No, It Doesn’t Mean I’m About To Be Paid


The Tower of Babel

In my last post, I mentioned that I now have a global approved vendor number from Microsoft, and this had made me wonder if I would now get paid.

Well, I was wise to wonder.

The next day, I received a long email in Italian telling me that I would have to fill out another NVA form, this time in Italian, if I wanted my invoice to be taken seriously.

I think NVA stands for New Vendor Acceptance, or something similar.

Now, I don’t speak Italian, neither can I read nor write it, so this was not a good start to my day, especially since the form is five pages long, and contains a lot of strange questions designed to make sure that I’m not considering breaching any of the clauses of The USA’s Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, especially with regard to massive misuse of investors’ funds, which hadn’t actually been on my mind but is, admittedly, an ever attractive idea. Remember Enron? WorldCom? Tyco International?

Anyway, I decided to use Babel Fish to speak for me.

If you haven’t come across this life-saver, log-on to Internet Explorer, and you’ll find it underneath the search box in the centre of the page. Or just click here. The program is owned, I think, by Yahoo!

Babel Fish is a wonderful service which translates most major languages. You can copy and paste its translations, and pretend you are a multi-gifted linguist.

So, I set to work, copying the questions on the Italian NVA, pasting them into Babel Fish, and reading the English translation. Simple, eh? Umm, no. Either Babel Fish was having a bad day, or Italian really is a fiendishly weird language.

Here’s an example.

“Inoltrando questo modulo, dichiaro che sia io che il nostro referente interno non abbiamo conflitti di interesse verso Microsoft,” was rendered as:

“Forwarding this module, I declare that or that our referring inside we do not have conflicts of interest towards Microsoft,” which I sort of understand.

As I waded through the form, things got worse.

“Certifico che tutti i dati forniti sono accurati e veritieri. Ho letto e comprendo pienamente il codice di condotta dei fornitori Microsoft. Sono al corrente che in caso in cui fornisca dati che non corrispondano al vero, Microsoft si riserva il diritto di procedure con azioni appropriate contro di me e verificare se ci sono i presupposti per un risarcimento danni subiti da Microsoft,” became:

“I certify that all the supplied data are accurate and veritieri. I have totally read and I comprise the code of conduct of the Microsoft suppliers. They are to the current that in case in which it supplies given that they do not correspond to the true one, Microsoft reserves the right of procedures with actions appropriated against me and to verify if there are the foundations for a compensation you damn endured from Microsoft.”
Perhaps this is how Italians really speak. Who knows?
I didn’t argue with the translation. The gist of it was clear. If I’d lied about anything on the form I would be in for a rotten time. I just signed the form and sent it off by eFax, which is how Microsoft likes to get its invoices.
I then noticed that the office which had handled my first NVA in English is exactly the same as the one which handled my mangled Italian version.
And where, you might wonder, is this?
It is in Camberley, in the county of Surrey, in the United Kingdom, less than thirty miles away from where I live.
I still don’t know, however, if I’m going to be paid.