When is it better to decline a job ?
Thread poster: xxxSaifa
xxxSaifa
Local time: 00:58
German to French
+ ...
Jun 28, 2004

Stimulated by a discussion about dubious job offers which is – once again - going on at the moment in the Spanish forum, I would like to start a new thread here on the following topic: When ist it better to decline a job than to accept it?

The idea is: Everyone of us has already got job offers from agencies or direct clients which he/she prefered no to accept. There may different reasons: the price they were ready to pay was so low that you earn more cleaning, selling some fast food in the pedestrian precinct of your town, etc.
Or: they wanted you to sign a general agreement before giving you the work with stipulations you could not accept (for ex. about unacceptable claim for compensation)... Or: because they required a test translation first which was so long that you were suspecting them of giving you a text they had got from a direct client and of wanting you to translate it for free...
Or any other reason why you thought it was better for you not to accept this particular job.

These reflections and warnings (which you occasionally could read in the different forums) could then be found easier if there are all together here and not spread all over the different languages. They would especially help the new colleagues who still do not know the rules of the profession, but also each one of us asking himself/herself what is acceptable or not if one wants to maintain a certain level in our profession.

We can definitely not work for peanuts, even if big agencies offering “all languages of the world from A to Z” try to convince us of the contrary. But if we are ready to work for always less because of the economical crisis (Argentina,...), because of the enlargement to the East (EU), because of the unemployment (everywhere), because we need the money today, what will our future look like tomorrow? Do we want to be modern slaves?

I will try to maintain an overview of the reasons in this first posting!

Chademu

---------------------------------------------

Overview of the mentioned reasons given in the next postings:

- The job is badly paid
- The job is outside my skills
- The deadline is too short
- No information about the client is available, no possibility of direct contact
- The client has bad points on the Blue Board
- Warning signs in the first contact ("bad vibes")
- The client requires some software which I do not possess at the moment and I would not be lucrative for me to buy it for this special job
- I had to wait much too long for payment with this client once before
- The payment clearance of this agency is too long as a rule (for ex. over 45 days)
- As a rule, I do only get rush jobs from this particular agency (means: I am on the bottom of their list)

[Edited at 2004-07-01 06:43]


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:58
English to German
+ ...
Whatb are you trying to achieve??? Jun 28, 2004

Sorry to say so, Chademu,

but I can't see the point in your posting. Isn't it up to everyone of us to accept or not to accept certain jobs, for whatever reasons? Why would we have to bother and "teach" others?

Reading your post, I got the impression that you are trying to categorize "reasons" for not accepting jobs and then tell people "you shouldn't" or even "you mustn't". What for?

Has it really become a common desease in Europe that everyone is telling others what they should do and what they shouldn't? I thought we had grown-uppeople here on this website who were able to decide for themselves.

Steffen


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:58
German to Italian
+ ...
my 2 cents Jun 28, 2004

chademu wrote:

These reflections and warnings (which you occasionally could read in the different forums) could then be found easier if there are all together here and not spread all over the different languages. They would especially help the new colleagues who still do not know the rules of the profession, but also each one of us asking himself/herself what is acceptable or not if one wants to maintain a certain level in our profession.



I definitely agree. Of course it\'s up to everyone to decide if a job is worth accepting or not, but now and then I\'ve seen in the forums requests for advice such as \"Should I accept this job?\" There are also many newbies in proz.com who would appreciate a word of advice from more experienced colleagues.


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:58
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Reasons why I would decline a job: screening agencies AND your own skills. Jun 28, 2004

Of course everybody is free to accept or decline jobs, that is not the point!
We do not all have 10 years of experience in the business!
----------------------------------------------------------------Our own skills:
I would like to add another reason to decline a job: if it is way outside your field. Especially if you are starting out and wanting to gain more experience, you may tend to accept 'any' offer. You may end up spending lots of time though to create a very mediocre translation. So this is an aspect that has to do with our own skills!
Then there are the other reasons you named such as rates, agency has a bad track record, no purchase order, too short a deadline, etc.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Before even considering putting in a bid or sending my CV to an agency, I have a look at their web site: does it look professional? Are they offering 'cheap' translations - then I am definitely not interested, as I am living in an expensive country. Are contact details available? etc. Then I have a look at the Blue Board - and I know that there I have to 'read between the lines' - an agency may have a low rating because a translator did not do a good job, or receive high ratings because they bullied their translators into giving high ratings. It is always a good idea to check other Payment Practices lists and forums as well. I also have a look at the other jobs that were posted by this agency - if it says anywhere "please do not send a CV if your rates are higher than $0.03 a word" then I know this is another one to avoid.
My two cents to start with!


