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Another experience with an agency
Thread poster: A_Fangrath

A_Fangrath  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:51
English to German
+ ...
Feb 28, 2009

Hello,

I have received a job offer, a huge project, professional requirements, Trados, 7.000 words.
But!!!
Quote: " Here comes your first job assigment. If the qualitiy of your translation is good enogh, we have more jobs for you. Every day."

Great. Thank you.

How about a web site or so?

I was given a rate and have asked if I have a vendors agreement.
The answer was yes.

Can I extend the deadline (2nd March)?

Nope.

Ok, this is not much, I could do that. But it's week-end. And I haven't even seen their website.
Seems there is none.

Something is fishy or the people are really busy (and I am stupid).

I said no.

Even if they have millions of words to be translated.
Something is not right.

Do you agree or what do you think?





[Edited at 2009-02-28 21:42 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-02-28 21:43 GMT]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:51
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Do you have a full business address for them? Feb 28, 2009

Sure, it is a bit unusual these days not to have a web site. However, the main thing, I believe, is to have a full business address for your (potential) customer.

As for a deadline of 2nd March, proposed on Friday afternoon (or today, Saturday?), the straight answer is, of course, that there are no working hours between 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. on Monday. I have to remind my customers of that fact constantly.

You could, of course, agree to work at the weekend and charge extra, e.g. 30% extra. If they cannot afford it, then they cannot afford to demand that the work be done on an urgent basis.

Astrid


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A_Fangrath  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:51
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Exactly... Feb 28, 2009

Thank you Astrid,


I have been contacted via a platform similar to this one.
I only have the email address.

I have stated that I am available but
till 2nd of March?

For a new client that I haven't "seen" yet?

There was not web site idicated and I wasn't able to google one.

Well...

I wouldn't charge a new client a week-end charge,
but if I can't even identify them on the web...

Thank you again,
now I don't feel guilty to have a week-end without
a translation:)

I'd rather be this way than to have to deal with
non-payment


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:51
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Can I lend you a translation? Feb 28, 2009

Pity our language pairs are different! I have two for the weekend.

But seriously, I think maybe you are meant to relax and recharge your batteries this weekend... or build up your termbases.

Astrid


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 15:51
German to English
Need a real PO with full details Feb 28, 2009

I've always been suspicious of offers of "more work to come" on a first job. Although I frequently do business on a handshake (or the Internet equivalent), I wouldn't take on a large job from a new client without knowing a lot of details.

Another red flag is a first --big -- job with a short deadline. Although there are legitimately urgent jobs, many rush jobs indicate:

1. Poor project management by the agency, or
2. Poor planning by the end client, or
3. The agency hadn't been able to find someone to take the job, so they came to you, or
4. The end client shopped the job around for a while and selected the agency in question strictly due to price considerations.

There are a lot of threads here on Proz by translators who made the mistake of:
1. Not getting full details of a company prior to accepting a job
2. Taking a rush job as the first translation and being offered only urgent work thereafter.


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A_Fangrath  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:51
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Mar 1, 2009

Astrid:

so sweet of you, I would probably even help with translations on this week end
but it looks like I have to relax and enjoy the lovely weather
Ughhh.

Kevin thank you very much! This is actually what I was "feeling" instictevly.
The first thing that flashed through my mind was "yeah, right. more jobs every day" Sounded a little like a commercial. The last thing I want to deal with are non-payment or not-very-well managed agencies.
Thank you, it's a great input for similar situations in the future.

[Edited at 2009-03-01 14:29 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-03-01 14:30 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-03-01 20:08 GMT]


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Shane Wall  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 02:51
Vietnamese to English
+ ...
Weekend or not? Mar 1, 2009

I am interested that some colleagues will choose NOT to work on Saturday or Sunday, or Friday/Saturday.

Why is that so? I take the work when it is there. I do NOT accept ridiculous deadlines, but I think the actual day of the week is irrelevant. Would a doctor not treat you because it is Sunday? I don't think so.

If we want to be treated as professionals, then that means we are "skills for hire" - just like a doctor. We should behave the same, IMHO.

Shane

www.translingualexpress.com


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 15:51
German to English
We choose our hours Mar 1, 2009

Shane Wall wrote:
I am interested that some colleagues will choose NOT to work on Saturday or Sunday, or Friday/Saturday.

Why is that so? I take the work when it is there. I do NOT accept ridiculous deadlines, but I think the actual day of the week is irrelevant.


I know a lot of "9-5" professionals (bankers, etc.) who work weekends due to job demands. Unless someone has special religious considerations, there's nothing sacred about weekends.

I generally put in at least a half day most weekends unless the weather is particularly nice. Many, if not most, freelancers enjoy the flexibility to structure their time as they please. I don't hesitate to take a job with a Monday deadline from a regular customer, unless I have plans. People with children, on the other hand, may want time to spend with their kids, and weekends may be the best time to do this.


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xxxMilena Bosco  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:51
English to Italian
+ ...
Hi Shane, hi all Mar 1, 2009

Dear Shane:

I have a great doctor, the best one could find.... Professional, reliable and on top of that a real "renaissance"man. He is not available on Saturdays and Sundays, with good reason.
Neither am I.

