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Verbal Abuse coming from clients/ ways of dealing with it?
Thread poster: Lingua 5B

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 12:37
English to Croatian
+ ...
May 12, 2009

Hi all,

I suppose all of you sometimes encountered a verbally abusive client using harsh words without any solid reason ( as if there is ever a solid reason for being rude? Unless perhaps when it's about self-defense).

Anyway, I've just been called " nuts" after I gave my price to a client, which made me open this thread. Can words other than " nuts", " insane", be used in a pro-client communication? I was extremely surprised because I thought I was dealing with a professional businessman ( an oil company manager from USA). No, the client is not on proz.com. Some proz clients only used subtle forms/ implicit verbal abuse, because they know there is BB waiting for them in case they decide to be rude.

Should I address my local shop owner with " nuts" for each price I don't like in his shop?

I was also abused and discriminated based on my location, some clients indicating how I should be lucky for every cent I get and welcome any kind of work with open arms.. and how they are actually being very generous, since it's not something I could earn in Bosnia ( not true at all because my Bosnian clients pay much more than 50% of the clients I find online).

Have you ever been verbally abused by clients ( humiliation, degradation, diminishing your professional worth in any way, and alike ) , and with permission by moderators, I'd like to get quotations, even if they involve vulgarisms.

Thanks.




[Edited at 2009-05-12 12:36 GMT]


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 07:37
English to Spanish
. May 12, 2009

By a client? Fortunately, no.

By a potential client? Yes, in a situation very similar to what you describe (something about my services being overpriced when pretty much anyone could translate if they had the time... sound familiar?).

I don't call them a client, though, because the minute they chose to be rude/agressive I scratched them off of my list for good. I'm not interested in doing business with that kind of people (which is how I deal with situations such as these).

On discrimination because of your location, about 1-2 years ago I and many Latin American colleagues got an e-mail from a Spanish agency that literally said "we pay our Latin American translators 0.02€/word". Ummm, OK... if blatant discrimination is your company policy, then why the **** did you ask for my rates and make me waste my time???!. That is just one example of quite a few similar e-mails I've received.

Fortunately, though, no one has yet claimed something as idiotic as me having to be grateful for whatever I can get.

Chin up and don't let it get to you.

Andrea

[Edited at 2009-05-12 17:35 GMT]


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:37
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
rude May 12, 2009

Using such words is unprofessional. Apparently you were not dealing with a professional businessman. Or maybe this person's English-language skills are limited and he doesn't know that "nuts" should not be used in a professional context. But then why is he in charge of contacting linguists in English? Hmmm... no, there's no excuse, that was unacceptable.
How to deal with it? Either ignore the message or tell this person that you're offended by his language and are not willing to collaborate with him under these circumstances.

Maria


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Peanuts May 12, 2009

Maybe he meant "peanuts"? This would mean that your offer was so low that he would never trust you to deliver any professional translation!

Otherwise I would remember my teenager times at school, when rethorical attack and defense was a standard exercise..


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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:37
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
maximum damage May 12, 2009

No, never happened to me.

If it did, I would go for maximum damage:

1. Accept job for whatever rate pleases client.
2. Forget about the guy until he asks for translation.
3. Reply inquiring whether he is "nuts" expecting you to deliver after what he said.

Childish? Maybe.
Satisfying? Very much so.


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:37
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Sorry to hear you have been offended May 12, 2009

Hello there

Sorry that being called "nuts" has offended you. Certainly this is not very professional behaviour.

I think you could politely point out that you don't care to be called "nuts" and liked to be treated with respect - don't we all!

On a personal note this is the sort of comment you might expect from a grumpy teenager, but not from a professional!


Keep your cool:-)

Liz


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foghorn
English to Turkish
+ ...
affable May 12, 2009

One of my clients used to call my work ‘toothsome’, ‘delicious’ and many other gastronomical words but I took it as a form of affable language. Very likely it was self-deception. It helped all the same.

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Ramon Inglada  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Been there... May 12, 2009

Yes, it also happened to me some time ago. A potential client asked for my rates and when I sent them the information, that's the reply I got, together with other "lovely" remarks I'll refrain from reproducing here. Funny thing is that as it was an agency based in Spain, I did offer them a rate that, even though I consider acceptable, was really on the lower end of my expectations (I have nothing against Spanish agencies, but many of them offer rates, well... very firmly on the low side). And yes, that agency is in Proz...

