Agencies only contacting me for urgent work - worth the trouble?
Thread poster: Sonja Allen

Sonja Allen  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:55
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
May 9, 2008

There are 2 agencies I only ever hear from from time to time when they have a job to place that is very very urgent, often with a ridiculous tight deadline that would be only manageable staying up all night. It looks as if in this case they cannot get their regular translators to do the job and send out a mass email to everyone in their books. I cannot help feeling slightly annoyed about this and so far I have never reacted to these emails. However, I sometimes ask myself if it would be worth the trouble to take on one of these jobs to get noticed and get a foot in the door meaning also getting one of their jobs with normal deadlines. Anyone any experience with that?

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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:55
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
My experience May 9, 2008

I also get annoyed and usually ignore such mass emails.
I rarely reply and in 99% of the cases the job has already been taken by someone else.

Laura


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:55
English to Dutch
+ ...
My two cents May 9, 2008

I have specialised in rush jobs for a while, with exactly the idea you had in mind: that it would help me develop a relationship with an angency and eventually become one of their 'regulars'.
In my experience, there are two possible outcomes.
- They do indeed add you to their regulars; but that is usually pretty soon after the first assignment and depends very much on the quality of your work.
- They keep sending you rush jobs; you've become their 'rush job specialist'.

Up to you to decide what you want. These days, I only do rush jobs for regular clients.
If you decide to give it a try, be prepared.
- You must respond immediately.
- Read the text to be translated carefully before starting - in the middle of the night no-one will be available for questions or queries and there is probably not enough time to wait for a decent answer if you ask Kudoz-questions.
- Never miss a deadline.
- Keep in mind that your work will most likely not be proofread, so you must make sure it's as good as it gets.

So far, I've 'gained' three agencies this way. One of them is a really good one, the other ones are 'so-so'.
By the way, I did not respond to mass mails, but to job postings on Proz. And only to agencies with good Blue Board records


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Livia D'Ettorre  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:55
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Same here May 9, 2008

Hi Sonja,

I also find it very annoying, because you take your time to reply and, then, they give the job to someone else. Now I don't reply to them anymore. Maybe they do it to speed up the process, but I wouldn't do it.

Livia


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:55
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
An off-topic comment May 9, 2008

Laura Gentili wrote:
I rarely reply and in 99% of the cases the job has already been taken by someone else.


To achieve that rate you'd need to send at least 100 replies - not exacly a rare occurrence

On a more serious note, I do reply to and accept rush jobs, but only when they are sent to me personally. I also charge extra most of the time, if I can.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
Italian to English
+ ...
It depends whether you need/want to expand your client base May 9, 2008

If you've already got enough work to keep you satisfied, I'd just ignore these offers (don't even let them get to you, it's not worth it!) On the other hand, if you need the work it's worth replying, as (in my experience) it's quite likely that they'll offer you more "sensible" jobs in the future.
However, I'm not sure that this applies when it comes to mass emails. In my case it was always a Friday afternoon phone call. In this case you can be pretty sure that you will get the job.


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:55
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Drop'em May 9, 2008

I asked myself, how come you trust me as good enough to translate on a rush basis (as Margreet says, most of the time your translation will not be proofread) but do not consider me worthy of getting on your regular roster? I stopped wondering and dropped them. I do not miss them and I am sure they do not miss me either.

Mikhail, your observation is mathematically accurate but it all depends. I see percentages in term of replies sent. Out of 20 offers, I replied to 5, and out of those 5 (my replies, "my 100%"), 4 ("my 99%") were gone. I am sure that is what Sonja meant.


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:55
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
95% May 9, 2008

Hi Luisa,

That would be 95%

Not that it matters...

Best,
Mikhail

P.S. Your own observation is something I agree with. I have some clients which treat me like this (but I can only suspect and surmise). But hey, as long as you charge accordingly, more power to your elbow!


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Alfredo Fernández Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
I would give it a try May 9, 2008

Well, you never know...

It goes without saying that I would charge an 'urgent/rush job fee', of around 30-50% above my normal translation rate for that field.


Sometimes, it just happens to be a good way for you to 'save their...a*** (reputation)', so they may be grateful to you ever since. And subsequently, add you to their database for these kind of jobs, or some others.


However, I honestly wouldn't accept such jobs sistematically, on a regular basis.
Health (sleep deprivation, nerves, biorythms, etc.) does come into equation, as well as dignity, professional procedures, etc.


All the best,

Alfredo





[Edited at 2008-05-09 12:21]

[Edited at 2008-05-09 16:05]


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:55
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Urgent job, urgent rate May 9, 2008

Hello Sonja and all,


Maybe I'm thinking of the same potential customer. Or customers - there are two I can think of who no longer bother me with this irritating procedure.

In the case of one of them, after at least five rapid-reponse instances, quoting a "ridiculous" urgent professional rate for an equally ridiculous urgent professional deadline and hearing nothing further, I decided to wait until the next time to ask them, very politely and specifically (which is difficult, too, since it can only come over as arrogant in the end, but hey ...), not to include me on their help-me oh-help-me list if they don't want an urgent professional job at an urgent professional rate.

Quotes to these chancers can be sent out without wasting much time if you're organised, but whether they waste five seconds or half an hour of your time, they're still wasting it for nuffink.

But I've had no similar e-mails from that customer since, so I must be doing something right.


Bye,



Mervyn


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Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:55
French to English
I have had some luck responding to this kind of work May 9, 2008

After answering a few mass emails, and getting only about 1 in 5 of the jobs offered, I have moved up to being addressed by name and offered more sensible deadlines, so it can work - like others have said, it really depends on whether you need to expand your customer base or not. Just have a system for responding and don't take anything personally, and don't turn down other jobs waiting to hear back, it's good for them to hear "sorry too late" themselves once in a while.

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