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Work for free and you will have many clients...
Thread poster: Martin Wenzel

Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 08:56
English to German
+ ...
Jul 7, 2007

This is a Moroccan proverb, and I believe it's true.
Recently, I have been sent the odd sentence from regular agencies asking me if I couldn't do this sentence for free.

I don't mind doing this as an OCCASIONAL favour, but I won't support this NEW TREND...

When it happened just yesterday, I told them ok (because they are a good regular client of mine), but let me ask you this question: If I need a sentence into Japanese from you, will it be for free?

The Project Manager replied: Thank you for your translation...but never answered my question...

This is another deplorable trend I seem to be facing: Lack of proper communication...I am sure, and I have read this in one of the proz.com-Forums before, PMs don't have time for discussions...[They are there to earn big money for their employers...].

If ever something should go wrong however, then they would be able to communicate...


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Rodrigo Mencía  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:56
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A very good proverb Jul 7, 2007

Hi Martin... Well, I did the same once or twice in the past, and as long as it's a very very good client, I don't really mind. But always keep an eye open in case they don't behave in the same way with you (when you have a problem or when you need a favour, like getting paid on time or a little eaerlier because something unexpected has happened).

R.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 08:56
English to German
+ ...
min charge regulation Jul 7, 2007

Hi! I know this since years and have introduced min.charge per min 200 words or lesser. Choice is your client! Some comply and most don´t, some manage even getting abusive. After all who wants from whom what. My handa are tied and I am cooking currently, hence cannot translate, I should be able to help you may be in 24 hours. About two hours ago a chinese agency wanted Trados help. I could what I could to help, but they are an agency! It seemed that the asker in the chat box was a tranlator working for an agency, I sent him back, he should ask his agency for what he derives. May be it was an agency itself, I can´t know. Brandis

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Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 08:56
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
One has to see both sides... Jul 7, 2007

Hi Rodrigo,

I empathize with project managers, because their task isn't an easy one: TRYING TO KEEP EVERYBODY HAPPY. Who can do that?

And I am most appreciative that hey understand that I am living in an Islamic environment, where nothing goes on a Friday (Day of prayer) and where we are two hours behind MEZ or 1 hour behind GMT. I would theoretically have to check my emails at 6 o'clock Moroccan time, which I cannot get round doing, somehow...

Luckily, office life in Europe doesn't get into full swing before 10 am....

Buena suerte con tu trabajo nuevo...


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:56
English to German
+ ...
Depends on your relationship with the client Jul 7, 2007

I have a long-term client who keeps sending "forgotten lines" from the websites I translated on a thrice-a-week-basis (minimum). It just happens frequently when you do a lot of website translation. I am way too lazy to send extra invoices or to even keep track of it, that's ridiculous. It saves time on either side. What they do is rounding up my invoiced amounts or adding addtl. $ 50.00 and such on a regular basis. My Credo: The number of words on your invoice should never exceed the words translated.

Other clients apply their minimum charge which can crank up your rate to $ 5.00 / word.

Whatever you do, don't do it for free. You are not a full time employee.

To answer your question, though: You have to do this for a couple of times first until your status as a 100%-reliable, always there, committed, beloved service provider is established. Three times at no charge should be maximum.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:56
English to German
+ ...
One or two hours time difference? Whohoo, I truly envy you. Jul 7, 2007

That's what I would consider my time-zone.

1. As long as you establish the "Friday: No work can do!"-agreement strictly with your clients, I don't see the problem. A single line translated won't pay any one's rent anyway.

2. Regarding time-zones: I have to face an 8-hour time-difference w/ Great Britain, 9 hours w/ Germany, Austria, Switzerland, etc. I have to type darn' fast to catch up. Also, there are clients in New Zealand and Australia, hey, they let me sleep 5 hours longer and I am still a day behind. Did I mention my US and Canada clients that don't happen to dwell at the West coast? My phone is addicted to ringing between 4 and 8 in the morning.

