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Please advise me how to act in a situation
Thread poster: Sherefedin MUSTAFA

Sherefedin MUSTAFA
Netherlands
Local time: 06:32
Member
English to Macedonian
+ ...
Jan 21, 2011

Hi all,

2 days ago I assigned a translation project to a freelance translator via Proz.com. We agreed on price, deadline, I sent her the source files. I hoped to receive at least a confirmation that the source files were received...

No reaction at all. Have tried all possible means to get in touch with her: via proz.com, email, telephone... no answer at all.

The deadline was today: 12:00 AM.

What is wise to do in this situation:
1. Cancel the job and find another translator to do the job
2. Wait for a reaction from the concerned person without any guarantee that a reaction comes (even when I see, from time to time that she is logged in Proz.com and I then send her either a message through proz.com or an email - no reaction at all).
3. ....?


Let me be clear: we all are humans and I am quite embarassed about this situation between a client waiting to receive the translations and a translator who doesn't react at all...

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and wise advise.

Sherefedin


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Clive Phillips  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:32
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
No response from freelance Jan 21, 2011

I speak to the client asap and explain what has happened. I apologise and ask whether the client is content for me to place the job with another freelance, while promising to report back with a new estimated delivery date/time as soon as I have agreed a deadline with the new freelance.

The client may say they don't want to proceed and will use another agency and never use my agency again.

Depending on my assessed value of the client and my policy, I might also offer some compensation for the missed delivery time (e.g. a free similar-size translation in the future).

It's bad for business but these things do happen. Just because the translator's logged in to proz.com, it doesn't rule out the possibility thay they have fallen ill (or have died!), had an accident or are dealing with an emergency.

Good luck!


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Veronica Coquard
France
Local time: 06:32
French to English
Oh dear. Jan 21, 2011

Hello Sherefedin,

I didn't want to leave you all by your lonesome out here, but I guess you already know what the answer to your question is. If you have no way of getting hold of the translator at all (no telephone number?) you will have to find someone else, pronto.

You probably sensed that something was wrong when she didn't acknowledge the files. She might have had a power outage or some other technical problem, but the least she could have done would have been to find some way to advise you and pass the work on before it was too late.

I guess you can chalk it up to experience.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2011-01-21 13:48 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:32
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Reassign immediately! Jan 21, 2011

If you ask me, it is a little bit late now. If the freelancer hadn't responded by the end of the day of the assignment, you should have cancelled the job with a very clear email and reassigned the job immediately. 24 hours with no acknowledgement is more than enough to cancel the job.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:32
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's never a serious situation Jan 21, 2011

Clive Phillips wrote:
It's bad for business but these things do happen. Just because the translator's logged in to proz.com, it doesn't rule out the possibility thay they have fallen ill (or have died!), had an accident or are dealing with an emergency.

Nothing of the sort. In my years in Proz.com I have seen this kind of fora at least half a dozen times. And in none of the cases it was because of death or a serious accident as far as I can remember.

Personally I would make a negative Willingness To Work Again entry about this person. If this person is dead, you will not harm him/her, but in case he/she just decided to take another better paid job instead of taking care of your job... you will help other outsourcers to keep away from this "professional".


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Livia D'Ettorre  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:32
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Reassign it Jan 21, 2011

Ciao Sherefedin,

I agree with the other posts: just reassign the job, at least your client won't have to wait until the translator remembers about it. If she ever does...
Unfortunately, the same happened to me when I was working as a PM and, as soon as I noticed that the translator had disappeared, I sent him a clear email saying that the translation had been reassigned to someone else. It was very disappointing especially because I knew this person from Proz.com. I hope you have enough time to reassign the job to another translator and don't miss the deadline with your client.
Good luck!


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Michal Glowacki  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:32
Member (2010)
English to Polish
+ ...
Always look out for confirmation Jan 21, 2011

From my experience as a PM I've learnt one thing - if you're placing a project with a supplier always ask for receipt confirmation. If there's no response within reasonable time (depends on the deadline, end of day can be a good example) you should always contact the supplier and ask for confirmation of receipt. If they fail to confirm - let them know that you cannot wait and that you're placing the project with someone else.

Obviously, if the person is not responding at all that's not good. But it also happens that an email with the files got lost or reject from the inbox (size or other issues). That's why I always ask for confirmation of receipt. If I don't get one, I ask again. It's better to send 2 emails and make sure both get there, than to find out that something has gone astray.

Just my 2 cents.


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xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:32
English to Dutch
+ ...
Indeed Jan 21, 2011

And in none of the cases it was because of death or a serious accident as far as I can remember.


Word. In this case it's absolutely true: judge first, ask questions later.


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Tjasa Kuerpick  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 06:32
Member (2006)
Slovenian to German
+ ...
communication is the key Jan 21, 2011

If the job was a rush job with a short deadline, the translator should at least leave a notice that he received an email from the client, as soon as he can answer the email. Being informed is important for both parties. So giving no response at all is not very nice from the translator, it's indeed a bad habit.

