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Really odd situation! Please advice how to deal with my client.
Thread poster: fionainrome
fionainrome
Local time: 14:54
English to Italian
+ ...
May 27, 2008

I have recently started working for the company I talked about in my other post (should I confirm this offer?) Everything went pretty smoothly (PO etc) until they asked me to do a pretty long project (80 mins- 1000 subtitles to be translated into Italian). I started working on it and got about 300 subtitles done in one day, then, out of the blue I get this email from the project coordinator saying if I could confirm that the file attached to the email she was sending me was the same one I was working on, I downloaded it and to my dismay it indeed was the same file I was translating but already translated into Italian! In the email she also asked me if the work was complete/incomplete (I wonder, mine or the one she sent me which was about 500 subtitles?). I assumed they’d found out the already had the translated file (it would sound rather crazy to already send me half the work I have to do….like, already done! Thanks… please feel free to do it any time you want). I wrote back three times asking her to please tell me whether this meant I had to suspend the job as it looked like they already had what they needed. Obviously I can’t risk working for 4 days till the crack of dawn (I have other work too) and then find out they don’t need it (apart from anything it is pretty badly paid as I wasn’t expecting 80 minutes to contain 1000 subtitles, it’s usually more along the lines of 7-800 max and it’s full of technical terms I have to spend ages looking up). Well, I have simply received no answer (the company is in California and I’m based in Italy so there’s that 9 hour difference which is a bit of a problem too, but the first email I sent her asking for clarification was Friday and it’s now Tuesday afternoon here). The deadline is supposed to be Thursday 29 and I simply do not know what to do. I have warned them I have suspended the work until they confirm they still need it, this means I have lost a week-end worth of time I could have spent on the project plus Monday morning (I had other work in the afternoon). The last (and third) time I wrote to them was last night (morning there) so they had a full working day to answer…but nothing.
What should I do? Continue just in case? (I would do that if it were paid 800 euro, but it’s so badly paid I really have no incentive) And why on earth are they not replying!? It’s so annoying! Should I contact someone else from the company even if I have been told before I should always ask my project coordinator for clarifications? What if they write to me late tonight (it can’t be any sooner at this rate) and say they still want it for Thursday 29?
Any advice would be appreciated!


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-05-27 12:21]


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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:54
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Call them May 27, 2008

This happened once to me. Turns out the person wasn't at the office to receive the emails, and the manager, who had no idea what was going on, was very happy that I notified him.

Anything could have happened, but sometimes, just staying up late and giving them a phone call helps get things moving.


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Αlban SHPΑTΑ  Identity Verified
Albania
Member (2008)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Sounds dodgy May 27, 2008

I do not how tight your financial situation is, Fiona, but I would not work for a company that won't dignify my email with an answer.

Oh yeah, I am sure they read some of your emails (and deleted the rest without reading them). It's Tuesday!


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phd-translator  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
English to French
+ ...
Monday was a holiday in the USA May 27, 2008

You emailed them on Friday and they didn't reply that day. Then it was Saturday and Sunday, when they probably don't work, and Monday was a holiday in the United States (Memorial Day), so they weren't working either. Now it's Tuesday afternoon in Italy, but it's 5:30 AM in California right now, so they're not at the office yet. Just make sure you write to them in the next couple of hours, and expect a reply in 4-5 hours. If you don't get anything by then, maybe you should try to call them.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:54
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, do call them! May 27, 2008

... of course, in their working hours.

If you don't have it, have a look at Skype - http://www.skype.com . Load 10 euros there, and get SkypeOut enabled. I often call a regular phone in the USA from Brazil, and it costs me only 1.7 cents per minute.


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fionainrome
Local time: 14:54
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
At this point the earliest I can contact them is tonight May 27, 2008

Yes, but at this point would it be fair to ask for my deadline to be post poned? After all her email was pretty confusing, I actually checked the file again and since the subtitles are divided differently, it's actually over 600 subtitles already translated into Italian!
I mean the deadline is on Thursday and I stopped working Friday night when I received this email. She could have at least specified whether or not I had to carry on with the work because anyone would have wondered since she basically sent me the completed project (or almost completed) which I was supposed to do.
Do you think this means I don't have to do the job anymore?
There is no way I'll be able to get it done by Thursday at this point anyway. Should I have carried on anyway?
I don't know, it just seems too strange they sent me the stuff already translated.
Plus their emails always say: if you need any clarification please do not hesitate to contact the project-coordinator and this is the result!

