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Poll: When I have a big job and a distant deadline I:
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Sep 10, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When I have a big job and a distant deadline I:".

This poll was originally submitted by Witold Chocholski

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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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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 23:46
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
A feeling of long-term commitment Sep 10, 2007

I have been assigned at least 4 very big jobs, each one lasting 2 or 3 months of full workload.
The feeling you get is quite the opposite to the usual, short and short-lerm translation jobs, where the client wants quick delivery.
Honestly: the first week or so, I don't write anything. I read and re-read all the elements, look for similar material, concentrate on finishing other shorter jobs, cancel "forgettable" datings, etc. So, when the whole field is "cleaned" and my mind is ripe for it, there I go.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 21:46
English to Russian
+ ...
Get it done and over with ASAP! Sep 10, 2007

It's been 3 years since I'd accepted my last really big job - 120K words, one super interesting informative book. I hated it so much in the end, I was sick of it... My favorites are 3 to 10K, otherwise I would feel like someone had dropped tons of brick on my shoulders. It ties me up and makes me nervous regardless of a subject or a deadline.

Unless the deadline is barely achievable as it is, I'm early with at least 90% of my jobs. For one, I might get lucky another time within the same timeframe, or, for two - I might get some extra time off with the money already in my pocket. With the exception of 2-3 rush pages from old buddies I no longer deal with more than 1 translation project at a time. As a minimum, one must be OK for standing in line before I finish the other.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:46
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I do many things Sep 10, 2007

but it's basically a question of organization.

Fabio's technique of "working up" to an assignment can also apply to shorter jobs, as far as I'm concerned. For example, it takes me a certain time to work off the nuts and bolts from a long engineering paper and switch gears into legalese. And it can also take some time to clear the lawyers' caveats from my brain before I start with catchy copywriting.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Translating in slow motion Sep 10, 2007

I’d say the poll question defined about 80-90% of the work I do: big jobs and distant deadlines. My two main clients both deal with large public or governmental administrations. As they say here in Spain, “Las cosas del palacio van despacio”. In other words, bureaucracies move slowly.

At my in-house job, I was once approached by a colleague in the month of May. She asked me if I could do a translation for her. When I asked her when she needed it done, her reply was, “Oh, next year”. I told her I thought I’d be able to handle that

My second client generally sends me the assignment and repeats the same comment in his email, “There’s no set deadline but as soon as possible would be great”.

All that, of course, leaves me with lots of room to manoeuvre, so my answer would be that I organize my time by working on various projects little by little. I’m also able to take on smaller projects with faster turnover and the typical attitude of, “We need this by yesterday”.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:46
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I try to avoid them Sep 10, 2007

I try to avoid really big projects as a general rule, although I am currently working on an on-going book translation/revision project that could go on for years. I don't mind this one, thought, because the subject matter is interesting, the deadlines are very loose and I have an excellent and friendly relationship with the people I work for.

At this point, however, I won't accept anything else very large. Actually I prefer short jobs - anything under 2,000 words is fine with me.

Amy


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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 22:46
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
I finish as early as I can without compromising quality or sacrificing free time Sep 10, 2007

Given the fact that I currently get steady work from several agencies, I am cautious when accepting big jobs from new sources.

Long assignments can be a double-edged sword. If they are really easy with lots of repetitive text, they can be lucrative. On the other hand, if they are research intensive or need a lot of formatting, any small tasks can be magnified and multiplied. This makes deadlines elusive. There is nothing worse than thinking that you have just a few hours left to finish the job and it turns out that those few hours turn into a complete day.

So, unless that long assignment comes from a tried and trusted agency and is in one of my fields of expertise, I simply say no.

[Edited at 2007-09-10 17:24]

[Edited at 2007-09-11 11:46]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 04:46
English to German
+ ...
I chose other Sep 10, 2007

Hi! I give it to a very reliable colleague and do proof-read internally and get it done externally. Twice as much QA for a good colleague. And concentrate more on immediate jobs so that even if that good well known colleague fails, I can justify the situation financially both towards the client and the colleague. I do not know always whether it is a stupid or a good idea, but given parameters I do this even with colleagues and I tell them the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so that they know what they are at. Best regards, Brandis

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:46
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other... Sep 10, 2007

I rarely get big jobs - on my scale 5 - 6000 words is a big job, but it does happen.

