Potential long-term project and something prescheduled--What to tell the PM?
Thread poster: Sara Senft

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 13, 2009

I am talking with one of my good customers about a potential long-term project. It would be over the next 18 or so months, but in certain intervals. (That's as I understand it...I'm still waiting to hear more about the project.

There is a potential conflict if I do take on part of this project. In early November, I am taking the next round of court interpreting tests for my state.

Should I be honest and up-front with the PM? I am leaning towards that, but I am also considering a different approach.

(This is my first time with even a potential long-term project!)


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 12:20
English to Hungarian
+ ...
just tell them Oct 13, 2009

That's what I did in a similar situation (in fact, I took about a third of the time off during a 4-month project). I just told them I have other jobs scheduled already and I'm only interested in participating in their project if this sort of on and off schedule is acceptable. We agreed on how much time I would devote to their project and that was that.

Your situation is much simpler: I'm guessing you'll only take a couple of days off, maybe a week or two. Any sane project manager expects that from a freelancer. You may just say you can't show up for/take on work on these days without giving a reason or just saying something hazy about professional obligations, or you may go ahead and tell them what you'll be up to. I'd expect them to wish you luck and note down your schedule without any further comment.

Of course, it may be different if you need to take several weeks off or the exams are at a bad time (end of a project period).


 

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's what I figured Oct 13, 2009

That's what I figured. I generally do believe that honesty is the best policy.

If I pass this test, I would need to take more time off from the project for the mentoring program. My test results will come some time in late November, so I will figure out what to do at that time. (Assuming I do take the project; I'm still going back and forth on whether I can handle the content.)

I still need to ask the PM some more questions about how frequently work will arrive. If it comes in from time to time over the next 18 months, time management will be less of an issue.

FarkasAndras wrote:

That's what I did in a similar situation (in fact, I took about a third of the time off during a 4-month project). I just told them I have other jobs scheduled already and I'm only interested in participating in their project if this sort of on and off schedule is acceptable. We agreed on how much time I would devote to their project and that was that.

Your situation is much simpler: I'm guessing you'll only take a couple of days off, maybe a week or two. Any sane project manager expects that from a freelancer. You may just say you can't show up for/take on work on these days without giving a reason or just saying something hazy about professional obligations, or you may go ahead and tell them what you'll be up to. I'd expect them to wish you luck and note down your schedule without any further comment.

Of course, it may be different if you need to take several weeks off or the exams are at a bad time (end of a project period).


 

Johanne Benoit-Gallagher  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:20
Member (2006)
English to French
A few options for your consideration Oct 13, 2009

Sara,

Last year, I was offered a very interesting project and I considered a few options as I realized I could not humanly handle my usual translation workload and the new project.

Since I could not delegate the ongoing project, I considered what other work I could delegate to a trusted colleague when I had too much work. However, because I had signed Confidentiality Agreements with some of my clients, I felt that legally I needed to ask them if they minded that someone else do the translation as long as I ensured the same quality. All of them were receptive and grateful that I informed them. For some clients, it really did not matter who did the work and no agreement had been signed so I did not feel they needed to know (as long as they got the same quality work).

In the case of a good customer, I would tell them of your court interpreting tests. They may see your ongoing professional development in a positive light. Depending on how long you need to take off, they may just agree to your schedule. If this is not an option, you could discuss a collaboration with another translator to fill in when you cannot. In the long run, this has proved a good option for me.

Here is my "food for thought".


 

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good idea Oct 13, 2009

The PM in charge is recruiting several translators (plus some proofreaders) for this project, so I won't shoulder the entire thing alone.

I do have several other concerns, such as deadlines and payment terms, but I wont know anything until I ask.


Johanne Benoit-Gallagher wrote:

Sara,

Last year, I was offered a very interesting project and I considered a few options as I realized I could not humanly handle my usual translation workload and the new project.

Since I could not delegate the ongoing project, I considered what other work I could delegate to a trusted colleague when I had too much work. However, because I had signed Confidentiality Agreements with some of my clients, I felt that legally I needed to ask them if they minded that someone else do the translation as long as I ensured the same quality. All of them were receptive and grateful that I informed them. For some clients, it really did not matter who did the work and no agreement had been signed so I did not feel they needed to know (as long as they got the same quality work).

In the case of a good customer, I would tell them of your court interpreting tests. They may see your ongoing professional development in a positive light. Depending on how long you need to take off, they may just agree to your schedule. If this is not an option, you could discuss a collaboration with another translator to fill in when you cannot. In the long run, this has proved a good option for me.

Here is my "food for thought".


 

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A bit of an update Oct 15, 2009

Since I first posted, there has been a small update. I heard from the PM on the date I posted this message, and he told me that documents to be translated should start coming in by the end of the week. I ended up realizing that I CAN handle the content. The content is actually simple; I was initially thrown off by two unfamiliar terms.

In my reply, I was honest about the upcoming test. I also mentioned that I can still participate, as long as I work around my testing schedule.

Hopefully, I will soon hear something more.


 


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Potential long-term project and something prescheduled--What to tell the PM?

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