On the other hand, there may be several factors why the translator did answer it:
- The server of the translator recognized the email from the client as spam, and the translator never received it (happened to me once or twice). Therefore, my client picked up the phone and asked if I received the mail, as he needs the translation urgently – problem solved.
- The time difference of the two (client and translator) is too big in order to be able to answer it in time, this is importand to know, especially if the clients expects to get an answer soon, since it cannot be expected that a translator sits in front of his PC 24 hours a day. A short notice on the homepage of this, reminds the client to consider this point as well.
- The translator had to finish an urgent job last night, and did not get up as usually. --> Send him an SMS that you need a reply.
- The translator took a day off, as there was no job was planned for this day or he used the day to do some shopping for his office or visited his bookkeeper etc.

Sending rush jobs is always somehow risky, if the client thinks his selected translator is always available. In reality, good translators are hardly ever free. If the client wants that the job is done by a certain translator of his choice, he should discuss the deadline with the translator BEFORE it is set (if possible) or at least ask him in time if he will be available.
That prevents stress and deadlines can be met 100%.
Otherwise, the best way is to ask for a reply/confirmation within 2 hours or so. If the client does not get it in time, he should look for another one.


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Clive Phillips  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:32
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Confirmation of receipt of source text Jan 21, 2011

Michal Glowacki wrote:

I always ask for confirmation of receipt. If I don't get one, I ask again. It's better to send 2 emails and make sure both get there, than to find out that something has gone astray.


This is very sound advice and best practice for PMs/outsourcers. Confirmation of receipt can be by phone but email is better, especially as it provides written evidence in the event of later dispute.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:32
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
So what if it was an emergency? Jan 21, 2011

And in none of the cases it was because of death or a serious accident as far as I can remember.


Not to sound unfeeling toward the AWOL translator if that was the case, but that's what disaster contingency plans are for. Every responsible organization -- regardless of size -- that I've ever known has had one in place. I don't see why it should be any different for individual professionals. I know that if something happens to me there is at least one trusted person who can get into my current projects list and let people know "Sorry, Rudi has been run over by a truck/eaten by a shark/whatever, so unfortunately he can't complete the assignment."

After all, at that point, my reputation is all I have left

I'm sorry this happened to you, Sherefedin. It sounds like the translator just realized they couldn't deliver for whatever reason and has found avoiding you easier than responding.




[Edited at 2011-01-21 18:47 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-01-21 19:35 GMT]


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:32
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
@ Rudi Jan 21, 2011

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

I know that if something happens to me there is at least one trusted person who can get into my current projects list and let me people know "Sorry, Rudi has been run over by a truck/eaten by a shark/whatever, so unfortunately he can't complete the assignment."


Excellent point. I have thought about this many times, but as I have never actually been eaten by a shark I haven't ever put it to the test.

Thanks to your advice, this weekend I really will make the effort to make sure that someone knows how to access my current jobs and notify the right people if needed.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:32
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Absolutely Jan 21, 2011

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:
I know that if something happens to me there is at least one trusted person who can get into my current projects list and let people know "Sorry, Rudi has been run over by a truck/eaten by a shark/whatever, so unfortunately he can't complete the assignment."

I completely agree!


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Sherefedin MUSTAFA
Netherlands
Local time: 06:32
Member
English to Macedonian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Most useful Jan 21, 2011

Dear all,

I wish to thank you for your support, advise and suggestions.
You helped me to better face the situation, analyse one and other and
decide what to do.

In the meanwhile I contacted the client, explained all and agreed a new
deadline to complete and deliver the job. Fortunately I found another colleague translator who was ready to help and made me sure that her translation will be delivered on time.

I have sent a new email to the first translator informing that the assignment is cancelled as the translation hasn't been delivered within the agreed deadline and that I will not take any responsibility for any claims which eventually can raise.

Must admit that all my attempts to understand what happened with the first translator ended in a complete darkness… What did I wrong? All these years I work as translator have never permitted myself to let a client wait for his translation or ignore a deadline.

Prompt communication by all possible means the modern technology offers has always been a must in my contacts with both clients and fellow translators.

Last but not least: I wish our colleague is doing well, that's the first and most important thing as we (fortunately) all are humans… for material matters will always be found an alternative solution.

KR
Sherefedin


[Edited at 2011-01-21 21:42 GMT]


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xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:32
English to Dutch
+ ...
Some people Jan 22, 2011

Must admit that all my attempts to understand what happened with the first translator ended in a complete darkness… What did I wrong? All these years I work as translator have never permitted myself to let a client wait for his translation or ignore a deadline.


Don't even try to understand. Some people have a mindset that is completely different from ours. Put the guy on your shit list and forget about it. It's no use and a waste of time.


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