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What is the "due time" on your "due date"?
Thread poster: Deborah Hoffman
Deborah Hoffman  Identity Verified

Local time: 17:09
Russian to English
+ ...
Sep 21, 2008

Hello all, I have a question that I'm embarrassed to say never occurred to me before. I had been blindly thinking that if a deadline was for a particular day, that close of business (in the U.S. this is around 5pm) was fine. (Taking into account an 8 hour time difference, my actual deadline is either very early morning or the night before if I'd like to sleep in). However I received an anxious email at midnight (8:15 am over there on the due date) and am wondering whether different locales view the due time as morning rather than close of business? Interested in any and all answers.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:09
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
EOB unless specified Sep 21, 2008

End of business day is what our customers expect. If they need the text during the day at some specific time, they tell us at the time of ordering.

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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:09
Dutch to English
+ ...
EOB minus an hour Sep 21, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

End of business day is what our customers expect. If they need the text during the day at some specific time, they tell us at the time of ordering.


Same here except I always think they actually want to do something with the document on that same day so I deliver an hour before EOB.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:09
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
It varies Sep 21, 2008

I have had clients on the phone at 10 a.m., telling me to hurry up, when they had not specified the time on that day. Otherwise, I assume that at around lunchtime or early afternoon, shortly after the lunch break, is fine, also believing that they want to do something with the document on the same day.

In this locality that makes sense, taking into consideration how early in the afternoon the secretaries are allowed to go home. In my last secretarial job it was 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 3 p.m. on a Friday, and that is fairly standard here. Therefore the translation has to be sent at least half an hour (or preferably an hour) before the secretary might be going home, otherwise the guy who ordered it will not get it on that day.

Generally, however, I think it is best to establish the approximate time of day that delivery is expected when you are negotiating the order, or otherwise - to be absolutely safe and be sure of avoiding any last-minute hassle - assume that 8 a.m. is meant.

Astrid


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Have never left this to chance Sep 21, 2008

This question (and the answers so far) really surprise me, I can't remember one single instance where the coordination between myself and the client didn't include a specific time of day (or earlier) for a specifically stated time zone.

Interesting.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:09
English to German
+ ...
No reason to be embarrassed, Deborah Sep 21, 2008

I live on the US West coast, pretty much the dumbest location on this planet for a translator who is dealing with European languages. The time difference to Europe is 9 hours. At times, especially around midnight, I am receiving requests such as: "Can we have this by the end of the day?" Right. Eight hours would be more than comfy to complete the job. However, my next eight hours have been scheduled for sleep, interesting dreams and various REM phases. Ergo: No can do.

It is a persistent problem that we have to deal with.

The only way out is to be absolutely precise in terms of communication to avoid any misunderstandings. The client is hiring YOU and YOUR services and therefore has to accept YOUR office hours, and that's it.

Same goes for my East coast clients. When I say that I will have a particular job finished later this afternoon, it will be MY afternoon, Pacific time, and MY office hours.

This strategy is highly recommended, as long as you wish to avoid:

- Early and involuntarily retirement due to burnout
- Insanity
- Death due to extended sleep deprivation



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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:09
English to Polish
No precise time?? Sep 21, 2008

I am quite surprised to see that so many translators do not agree to a deadline, which is also including an hour of delivery. I don't even accept things like "end of business day", as it tells me nothing. Some companies/people work until 18:00 hours, some until 15:00, depending on countries and companies' policies.

I always discuss precise time of delivery, including an hour.


Anni


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:09
German to English
I usually specify a time Sep 21, 2008

I also usually specify a time, or at least "morning" or "afternoon", when I suggest the deadline myself. When the customer suggests the deadline I understand "on the 25th" to mean on the morning of the 25th, and try to send it by 9 or 10 am. If you send it an hour before they go home, you might as well send it the next day, as they probably won't have any time to look at the translation in the last, usually rushed, hour before they go.

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:09
Dutch to English
+ ...
Same here Sep 21, 2008

M. Anna Kańduła wrote:

I always discuss precise time of delivery, including an hour.



A junior lawyer at my firm once made the mistake of saying offers for a particular transaction would be accepted until "close of business", without specifying the exact time. We spent the following six months tied up in unnecessary litigation because of his refusal - unbeknown to the rest of us - to put forward a multi-million rand offer that had come in after our firm's office hours for consideration. The judge gave us a real roasting on that one and, needless to say in the unforgiving world of legal practice, the lawyer concerned was promptly shown the door.

That episode has stuck with me ever since and I insist on agreeing actual times for anything, including the delivery of translation assignments.

I often compare running a busy translation practice to air traffic control, having to make sure planes land and take off, whilst avoiding mid-air collisions. As a controller, I wouldn't tell a plane to take off "sometime this afternoon", would I?

Disputes and misunderstandings arise precisely because people don't tie up the necessary details in advance. It's so easy to arrange the time, I don't see the point in speculating about what a client may or may not want.



[Edited at 2008-09-21 10:33]


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
If no time has been set Sep 21, 2008

I assume that the deadline is first thing in the morning, 9am, so I send it before 9.00am, probably at 8.45 at the very latest just in case it takes a little while to reach them.

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Deborah Hoffman  Identity Verified

Local time: 17:09
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
more musings Sep 21, 2008

Part of my mental calculations were thrown off, I think, by the fact that this was a test translation (which is a whole other discussion; I agreed to do it for my own reasons) due to a publisher on a Monday, but the author wanted it on Sunday, which is of course not a business day in most parts of the world.

I am quite surprised to learn that in some places morning delivery is the underlying assumption! I frequently put the final touch on projects from 8pm to midnight after my kids are asleep, however, so a morning delivery time is not unworkable.

I wonder also if part of my thinking is based on having worked on long-term academic projects where "business day" is meaningless since it never really comes to an end (hence a Sunday delivery date). I developed the habit of thinking that "on" such a day is technically until 11:59 pm unless otherwise specified, and so afternoon delivery let alone morning is actually early.

I also find it surprising that anyone - lawyer or not - would be willing to take a stand about an ambiguous phrase "close of business" instead of realizing that its use had been a mistake and flexibility was called for.

These are just my thoughts - I'm obviously more interested in positive communication and mutual understanding with clients than in being "right" from my cultural perspective.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:09
Dutch to English
+ ...
Could you kindly explain ... Sep 21, 2008

Deborah Hoffman wrote:

I also find it surprising that anyone - lawyer or not - would be willing to take a stand about an ambiguous phrase "close of business" instead of realizing that its use had been a mistake and flexibility was called for.


... what you find surprising? I'm not sure I follow.

Thanks
Debs


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:09
English to French
+ ...
EOB Sep 21, 2008

Unless the project is really urgent and the farthest the client can push the deadline back is sometime during the day, it is EOB. It makes sense, too. If something needs to be done with the document, they usually do that the next day, that is, if they needed it for a specific time of day, they will simply give you a deadline for the day before.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:09
English to German
+ ...
There is a difference: "By XXday" or "on XXday" Sep 21, 2008

"By XXday" means that my client will find the finished job in the mailbox first thing in the morning.

"On XXday" - I take my time and I will use the entire day. Quality comes first.


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Deborah Hoffman  Identity Verified

Local time: 17:09
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
wishing the system didn't require a caption Sep 21, 2008

Hi Debs, I was just saying that once the junior lawyer had someone come in who had clearly understood "close of business" in a different way, I was surprised he wouldn't have then discussed with a higher up whether the offer should have been taken under consideration to stave off just the sort of problem you describe. Basically, I'm agreeing with you, just surprised that on top of the linguistic ambiguity, that common sense couldn't have saved the day

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