I envy you, Martin.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:56
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Once or twice, but there has to be a limit Jul 7, 2007

I once registered with an agency which never sent me any work, but some months after registering, asked me to translate a few words for free, which I did. A week or so later (still no work) they asked for another such favour, and again I complied. Shortly afterwards (still no work), they asked for a third time. This time I sent an invoice for my minimum charge. They were quite indignant that I should actually expect to be paid, but they did eventually pay. I never heard from them again (and would not have worked for them anyway).

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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:56
English to German
+ ...
That's the biggest problem Jul 7, 2007


This is another deplorable trend I seem to be facing: Lack of proper communication...I am sure, and I have read this in one of the proz.com-Forums before, PMs don't have time for discussions...[They are there to earn big money for their employers...].


For me, that is actually the biggest problem.

I dumped one client, not because they were bad payers or because their rates were so bad - on the contrary. But the communication was awful.

I asked one thing, got no answer. Another question - was left unanswered, and so on... until the deadline. When I delivered, I suddenly got three e-mails in a row, wondering why I had made certain choices and why I hadn't contacted them. Oh well....

I simply told them I was busy and had no more time for them. They still contact me every now and then.

Sonja


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Barbara Pillmeier  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:56
English to German
+ ...
my clients are fabulous Jul 7, 2007

Hi there. So far, I have had only good experiences with my clients. Sometimes they give me even more money than I had suggested for the work. Always got feedbacks on my work and even apologies, if they had not answered immediately to confirm reception.

I don't mind to translate quickly, if need be (and mostly it's extremely urgent), one to three sentences for them without charging.

But this depends on the clients, of course. I am very lucky to have such fabulous clients.

Just another point of view


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Barbara Pillmeier  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:56
English to German
+ ...
a consideration for a consideration Jul 7, 2007

Maybe it's a little off-topic.
Sometimes you are asked for a favour and it pays...

A client asked me if I could translate a website for a tsunami aid project for free and offered computer services as a consideration.

And Boy! I needed him a lot recently!! He certainly wasn't aware of that , but "a promise for a promise" --> I worked "for free" as a contribution to the project and it saved me a lot of money for computer services.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:56
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Computer services... Jul 7, 2007

Hi Barbara,

Computer services for free is certainly worth something! I have spent such a lot of money on computer services recently! They definitely have a very high monetary value.

Astrid


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amalea
Lebanon
Local time: 09:56
French to English
+ ...
stupid rush Jul 7, 2007

Just yesterday, I received an email from somebody who needed a certificate translation... and how kind of him, he asked me to give him my bank account to do the transfer while he is on his way to scan the document...

i was surprised since all my clients pay AFTER the delivery...
and in a stupid rush i just gave him my bank coordination only.... without my name nor my account number!!

After one hour, he sends an email, telling me that the money is already sent and here is the document.
I finished the job in about an hour... and was happy, receiving money before doing anything...
Today, I woke up in the morning, and it suddenly hits me!!! how did he send the money without having my account number!!


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Barbara Pillmeier  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:56
English to German
+ ...
you say it Jul 7, 2007

Hi Astrid,

I know! From € 50 per hour and upwards!
Of course, I pay him the hardware-"thingies" but the hours he spent upgrading and tuning my PC are worth more than the translation I did! I' m telling you!.

(Sorry, again a little off-topic)


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Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 08:56
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You really have the right kind of clients... Jul 7, 2007

Barbara, it must be your unbeatable smile...

I still have to meet the client who will voluntarily pay more than being asked for...


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Barbara Pillmeier  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:56
English to German
+ ...
lucky to have :-) Jul 7, 2007

Hi Martin,

yes, I know this is real luck!

It's two clients who are so fabulous. But regarding my bad luck history - loosing a great job for no reason at all etc. I am very glad that those companies contacted me, especially the persons responsible.

I have tried to be prompt to meet the deadlines and worked very hard to accomplish this. My translating career is pretty short, so I did the best I could and it paid.

Sometimes you are lucky, just so...

best

Barbara


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