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xxxSaifa
Local time: 00:58
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No trying to teach or bother. Trying to share experience Jun 28, 2004

Steffen Pollex wrote:

Isn't it up to everyone of us to accept or not to accept certain jobs, for whatever reasons? Why would we have to bother and "teach" others?


Of course, Steffen, everbody is free. I would never pretend to teach or to bother anybody. I am sorry if you feel bothered, but I do not force you to read my postings...

Perhaps some of us would like share some experience or warn new colleagues about some practices we may have to deal with...


I got the impression that you are trying to categorize "reasons" for not accepting jobs and then tell people "you shouldn't" or even "you mustn't".


I was not trying to categorize anything. My idea was: trying to keep an overview of the reasons given in this thread for reasons of clarity. I was not thinking of giving my personal opinion or condamning anyone doing this.
(If there are only few statements, this overview will not be necessary.)


Has it really become a common desease in Europe that everyone is telling others what they should do and what they shouldn't?


For me it is a benefic "desease" if one tries to help someone else by sharing his experience.
Everybody can decide what he writes and read.


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:58
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Some reasons Jun 28, 2004

Obvious reasons:

Mine:

a) The job is outside my skills
b) They ask me to buy a certain software to do it
c) Too short time to do a good job

Theirs:
a) No contact details for the agency.
b) Bad payment record

Not-so-obvious reason:

"Bad vibes" in the first contact.

I'd like to elaborate on this last reason. It mainly goes when it's a face-to-face contact. When the person avoids your eyes, begins to challenge your rates, says "It shouldn't cost so much", badmouths other previous translators, and has a general bad attitude, there is definitely something fishy there, and it's a potential problem waiting to happen. Unless the job is big enough to justify a possible ulcer, I pass.

When I was starting, I had people who thought that I should be so grateful to receive a job, that it was justified not only a big rebate, but to work for free (e.g., when they edited the document AFTER the translation), or to wait meekly until they decided to pay me ("Think on it as money in the bank", one of them told me once). Not again, not for me, thanks.

[Edited at 2004-06-28 13:01]


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xxxSaifa
Local time: 00:58
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"Bad vibes in the first contact" Jun 28, 2004

Edwal Rospigliosi wrote:
"Bad vibes" in the first contact.

When the person avoids your eyes, begins to challenge your rates, says "It shouldn't cost so much", badmouths other previous translators, and has a general bad attitude, there is definitely something fishy there, and it's a potential problem waiting to happen.


Hi Edwal,

I liked the way you described this experience. The same can happen on the phone. Last week for example, I was called for the first time by a person who offered me a job which should have been finished for the next day. I told him to mail me his text, as I had to go out to teach, so that I could read it when I come back. He became angry and said: "Well, I need a response now, at once, and not later today".
I prefered not to accept the job, thinking I may get more problems with this person which is so rough the first time he spoked to me.

My reasons for declining jobs as more or less the same as yours. Also when the test translation they want is too big (usually more than 200 words, more or less).

Good you talked about the software. As a freelancer, I can neither afford all programs nor renew all licences at the same time. There is some software I could not afford at the moment, other which I could not afford at all, and other I do not want to buy because it is my conviction.

I use not to work with an agency again if I have to wait too long for the money and remind them too often. Because they want from me to deliver the translation on time, which is always the case, and after, they just "forget" me...

