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Poll: How often do you renegotiate a deadline initially given by the client ?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 09:26
Sep 20, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How often do you renegotiate a deadline initially given by the client ?".

This poll was originally submitted by Anne-Virginie Lerat

View the poll here

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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:26
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sometimes Sep 20, 2007

It's always uo to my clients. They give me a number of patents to translate within a period of time. Afterwards, if they receive an urgent file to be translated promptly they modify the other dead lines.

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
Never, but... Sep 20, 2007

Twice now I've fallen ill while working on a project. In both cases I've informed the client and said I might not be able to meet the deadline. But I kept on working and delivered on time anyway.
In both cases, the client thanked me for informing them and said something along the lines of 'don't worry, you're only human, these things happen'.

So I think I could have renegotiated my deadlines, but I didn't need to.

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Reed James
Local time: 13:26
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
Only in case of emergency Sep 20, 2007

I would only do something like this if I thought the quality of the translation could be compromised. Otherwise, I find a way to deliver on time. I would never willingly give a client or agency any reason at all to look elsewhere for translation jobs.

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:26
Italian to English
+ ...
Almost never Sep 20, 2007

... in fact, I've only done it once, a couple of weeks ago. It was an ongoing project with phased deliveries, I had tons of other stuff to do at the beginning of the week and almost nothing at the end, and so I asked if I could delay delivery of one of the files for a day (while stating that I'd stick to the original deadline if it wasn't possible). But they agreed and it made my life a lot easier.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:26
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Regularly, before taking on the job Sep 20, 2007

I tell the client before I take the job on when I can deliver, even if it is later than their proposed deadline. Obviously, some jobs are tied to particular dates, and are quite useless "after the event". I can be flexible for really urgent jobs, but not all the time.

On the other hand, clients simply have to accept that translators (or at least this translator ) cannot always drop everything else and start their job immediately. Then when you do start, you need time to do it properly. I told a client a couple of days ago that I could deliver her job next Monday - and she had originally asked if I could do it by today, Thursday. The answer was OK, no problem, just send it by Monday lunchtime!

It is simply a bad habit to treat all jobs as rushed jobs, and it is impossible to deliver real quality if everything goes at desperate speed.

If the deadline is not realistic, also in consideration of the other jobs I have in my in-tray, then I renegotiate. Once I have agreed to a deadline, I do everything I can to deliver on time. But clients do not know what else I am planning, and what other commitments I have. It is up to me to make sure I get my breaks and my sleep, deliver to all my clients, and see or call my family now and then.

Of course you have to make a living, but don't forget you have to have a life too! Most clients understand perfectly well if you start saying: "Mmm, there's work for a day and a half there, and I'm booked until after the 17th... How about the 20th, first thing?"

We're only human, but they are too.
Happy translating!

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:26
English to Arabic
+ ...
There's something not quite right with the poll. Sep 20, 2007

Before or after agreeing to take on the job?
If it's AFTER taking on the job, then the option "Only in order to avoid taking the job" doesn't make sense.
If it's BEFORE, then it wouldn't be called RE-negotiating, but simple negotiating.
In the first case, my answer would be "Only in emergencies", in the second case, it's Sometimes/Most of the time.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:26
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I have asked for extensions if the translation was extended Sep 20, 2007

It sometimes happens to me that the size of the original translation is extended by the client, and then I ask, in return, for a reasonable amount of extra time to complete it.

Otherwise, I would ask for an extension if I were suddenly to have a severe migraine and genuinely could not work. If I have just taken on too much work, however, I simply work through part or all of the night, if necessary.


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Andres & Leticia Enjuto  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'm with Reed Sep 21, 2007

Reed D. James wrote:

I would only do something like this if I thought the quality of the translation could be compromised. Otherwise, I find a way to deliver on time. I would never willingly give a client or agency any reason at all to look elsewhere for translation jobs.

I agree with every word.

Just a comment: If I ask to modify a deadline before accepting the job, then I consider it negotiation (as Nesrin highlighted it).

Take care you all.


[Edited at 2007-09-21 00:22]

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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 11:26
German to English
I put "sometimes" Sep 21, 2007

as I thought the poll meant "before accepting a job". Obviously if I have other jobs on, I might have to ask it's possible to deliver a couple of days later.

I've only ever asked for extensions AFTER the fact if there is a problem - sometimes we're waiting on clients to reply to clarification questions which will hold up delivery - or in the case of family emergencies. I think I've had 2 of those (touch wood!) in the past 4 years of freelancing.

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Only in emergencies ....... Sep 21, 2007

In my nearly 20 years in this trade this happened few times, but the latest one (next to what I am about to describe) happened such a long time ago, I do not remember the circumstance.

Anyway, the first week of August this year, we experienced a torrential rain. Notice that this is a desert country of Arizona!

The rain itself did not diconnect my Internet, but some of my neighbor called phone company (who is my Internet server), due to his phone problem, so a technitian came to fix the problem. We share collective phone stuff whatever you call it. To make the long story short, the technician plugged out my cable while doing the repair work, forgot to plug it back in, and went home!

They did not come back days for repair despite my repeated requests.

I had a few job assignments during that time, but luckily I did not agree to take them, except one. This arrangement was done before the emergency took place.
I have to go to an Internet cafe to communicate with them and asked for extention.
The PM decided to take the job away from me and assigned to someone else.:-(

[Edited at 2007-09-21 17:00]

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Poll: How often do you renegotiate a deadline initially given by the client ?

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