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Client's use of non-English language in chat

How, when submitting a complaint, the UpWork support service will consider our correspondence with Client, if he wrote not in English, but I am in English?


In this regard, I am concerned that in the event of a complaint, the UpWork support service may completely reject the consideration of all our correspondence with the Client, despite the fact that I followed the UpWork rules.


And I am concerned that as a result - the controversial issue will be resolved automatically - in favor of returning money to the client.
So what can happen?

Community Member

I don't know. Maybe an Upwork employee would copy the non-English text and translate it using Google translate?


Maybe you should reconsider submitting the complaint.


Is this something that you can work out directly with the client?


But also: Remember that when you file a dispute, Upwork does not actually "investigate" the situation and decide who is "right" or "wrong."


If it is a fixed-price contract and money is in escrow, Upwork can not decide anything. They aren't allowed to. Escrow rules and all that. They can ENCOURAGE you to work out your differences with the client. If you can't do that, then the next step would be arbitration, which is NOT decided by Upwork employees. That is decided by a third-party.


If you're dealing with an hourly contract, then Upwork doesn't need to read anybody'd chats. They can look at work diaries. If a client disputed time, and the time doesn't meet Upwork's criteria (such as sufficient activity levels, descriptive memos, appropriate screenshots), then Upwork will simply remove the time blocks in question and the client wins. If the freelancer's screenshots and time blocks check out, then the freelancer "wins."

I have not filed complaints and do not want to do this.

Especially since you are right in describing the complaint procedures.

However, this question interested me.
Since the UpWork accepts for consideration only the text of the chat. And if a part of the text was written in a language other than English, then this can be denial of consideration the basis for any procedure for examining a complaint.
And as a result of this, it will be impossible to initiate the process of consideration of the complaint at all stages of the consideration of disputes.
- this is my guess, I don't know for sure...

Therefore, it is interesting to me to find out who had experience of this situation when solving controversial procedures.

and also:
Is it necessary to require mandatory communication from the Client in English only?
It is important here - just to “demand” and, as a result, not to start work until I receive an English text from the Client?

Can I refuse to fulfill Client's instructions if they are not written in English (but the instructions themselves are naturally understandable to me and not in English)?

Sure, you should refuse to do what the client asks. Then, the client can end your contract and leave their feedback in English telling everyone that you wouldn't do the work. That sounds like a great plan. 

re: "Is it necessary to require mandatory communication from the Client in English only?"



You may communicate with clients in any language you want to.


re: "It is important here - just to 'demand' and, as a result, not to start work until I receive an English text from the Client?"


You may require a client to communicate in English. But that would be your requirement, not Upwork's requirement.


re: "Can I refuse to fulfill Client's instructions if they are not written in English (but the instructions themselves are naturally understandable to me and not in English)?"


Yes. You may do that.

The client may appreciate you doing that.


On the other hand, the client might choose to work with somebody else.


None of these things are up to Upwork. They are up to you and the client.


A client may require a freelancer to be able to speak English. Or Japanese. Or any language.


And a freelancer may do the same.

A freelancer could choose to work only with clients who speak German (for example).

Fine. Much becomes clear.

Summarize: My Findings
 The language of communication between the client and the freelancer can be any

 An UpWork chat with communication in a non-English language is not a reason to refuse to consider a complaint in a dispute at any stage (both at the mediation stage and at the stage of arbitrator)

 I should perform Instructions are not in English in the chat - are for high-quality execution of the contract.


With points 1 and 2 - everything is clear.


But what about the situation (point 3) if any of the parties to the contract, without agreement, begins to use the language for communication other than English, and at the same time that the contract partner does NOT understand it?
It is clear that the partner will ask to change the language of communication to the original one - and what will happen if he refuses to change the language and then closes the contract on the basis of its non-performance (although the contractor could not fulfill the assignments, because in the course of the work, without not understandable to him).


How to be in this situation? To whom it is complained during the execution of the contract, and not when the contract has already been canceled due to non-performance.


How to respond to a negative review? - of contract non-execution, and to prove that one of the parties, without agreement, changed the languages ​​of communication to non-English and not understood by the opposite party.


I thing.... but I'm not sure...
That somewhere in the rules of UpWork there should be a clear indication that ONLY English is the official language for communication in the UpWork system. So, if we assume otherwise (freedom of any languages ​​as official and legally legitimate), then this can definitely lead to fraudulent schemes for early termination of contracts, or for the hidden threat of negative feedback of non-performance.
I think that at UpWork there should be somewhere specified clear legally legitimate rules for using their system, in order to avoid the controversy mentioned by me above.

The question is where is it indicated?

And that on UpWork is considered legally legitimate when using different communication languages?


I think you are worrying way too much about this.

Nobody at Upwork wants to read your communications with your client - whether they are in English, Russian or any other language.

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