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Poll: What percentage of your translations are due within a 24 hour time frame?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:56
SITE STAFF
Jun 10, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What percentage of your translations are due within a 24 hour time frame?".

This poll was originally submitted by Michael and Raimunda Poe

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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irishpolyglot
Ireland
Local time: 12:56
French to English
+ ...
Interesting poll! Jun 10, 2008

Mine was 21-40%.
I have one outsourcer who always puts URGENT!!!!!!!! (curiously varying the number of exclamation marks each time) in their email title and only sends me documents in the morning for delivery that afternoon. Since they are small and I have an urgency charge I'll accept if I don't have too much else on my plate. I really prefer not to though. Luckily all the others will give me at least until the next day, even if it's just tiny. Sleeping on it is great for the review with a fresh mind before sending.

[Edited at 2008-06-10 14:50]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:56
Dutch to English
+ ...
Around 70-75% Jun 10, 2008

Initially I reckoned 21-40%, but I was thinking in terms of word count. On closer inspection it's far more - if what is meant is the number of jobs. If so, it must be more. I delivered 24 jobs last week and it wasn't particularly hectic.

I'm not sure what percentage we should be looking at - number of jobs or word count?

Either way, urgent jobs come with the territory with legal translations.

Having practised law myself, I understand it's not always possible to draft documents until the last moment as you're waiting for facts, documents, witnesses, results of searches, etc, so I'm used to working under pressure and working on various versions of documents right down to the wire - whether drafting myself (as I sometimes still do) or translating. I've always worked like that, so don't find it particularly stressful.

Bottom line: I only take on what I can do properly within the allocated time.

If I am too busy with something else, it's just too bad. I probably turn down as many jobs as I accept each week for this reason. I just don't allow someone else's stress to become mine. I can only do what I can (and want to) do.

Ideally, I like to have one or two larger translation jobs a week, and then two or three 24-hour jobs a day for variety. I just work far better when I've got several 'planes' lined up for take-off.

Like Irishpolyglot, I do prefer delivering the next morning though, so I can review what I've done the day before, but sometimes delivery later in the same day is the only way.

Luckily the agencies/end-clients I work nearly always give me a heads-up that something urgent is coming, so I can create a gap (where possible).

You're only as good as your last translation in this game. It's important not to overload.

But as Astrid says below, if you're translating subject matter that you are very familiar with, the actual word count you can handle is also far higher (especially if your organise your TMs well and use speech recognition, but that's admittedly not everyone's cup of tea).

[Edited at 2008-06-10 20:12]


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:56
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A bit confused with the percentages... Jun 10, 2008

...but indeed a very good poll. Thanks a lot!

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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 07:56
English to Spanish
0-20% Jun 10, 2008

Around 80% of the documents I translate have between 5,000 and 10,000 words, and I'd say 20% border 30,000 words.

A 24-hour deadline would be really pushing it, to put it mildly.

Greetings


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Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 13:56
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
71-90% Jun 10, 2008

irishpolyglot wrote:

Mine was 21-40%.
I have one outsourcer who always puts URGENT!!!!!!!! (curiously varying the number of exclamation marks each time) in their email title and only sends me documents in the morning for delivery that afternoon.

Sleeping on it is great for the review with a fresh mind before sending.

[Edited at 2008-06-10 14:50]


We have more, with and without exclamation marks too I am planning to write about them a couple of short stories under title "Horrible deadlines - variations on theme: Mission Impossible" ;-D


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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 07:56
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
I like them short, quick and sweet Jun 10, 2008

I see nothing wrong with short deadlines. If I know the material, it's no problem. If I don't know it, I don't accept the job. I find that when I have little time, I work faster and prepare for the next job.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:56
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Also 71-90% Jun 10, 2008

As Debbie said, in the legal world the deadlines often leave little leeway. The lawyers can't help it that many of the translations are urgent. As for size, they often expect up to 4,000 words within 24 hours, but, then, the cases are ongoing and I become very familiar with the topics, which makes it go a lot faster.

Astrid


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:56
English to Arabic
+ ...
Not ridiculous deadlines, but really small jobs Jun 10, 2008

Recently, minijobs have suddenly started making up over 50% of the jobs I get - certificates, adverts, passports, you name it. Obviously, these are always due within 24 hours or less.
I'm not very fond of them, they don't require much creativity, and preparing the invoice takes almost as long as the job itself, but at least they're usually easy and seem to be very much in demand.


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paulagoes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:56
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I am an in-house translator Jun 10, 2008

So I have replied as "other" to the poll.

Sometimes I have EOD deadlines, sometimes 24h and sometimes 3 days (the minimum normal turnaround we require even for small translations). We need to be quite flexible though and juggle with requests all the time.


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Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:56
Member (2008)
French to English
just about 20% by volume Jun 10, 2008

I like to have a large non-rush job going at all times so I can feel gainfully employed, but I get bored with it and accept small rush jobs to break up the day. This is on the theory that a change is as good as a rest, if not as good as a margarita on the beach.

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Crater Industryism
Indonesia
Local time: 18:56
English to Indonesian
0-20% Jun 11, 2008

Ever since the day I decided to be a professional translator, I have always implemented the get-your-job-done-as-soon-as-you-receive-it philosophy. I think it has done me great favor. By finishing early I have more time to edit, proofread, and back up my works. Also, I like to turn in completed projects early and some clients are particularly pleased with this. So, no matter how tempting, I don't accept other projects when I have relatively pressing deadline to meet.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Small stuff Jun 11, 2008

It has to be small stuff, of course, for a quick turnaround. I usually do such things quickly as a matter of routine just to get them out of the way. The only problem is when I haven't been able to check my e-mail in a while and one is there marked URGENT!

I always tell my clients that sometimes that can happen. They understand.


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George Freeman
Local time: 12:56
English to Russian
+ ...
about 20% Jun 11, 2008

about 20%...depends on volume and deadlines

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Small percentage Jun 11, 2008

I work for the same client 3 or 4 days a week. I constantly get emails from employees in the various departments asking "How do you say X in English?" or "Can you revise this for me before I send it?" They're all very urgent but since they're a tiny fraction of my work load I wouldn't count them.

The rest of the time I work with long documents (1,000 pages), which means the deadlines are fairly long (sometimes months or years).

I'm not sure I could handle the constant stress of 1- to 3-day deadlines, but I can see how one could get used to it and maybe even get a certain adrenaline high from it!


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