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Overextented myself - now what
Thread poster: Heike Reagan

Heike Reagan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:04
Member (2004)
German to English
Oct 12, 2005

Hello all,
I hope someone is still awake and may have a good idea for me.
I think I 'overextented" myself, I took on a project which I though was about trucking/automotive, but upon closer examination seems to be an SAP program description for a trucking company.

I've never done this and am totally unfamiliar with it. Of course, I need to deliver it in the morning.

Does anyone have any recommendations as to what I might do now (of course, always carefully READ the document before accepting, which I'll definitely do better in the future)....


Thanks in advance
Heike


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:04
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
what to do... Oct 12, 2005

Heike Reagan wrote:
Hello all,
I hope someone is still awake

Many of us are, trust me


I think I 'overextented" myself, I took on a project which I though was about trucking/automotive, but upon closer examination seems to be an SAP program description for a trucking company.
oes anyone have any recommendations as to what I might do now (of course, always carefully READ the document before accepting, which I'll definitely do better in the future)....
[/quote]

"READ the document before accepting"...right. I've heard this many times before, but in reality you don't always have the luxury of reading a document before accepting the job. Sometimes the client doesn't bother to send it to you; he just assigns the job to another translator who bid. And sometimes he cannot send it unless you first sign an NDA, and he won't send an NDA to you before you accept the job.

I think the best thing to do now is to be honest with your client. If you didn't realize from the start what kind of project it was, tell him that. It happens. It shouldn't happen often, but it does happen. Why did you think it was automotive? Was the job description misleading? Just tell the client that. In that case it's not entirely your fault. Now if the information was there but you didn't pay attention, then I guess it is your fault.. You can apologize to the client and again be as honest as you can. Hopefully he'll extend the deadline or simply understand your position and assign this job to someone else. Be prepared though; you may lose this client. I sincerely hope this doesn't happen.
Maria


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Heike Reagan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:04
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 12, 2005

for your help,
sometimes it's easy to think you're the only one who makes mistakes like that.

I guess it's my fault and I really just didn't read it well enough.

When I noticed my mistake, I kind of just "freaked out", and didn't know what to do anymore. I usually do decline jobs if I'm not familiar with the topic.

I think for now I'll just do the best I can - even if it'll keep me up all night... that's nothing new
and then tell the client what happened ...

Thanks again for your help

Heike


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Marisa Schiavi  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
Outsourcing / proofreading Oct 12, 2005

Have you though of outsourcing it to a colleague you trust or translating it yourself and have it checked by a colleague who is specialized in the field?
Of course, if you don't have a trustworthy colleague who is available straight away, then explaining the situation to the client might be the way to go.
Good luck!


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Heike Reagan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:04
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Marisa Oct 12, 2005

Yes, I have thought of that but I have noone I work with closely (especially for this topic). The last time I outsourced something on short notice I was horrified of the quality and the price charged. So I'd rather "blunder" it myself than paying someone else to do the same.... I may see if I can find someone to proofread it on short notice.....

Thank you

Heike


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Seadeta Osmani  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 12:04
English to Croatian
+ ...
I have no advice, but... Oct 12, 2005

...in the name of those who have freaked out even for less then this, and in the name of all of us who have worked through the night to deliver a job, I can say we sympathize.

We'll be hoping for you to find a solution and pull it through.

Sending some positive vibes to keep you going!

Seadeta


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Heike Reagan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:04
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all Oct 12, 2005

I think "Kudoz" will be my best friend tonight....

As if there are many projects when it isn't.....



