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Is the default acceptance or refusal?
Thread poster: Richard Bartholomew

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:37
Member (2007)
German to English
Sep 23, 2008

One of my best agencies regularly sends me email with files attached containing text to be translated. They ordinarily ask for a brief confirmation that I accept the assignment. Ordinarily I either send a brief message accepting or declining. But this time I forgot to send a message that I was too busy to accept.

Today they sent me a message asking me to confirm acceptance of the job. Unfortunately the job is due today, and I'm still too booked up to take it on. I immediately sent a message apologizing for not having responded earlier. Question: Does a non-reply imply acceptance or refusal? Either way, I'm annoyed with myself for having forgotten to answer.


[Edited at 2008-09-23 15:44]


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RichardDeegan
Local time: 21:37
Spanish to English
No reply would imply non-receipt Sep 23, 2008

I would assume at a minimum that a failure to reply would mean that the mail was not received, unless otherwise previously agreed.
I normally respond within about an hour, which is typically greeted with a TY. However after that hour (or two in some cases) I usually get a reminder or a second sending, as most would interpret my failure to respond as non-receipt, particularly with all the mail-filtering programs that may be involved between the various mail servers involved at both ends.
I have had numerous situations where a mail fell through the cracks (lack of subject line led to its delay in transfer) goin or (because of an incorrect date set on the sending PC) was not showing among current mails. On more than one occasion I've been contacted on the due date for a job supposedly received, but after I indicated that I had never received it, the deadline was extended or other arrangements made, without losing the client or source.
This of course works both ways. When I don't receive a confirmation on a finsihed job that I've sent in, I always follow up by sending it in again (preferably forwarding my copy of the timely-sent job.


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 21:37
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
Refusal Sep 23, 2008

Many of the PMs I work with, send the requests to more than one translator because one can't be available all the time. I don't start working on a project until the project manager or client sends me a confirmation or a reply.

[Edited at 2008-09-23 16:13]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Acceptance Sep 23, 2008

Richard Bartholomew wrote:
Today they sent me a message asking me to confirm acceptance of the job. Unfortunately the job is due today, and I'm still too booked up to take it on. I immediately sent a message apologizing for not having responded earlier. Question: Does a non-reply imply acceptance or refusal?


From your description it sounds like they send you jobs regularly. In that situation, I'd say that no response means an acceptance on your part, unless the customer said that they would assign the job to another person if you did not respond by some specified time.


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Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2003)
French to English
Refusal Sep 23, 2008

I wouldn't expect even a regular client to assume I had accepted a job without getting confirmation from me first.

Best,

Karen


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:37
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
No acceptance without confirmation! Sep 23, 2008

I'm often in a similar situation, but given the possibility of e-mail getting swallowed en route or landing in spam folders, I consider an explicit acceptance (even if it's just hitting "Reply" and typing "OK") to be necessary, and an acknowledgment of that acceptance (just as brief) is nice to have. Otherwise unfortunate situations like this tend to arise when one least expects them. So that's more or less the routine exchange that has developed between us and our "regulars".

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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:37
Member (2004)
English to Polish
No confirmation - no acceptance Sep 23, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

From your description it sounds like they send you jobs regularly. In that situation, I'd say that no response means an acceptance on your part, unless the customer said that they would assign the job to another person if you did not respond by some specified time.


He could be away on vacation, he could be in a hospital (theoretically speaking, hope it never happens!), he might not receive the message at all (e.g. overzealous ISP spam filter)...

Any PM that assumes a job as "accepted" under these circumstances will not work in this position for long...

[Edited at 2008-09-23 18:09]


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Agnieszka Hayward
Poland
Local time: 04:37
German to Polish
+ ...
No confirmation is no confirmation. Sep 23, 2008

Jabberwock wrote:

He could be away on vacation, he could be in a hospital (theoretically speaking, hope it never happens!), he might not receive the message at all (e.g. overzealous ISP spam filter)...


Precisely. He could also be all day away from the computer for other reasons, like an interpreting assignment, his wedding, or looking after a sick child, to name a few.

Unless you have an availability agreement with this particular client, they should never assume you accept a job just because they've sent you an email.

