Sep 19, 2023

Flirting with a Fiverr & more

If you always want to get paid...

Payment practices are a perpetual pain in Trashlation World. What professional translator or interpreter has not, at some point, faced difficulty getting paid for work delivered. Or in my case, consultant, independent solution developer and instructor, since I retired from translation three months ago and no longer accept such tasks in the increasingly thankless environment where they are requested.

Net never has become the modus operandi of too many wankers in the NMT-AI-MOUSE Fanboy and -gurl Klub, and when B of A, Barclays, Santander of some other clan of thieves fails to provide the desired credit for the Incredible Journey to Ruin, there will always be those AI Artists Formerly Known as Trashlators who understand that in matter of money, all that really matters is mindset.

Fuck you. Pay me. Well, imagine getting paid! Isn't that exciting? Fuck you. Pay me. I'm more excited by the structure of your fucking kneecaps and how fragile it is... SET YOUR MIND TO PAY ME.

But wait, Paulie, there may be a better way!

A perpetually solvent friend who owns a couple of German service companies once shared his secret: when in doubt, demand payment in advance. When there is no doubt, demand double. But what if the prospect just walks away? Offer them a peck on the check and hold the door for them in gratitude for the grief they are about to save you.

Times are hard. But payment practices are, alas, too often limp. Like a little mushroom past its sell-by date and full of mold and other things best not named.

I'm personally fortunate not to deal with many deadbeats; avoiding business with Italian and American companies certainly helps. Well, I have a soft spot for the Portuguese, but let's not go there.

I have another problem. I had administrative work even more than I hate not getting paid, and since I acquired a retired surgeon as a billing assistant and, at about the same time, took on a new role as a trainer for incoherent billing software like SAGE, not getting paid has been a source of surprising pleasure. But our five dogs still demand food, and if it does come in bags and come on time, well... there is that extra weight I'm carrying, the Portuguese pit bull is fond of reminding me.

And I am sure that many clients and friends and friends with the misfortune to be clients keep a special dartboard with my face on it for those times I get around to writing the bill after a year of so.

Fuck you. Pay me. Well fuck you. Write the fucking bill. Yeah, right, you tell me again how all that works here in Portugal where the tax laws are so screwy that almost none of the invoicing tools typically used by translators, companies involved with language services (regardless of whether they actually provide any) in other countries are compliant with Portuguese tax law, so I often feel myself well and truly fucked.

Enter the performance platforms such as Fiverr, which I am beginning to consider for certain recurring requests where I have asked Dios for a better intake process in which people tell me exactly what they need, provide the means of doing that, including the money to pay for the electricity to drive the tools I use to reach their goal and, well, just let me get on with it and make something nice and bless them for a change.

I started toying with platformed pre-payment about four years ago, when I started using Teachable as a way to demonstrate to memoQ and others how professional tools instruction could be improved and content could be shaped in more useful ways. I may not have been successful in convincing others to Do the Right Thing, but now that I have more time on my hands and have resigned myself to take a shot at that myself and maybe actually charge for all that knowledge that so many people mint money with, I am really, really glad that the Portuguese tax mysteries are handled in a way that does not involve me at all and is completely correct. No more constant special requests for special invoices for special people in special countries and special claims on my non-existent admin time.

So, that's the news, I guess. Next time you need a training video, a dash of regex for your project soup, a magical mysterious import filter for Formats Unknown or the like, there's a process. And it's not "fuck you". That's between consenting buyers and the platforms from which they draw their services....

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