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What to do about non-responses
Thread poster: Scott de Lesseps

Scott de Lesseps  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:38
Partial member (2007)
French to English
Oct 17, 2003

Hi everyone,

just got an e-mail late last night from a guy from a translation agency. He said he had a rather large job that will be due on Monday at noon (presumably his time). It looks like he sent the e-mail around 3 a.m. his time (!). Luckily, I happened to check my e-mail that late, and I sent him an e-mail back around 10:30 my time (pretty quick response time), telling him to please send me the text, or a representative sample, so I could look it over and give him an accurate quote. It's now 11:30 a.m. today, and I've heard nothing back from him.
Is there anything any of you would have done differently, or anything I did wrong at all (or anything I didn't do and should have)? Being rather new in the business and wanting to broaden my clientele, it can be a little frustrating dealing with potential clients who don't repond. Sometimes when people don't respond you kind of start to second-guess your actions. Would greatly appreciate any advice or comments. Thanks.

Scott


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Yelena.  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:38
English to Russian
+ ...
Hi Oct 17, 2003

It may well be that he hasn't got the document yet. It happened to me so many times when a translation agency says they are expecting a file within an hour and it actually arrives only the next day. You never know with clients. So don't panic just yet. You could also send him another email just to check if the file he mentioned is coming at all.

Best wishes,

Yelena


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:38
German to English
+ ...
Send a short email requesting confirmation/setting deadline. Oct 17, 2003

You need to know if you have to keep your weekend free for this job, so I think you're justified in getting *some* sort of response. After all, reserving time for this job might keep you from taking on another.

I'd send a friendly email request confirming that they got your original message/offer and asking them to let you know by such and such date/time if you get the job. But don't get too jumpy! I certainly wouldn't lower the rate you offered. You should come across confident.


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:38
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
They may not have the document yet or even the job yet. Oct 17, 2003

The agency may not have the document yet or they may not even have a firm offer on the job yet. One of the agencies I have worked for in the past called me from half around the world checking on my availability for a large project. We talked and set up things. Then I did not hear from them. As another regular client had another offer for a large translation, I emailed the first agency to ask about their project.

It appeared that the client of the first agency was at the moment dragging his feet and they were not sure when or if they would get the job.

So, I figured what is in the hand sure is better than up in the air so I took the second translation. Luckily I did because the first client later emailed me to go ahead and accept other work because they still did not have a firm offer.

So, even if you have free time on your hands and nothing to translate, send them a little note so that you know where you stand.

Good luck and welcome to our wacky, unpredictable but infinitely wonderful world of translating.

Lucinda


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 17:38
English to French
+ ...
French agencies rules Oct 17, 2003

Is this a French agency? Because French agencies, as a rules, give you 2 hours to get back to them if you want a job. If you don't respond within 2 hours, they contact someone else. That's if they're ethical. Less ethical agencies (or panicking agencies!) are going to contact a whole bunch of people at the same time and give the job to the first to respond. If this is a less than ethical agency, be glad you're not even working for them, for all you know they might not even pay! I really hope the other colleagues are right and the job is just delayed. Just keep in mind that there's all kinds of agencies out there!
Good luck!
Sarah
Scott de Lesseps wrote:

Hi everyone,

just got an e-mail late last night from a guy from a translation agency. He said he had a rather large job that will be due on Monday at noon (presumably his time). It looks like he sent the e-mail around 3 a.m. his time (!). Luckily, I happened to check my e-mail that late, and I sent him an e-mail back around 10:30 my time (pretty quick response time), telling him to please send me the text, or a representative sample, so I could look it over and give him an accurate quote. It's now 11:30 a.m. today, and I've heard nothing back from him.
Is there anything any of you would have done differently, or anything I did wrong at all (or anything I didn't do and should have)? Being rather new in the business and wanting to broaden my clientele, it can be a little frustrating dealing with potential clients who don't repond. Sometimes when people don't respond you kind of start to second-guess your actions. Would greatly appreciate any advice or comments. Thanks.

Scott


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Suzanne Blangsted  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:38
Danish to English
+ ...
non-response Oct 17, 2003

--- or it could be that "he" got another one to do the job. As a professional "he" should have informed you that the job closed.

On the other hand, when you respond to a request, I suggest you let the person/agency know that you need a contract if "he" wants to use your services since without a contract, you can't keep that time slot open as other clients might want your services.


