Reply after return of work - to expect or not to expect?
Thread poster: schallinor
schallinor

Local time: 17:32
Swedish to English
+ ...
Aug 22, 2011

I recently completed a 10,000 word job for a private client and returned the work with a friendly message and a 30-day invoice. I have had no reply acknowledging receipt (sent 2 weeks ago) and am wondering what other translators do in this situation:

- Do nothing until the 30 day period has elapsed - they may pay with no further contact
- Send a subtle email asking if the work and invoice was received?
- Something else?

It is not only a money matter - it is also helpful (and morale boosting!) if a client can acknowledge that they are satisfied and that the job is complete - and then I can consider it as such. But translation can be a reluctant job once the 'handover' has occurred I suppose!

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you have.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:32
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Did your "friendly message" not include a request for immediate confirmation of receipt? Aug 22, 2011

schallinor wrote:
I recently completed a 10,000 word job for a private client and returned the work with a friendly message and a 30-day invoice. I have had no reply acknowledging receipt (sent 2 weeks ago)


You absolutely have to know that they have received the text. Nothing to do with "have you received the invoice and are you going to pay it?". And if you don't receive their confirmation, you need to send a follow-up message. Otherwise, you risk them thinking you didn't deliver, simply because they didn't receive the email.

I used to send a simple "here you are" message until I had a couple of occasions where the deadline came and went without any acknowledgement from them. In the first case, no harm was done - payment arrived in due course - but I worried quite a lot about it. The second time, I got an email from the client (after the deadline) to say "where is it?". That made me change my habits, I can tell you! Even though I was able to copy in my previous email, and there was no bad feeling, I had contributed to a problem at their end which could have been major.

Sheila


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Sara Negro
Italy
Local time: 18:32
English to Italian
+ ...
I'd opt for... Aug 22, 2011

schallinor wrote:

- Send a subtle email asking if the work and invoice was received?


It's always a good habit to (at least) confirm receipt of emails:
- for the translator, before starting a translation job (above all those mails with all the important instructions for the job) and,
- for the client, at the end of the translation job.

If the second condition does not happen, I'd get a bit nervous and begin to think I've been ripped off.

Actually, since the client is a private one, they may not have the habit to confirm emails: in this case (yours, too) I'd "tame" him/her and send him/her a subtle e-mail to request a confirmation (after one or two days max), even if I risk to be insistent and a bit irritating; but at least they can also think I'm a precise person...

HTH,
Sara

[Edited at 2011-08-22 09:41 GMT]


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Michal Glowacki  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:32
Member (2010)
English to Polish
+ ...
ask for confirmation Aug 22, 2011

I always ask for confirmation in all my emails. If when delivering a file I don't get confirmation, I always ask about it some time later. I always write that "since emails get lost sometimes or missed or deleted, I would like to make sure you have received the file/email/whatever earlier. Could you confirm please?" - sometimes it turns out that they haven't received it, sometimes that they simply didn't confirm and at times - that they didn't yet look at it, because they're busy.

Remember, asking for confirmation is never a bad thing, because it's in your and your client's best interest to make sure that emails and other things are always where they should be - in the appropriate inbox. Of course, there's a fairly big chance that if they haven't gone back to you with a question about the work or when it would be delivered, they have indeed received it. Otherwise you'd have them on your back fairly quickly, I presume.

Bottom line: always always always ask for confirmation of receipt and make sure you receive it and, most importantly, keep it.


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Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:32
English to German
Always Aug 22, 2011

I always ask my clients to acknowledge receipt. Often they don't, but in such cases I send another email one or two days later and aks, if they haven't received my mail. In most cases, they don't send an immediate answer, because they are busy. For them, it's important they receive it and that was that.

However, for me, a job is only "done", if I hear from the client at least that they received it, more better that they are satisfied with my work.

Good luck!

Annett


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schallinor

Local time: 17:32
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Aug 22, 2011

Thanks for the (unanimous!) reply, all. I will send a subtle email now and in future ask for confirmation when I send the work.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:32
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
A great opportunity Aug 22, 2011

schallinor wrote:
I recently completed a 10,000 word job for a private client and returned the work with a friendly message and a 30-day invoice. I have had no reply acknowledging receipt (sent 2 weeks ago) and am wondering what other translators do in this situation...


A client who does not confirm receipt of a translation leaves the translator with a great excuse to ensure top-of-mind at the client. If a client confirms receipt, it might be overkill to send yet another reply saying "thanks for confirming receipt".

But... if a client does not confirm receipt, then you have a great excuse for writing to them three days later to ask them if they have received the files, and if they then write back to say that they got it, then you have another great excuse to write to them AGAIN to say "wow, that's a relief", *and* show some humanity too.

The more contact you have with the client, the more likely he is to use you again.


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kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:32
English
+ ...
Ask for a read receipt Aug 24, 2011

Most mail programmes now offer the facility of a read receipt. Some also offer a delivery receipt, so that you receive notification of when it arrives in the recipient's mailbox.

I've started doing that with invoices especially, as one client claimed not to have received a couple of my invoices when I queried a late payment. They've never had problems receiving work, but invoices sometimes go astray! I also BCC to my own e-mail address as a backup check. One benefit of this is that if something does go wrong, I have all the important files and information in my mailbox and can resend or modify files even if I can't get to my desktop PC.


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