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\"free\" translation requests from good customers
Thread poster: Mimi7
Mimi7
Local time: 15:16
English to French
+ ...
Dec 4, 2001

Hi all,

I have a customer who has kindly sent me five or so referrals over the last year since she has received compliments on my work. Recently she sent me an email asking for a translation \"favor\" (doing it at no-charge) since she has sent me several customers. The \"favor\" is 5100 words of text from an 11 page website. I am wondering how to reply to her since, although I have truly appreciated the referrals, I have already reduced my fees for her clients (to .06 US per word) since they are a non-profit company with a good cause. It seems that doing this much for free is a bit excessive. Has anyone else received this type of request? Is it common and what would be the best way to handle it in your opinion? Thank you very much. - Lynelle Detlefsen


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 17:16
German to English
+ ...
Don't do it! Dec 4, 2001

Translating over 5,000 words for free is excessive - for that matter, as little as 300 words would be excessive.



It is perfectly alright to cater to good clients, but you mustn\'t kill yourself either.



I have a very good, long-term client: once or twice a year they send me a really short translation (sometimes nothing more than a sentence), and given our good relationship, I give it to them for free (instead of charging them a minimum fee). But I would charge them if the \"shortie\" were to exceed 100 words. More than 5,000 words, however, is completely out of the question.



Plus: I don\'t know how long you have been working for them, but they may have been building up to this: keeping you \"happy\" with some \"breadcrumbs\" for a while only to dump this \"biggie\" on you - for FREE. I mean, even the 6 cents they have been paying you so far is really lousy!



I can tell you, though, that such a request is completely unusual.



What to do? Be honest with your client: tell them that this is really excessive and that you cannot spend 2-3 days on a translation you don\'t get paid for. As hard as it is, you may try to offer them your usual rate of 6 cents (which is bad, very, very, very bad - but that\'s a different story) - 6 cents is very \"charitable\" anyway.

Non-profit organizations have money, don\'t fall for their \"oh, we\'re so poor\" shtick.



Anyway, good luck and keep us posted.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-12-04 17:25 ]


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Anila Mayhew  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:16
English to Albanian
+ ...
Don't do it! Dec 4, 2001

I totally agree with Abacustrans. He said it all and I don\'t think I have anything to add but a strong \"Don\'t do it\".



My experience with non-profit organizations has been good but a lot of them play \"poor\" and try to get as much done for free as possible at a time when they have plenty of money. I guess it\'s a trend.



Good luck!


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Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:16
French to English
I agree Dec 5, 2001

I agree that 5,000 words is far too much to do as a favour. In the past I have not invoiced good clients for tiny translations (one sentence letter) or for giving advice over the phone.

I think you should refuse, if you don\'t want to upset the person just say you can\'t do it because you\'re too busy..

Good luck

Mary


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Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:16
French to English
I agree Dec 5, 2001

I agree that 5,000 words is far too much to do as a favour. In the past I have not invoiced good clients for tiny translations (one sentence letter) or for giving advice over the phone.

I think you should refuse, if you don\'t want to upset the person just say you can\'t do it because you\'re too busy..

Good luck

Mary


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Suzanne Bernard
Local time: 18:16
English to French
+ ...
Unbelievable! Dec 5, 2001

Hi Lynelle,

You absolutely do not have to accept this work...no matter how kind or generous this person has been. Business is business, and let us not get into feeling guilty for not returning \"favors\", or we\'ll all be working for free in a very short time!



Either this person really does not realize the amount of work involved in this project, or she is simply unrealistic. One way or another, you could simply tell her that, like most of us, you cannot afford to work for free (which is simple enough to understand). You could also let her know that there are websites where companies can post if they wish to have work done by volunteers...

Keep us posted on this one!

Good Luck,

Suzanne


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Suzanne Bernard
Local time: 18:16
English to French
+ ...
Unbelievable! Dec 5, 2001

Hi Lynelle,

You absolutely do not have to accept this work...no matter how kind or generous this person has been. Business is business, and let us not get into feeling guilty for not returning \"favors\", or we\'ll all be working for free in a very short time!



