Mobile menu

Condescending PM
Thread poster: N.M. Eklund

N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:24
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
May 14, 2007

This is a kind of offshoot from a previous posting by Burrell:

Patronizing behaviour from PM : http://www.proz.com/topic/66222

I also have this problem with a client I have worked with quite often and who sends me a variety of general trads (never in my specialty).
Pay has been on time and the jobs not difficult.....however, the PM who is also the boss, is very condescending, and frankly always rubs me the wrong way.

I would like to post to the Blue board, but the fact is that the work is ok and the pay is on time, so that's all anybody really wants to know, right?

If I post that the person is condescending, then I only succeed in making a bad image of myself to other translators who may work with the agency, and to future perspective clients.
However, I see the PM as a threat to novices and other translators who have a hard time against strong arming. This PM is a real 'used-car salesman'.
What to do? Advise the agency only for those strong enough to stand up to a real badger?

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

So far I have decided not to continue working with this person due to the extra stress.
For example, from the start we had negotiated a set rate for general translations, like I do with all my recurring clients. Yet, this PM will call me each time I deliver my quote and haggle me for the next 45 minutes to reduce my rates by one or two cents. All this when the translation often has to be done with an EXTREME urgence, such as in 3 hours.

On another occasion, I was BEGGED to take on an cosmic load on Friday to be delivered Monday. (I guess everybody will accept once this kind of challenge just to test their limits).
I accepted at a high rate on the condition that the client is aware that I could not guarantee quality on such a short time period...added to the fact that I received all docs in PDFs and I had to rebuild all tables and diagrams.
After one of the most exhausting weekends in my life, I finished the project on time (and did a pretty good job at recreating the diagrams on top of that).

That very day the PM calls me and says the client's not happy with the quality. When pressed for details, the PM specified for example that the diagrams weren't exactly the same color or the font was off. The PM was so condescending I felt like screaming.

Ok, long story short:
My general impression is that at all times that PM is looking to worm out the best deal for the agency, in rates, but also in responsibility. This killed any trust we could have built and any strong working relationship. There's no give-give, just take. The PM could have stood up for me to the client, saying that it is not physically possible to do better, and that I frankly did a great job considering the circumstances...instead the PM tried to pass it off to me.

There are other, worse examples, such as sending me a translation one hour before I warned I would be on vacation, and then castigating me for it when I refuse.

It's not worth hearing someone consistently demean your work, quality and rates.
Yet they keep calling me!

[Edited at 2007-05-15 12:09]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:24
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Can't have your cake and eat it, too May 14, 2007

Hi there,

I think it comes down to the same principle someone mentioned in Burrell's thread: you can't have your cake and eat it, too.

If you are keeping this client, then you know to what you are subjecting yourself. You willingly continue to work with them on the conditions they impose on you. So, it's more of your personal problem, although I sympathize with your situation.

I think some people would be happy to know this in advance, but it really speaks more about you than the agency. So, I wouldn't post on BB about it if I were you.

Cheers,
Mike


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:24
Dutch to English
+ ...
Stand up for yourself ... May 14, 2007

... and tell the PM in person, or if not possible, over the phone.

You might be surprised and she'll take note/change her attitude and well, if she takes offence, no harm done if you've decided not to work with her anyhow.

Always best to tackle things head-on in my opinion. I've always sorted out these types of problems when they arise and carried on far happier, despite the outcome.

And I'm sure you're far more tactful than me

[Edited at 2007-05-14 17:37]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:24
English to German
+ ...
What about your likelihood of working again for this outsourcer? May 14, 2007

Hi Natalia,


I would like to post to the Blue board, but the fact is that the work is ok and the pay is on time, so that's all anybody really wants to know, right?

The Blue Board is about your likelihood of working again for this outsourcer. If you have a problem with the customer's behaviour (and the PM represents the customer, of course), this would mean a low likelihood.

It's your decision whether or not to post a BB entry (and naturally, a negative entry might mean you will not get any more work) - my point is that the Blue Board is not just about payments.

Personally, I would not work for someone who does not respect me as a business partner. To me, that's part of the deal.

Best regards,
Ralf


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 13:24
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
It must be my avoidance behaviour pattern,... May 14, 2007

...but I would look for greener pastures, i.e. for additional agents / agencies who are more to my own liking. This would make me more natural / self-sufficient / like-me, and I would assume it would influence the behavior of that ... er ... let's call her/him/it an sob for now, OK.