Regards,
Agnieszka


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 05:37
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
An illustration to the unanimous opinion Sep 24, 2008

Richard Bartholomew wrote: Question: Does a non-reply imply acceptance or refusal?

I once forgot to confirm a job and a few days later, emailed the finished translation. The reply was, "As we go no confirmation on your part, the job was assigned to another translator".


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
I agree with the majority Sep 24, 2008

Even my very regular clients do not assume I will accept the job (even if it is a minimum) if they do not receive a reply (like Kevin said above "OK" is enough).

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Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:37
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
What actually happened Sep 26, 2008

Well, the agency saw non-reply as acceptance. I quickly figured out how long it would take me to do the job, then dropped everything else and went to work. I got it done a day early. The agency was mollified, but I'm afraid it's damaged our relationship somewhat.

I'm seriously considering posting a business practices page on my website. Every time a situation like this arises, I'll write and publish a corresponding policy. For this case, the
policy might read:

"If I don't reply to an project offer within 24 hours, or within 10% of the time alloted for the project as of the offer's date, which ever is smaller, then I have refused the project."

Does anyone else publish her or his business practices? If so, has it helped?


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:37
Dutch to English
+ ...
If they don't bother to check you've replied and accepted ... Sep 26, 2008

Richard Bartholomew wrote:

Well, the agency saw non-reply as acceptance. I quickly figured out how long it would take me to do the job, then dropped everything else and went to work. I got it done a day early. The agency was mollified, but I'm afraid it's damaged our relationship somewhat.

I'm seriously considering posting a business practices page on my website. Every time a situation like this arises, I'll write and publish a corresponding policy. For this case, the
policy might read:

"If I don't reply to an project offer within 24 hours, or within 10% of the time alloted for the project as of the offer's date, which ever is smaller, then I have refused the project."

Does anyone else publish her or his business practices? If so, has it helped?


... to a job offer, I doubt they'll bother to read your business practices.

Nor will most other people, I'm afraid. People generally don't have the time or the inclination. You'll still have to deal with a situation when it arises.

In this case, if you feel the relationship has been damaged, why not give the PM a call and tactfully put your side (the correct side, in this instance) across, making sure it doesn't happen again, whilst showing them you care about ironing out issues that do arise.

Best of luck
Debs


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:37
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Damaged the relationship?! Sep 26, 2008

Richard Bartholomew wrote:
... dropped everything else and went to work. I got it done a day early. The agency was mollified, but I'm afraid it's damaged our relationship somewhat.


Either you're over-sensitive about this issue or these people are daft. As I see it you went above and beyond the call of duty and covered the agency for its negligence in project management. The PM should be sending you flowers or a box of chocolate. Seriously. A day EARLY with this screw-up and you think they're unhappy? The only thing I can imagine is that the PM must be my ex-wife....


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Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:37
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
I hear ya. Sep 26, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:

Either you're over-sensitive about this issue or these people are daft.


In about equal measures, I guess

The PM should be sending you flowers or a box of chocolate.


A continued steady stream of nice, juicy translation projects would be an acceptable alternate.

Seriously. A day EARLY with this screw-up and you think they're unhappy?


When "Hallo John" suddenly becomes "Sehr geehrter Herr Doe" and they start nit-picking my word counts... . I dunno, it just doesn't give me that warm, fuzzy feeling.

The only thing I can imagine is that the PM must be my ex-wife....


That's the very thing I'm afraid of.


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Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:37
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
A good point Sep 26, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

... to a job offer, I doubt they'll bother to read your business practices.

Nor will most other people, I'm afraid. People generally don't have the time or the inclination.


I see your point.

In this case, if you feel the relationship has been damaged, why not give the PM a call and tactfully put your side (the correct side, in this instance) across, making sure it doesn't happen again, whilst showing them you care about ironing out issues that do arise.


This would be the proper, businesslike thing to do. Unfortunately, I tend to end up making things worse along the lines of

"Keep silent and be thought a fool; speak, and remove all doubt."

I have, however, already pointed out to them that I hadn't explicitly accepted the project when first offered.


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