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Job ordered, PO received, but the client delays with the source text - what to do?
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:45
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Aug 6, 2008


I have the following situation:

This Monday one new client proposed me to do a 3000 word translation for Wednesday (i.e. today) midday. Those 3000 words of the source text consisted of 2 parts. One part 1000 words, another - 2000 words. The client agreed on my usual rate, sent me a PO on Monday for all those 3000 jobs. The 1st part (1000 words) was supposed to come Monday EOB, and the other one (2000) words Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

The 1st part came on Tuesday late noon only. I have already done it (but have not sent it to the client yet). Was sending many emails to the client asking when to expect the 2nd part as I needed to plan my schedules and time + had to refuse another job from another client (~ 1600 words) because planned to do those 2000 words. Yesterday evening I finally received a brief email from that client "My client is chasing his client, that’s all I know at the moment. I
shall be contacting late today again.". No files for the 2nd part arrived. Today wrote again asking about the source files, or, at least if I will ever receive them, emails went like into the water.

All in all, they have wasted more than half of my working day today (as I was supposed to do their job), I did not take another job because I could not manage 3600 words per day, moreover, I do not know what will come out with the remaining part - will not be able to complete that one today, and tomorrow I have other jobs to do (confirmed).

This client seemed to be a rather serious one - with a really good BB rating, so I did not expect any mess like that. Do not know what do to now - if I demand strictly "please send the source now", maybe I can lose them (maybe the guys really have some problems with a disorganized end client). Moreover, what shall I do with the already translated part. And I cannot wait like that any longer as I already lost another job, have more than a half of my working day wasted, and so on...

Any reasonable suggestions for a solution? Thanks in advance.

[Edited at 2008-08-06 12:47]

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Sylvia Germroth Nordebo  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:45
Swedish to German
+ ...
Give them a call? Aug 6, 2008

Hi Marius,

this indeed sounds very strange. Did you try to contact them on the phone and to explain the situation even that you have other commitments for the coming days?

I think it is easier to explain the situation and to get an explanation from the client and to get to a solution speaking to each other. If the client really is a serious one he may understand your situation.

When it comes to the job you have already done for them I think it depends on what happens during the call, whether you can talk about the job you have already done for them or not. Otherwise I think it should be possible that you just send an invoice for the 1000 words.

Good luck and kind regards

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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:45
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Asking clients to be reasonable...usually works Aug 6, 2008

If your client is a serious one then he will understand that you just can't stand around twiddling your thumbs.
Email them and phone them with the same message.
You have the first part ready, and will deliver the translations of both parts together. If the second part cannot be sent to you by (exact date and time), you will be forced to begin your other projects, and you can either sell them just the first part and be done, or they will have to wait for the next opening in your schedule to finish the second (offer an alternative date).
If the agency looks out for its translators, they will be able to convince their client to accept one of these two options. It's only reasonable, you're not on retainer.

It's possible that they may just want to buy off the 1st part; at least by offering you're giving them a way out of the situation.
You should not fear losing a client by being professional, just state the facts, but I agree you shouldn't order them to send the document, because it's apparently out of their hands

Hope this helps.

(Ah, I see Sylvia snuck in the same answer before me! Great minds think alike!)

[Edited at 2008-08-06 13:16]

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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:45
Partial member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
It happens quite often Aug 6, 2008

This situation happens quite often with marketing questionnaires. It's a chain of people editing the text and giving approvals, so delays are the norm. As soon as I realize this is what is going on, I send a message saying that due to the delay, deadline will have to be rescheduled.
Clients understand and you don't waste time waiting for something which might come much later or even be cancelled at some stage.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't let them do it to you Aug 6, 2008

If they do not send the work on time and other things do come in, then do the other work and do not lose it. This client's priority starts when the work is in hand and authorized. Before that, they have no priority. If they send it late, then you have no commitment to produce it by the deadline previously stated.

You need to make that clearly understood. Moreover, it is the only reasonable way to act.

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:45
French to English
What I would do Aug 6, 2008

You ask what to do with the part you have done - I would send it to the client, if you haven't already. That way, you have fulfilled your side of the bargain as much as is possible, given the absence of the second document.

Since the original deadline is now passed, with no second document, I would get on with my life as normal. If and when the second document finally arrives, propose a reasonable deadline that suits you best. Since they have failed to keep their end of the original deal, I would treat the second document as new project, in a way.

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