Thanks again

Heike


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 12:04
English to German
+ ...
Try SAP Online library Oct 12, 2005

I don´t think Kudoz would be able to help you much when it came to specialized terminology like SAP. But if you use SAP online, you will have a very good references in case of troubles upon delivery. Best Brandis

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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 12:04
French to English
You must tell the client ASAP, IMO. Oct 12, 2005

Maria Karra wrote:

I think the best thing to do now is to be honest with your client. If you didn't realize from the start what kind of project it was, tell him that. It happens. It shouldn't happen often, but it does happen. Why did you think it was automotive? Was the job description misleading? Just tell the client that. In that case it's not entirely your fault. Now if the information was there but you didn't pay attention, then I guess it is your fault.. You can apologize to the client and again be as honest as you can. Hopefully he'll extend the deadline or simply understand your position and assign this job to someone else. Be prepared though; you may lose this client. I sincerely hope this doesn't happen.
Maria


Am I the only one squirming in my chair here? Do you really feel that "blundering" through a job you have admitted you are unqualified to do and making Kudoz your "best friend" is any way to approach this? We all make mistakes, but it looks like you are just digging yourself into a deeper hole by not fessing up to your client immediately and giving *them* the option of extending the deadline or working with someone more qualified in SAP.

You will either gain the client's respect by being up-front and honest or, as Maria mentioned, you could very well lose the client but maybe save your self-respect in the process.

Sorry to sound harsh, but if you have your client's best interests at heart you will tell them and let them decide how to best proceed.

FWIW.

Sara


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:04
German to English
+ ...
Here is a tip for using SAP help online Oct 12, 2005

This may be too late, but I have found the following technique helpful. Google your "term" + "SAP" in quotation marks (for example, "payroll" + "SAP") and you might find it in their help files - the URLs for these start with "help.sap.com". When you find one of these URLs in your Google list, click and go to the appropriate page. Look in the address window of your browser. Somewhere in the long URL will be the language designator - "en" (in my case I look for "de"). Type "de" over that, and it should take you to the corresponding page in German.

Hope everything worked out for you!


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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:04
Member (2003)
German to English
Agree with Sara, come clean Oct 12, 2005

I read this post ealier this morning, went to lunch, and it's been bothering me since. In the end I can only agree with Sara, there may be no good way out of this situation, but the only ethical one is to tell the client and deal with the consequences. Your client hired you to handle the task professionally, and in this case by your own admission you cannot fulfil that.

Good luck!

Steven


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Heike Reagan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:04
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Hello again, everyone Oct 12, 2005

Sara and Steven are right, and I am feeling bad about this whole situation.

It may not sound like it in this post, but I do (really DO) try to deliver good quality and do turn clients away if I don't think I can deliver good quality.

"blunder" was probably not the best word to use.
I did contact the client and told him about my problem, he did extend the deadline some.

I will use all the ideas offered here in this post, and really appreciate the help I've been getting - even the ones saying I'm not doing good work here, because you're right.

Anyway, I'll try and do my best and research as much as I can and will see what happens.

Thank you all
Heike


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 12:04
French to English
Heike, keep us posted. Oct 12, 2005

We all make mistakes.

If you are feeling bad, then you should follow your instinct and correct the situation. We often ignore our gut feelings and over-rationalize only to feel worse later.

You win some clients and you lose some...sometimes due to your own mistakes and sometimes due to reasons completely beyond your control.

The one thing you *can* control is your professional integrity/sense of ethics. If you are true to that, then you have no reason to feel bad about the situation, regardless of the outcome.

The kind of client you want to have a long-term business relationship with will understand and respect you all the more for your integrity.

Good luck!

Sara


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Kimmy
Local time: 20:04
Italian to English
+ ...
At this stage, if you have told the client and he is aware Oct 12, 2005

and he has extended the deadline as a result and NOT decided to give the job to another, more experienced translator in this subject, then he is, quite frankly...

an Accessory after the fact...

Here's hoping it all pans out smoothly and nothing goes PEAR shaped!

We may make every mistake in the book in out lives, but we'll only make it ONCE!

Good luck!

Kim


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Heike Reagan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:04
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Just to finish this off... Oct 18, 2005

thank you all for your help and opinions.
I did deliver with some notes, the client seemed to be satisfied, at least I have not heard anything back as far as questions/adjustments/etc.

I was also offered another BIG project right after I delivered, which somehow makes me wonder about that agency ... I have had a similar experience (pertaining to the "more projects"-part) that ended in some issues.

Anyway, thank you all for your help

Heike


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