Regards,
Milena


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:51
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Promises, promises, promises... Mar 1, 2009

A_Fangrath wrote:
The first thing that flashed through my mind was "yeah, right. more jobs every day" Sounded a little like a commercial. The last thing I want to deal with are non-payment or not-very-well managed agencies.


In all my last 22 years as a freelance translator, I had all kinds of clients - both direct and agencies: the good, the bad and the ugly.

No good client has ever promised a future job. They may ask for a cost estimate (which doesn't mean they will do it), they may ask about my availability, but the good clients will never promise a job: either they'll give me a firm order, or they won't say anything about the future.

Of course, there are those clients who attempt to trick you into substantially lowering your rates in one small to mid-size first job, usually urgent, because this will make you the ideal choice for a huge upcoming project, where they'll be able to afford your regular rate. Believe me, this kind of client plays this trick once with each translator they find. IMHO they have thver seen a huge job in their lives.


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:51
Swedish to English
+ ...
I should be so lucky Mar 1, 2009

Shane Wall wrote:

Would a doctor not treat you because it is Sunday? I don't think so.

If we want to be treated as professionals, then that means we are "skills for hire" - just like a doctor. We should behave the same, IMHO.


My GP does not work Sundays, nor Saturdays, and has a few half days off during the week as well.

And if I need an appointment I'd be lucky to get one within a week.

So if I need urgent treatment I have to make my way to the nearest walk-in centre or, but only when really desperate, the A&E.

If only we could be as professional...


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:51
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Answers to Shane Mar 2, 2009

Shane Wall wrote:

I am interested that some colleagues will choose NOT to work on Saturday or Sunday, or Friday/Saturday.

Why is that so?

Because I have a life.


Seriously, I chose not to work on weekends (whenever possible), because I have a family and weekends are for relaxing and doing things together (today it included sleeping in, then eating homemade pancakes for breakfast, then going to a concert in the afternoon, then a walk+bikeride around the neighborhood, then playtime at home).
If I work on a weekend (sometimes I do, but try not to do that very often), I feel guilty, I feel like I am cheating my son out of "his" time with Mommy.

I take the work when it is there. I do NOT accept ridiculous deadlines, but I think the actual day of the week is irrelevant.

Your personal situation is probably different than mine. Mine would probably be different too, were I single. I used to work on weekends, day and night, 90-hours weeks were normal, but that was in my "previous life", in the corporate world - I was single and young.

Would a doctor not treat you because it is Sunday? I don't think so.

I do not know any doctor that is available 24/7. The one that is available Sunday surely takes another day off during the week.
Most doctors I went to worked as a group practice, they did NOT work on Saturdays and Sundays in their office, but they took turns to be on-call during the weekend. If you got sick on the weekend (or went into labor), it was possible that instead of your usual doctor, another member of the group would take care of you.

If we want to be treated as professionals, then that means we are "skills for hire" - just like a doctor. We should behave the same, IMHO.


I don't think being available 24/7 is among the defining criteria for professionalism.
In fact, if you imply that not working over the weekends in unprofessional, you will not make many friends here, I am afraid...

All the best
Katalin


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Mohamed Mehenoun  Identity Verified
Algeria
Local time: 20:51
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
... Mar 2, 2009

Hi,

The agency is fishy, and I wouldn't work for them ! However, next time when you have a doubt and a client bugs you for an urgent deadline there an easy solution ! You ask for a 50% advance... If they're serious they'll accept it...

As for working on weekends everyone is free to work whenever he feels like it. And I don't see why we have to compare ourselves to doctors when we aren't ! I really don't see the point in having to compare yourself to a professional of another field just to justify your choices ! They are YOUR CHOICES ! some people would work day and night without an extra charge others won't ...

The basis of being a freelancer is to be FREE ! Just do the job as you want to do it. I know a doctor who goes to the patient home if requested and another who never does and they are both fine top class doctors...Everyone has an approach and a way to do his job ! I never heard any doctor argue on his working hours considering the hours the translator next door applies ...

Regards,

[Edited at 2009-03-02 00:51 GMT]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:51
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I work on Saturdays and Sundays, all right Mar 2, 2009

The problem is that running a business consists of a couple more things than only translation, such as accounting and administration, but also things that will make work easier and quicker in the future, such as building up termbases - not to mention running various programs to clean up and defrag the computer. Since I do not have time to do these things on weekdays, which are generally rather busy, I like to do them at the weekend. Therefore I do not make a habit of translating at the weekend any more, and only do it from time to time, for good reason.

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Mohamed Mehenoun  Identity Verified
Algeria
Local time: 20:51
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
everyone has his habits Mar 2, 2009

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

The problem is that running a business consists of a couple more things than only translation, such as accounting and administration, but also things that will make work easier and quicker in the future, such as building up termbases - not to mention running various programs to clean up and defrag the computer. Since I do not have time to do these things on weekdays, which are generally rather busy, I like to do them at the weekend. Therefore I do not make a habit of translating at the weekend any more, and only do it from time to time, for good reason.


Personnally I don't really understand the fuss about it...Everyone has his habits and that's it being a freelancer means that you do it as you wanna do it and where you wanna do it !


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