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Karin Adamczyk  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:38
Member
French to English
Please don't generalize Oct 17, 2003

[quote]sarahl wrote:

Is this a French agency? Because French agencies, as a rules, give you 2 hours to get back to them if you want a job. If you don't respond within 2 hours, they contact someone else. That's if they're ethical. Less ethical agencies (or panicking agencies!) are going to contact a whole bunch of people at the same time and give the job to the first to respond.
Sarah[quote]

Please don't generalize, this happens with agencies from anywhere, including the U.S., and many French agencies don't operate this way at all.

Actually, sometimes agencies don't have much choice and must assign jobs as quickly as possible because they are pressured by their clients.

I have had these types of situations too and ended up with regular clients of many years who really appreciated me helping them out when they were in a bind.

Regards,
Karin Adamczyk


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Scott de Lesseps  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:38
Partial member (2007)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
non-responses Oct 17, 2003

Well, maybe I overreacted a little, but as you all know I'm sure, when you need the work you need the work. I got another e-mail from the guy this morning. The agency is in England, and he only had the text in hard copy format. Plus, I don't yet have a fax machine. Oh boy, life gets complicated, doesn't it? He asked me to call him (in the e-mail), which I did, but by the time I reached him he had already hired someone else. Dialing internationally can be a little tricky sometimes when you're not really used to doing it on a regular basis. Anyway, the guy was really friendly, and sounds like he would be interested in doing other work together in the future. So at least I made a positive contact, and hopefully this will lead to projects later on. Thanks to everyone for all of your replies. I really appreciate it. It always makes you feel better when you know other people experience the same types of situations. Cheers!

Scott


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xxx xxx
Local time: 02:38
Try to avoid fax copies Oct 18, 2003

Scott de Lesseps wrote:

The agency is in England, and he only had the text in hard copy format. Plus, I don't yet have a fax machine.

Scott


Tayfun Torunoglu wrote:

Most of Client can send in image format as well, you may receive via mail.



I agree with Tayfun, especially since your client was an agency. Due to my specialization (legal translation) I often have to do translations of hard copy source texts. Usually I ask my clients to send me an image file with the text rather than a fax, because the quality of fax copies most of the time is very bad so that I have to keep getting back to the customer asking what is written in line x etc. This is even more true when the customer's copy is only a fax copy as well!

What's more, I need a machine readable source text in order to do my translations (at least, I prefere having one). So, starting from an image file I can use an OCR program. (I am going to get a scanner but it would not be much use with fax copies of fax copies.)

By the way, very good agencies might scan their hard copies and treat them with an OCR program before they give you the text!

Keep trying, Scott! Haven't you had some direct clients, yet, due to your new homepage? I like it very much!

Cheers

Diane


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:38
German to English
+ ...
Big leagues / business image. Oct 19, 2003

Hi Scott. Sorry it didn't work out with this contract, but it sounds like a learning experience.

While I agree with Diane that at times faxes should be avoided due to poor quality, I think it's an essential piece of equipment/tool for translators. If I get a rush job from a new customer, I refuse to start work until I receive a purchase order or contract, with a signature, via fax (since obviously postal mail will be too slow). Also, I want to make it as easy as possible on my customer. Asking a busy department head at Siemens if he/she could just scan that document in in their spare time is not going to go over well.

Since your post is entitled "What to do about non-responses," I thought I'd mention something else. You've obviously put some time and effort into your webpage, but I noticed that there is no contact information whatsoever (besides email). Recently I've started subcontracting a few jobs, so from the "other side" I can tell you that this may be perceived as a red flag, or a sign that you are not serious. I think part of being a professional translator is cultivating a business image, which in my opinion includes telephone, fax, email, cell phone, address, etc. (even if you are "just" working from home).

Kind regards,
Michele


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 03:38
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
To fax or not to fax Oct 20, 2003

I already 2 years ago gave up my telephone line (as many people do nowadays) and use efax.com, which avoids all the hassle with paper and rescanning faxes of faxes. The efax-file is easily stored away with my email.
But back to the original issue: try to look at it from the agency's point of view. Their customer wants a fast response too. Last week one customer sent me mail in the middle of the night, the job was not even urgent, but I responded at once and promised to find a native translator for the job. I contacted some freelances, but already early in the morning the customer mailed back and told me, that he had given the job to someone else.
Those freelances responded during the next few days, as it turned out all would have been too expensive.
Next time I'll probably try to assure the job at once and look for translators later.

Do not take inquiries too seriously, better take all they offer you, but don't be disappointed when you get only a fraction in the end.


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