I tell the client I must make allowances for all my other regular jobs, reach an agreement and start checking terminology and looking for problems that have to be solved by me or the client or KudoZ...

Sooner or later there is a mail or the phone rings, and a regular job comes in. (Many of my small to tiny jobs are sections of larger ongoing 'stories' or projects.) I have that good deadline, and this couple of hundred words won't take long...

The days go by with small jobs (and they often do have very tight deadlines)...

Suddenly the deadline for the big job is a lot closer, and I have to work like mad to be done in time. That is when I really benefit from the first days, when I checked terminology and sorted problems. If it really is a big job, there may be some nasty surprises, but usually I have a clue or some notes.

A couple of late nights working before delivery, while my long-suffering husband lives on pizza or visits his mother (and she doesn't cook any more!) are nothing unusual on these occasions.

Luckily I don't get many big jobs. I can cope better with the small ones, panic deadlines and all



[Edited at 2007-09-11 07:14]


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:46
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
work fast and finish ASAP... Sep 11, 2007

so as to be available for other jobs/clients. One of the major problems caused by large projects (3-4 weeks' worth of work) is that I end up turning down a lot of work from my regulars. I try to work as fast as possible in order to have some availability for them as well.

Besides, after the second week I'm absolutely dying to do something...anything...else, even if it is translating another document


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Anne Patteet  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:46
English to French
+ ...
I chose other Sep 11, 2007

For the last months, the tendency has been to receive rather large (not huge) jobs, between 5 and 70K. The deadlines I get or negotiate are always just right, not too short, not too long so I don't need to panic (well, in fact this one right now does make me panic a little, if that exists). So, I generally just need to get to work, and then work steadily till the deadline.

I must say that I like the fact of not being all day on top of my e-mail to see if I got something new, or making hundreds of invoices.

I also like it because if I get small assignments, I still can and do accept them: it helps me change my mind.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:46
Italian to English
+ ...
Other Sep 11, 2007

In those circumstances, I'll usually be working on other, smaller jobs at the same time, so I'll do a bit of the big job every day (usually delivering in chunks) and get on with the others in the mean time.

If I don't have any other work, then procrastination is generally the way to go - I work better (or at least harder) when I'm under pressure.


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:46
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Other Sep 11, 2007

If I have no other job at the same time, I will work on it as on any usual job, but if I get offered other smaller jobs, I try to squeeze them in and then get back to the bigger project later.

Actually, I don't very much like big projects (say, bigger than one week), I find they almost become boring after some time, so adding smaller projects between them is a way to distract a bit.

[Modifié le 2007-09-11 07:45]


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Ali Al awadi  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 05:46
English to Arabic
+ ...
Pros and cons Sep 11, 2007

When it comes to huge projects, I'd like to proceed according to schedule rather than race unnecessarily against time.

A huge project is usually a double-edged workload. Throughout the turnaround time, one hardly has the time to throw a glance at any other job offers/requests other than the small assignments, such as certificates and such like. You may lose a few rush jobs though.

In terms of terminology, more often than not, a huge project would be advantageous, unlike small terminologically unrelated asssignments. Having been with the huge project for quite a while, one can rest reassuerd that the project would hardly go off its register's beaten track. All is plain sailing, let alone the scads of money.

However, small assignments mean more clients and some peace of mind.

Both huge and small projects have their pros and cons!

[Edited at 2007-09-11 09:25]

[Edited at 2007-09-11 09:27]


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Christiane Boehme  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:46
English to German
+ ...
I love large projects Sep 11, 2007

Anything with more than 10,000 words is great. I usually make a plan assigning me a certain number of words each day and leaving 1 or 2 days for proofreading. That works great for me and I don't lose track of neither the deadline nor the progress of my work. And it usually leaves enough time for smaller projects to squeeze in.

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