And, why not bring it out one way or another - it just does not look alright the way it is now, Of course, it is a question, bring it out with/to whom, but ... ProZ friends is a good start, I guess.

regards and thumbs up

Vito



[Edited at 2007-05-14 18:05]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:24
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
no cake here! May 14, 2007

Please don't mistake me, I'm not one of those masochistic enough to keep coming back for more.

I think, like everyone, it takes a few jobs to really see the worth of a client, since each project is different, and some people could have slept badly the night before.

I just wanted to know if my knowledge of this client could be worth something to others.

Thanks Ralf, you hit it right on the head. I'm not looking for one time clients, but a business partner who respects me and my work.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:24
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Sorry May 14, 2007

Hi N.M.,

I suppose I was deciding for you there. Sorry! It just seemed as though your situation has gone on for a while without any noticeable changes.

Of course, any time you make a definite decision (to stop accepting their job offers, for instance) is the right time to make a BB entry.

And I also agree with Ralf.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
German to English
+ ...
Are you fully dependent upon them? May 14, 2007

If so, think about talking to the superior of the P.M. on the telephone.

If not, refuse further jobs (maybe see what happens?).

Never forget - you are in charge of what happens.

I agree with Ralf and Vito.

There are plenty of fish in the sea. Some taste better than others.

Bonne chance.

Chris


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 13:24
English to Swedish
+ ...
Talk to his boss May 15, 2007

Hi Natalia and all,

I go with Chris - talk to the boss of the PM. Make him understand that the behavior of the PM is putting the agency in bad standing among the translator community.

If the PM doesn't shape up after that, request that the agency puts another PM in charge for these projects, or at least someone else as a middleman to hand out the jobs to you.

Good luck,

Jan


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Nicole Johnson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:24
Italian to English
+ ...
Chris makes a good point... May 15, 2007

Textklick wrote:


If not, refuse further jobs (maybe see what happens?).



You may be surprised if you simply decline the next job from this client, obviously in a diplomatic manner, perhaps saying you are simply too busy to accept more work.

It could be that the condescending PM will appreciate you more when he realizes that you're not sitting by the phone waiting for his call. (However, depending on his personality, it could also just make him more combative...)

In any case, from what you describe, it sounds like the kind of client that you could afford to lose. I have a similar situation with a client who pops up now and again and always has rush deadlines, tries to haggle on rates, etc. It seems that once I think they've gone elsewhere for their translation services, they come back and offer me something else. If I'm available and in the mood to work with them, I'll accept. If not, I just say I'm too busy to handle any more work. Often, they miraculously extend their deadline for me and they have always agreed to pay the rates I established with them lwhen I make it clear to them that I won't accept less.

As Chris said, unless you are really dependent on the income you get from this cilent why not try being "unavailable" for the next job they offer. If they really like your work, they will call you again (as it seems they've already done), so I'd say the ball's in your court.

As far as you question about posting on the BlueBoard, I'd say if you do want to maintain a working relationship, whatever you post needs to be truthful and diplomatic. However, from what you've described of the PM in question, anything less than a rating of 5 will probably be met with hositility on his part!

As translators, we need to remember that agencies, PMs etc. are our customers. If you subscribe to the philosophy of "the customer is always right" some of the clients you deal with need to be given more pampering than others!

Good luck.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jenny Duthie  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:24
French to English
sympathy for your predicament May 23, 2007

Hello Ms Ekland

I really sympathise with your plight I think you need to be more assertive with the PM - s/he has no right to treat you like this. I had a similar experience with a PM from an agency who was very unpleasant to deal with - he kept emailing me jobs and asking me how long it would take, then when I said for example I can start this job next Thurs and have it to you for Fri 12pm or ok I'm immediately available, he phoned up and went on and on about how he didn't have the order yet and spoke to me like I was really thick, even though I had told him already what my daily output is. He did this several times til I pointed out once more, politely but very firmly, via email, that they didn't need to keep doing this because I"d told them my daily output so that based on the wordcount, pending my availability, of course, they would know how long it would take me to do the job. I did a few jobs for them and have not heard much from them since but it's no loss as far as I'm concerned. They operate in a very strange way.

[Edited at 2007-05-23 12:29]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:24
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Update - the cherry on the cake Jul 4, 2007

First of all thank you all for your comments.

