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Sick-leave for translators?
Thread poster: PCovs

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 17:15
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Oct 26, 2005

What do you do if you have accepted a job, you have started translating, and then...2 days before deadline you get the flue or something?

Do you simply write the outsourcer saying: "Sorry, I cannot finish the job. Too bad."?

Or do you try to find a replacement translator to help you out finishing the job within the deadline or perhaps with an extended deadline?

I would really love to hear what is normal practice, also to know whether you would obliged to finish the job you have taken on?

A translator I hired has just come down with something, that's why I'm asking.


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Kurt Porter  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:15
Russian to English
+ ...
Sick-leave Oct 26, 2005

1. Explain the issue to the client, asking for an extention to the deadline.

2. No extention forthcoming due to circumstances - contract out to a trusted agent...suck it up and double check/edit yourself, but get it in to the client before the deadline.

3. I think once a translator has taken on a job, he's obliged to finish it. Death in family or a major illness should be the only excuses not to finish...even then, I'd explain it to client and turn it over to a trusted agent.

[Edited at 2005-10-26 12:24]


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Emmanouil Tyrakis
Local time: 18:15
French to Greek
+ ...
urgent projects Oct 26, 2005

You should simply ask for an extension of the deadline.

From my experience, 90% of the urgent projects are not "urgent" at all.

Best regards,
Emmanuel


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:15
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Finding a solution Oct 26, 2005

It can happen - you may find yourself being operated on, on a Sunday night. (Happened to me). Just as well I was half awake the next day and could start calling people to warn them and find solutions. Thanks to mobile phones and Spanish hospitals that allow you to use them... But even a 'minor' illness may take you out for a while. As a freelance translator, you should tell your client ASAP about you not being able to finish the job (if you can, that is...). Then the outsourcer should find a solution (that's what the outsourcer is for...). It would help if your translator could send you the part of the job that is already finished (and then pay the job 'pro rata'). If the deadline can be extended, so much the better, but even a good flu could take a week, too long for most clients. Maybe your translator could recommend a reliable colleague. In a case of 'Force Majeure' you cannot make your translator finish the job. Most General Conditions have provisions for those kind of occurrences. Not specifically illness, but also other unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from finshing the job. Good luck! Anjo

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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 08:15
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In the middle of the road Oct 26, 2005

I do my best to avoid "taking back" my yes on a project. Right now I'm feeling a little sick, so I'm limiting my work to 9-5 and just stepping away from the computer. The world won't end if someone can't get a hold of me at 3am!

When I know that I'll be unavailable, I just send a message to my faithful clients and post a note on my website letting them know what are the dates when they'll definitely not find me glued to my keyboard.

However, if I definitely were in the middle of something and started feeling bad, I get back to the client and ask for a deadline extension. In my case it's not that bad because whenever most of them send me large files they always ask "when do you think we can have that back?" or "when do you think you'll be able to finish it?" So if I ask them "would it be a problem if you had the file on Friday instead of Thursday?", they understand that something personal came up and I need the deadline extension. If it's something small (less than 2,000 words), I just bite my tongue and keep going until it is done, so that I can rest for the rest of the day -- or let the other clients know that I need an extra 24 hours...

Good luck!


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 18:15
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
You should consider similar things from the beginning Oct 26, 2005

Things can happen, I agree. But I usually avoid having myself in a similar situation.

I think you should be considering similar conditions from the early beginning. When bidding or negotiating a project with my client, I state my deadline offered by setting my translation capacity per day. Then, I clearly inform my client that I'll add (usually) 5 days more to that period of time required to avoid any unexpected coming-ups. This is to tell my client that I can get the project done on xxxx unless ......, then it would be yyyy instead. Another way I use is setting less number of words I can translate per day. When it's a first time client, you should present yourself in the strongest image possible; having excuses from the early beginning wouldn't help.

It's up to your client after that to accept or refuse your offer. Yet, it supports my position with my client when I deliver my translation on the original time. My client would be expecting my translation on the delayed date, but he/she will be receiving his/her document 5 days earlier than expected

You should also be in contact with other translators you perfectly trust; that is translators you can always assign parts of your jobs to in similar situations.

If you couldn't do any of the above, then the first action to take would be informing your client and asking for more time beyond the deadline agreed on. You'll be taking the chance in that case of losing your project or part of it, but you'll be also handling the situation as a professional.

Good Luck


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 17:15
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! I just wondered. Oct 26, 2005

Thank you for your views.

I simply wondered, since I myself usually suck it up and get the job done so I can rest and get better as soon as possible.
If it's really bad, I ask for an extension.

For the first time ever I had to hire a translator myself, who happened to come down with the flu or something 2 days before deadline. This happens, obviously, and there's nothing one can do about that.

What I wondered was if it was considered professional to simply write the client saying "I fell ill, and I cannot finish the job." Not asking for an extension (the translator knew that this what not a problem at all in the first place), and not suggesting any solution.

Also I was obviously curious if I'm simply killing myself for no reason when I struggle to finish a job while not feeling well.

Now I know at least that I'm not alone
Good health to all of you


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Elena Pavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:15
Member (2005)
French to Italian
+ ...
They usually understand Oct 27, 2005

Hi! As far as I am concerned, I never postpone the delivery of a translation, and even if I have flue, cold, fever, I try to do it anyway. I'd rather not accept new job, but I finish what I have. But recently I had to go the hospital for 24 hours and I couldn't connect from the Internet, so I was late for a job. I explained my clients and they perfectly understood the situation and could wait one more day for the delivery.
I think it also depends on you: if you get the habit of late delivery for a simple cold, I think they might lose their patience and they will not be very patients with you for the future.
On the other way, I am going to have a baby by Dec. 12th and I have already contacted a friend of mine, so that he can take over the jobs I have already started and deliver them to client.
But again, in this kind of situation, the client understands (all my "good" clients know about it) and one day delay will not be that bad.


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 17:15
German
+ ...
Communication is key Oct 27, 2005

Talk to the client, let them know what's happening. Most clients are human, too, and will grant deadline extensions if at all possible. On the other hand, some projects really are THAT urgent and for those, a solution has to be found. It is considered good style if you aid the client in finding an alternate way to get an urgent translation done in time, even if you're no longer able to translate yourself. Switching to another translator usually means financial losses for the client, which you should help minimize by being forthcoming when it comes to lowering your invoice.

A good client will be understanding but still expect you to do everything in your power to avoid or minimize the economical damage arising from your sudden "sick leave". After all, you contractually agreed to deliver and are not fulfilling that agreement.

Regards,
Benjamin


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