US translators working for UK customers: timezone change
Thread poster: philgoddard
philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Jan 25, 2011

Is anyone else in my position?

I moved from the UK to the US several years ago, but 95 percent of my customers are in the UK and continental Europe. I'm six hours behind the UK, and seven behind the continent.

Business is good, and I haven't found the time difference to be much of a disadvantage, apart from having to get up at 7 am to check my emails. In fact, sometimes it works in my favour.

However, there's a strong chance that in the next couple of years the UK will adopt central European time, which means I'll be seven hours behind all my customers. I think this is bound to lose me some business.

I know the onus is on me to become less dependent on customers from my native land, which would also make me less vulnerable to exchange-rate fluctuations. But I just thought you might be interested.

Of course, this would also apply to UK translators working for companies in the US.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/daylight-savings-bill



[Edited at 2011-01-25 23:40 GMT]


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Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 19:46
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
Similar situation Jan 30, 2011

philgoddard wrote:

Is anyone else in my position?

I moved from the UK to the US several years ago, but 95 percent of my customers are in the UK and continental Europe. I'm six hours behind the UK, and seven behind the continent.

Business is good, and I haven't found the time difference to be much of a disadvantage, apart from having to get up at 7 am to check my emails. In fact, sometimes it works in my favour.

However, there's a strong chance that in the next couple of years the UK will adopt central European time, which means I'll be seven hours behind all my customers. I think this is bound to lose me some business.

I know the onus is on me to become less dependent on customers from my native land, which would also make me less vulnerable to exchange-rate fluctuations. But I just thought you might be interested.

Of course, this would also apply to UK translators working for companies in the US.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/daylight-savings-bill



[Edited at 2011-01-25 23:40 GMT]


Hi Phil,

I'm in a similar situation. I moved from the UK to Australia a few months ago but kept my European client base. Now my working hours routinely start at 6pm and I usually don't finish until midnight if I'm lucky, plus I work during the day if needs be. For the time being, I'm not planning to build up a client base in my own time zone either as that'd force me to be available day AND night instead of just during the night.

I noticed that a couple of customers have sent me less work and even openly admitted that they "feel bad" bothering me at night (my time). But on the whole, it hasn't lost me any business. Just a lot of sleep! But with two children under 3 I haven't had much of that in a long time anyway.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I have the opposite situation, and is it heaven Jan 30, 2011

philgoddard wrote:
I moved from the UK to the US several years ago, but 95 percent of my customers are in the UK and continental Europe. I'm six hours behind the UK, and seven behind the continent. ... However, there's a strong chance that in the next couple of years the UK will adopt central European time, which means I'll be seven hours behind all my customers. I think this is bound to lose me some business.


I have had similar problems when I get clients from Hong Kong or Australia, so I understand your problem. I have no solution for it, though.

I'm in CET and most of my clients are in EST, so I have the opposite situation, and I can tell you that it is heavenly to know that none of my US clients will be awake before noon my time, and that I can work in parallel to them for most of their day, as if I'm in their time zone (I'm a "night" person and go to bed at 23:00 or 00:00). For clients in California, my ability to be able to answer queries on the same day (since our office times overlap by an hour or two) also means less work lost, although it does require the Californian client to be aware of the time zone aspect and not expect me to able to respond later than by his mid-morning.


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lydiar  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 22:46
Member (2006)
French to English
UK > NZ Feb 10, 2011

I have recently moved from the UK to New Zealand, and although I thought the time difference would be 'interesting' I was surprised how much I struggled at first trying to check emails at all hours. I still try to check first thing (7am) and last thing (11pm) but in my daytime I only really communicate with the US until early afternoon then I'm left in peace:)
Saturday mornings are annoying as the US/Europe are still having Friday afternoon fun, but Mondays are excellent as everyone is asleep and I can get on with 'weekend' work.

Now, after 4 months over here I am doing more work for US and NZ agencies than UK/European ones, although some of the European ones are staying with me when I can reply to their requests in time - why do 99% of projects have to be sooo urgent?!

Intrestingly one European agency I work with has branched out to Chile, so one step this way!


[Edited at 2011-02-10 23:45 GMT]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Six hours behind most of my clients Feb 11, 2011

I live in the U.S., in the Eastern time zone, and most of my clients operate on CET. It hasn't been a problem, largely because I live alone and define my own schedule.

However, the last two weeks I was visiting friends in San Francisco, which put me nine hours behind my European clients. That was trickier.

The agreement I made with my CET customers was that I would check e-mail from midnight to 2 a.m. Pacific time (9 a.m. to 11 a.m. CET) and again starting by 10 a.m. PT (near the end of the Spanish work day). It worked very well.

For the sake of a good night's sleep, it's important for your clients to know not to phone you at obscene hours.

[Edited at 2011-02-11 03:03 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:46
French to German
+ ...
Oh yes... Feb 11, 2011

Steven Capsuto wrote:

For the sake of a good night's sleep, it's important for your clients to know not to phone you at obscene hours.


This reminds me of one of my clients, who called me at 05:00 PM EST... However this only happened once.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your comments everyone Feb 11, 2011

They were really interesting - I thought keeping a business going with a 6/7-hour time difference was a bit fraught sometimes, but I'm amazed that it's possible to emigrate from the UK to Australia or New Zealand and take your customers with you.

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Gordon Sutcliffe
Local time: 10:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Use push email and don't give anyone your phone number! Feb 12, 2011

I'm 5-6 hours behind the UK and 6-7 behind continental Europe (in Peru). It's not the best situation but I get along with it.

If I'm looking for work I leave my smartphone with push email by my bedside so I can answer any job offers in good time (which means looking at files bleary-eyed on a small screen). Even an iPad or netbook could be useful there.

If I've filled my upcoming schedule I'll just set an auto-reply saying that I have a full workload and to reassign their job. Naturally, it's bliss when I've filled my workload and can let my auto-reply deal with incoming offers.

It's a reality that I accept.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Gordon Feb 13, 2011

This is a really ignorant question, but I don't own a smartphone. Does it ping and wake you up every time an email comes in? Or do you just wake up early?
I never thought of using auto-reply when I'm not looking for work. When you think about it, customers don't elaborate answers explaining why you can't help this time - they just want a simple yes or no. Although that does mean turning down customers who might be flexible about deadlines if you're busy.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ping! Feb 16, 2011

philgoddard wrote:

This is a really ignorant question, but I don't own a smartphone. Does it ping and wake you up every time an email comes in?


I don't have a smartphone either but I recently visited an old friend who has one (in a very small apartment where I heard every buzz and ping it made at all hours of the day and night). The answer is that you can configure whether or not it will make noises when e-mail and text messages come in.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
. Feb 17, 2011

Doesn't that mean you get woken up every time someone tries to sell you Viagra?

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US translators working for UK customers: timezone change

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