I still hadn't decided whether or not I should add something on the Blueboard, when I received an email from them.

They asked me to sign a form saying that I complied with the new NF EN 15038 European quality standard procedures so that all the translators in their database were 'official'.

I didn't sign. Not because I don't believe in quality standards (I have been applying the same quality control procedures for years), but because I know that they're liars.
Not once, have they performed a quality check. No one at the agency ever checked my work, or sent comments, corrections, etc. I think all they do is check that the right number of pages are there, and run a Word spell check.

Everyone's now talking about the new European quality standard, I have seen many agencies jumping through hoops to show they comply. I have nothing against this and have received several emails from agencies about it. But I'm also not going to be hypocritical enough to sign up with an agency I know doesn't comply.
If something went wrong, then with their track record, I can easily assume the problem would be automatically the fault of the translator.

So this has closed the matter. I will post on the Blue Board.
Thanks again to everyone!
Natalia


Direct link Reply with quote
 

James O'Reilly
Germany
German to English
+ ...
Google Docs helped to handle this... EN-15038 Aug 29, 2007

N.M. Eklund wrote:

First of all thank you all for your comments.

I still hadn't decided whether or not I should add something on the Blueboard, when I received an email from them.

They asked me to sign a form saying that I complied with the new NF EN 15038 European quality standard procedures so that all the translators in their database were 'official'.

I didn't sign. Not because I don't believe in quality standards (I have been applying the same quality control procedures for years), but because I know that they're liars.
Not once, have they performed a quality check. No one at the agency ever checked my work, or sent comments, corrections, etc. I think all they do is check that the right number of pages are there, and run a Word spell check.

Everyone's now talking about the new European quality standard, I have seen many agencies jumping through hoops to show they comply. I have nothing against this and have received several emails from agencies about it. But I'm also not going to be hypocritical enough to sign up with an agency I know doesn't comply.
If something went wrong, then with their track record, I can easily assume the problem would be automatically the fault of the translator.

So this has closed the matter. I will post on the Blue Board.
Thanks again to everyone!
Natalia




Well, just respond by using Google Docs:

http://docs.google.com/

It helped me to create the following templates and more:

Project Status Sheet EN-15038:2006

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dg9xxrf5_79hr5d4z

Preparation Checklist for Translations EN-15038:2006

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dg9xxrf5_54fmnpcx

This gets the issues on the table, where the client has to respond to his requirements management first.

Google Docs handles this fine...

James O'Reilly e-i-consulting


Direct link Reply with quote
 

James O'Reilly
Germany
German to English
+ ...
Google Docs Template for Abbreviations / Terminology Aug 29, 2007

Oops, I forgot to mention this one:

Google Docs Template for Abbreviations / Terminology EN-15038:2006

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pdD2fESMENo2GKFvthwG5DQ

This one gets the client moving to comply with his requirements management... it unfolds to a value-add project too.

Client and Translator Style Guides for source and target texts are in-process.

So these things indeed mirror back to the client that he needs some work on his requirements management if he wants a holistic-style translation service delivery in accordance with EN-15038:2006.

Google Docs does thus create value. Check out the YouTube videos about this too.

James O'Reilly e-i-consulting


[Edited at :06]

[Edited at :08]

[Edited at 2007-08-29 01:11]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Yoanna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:24
English to Polish
+ ...
I am always polite // a second chance Aug 31, 2007

Hi,

I also once had to deal with an unfair or rather not polite PM. The translation was fairly easy and then he notified me that his proofreader HATED it [not literally but that was the meaning] and after I saw the file once again, in disbelief, I noticed there were a lot of changes but insignificant ones and rather having to do with a personal style than correcting mistakes [MY mistakes]. He wanted a discount, rather rudely [btw he doesn't speak the language I translated into. he just saw a document with lots of changes in it]. So I gave him a discount, always staying polite and thinking, I will never have to deal with this person again, "just take it and go!" - in my mind.

To my surprise, he was back a year later. Super nice on the phone, extremely nice e-mails. He gave me some jobs and after sending EACH one of them I called him and made sure he was happy with the quality. In fact, he is delighted now. New improved proofreader, new improved attitude? God knows. But a second chance might sometimes be worth it... Good luck


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Condescending PM

Advanced search


Translation news





CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs