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Need advice on renegotiating with the client
Thread poster: clangfor1
French to English
+ ...
Mar 13, 2009

I'm not going to meet a deadline, and my client, who is (understandably) not too happy about it, has hinted that he'd like to renegotiate the financial terms of our agreement. I would like some advice on what to do: I'd like to keep the client, if not for the money (it's not that much), for the work, which is interesting and challenging. What sort of precedence is there here?

No need to admonish me with "well, since it's your fault" or "you got yourself in this mess" etc. -- I know all that and, frankly, it's the first time it's happened to me. What I need now is quick, sound advice. Although I'm not happy about having to renegotiate (I've already slightly undersold myself), I'm prepared to do what I need to do, professionally, in such circumstances. The problem is that I'm not sure what that entails.

If this helps:
1. 50 per cent of the job was returned completed to the client a day before the deadline (the job involves two documents of equal length)
2. the remaining document will be delivered two, perhaps three working days late.

Thanks in advance.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-03-13 17:36 GMT]

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Rodna Ruskovska  Identity Verified
Macedonia (FYROM)
Local time: 00:46
Macedonian to English
+ ...
Finding a colleague translator Mar 13, 2009

How about finding a colleague to help you make the deadline! Or even two colleagues so you make more time for proofreading to ensure consistency and quality.

I would rather do that than re-negotiate.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:46
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dont be late Mar 13, 2009

I agree with Ronda, better to spend the money finding help than discounting the client.

The client will be happy as you will meet your deadline, and that is sacrosant in my opinion.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:46
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Was the deadline unreasonable in the first place? Mar 13, 2009

If so, I do not think you should allow yourself to be persuaded to knock much off the price.

What I would do is talk to the client at length on the telephone and find out, in truth, how inconvenient the late delivery really is - especially if the client had unreasonable expectations of what could be done in a particular amount of time when giving you the job.

If the deadline was in the first place too tight - not for any especially good reason except for the end client being impatient to have the translation - then I would think hard about giving the client more than a very small token discount.

If, however, you agreed to meet an official deadline of the end client's, e.g. for filing a document with a court or a trademark office - and the deadline could not be extended, then late delivery would mean that the translation has no financial value at all any more and should not be paid for by anybody.

If it is for an official deadline, which could meanwhile be extended, well, it has a financial value after all, and basically should just be paid for.

I would definitely start talking, and find out how inconvenient the late delivery is or is not.


P.S. Do I understand correctly that the deadline has already passed, and that it is too late to look for a colleague to assist?

[Edited at 2009-03-13 18:12 GMT]

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Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:46
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Let's suppose that... Mar 14, 2009

the translation will be needed for a presentation, a training course or... whatever. It is really needed.
I would ask permission to my client to contact a trusted colleague and share the job.
But the deadline will be met.

Kind regards


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Sandra& Kenneth  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:46
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
You should always leave yourself a margin for contingencies. Mar 15, 2009

Two or three days is a pretty huge delay. I would be happy if the client continued to work with me at all, let alone the discount.
The fact that you have "undersold" yourself is irrelevant, and so is the fact that part of the work was submitted on time.
Once you accepted the job, it was a binding agreement.
I also think that the criticality of the delay for the customer is irrelevant to you. It's none of your business. Your business was to deliver on time.

[Edited at 2009-03-15 07:42 GMT]

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