Either this person really does not realize the amount of work involved in this project, or she is simply unrealistic. One way or another, you could simply tell her that, like most of us, you cannot afford to work for free (which is simple enough to understand). You could also let her know that there are websites where companies can post if they wish to have work done by volunteers...

Keep us posted on this one!

Good Luck,

Suzanne
[addsig]


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Mimi7
Local time: 15:16
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Suzanne. Dec 5, 2001

Quote:


On 2001-12-05 12:34, SuzB wrote:

Hi Lynelle,

You absolutely do not have to accept this work...no matter how kind or generous this person has been. Business is business, and let us not get into feeling guilty for not returning \"favors\", or we\'ll all be working for free in a very short time!



Either this person really does not realize the amount of work involved in this project, or she is simply unrealistic. One way or another, you could simply tell her that, like most of us, you cannot afford to work for free (which is simple enough to understand). You could also let her know that there are websites where companies can post if they wish to have work done by volunteers...

Keep us posted on this one!

Good Luck,

Suzanne





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Mimi7
Local time: 15:16
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Dec 5, 2001

Quote:


On 2001-12-04 17:19, AbacusTrans wrote:

Translating over 5,000 words for free is excessive - for that matter, as little as 300 words would be excessive.



It is perfectly alright to cater to good clients, but you mustn\'t kill yourself either.



I have a very good, long-term client: once or twice a year they send me a really short translation (sometimes nothing more than a sentence), and given our good relationship, I give it to them for free (instead of charging them a minimum fee). But I would charge them if the \"shortie\" were to exceed 100 words. More than 5,000 words, however, is completely out of the question.



Plus: I don\'t know how long you have been working for them, but they may have been building up to this: keeping you \"happy\" with some \"breadcrumbs\" for a while only to dump this \"biggie\" on you - for FREE. I mean, even the 6 cents they have been paying you so far is really lousy!



I can tell you, though, that such a request is completely unusual.



What to do? Be honest with your client: tell them that this is really excessive and that you cannot spend 2-3 days on a translation you don\'t get paid for. As hard as it is, you may try to offer them your usual rate of 6 cents (which is bad, very, very, very bad - but that\'s a different story) - 6 cents is very \"charitable\" anyway.

Non-profit organizations have money, don\'t fall for their \"oh, we\'re so poor\" shtick.



Anyway, good luck and keep us posted.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-12-04 17:25 ]



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Greta Holmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:16
Dutch to English
+ ...
Pro Bono is up to you Dec 6, 2001

I do quite a lot of pro bono translations at no charge or a very low charge and am willing to sacrifice a lot of my free-time to do so. This is my personal choice as I felt my social conscience pricking me and wanted to do more for the community. Offering the service I can do best seemed appropriate as opposed to going to work in charity shops or fund-raising, which was what I did as a student. However, I inform the client that they cannot expect me to work to the deadlines that would be usual for paid translation and also check the validity of the cause.

For example, there is a social secretariat here in Belgium which always cries poverty and says it needs translations doing for free/very cheap but I know it gets a lot of government subsidies and it can get funding for translations - in this case I would not consider doing the translation for free.

On the other hand I work for a charity called Anti-slavery International, based in the UK, which does not receive government subsidy and is solely dependent on charity donations - I know they cannot afford to pay for translations and I offer them pro bono work but tell them I cannot do more than one text a month.

There is no way anybody can force or expect you to do free translation. It is, as I said, a personal choice and it is up to you whether or not you would be willing to sacrifice time, which would otherwise be paid (or leisure time) to do this.



As has been said by another poster - there are sites where volunteer work can be posted- and there is an organisation called \'Traducteurs sans Frontieres\' based in France. An interesting article about this charity translation organisation was recently published in the ITI-magazine (UK).



It\'s your call,



Greta
[addsig]


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