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Poll: Do you ever do mini-jobs (1-2 sentences) for free?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:54
SITE STAFF
Jul 27, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you ever do mini-jobs (1-2 sentences) for free?".

This poll was originally submitted by Nesrin

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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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
English to Arabic
+ ...
The reason behind the poll... Jul 27, 2006

I offer to do small jobs for free for established clients because they're, well, established clients.

And I offer to do small jobs for free for new clients in the hope that this will make them come back with bigger jobs.

I've recently started asking myself if that is common practice, or if I'm just allowing them to take advantage of me.

But I admit I do feel a bit embarrassed to charge as much for 10 words as I charge for 300 words...

Thanks for taking part in the poll.



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Eva Middleton  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:54
German to English
Sometimes - for established clients Jul 27, 2006

I wouldn't do free translations of any size for new clients, but I don't mind translating a couple of simple sentences for free for an established client who pays on time. If it only takes 5 minutes or less it's no skin off my nose and a useful tool for maintaining a positive relationship.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Jul 27, 2006

Mostly just established clients ask for small things like that now and then, but as good PR I'll do it for anyone. Of course I often do it right here at Proz. Even though it may just be a term that's asked, sometimes I'll do the entire context because I like to get a handle on it and render it properly.

I'm not going to bother anyone's accounting department for 1 or 2 sentences.


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Never Jul 27, 2006

Nesrin wrote:
I offer to do small jobs for free for established clients because they're, well, established clients.


So, when you need to put an ad on the paper, do they do it for free, since it's just a few lines long?


And I offer to do small jobs for free for new clients in the hope that this will make them come back with bigger jobs.


Does it work?


I've recently started asking myself if that is common practice, or if I'm just allowing them to take advantage of me.


I'd rather not risk it.


But I admit I do feel a bit embarrassed to charge as much for 10 words as I charge for 300 words...


No reason to be embarrassed. An option would be to add all the small jobs and invoice them at the end of the month. We're service providers after all, not to mention that the purpose of having a business is to make money (otherwise, why bother?)



--
Dyran
(who's in it for the money)

[Edited at 2006-07-27 19:32]


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sometimes Jul 27, 2006

Henry Hinds wrote:

Mostly just established clients ask for small things like that now and then...



In general, I charge a minimum fee.

Au


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:54
Sometimes - for established clients Jul 27, 2006

Just like Eva, and it works, as the client is usually happy to get the service. It works for me too. I just had a client who sent me a 4,000 words text. I translated it and sent it back with my invoice. Three days later, he comes back, saying they had forgotten a footnote (about 20 words). I just translated it and sent it back "on the house". It would have taken me much longer (in other words it would have been more expensive for me) to correct the invoice and my billing system for 20 words worth. So sometimes is makes business sense!

[Edited at 2006-07-27 19:51]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Three strikes and you're out. Jul 27, 2006

Several years ago, I registered with an agency, who, some months later, never having sent me any work, rang me and asked me to translate a short sentence for them. I did it without charge. Months later, still having sent no work, they did it again. Again I obliged. Then they came back a third time. By now, this had gone on for about two years, so I said I'd do it and charge them for it. They were most indignant! But they did pay, and I never heard from them again.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes, for established clients Jul 27, 2006

Another said, "give it about 15 minutes' thought, we're paying fifty bucks". (That was one-word copy).

I gave a couple of words to an NGO for T-shirts.

I also got the invoicing lazies like Rosi

... plus a few minutes in KudoZ...

... a line every once in a while in Wikiwords...


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
My first reaction... is why are you asking? If they do it 7 times a day... Jul 27, 2006

ProZ.com Staff wrote:

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you ever do mini-jobs (1-2 sentences) for free?".

This poll was originally submitted by Nesrin

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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paula13  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:54
Member (2005)
I do it too! Jul 28, 2006

Eva Middleton wrote:

I don't mind translating a couple of simple sentences for free for an established client who pays on time.


I think it's good customer service to walk the extra mile for your clients from time to time by translating a couple of sentences for free, sending a Christmas present, or calling them up to know if they're happy with your service. It let's them know you care, and helps establish a stronger, more cooperative relationship... not to mention direct clients usually send really cool presents in return!


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Pilar T. Bayle  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
I don't really understand this... Jul 28, 2006


sending a Christmas present
t let's them know you care, and helps establish a stronger, more cooperative relationship... not to mention direct clients usually send really cool presents in return!
[/quote]

I have several very well established clients who may, once in a blue moon, ask me for a short sentence or a couple of words. I am happy to comply because it is good policy, no matter what others say about being in this business for the money... In my case, for those clients, it makes sense to do that sentence or those words, or explain carefully why they should do this or that to better the original product. That's something that I do regularly in my translations, if I discover mistakes in the original text or something that doesn't look quite right, I just write my remarks in a doc and send them along. When I don't do because I do not find any problem, they actually enquire about the document, to check whether I forgot to send it along. It is my job!

But Christmas presents... I differ on that count. I send cards, paper or electronic, and that's it. And still my working relationship with my clients is good and strong.

P.
www.pbayle.com/blogs-english


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Given the current demand Jul 28, 2006

[quote]Nesrin wrote:
But I admit I do feel a bit embarrassed to charge as much for 10 words as I charge for 300 words...

Given the demand for your language pair nowadays, there is no way you should be reluctant to charge a minimum translation fee, your clients should be glad of any freebies you choose to offer them, but you shouldn't feel obliged to do so. You are a professional providing a service, after all...


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vixen  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 09:54
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
I see no harm Jul 28, 2006

Like Nesrin, and others, I think that translating the odd sentence for free once in a while is only good business practice.

I sometimes do it for my best client if there's a last-minute addition to a text I've already translated.

On rare occasions the client may also ask me for some advice on a particular term or phrase, in which case I'm happy to oblige.

Another regular client frequently has a question about one or more single terms. When this has happened several times and I have received another regular translation job, my contact tells me to please add an hours' work to the next invoice.

Lastly, I sometimes offer a free translation by way of an introductory service. I remember one time, though, that I was approached by some agency/PM to translate a few sentences. I did it for free, stating that it was an introductory service and also stating my regular rates. After a while he came back with another few sentences. When I told him I would translated it, provided he pay me my minimum rate, I never heard from him again.

Yet I would not hesitate to react in a similar way in the future. As has already been pointed out, most of us also participate in KudoZ questions. That may take up even more time sometimes than providing a free service to (potential) clients.


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
English to Polish
Sometimes... Jul 28, 2006

... for regular clients.

Sometimes it's a sentence or two. Sometimes they pay for it, sometimes ask for a favour. I don't mind doing those favours as in some other smaller jobs, which are charged, they pay a little more than word count would state.

However there is one agency out there, which usually asks for free "short" translations. That "short" is sometimes even half of page. Ironically - those "short, free" translations happen more often, then real jobs... I mean - they used to happen. Haven't heard from them for quite some time and don't miss them at all

Anni


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