intercepted, but the same can be said of email communications, which are widely accepted for receiving and delivering documents.

Now, whether one should entrust their (client) data to big companies, such as Google, Microsoft, etc., is another discussion, that I consider more subjective.

If an NDA explicitly prohibits the use of MT, then all is settled: using MT would be a confidentiality breach.

If Internet use is absolutely prohibited, again, online MT services are out of the question, although offline trainable MT engines (such as Slate) can be considered.

I don’t cover all possible scenarios here, but you get the idea: it all depends on the specifics. As always, caution is of the essence.

----

CONFUSING PRODUCT AND PROCESS

Provided that there is no confidentiality breach, as per the above considerations, I think it is crucial to avoid confusing the translation product with the translation process.

Within the limits permitted (agreements, client style guides, etc.), anything goes: the translation process is the translator’s own prerogative.

I can use any resource I deem appropriate to provide a timely and acceptable translation.

This includes dictionaries, bilingual concordancers (and there are several other than Linguee, for EN>FR/FR>EN, PM me if needed), glossaries/termbases, translation memories, MT engines, reference documents, books, encyclopedias, web as corpus searches, anything.

Again, within the limits described above, what matters is the translation product (let me just add that I don’t speak of delivering unedited machine translation, which is unethical, unprofessional and unacceptable).

Is the final output fit for purpose (in other words, is it publishable, convincing for the intended readership, etc.)? Is the required quality there or missing?

If there is no serious flaw with the final product, the process used to achieve it is (or should be) irrelevant.

At its core, the translation product is the result of human work. Computer-assisted, MT-assisted maybe, but fully human work, in the end.

Mindless use of MT is just as bad as mindless use of bilingual dictionaries.

So, I would reverse the saying according to which "A craftsman is only as good as their tools". Tools as only as good as the craftsman who uses them.

The question, therefore, isn’t "did you use Google Translate for this job" [while it wasn’t specifically prohibited], but, "does the delivered translation meet the translation expectations (ideally, previously set in the translation brief)?"

[Edited at 2019-04-21 04:52 GMT]
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DZiW
Michael Newton
Maria da Glória Teixeira
 

Smu Upton  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 06:00
Membre (2018)
français vers anglais
Google translate afficionados Apr 22

Deb Chadwick wrote:

I have been a translator for 19 years and have worked with the company that hired me for the job for five years with an excellent record. The project in question was a low paying press release written in simple language. The client accused me of using Google when I used Trados. Such clients don't mind TM when you get paid little for doing it. I explained that Google would come up with similar or exact language as there were simply few ways of translating the text. I even rewrote the text to settle the issue but the client refuses to budge. This seems to be happening more and more often. I think some clients, no matter how wealthy, just don't want to pay the bill. Wish I was closer to retirement.




Ridiculous as it may seem, I had a client recently who "checked my work" and argued every inch of the way because she *didn't* get the same results in Google translate - she said I must be wrong!! She paid up instantly when I changed the text to look like Google's (very stilted) version.


 
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