[Edited at 2008-05-27 12:51]

PS... so Ok, Monday was a holiday in the US, but I had no idea, PLUS, if you send such a confusing email at least be sure it's not before you disappear for 3 days!

[Edited at 2008-05-27 13:37]


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 08:54
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
If in doubt, phone. May 27, 2008

It gets confusing keeping all the holiday Mondays in mind, all over the world, but if there's no response, call them.

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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:54
Swedish to English
+ ...
Slightly off topic May 27, 2008

Juliana Starkman wrote:

It gets confusing keeping all the holiday Mondays in mind, all over the world, but if there's no response, call them.


This page is quite useful for keeping track of holidays around the world:

http://www.saxobank.com/?id=2074

Not just for those who specialise in finance.


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:54
French to Spanish
+ ...
Well. May 27, 2008

1.- If they have the translation already, don't go on with yours;
2.- Call/write them, of course;
3.- Invoice what you have done and... good luck. [You'll have to fight for your money and discuss with them how much you're going to charge for a partial work... hum, they going to argue, for shure.]


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fionainrome
Local time: 14:54
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Main questions May 27, 2008

But my main question is...should I continue even if I have not received confirmation?
Do I have the "right" (how vague this word sounds in the translators' world) to ask that the deadline be postponed? There is no way I can finish this by Thursday.
Plus, that kind of email would have confused anyone, so I think it's more the coordinator's mistake than mine.
And last question: why on earth would they send me the almost completed project (excellently translated I must add)if they want me to do it????? Wouldn't they think: she'll just copy it and change a few words here and there!? Because that's what most people I know would do!
It just sounds crazy to me.


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:54
French to Spanish
+ ...
Main question: May 27, 2008

No, don't go further.
They have the translation.
They don't need yours anymore.
And they don't seem to be interested in reply your mails... hum.
Why did they send you something already translated? I really don't know.

Good luck.


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Maria-Carmen
Local time: 13:54
English
Try to contact with them again May 27, 2008

Hi,

This is indeed a very odd situation you are describing - I work as a project coordinator myself and I find it strange that you were sent the translated file of an ongoing project without being given any specific instructions on what to do with it (maybe the subtitles had already been translated in house, but the client was unhappy and asked for a new translation).

On the other hand, if the project coordinator did not specifically say you should stop translating, they could be counting on you to submit the translation by the previously agreed deadline.

Either way, you need to get in touch with them and clarify things as soon as possible!

Good luck!


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fionainrome
Local time: 14:54
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, but... May 27, 2008

[quote]Maria-Carmen wrote:

Hi,

This is indeed a very odd situation you are describing - I work as a project coordinator myself and I find it strange that you were sent the translated file of an ongoing project without being given any specific instructions on what to do with it (maybe the subtitles had already been translated in house, but the client was unhappy and asked for a new translation).

On the other hand, if the project coordinator did not specifically say you should stop translating, they could be counting on you to submit the translation by the previously agreed deadline.

Yes, but if a project coordinator asks you to take a look at the file and asks you if it's the same one you are working on and if it's complete/incomplete (not clarifying whether she means my work or the translated file she sent me) the VERY least she could do is tell me WHY she is sending me this file. ANYONE would think.....hey.... have I still to go on with this when she seems to aleady have it?
It's not the first time I've been called up by a client who asked me "Have you already started? Cause, you know... I don't need it anymore" Anyone working in the translation world should know this and try and be as specific as possible because no one wants to spend a week end slaving over something which might not be needed.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Closed Friday and Monday May 27, 2008

Some of our US customers even closed on Friday (in California), so it's very possible that they did not see the email asking for clarification. Calling them should clarify the situation.

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fionainrome
Local time: 14:54
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
email sent on Friday just before leaving office May 27, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

Some of our US customers even closed on Friday (in California), so it's very possible that they did not see the email asking for clarification. Calling them should clarify the situation.

Thanks, but they were not closed on Friday as that's when she sent me the email, quarter to 5 pm her time. Also, I think that if you know you're going to be out of the office (unreachable) for 3 days the very least you could do is be a tiny bit more specific in your email and calling an office number when there's no one in...well how would that have helped?
I'm just wondering, how many of you would have continued with the translation (especially when it's very badly paid to begin with.... but let's not go there again).
I have sent them another email with URGENT as a subject and I'm waiting to see....

Why is it always so tough!?


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Really odd situation! Please advice how to deal with my client.

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