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Sudden request from new client to edit job done 3 weeks ago
Thread poster: Jenny Forbes

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:10
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Aug 13, 2008

I've got a problem. A new client (who contacted me through Proz and has a good BB record) today sent me a review of a long, urgent job I did for them about 3 weeks ago, asking me to review the review and re-do parts of the translation, and also saying that I should have over-typed one of the source files (I wasn't originally asked to do so) and asking me to do so now. As far as I can see, that would mean completely redoing the job (some 3,000 words).
Apart from this annoyance, the problem is that I'm desperately busy with urgent work for regular clients now which I have to get finished before going away next week. I simply haven't the time to do what this new client is asking. (I haven't been paid for the work yet).
What on earth shall I do?
Prozians' advice would be gratefully received.
Kind regards,
Jenny


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some points Aug 13, 2008

Jenny Forbes wrote:
...and also saying that I should have over-typed one of the source files (I wasn't originally asked to do so) and asking me to do so now.


Overtyping is the usual way, as far as I'm concerned. However, the PM should have seen three weeks ago that you didn't overtype, and should have queried it then.

As far as I can see, that would mean completely redoing the job (some 3,000 words).


Explain this to the client. Perhaps the client thinks that you've used some kind of tool that will enable you to fix the file quickly.

If you believe (or are convinced by the client) that you are at fault, then you should still tell the client that you are busy right now and that you can't do this unexpected piece of work for three weeks. Or refer them to a colleague, who can do the retyping for them at an editing/proofreading rate.

What on earth shall I do?


It is unfortunate, and you have to give a new client extra special service, but once you've exhausted your options, there is little you can do about it.

On the other hand, now may be a good time to let this client understand that you're not to be bullied about like their other translators, who accept revision upon revision upon revision without demanding extra pay.


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:10
French to English
Negotiate Aug 13, 2008

Maybe accept part of what they're asking, review the review at least, and be honest about how busy you are - try to find a compromise that will keep them happy and not keep you up for an all-nighter.

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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:10
Portuguese to English
+ ...
You could turn them down Aug 13, 2008

Hi Jenny,
Since this this just one client, and a new one, and you said you are wildly busy with other clients, you could just turn them down. It doesn't seem as though it would be a major loss for you if they don't contact you again, since you already have lots of work. I'd just tell them that I was too busy at the moment and then would be on vacation, so they would have to find someone else to do the job. Even if they never pay you for the original work, it's not the end of the world, although I would certainly mention it on the Blue Board if they don't pay.

Amy


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:10
French to English
Overtyping? Aug 13, 2008

huh?
What do they mean? How is what you supplied different from what they want(ed)?

Literally having to re-type every single word strikes me as being unlikely to be the solution to the problem - at the very least, I would imagine some copy-paste work could save effort.

There was a thread a while ago about how long after delivery is reasonable for "after sales".
I'm not sure, personally I think 3 weeks is probably OK, altho I would be reluctant to set much store by any description of "urgent" from this client in future....


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 17:10
French to Dutch
+ ...
This means probably Aug 13, 2008

Charlie Bavington wrote:

huh?
What do they mean? How is what you supplied different from what they want(ed)?

that she didn't use the original file (saved under another name) with all its formatting, but just typed the translation into a new file. The client (probably the end client) is completely lost.
Amazing, that this still exist. I didn't believe it until one of my colleagues some time ago did the same thing; it took me hours to do the formatting. She was a legal translator, maybe it was for some legal reasons or because she thought that formatting was not the problem of the translator provided the text was of high quality.
Nowadays one can align it with Plustools or something like that; this takes ten minutes. And three weeks doesn't seem strange to me for an after-sales problem.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:10
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, everyone Aug 13, 2008

My thanks to all who replied.
NMR, the problem is not so much how I could have overtyped the file but that as matters now stand I haven't got time to redo the job. I did overtype one of the files, although not requested to do so.
I have replied fairly firmly, forwarding the agency their original email requests and my replies and saying that I'm terribly busy right now and am about to go away but that I'll do the editing job when I return if they like. The client's reply to my reply shows that his original instructions were completely confusing - he sent me several versions of the same job and kept insisting that I must omit the "nonsense words". When I said I didn't know what he meant by the "nonsense words" he sent me a version with those words removed, so I worked from that file. As to the alleged urgency, it now transpires that both he and the end client were away on holiday when I sent the finished job and have only just looked at it. So much for the urgency ...
The situation is ongoing and I'll keep you posted if anyone's interested.
Thank you again for your helpful replies.
Jenny


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