Regards


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:58
German to Italian
+ ...
My 2 cents Jun 28, 2004

Edwal Rospigliosi wrote:

Obvious reasons:

Mine:

a) The job is outside my skills
b) They ask me to buy a certain software to do it
c) Too short time to do a good job

Theirs:
a) No contact details for the agency.
b) Bad payment record

Not-so-obvious reason:

"Bad vibes" in the first contact.



I couldn't agree more. Just one thing: I only once bought an expensive software (an expensive hardware as well: a Macintosh with QuarkXPress), but that was for a long-term cooperation that has lasted so far with no problem whatsoever. And that translations (by the way not so difficult by now) are much better paid than the other jobs I do. So the investment paid off in spades. But this is an exception, I wouldn't buy new software for a single job.


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R Farhat  Identity Verified
Lebanon
Local time: 01:58
Member (2004)
English to Arabic
+ ...
on bringing this up Jun 28, 2004

where else could we have shared this before?
thank you Chademu, for bringing this up. and surely enough we never get to know too much enough unless we share our experiences together.

Ok, Stephen says we have grown up and can decide for ourselves.. that's true.. but someone else has grown up too, those who try to rip you off. most agencies and outsourcers are well reputed. however, others do exist!!
personally, i haven't been in a bad experience with a client and i'd appreciate to continue to learn from others.
As Anjoboira & Edwal say, always check whenever possible.

when is it better to decline a job?.. for me:
- when it's beyond my skills
- deadline tooooo short
- warning signs thru communication
- no background or amateur-like website with no direct contact
- overall bad points on BB
- required software not available to me

thanks,
randa


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:58
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
'Screening agencies' is also by comparison Jul 1, 2004

And here, it's not only rates but the whole deal. A lot of people think agencies screen translators, but let me put it another way.

I (we all) only have 24 hours a day. In one day, you can get up to 10 job calls or even more, from agencies that offer different rates, payment policies and job conditions.

The rates question considered and settled (only those offering X or more), I will admit that the ones with payment clearance times of over 45 days were the first to go. (It doesn't really matter if, by their own standards, they were prompt; comparatively they rate quite low with me).

Then there is the question: always a rush job? Could it be that I'm on the bottom of their list, and when they get to me they're always desperate? (This can be irritating when you're up to your neck whenever they call).

Then: systems. Why are some so systematic about their accounting when others need five or six phone calls? Hmmm (possible beginning of a phase-out...)

I will also admit that agencies that win out where systems and procedures are concerned can get away with certain concessions (like the rates figures).

My tendency is to build good working relationships with these agencies, so that their positive points hold weight even when other people offer more.



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xxxSaifa
Local time: 00:58
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rush jobs Jul 1, 2004

Parrot wrote:

And here, it\'s not only rates but the whole deal.

Then there is the question: always a rush job? Could it be that I\'m on the bottom of their list, and when they get to me they\'re always desperate? (This can be irritating when you\'re up to your neck whenever they call).


Thanks, Parrot. I totally agree with your reflection about long payment clearance. If it is usual to pay after 30 days in Germany for example, I will prefer not to work for an agency which pays after 60 days, as it means that I often see my money even later, 80 days or more...

Rush jobs: I accept them when I really need work, but not as a rule.
If I get the impression of being \"bottom of the list\" but they are friendly and the rates are okay, I ask them why it is so, and I signalize that I do not want to work in this way, because I cannot offer the quality I would like to if they do not let me time to eat and to sleep.
Some agencies seem to remind me always on Friday afternoon, and the job should be done until Monday 7:00! If I have already planned a nice week-end with friends + dog and I do not really need the money to pay the rent, I sometimes prefer to decline: I am a human being, not a translating machine.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:58
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Concessions Jul 1, 2004

I work for the public sector, which you wouldn't call an agency. There, you can wait 90 days or more and still rest assured you have the dubious honor of having the most solvent outstanding debts in the industry. (No, I'm afraid I can't use the Blue Board).

It has its compensations: good rates, high prestige, and a certain unofficial sponsorship. A satisfied institutional client spreads the word.

It has its drawbacks: you can't choose. You may have qualms about certain issues, but you have to bite back your own views.


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