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Poll: What is the longest you have missed a deadline by?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 02:33
Jun 18, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What is the longest you have missed a deadline by?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ramona Ali

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:33
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not my fault Jun 18, 2007

My ISP went down and I couldn't send the files for almost a day. I felt really bad, especially since it was my first assignment from that particular agency.
Haven't had any jobs from them since - no surprise, after all that trouble. Too bad though, they were really nice to work with otherwise.

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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:33
Member (2004)
English to French
About a week Jun 18, 2007

But it was agreed upon with my client (an agency) and their client. I had submitted a list of questions and the end client took a week to provide the answers, so my client said not to worry about it, because it was not my fault and I could not possibly gove back a text with too many questions left unanswered.
The second situation was when I came down with the flu, a really bad case that left me unoperational for 3-4 days a few weeks ago. I asked a client if they could postpone the deadline by a week. Since I've been working for them for 7 years and it's the only time I asked for a delay, they agreed.

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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 05:33
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Two and a half months Jun 18, 2007

The book I just finished translating was supposed to be done in February and I submitted the final text in early May. What I didn't know when I signed the contract was that the book was a work in progress. It was being reviewed and revised even as I worked.

(I should mention that the book will be a side-by-side bilingual publication.)

In my research I came up with a number of questions myself--factual errors, ambiguous statements, misspellings, superfluous glossary entries, etc--which I put into lists and submitted with each chapter. The author was very cooperative and appreciated my suggestions, but each time he changed his text I had to go back and change the translation.

If the organization that paid for the translation had wanted to be difficult, I could have pointed out that the contract stipulated a date on which I would be given a "final text" to work from. I never got that final text!

I'm glad to say that NO ONE gave me any difficulties about my missed deadline. All of us involved are happy to have a book that we can all be proud of. If only all clients were like these!

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Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:33
French to English
One day Jun 18, 2007

A few years ago, I completely forgot about a job! I apologized, offered a discount and got it done within 24 hours. The client was reasonable and ended up happy.

It should have been my first clue that I was pregnant, but I still didn't know for another few days...


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Lucia [Lulu] Lay
Local time: 05:33
Member (2005)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Just plain forgot... Jun 19, 2007

to send back a two-word translation I had done on Friday evening and was supposed to deliver on Monday morning. Of course I forgot!

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:33
English to Arabic
+ ...
What's "missing a deadline"? Jun 19, 2007

I think there's no general agreement on how to understand that question.

Does "missing a deadline" mean extending the originally agreed deadline, in consultation with the client, because of some new circumstances which have nothing to do with the translator (as in the cases mentioned by Nina and Jane)? If so, I can't believe that more than a third of translators have never missed a deadline. But I don't think that's the definition anyway.

Or does it mean renegotiating a deadline with the client and agreeing on a new one because the translator fell ill, the computer crashed etc? I think this is another situation a lot of us have been through.

Or, finally, does it only apply to cases like the ones mentioned by Lucia and Stephanie, where the translators simply forgot to submit in time, or suddenly realised that they've bitten off more than they can chew, and were still working their socks off when the deadline passed, without really renegotiating the deadline?

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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:33
English to Polish
+ ...
A matter of proportion Jun 19, 2007

If you miss a one week job by a week, that's pretty bad.
If you miss a one year job by a week - that's also bad, but somehow not as bad, in my view...

Missing a deadline to me is just that.
You are supposed to hand in your work at noon on Wednesday. The twelfth hour strikes and you're not done. If you were smart or predicting, you called the client beforehand and made up an excuse.
Otherwise, the client calls you and you have to make up a better excuse.

Pawel Skalinski

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