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International Translation Day 2018: A More Resilient Translator

Here is my unprecedented, unforgettable experience in my translation career.

Starting our collaboration in 2013, this Singapore-based affiliated agency and I successfully completed some translation projects in different fields. The rates were good and payments were always timely made.

In February 2018, a PM in the US head office contacted me for a distinctive translation project, which I accepted without hesitation and completed by the deadline. I sent my two invoices as requested in April 2018, due in 45 days, with which amount I can invest in 10 g, 25 g, and 50 g of gold bars.

Months went by. Inquiring, sometimes impatient and raging, emails on the demand for my payment were very rarely, unsatisfactorily answered. My trust in the agency was abused. My heart sank, guessing there must be something wrong with the agency.

Yesterday, I received a shocking reply from the agency’s staff after months of silence. She no longer works for the agency because it will be closing its doors at the end of this year. Freelancers are asked to be patient about any outstanding invoices as the agency’s cash flow has gotten very small. Its business obviously plunges to the ocean floor. A thing many companies fear. A situation many freelancers do not even want to imagine, let alone experience.

Using the service of a debt collector once came across my mind. But now, on hearing such information, all I can do is despairingly cling onto the agency’s promise to pay my long overdue invoices only God knows when. I silently pray for the best solution that may divinely come.

In our career, we should definitely celebrate the rainbows, but must anticipate and be prepared for the dark clouds too. And that makes us a more resilient translator.

This is my story. What’s yours?

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