True story: one of our most treasured clients asked us to help him find a translator for German->Chinese, which we happily did through the Austrian Interpreters' and Translators' Association's directory. Our client then contacted the Chinese translator, sent him the source text, and expected to get the translation back in a Word file, as is customary. Instead, some time later, our mild-mannered client received notification from the Austrian Post, inviting him to pick up a cash on delivery item, requiring him to pay approximately EUR 500.00. Since he wasn't expecting any such item, the client called the post office for more information. It turns out that the Chinese translator had sent the translation as a hard copy (the postal service employee on the phone agreed to bend the envelope: there was no CD inside). Our client – rightfully so -- decided not to spend the money on a translation he had no use for because he needed the electronic version. He sent the translator an e-mail asking for clarification and kindly asked him to e-mail him the Word file, after which he would gladly pick up the item at the post office and pay for the translation. Since the translator never responded to any of the client’s e-mails, he finally called the translator who immediately started yelling at him, accusing the client (!) of being unprofessional and threatening to sue him if he didn't pick up the item without delay. Client explained once again that he needed the electronic version, after which translator, having told him that he needed "to make do with the paper copy" hung up.
The good news is that the Austrian Interpreters' and Translators' Association won't tolerate such behavior that is detrimental to the industry as a whole. The issue is already on the agenda of our upcoming board meeting on Wednesday.