Just ignore them and don't waste your time. They're not the kind of client you're looking for, and you're not the kind of translator they're a looking for (or, for that matter, deserve...).


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:37
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
Lutz May 12, 2009

Lutz Molderings (MSc, BSc) wrote:

No, never happened to me.

If it did, I would go for maximum damage:

1. Accept job for whatever rate pleases client.
2. Forget about the guy until he asks for translation.
3. Reply inquiring whether he is "nuts" expecting you to deliver after what he said.

Childish? Maybe.
Satisfying? Very much so.


Maximum damage to the client or possibly to you and your reputation?
If you agree to do a job, you have to follow through. Otherwise you shouldn't agree to do it in the first place. Promising to do a job and then not doing it is as unprofessional (maybe more) as somebody calling you "nuts". In fact the damage may be much greater to you and to the person that contacted you than that caused by any verbal abuse.


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:37
English to Polish
+ ...
Self-explanatory May 12, 2009

Lingua 5B wrote:
an oil company manager from USA


Guys in this industry are a breed apart.

Best,
Pawel Skalinski


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Wasn’t he asking politely ‘Are you (selling) Nuts?’ May 12, 2009

a verbally abusive client

Was it a conversation or in writing? If it’s a letter then it may turn out to be an interesting document for some people including your so-called client’s superior.
I've just been called " nuts" after I gave my price to a client

I think that on no account a real businessman can forget his behavior. So either he was too frightened that you asked so little or he is just an ill person often talking to himself. Poor thing.
Have you ever been verbally abused by clients

It’s a pity, but I’ve not been at your situation [yet]
___________________________________________________
P.S. What will you do when a dog starts barking at you?
a) stay on all four and bark back at it
b) ignore it and stay civilized
c) run away shouting that the dog is trying to discriminate you
d) run around the dog shouting it must be mad

[Редактировалось 2009-05-13 05:50 GMT]


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Sarah van den Elzen
Netherlands
Local time: 12:37
Dutch to English
+ ...
Had a similar experience May 12, 2009

Hi,

I have come across this kind of thing before and I was shocked by it the first time it happened also as the client told me about a person she had found online who would do it for much much less. Apart from wondering why she was wasting my time, when she had found the price she wanted, I decided to respond to the comments and also politely explained how I calculate my rates. After that I decided that in future I would not bother to respond to people like that.

Anyway, upsetting the first time but as long as you know you're worth more than the price they want I wouldn't worry to much. Just click delete next time


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:37
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Seriously bad advice May 12, 2009

Lutz Molderings (MSc, BSc) wrote:
If it did, I would go for maximum damage:

1. Accept job for whatever rate pleases client.
2. Forget about the guy until he asks for translation.
3. Reply inquiring whether he is "nuts" expecting you to deliver after what he said.


I do hope you're joking, Lutz. Breach of contract is very stupid. There are better ways to pay back. Sometimes one must be patient about these things, too... "best served cold" and all, you know.

If the information is received in writing, there is always the option of publication in many jurisdictions Check your local laws first to see if this one works for you. Or check the used book stores by an old black-covered book by... I think it was "George Hayduke". Richard Nixon's SSN isn't much use any more, but a lot of the other tips there might be


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Anne-Marie Grant  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:37
French to English
+ ...
Are you upset May 12, 2009

because he hit a raw nerve and you're not quite sure what you should be charging? If that's not the case then he is not worth a second thought. You just say 'Thanks, I don't care to do business with you, good day' and do not give him another thought. Can you imagine actually working for his guy? It would be a nightmare!

Sorry he upset you.


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Mike Fuentes  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:37
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
I am in a very similar situation right now.... May 12, 2009

-Anyone knows if Proz can somehow mediate in disputes between proz members?
-I currently have a similar issue with a client (a proz.com member, so no names mentioned) but if I expose them by an entry on their BB, I am sure they will rush to make punitive entries to harm my BB.
-The owner of this agency is humble and tame with her own clients, but her manners are the total opposite when it comes to dealing with translators.
-She changed the original agreement for the job by passing through her own client’s conditions and by counting target-words in a peculiar way (i.e. after proofing).
-Her messages are bossy and rude, shouting her way through with uppercase, boldface, and overblown comments.


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