Cancelled orders
Thread poster: Jennifer Forbes

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:56
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Nov 11, 2011

I guess I've just had an unlucky few days.
No fewer than THREE times this week, orders have been cancelled.

Case 1: A good, long-time client sent me some bulky accounting documents with a fairly urgent deadline. I spent some hours trying to print and save the files (PDFs). I could view them but not print or even save them. It eventually turned out that the end client had locked them and couldn't/wouldn't provide a password for them or unlock them, and the order was cancelled. Although I'd spent time on the order, I hadn't succeeded in actually translating a word. I had even turned down other work because of this order.

Case 2: A completely new client for whom I'd done a test and filled in complex NDA and other documents, sent me my first order and I was eager to please. They proved to have a peculiar system for providing the translation, but I agreed to tackle it. Again, I spent some time trying to open the source files and understand their system but, once again, the files proved to be uneditable. The order was cancelled. Again, I hadn't actually succeeded in translating a word.

Case 3: Last night, a small, occasional client sent me an urgent order - some horrid accounts documents with columns of figures and tiny print in PDF format. We agreed that I'd invoice on the target words, but the client said they had a limited budget. I started work and realised that the final word count was going to come to more than their budget. I immediately informed them. They asked me to do it for the budget. I declined - ghastly headache-inducing work. They cancelled the order - after I'd done a small amount of translation (including complex table formatting).

Is this order cancellation becoming a trend? Or was I just unlucky?
Is there anything I can claim? I doubt it as, at least in the first two cases, I hadn't translated a word. In the third case, we'd sort of agreed to the budget and I let the client know as soon as I realised the word count was going to be well in excess of that amount.

I guess I just wanted to have a rant. Phew! That's better.
Jenny


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 04:56
English to Czech
+ ...
My 2 cents Nov 11, 2011

Hello Jenny,
I may be exactly wrong but this is how I'd proceed:

Jenny Forbes wrote:
Case 1: A good, long-time client sent me some bulky accounting documents with a fairly urgent deadline. I spent some hours trying to print and save the files (PDFs). I could view them but not print or even save them. It eventually turned out that the end client had locked them and couldn't/wouldn't provide a password for them or unlock them, and the order was cancelled. Although I'd spent time on the order, I hadn't succeeded in actually translating a word. I had even turned down other work because of this order.

What I don't understand is why anybody would send a document for translation and at the same time make it impossible to work on. This just doesn't make any sense to me.
Charge the time spent on these documents.

Case 2: A completely new client for whom I'd done a test and filled in complex NDA and other documents, sent me my first order and I was eager to please. They proved to have a peculiar system for providing the translation, but I agreed to tackle it. Again, I spent some time trying to open the source files and understand their system but, once again, the files proved to be uneditable. The order was cancelled. Again, I hadn't actually succeeded in translating a word.

I wouldn't charge anything here because you'd have to learn how their system works sooner or later. So in fact, there was no time "wasted" on this one.

Case 3: Last night, a small, occasional client sent me an urgent order - some horrid accounts documents with columns of figures and tiny print in PDF format. We agreed that I'd invoice on the target words, but the client said they had a limited budget. I started work and realised that the final word count was going to come to more than their budget. I immediately informed them. They asked me to do it for the budget. I declined - ghastly headache-inducing work. They cancelled the order - after I'd done a small amount of translation (including complex table formatting).

Charge for the work already done.

As far as I can see, all of your three cases have a common denominator: PDF/uneditable files, so I'd be very careful about them in future. PDFs generally cause headaches, so I usually charge something little extra for them.

[Upraveno: 2011-11-11 10:39 GMT]


 

Livia D'Ettorre  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:56
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
I would charge the third client Nov 11, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:
In the third case, we'd sort of agreed to the budget and I let the client know as soon as I realised the word count was going to be well in excess of that amount.


Hi Jenny,

sorry to hear about your unlucky week. I agree with Stanislav: I think you should charge the third client. You say that you agreed that you would inform them asap. You did that and it's only fair they pay you for the words you translated. Plus, if you give them the file, they could give it to another translator who is willing to accept their budget and use it. In this way they would pay for your part and the rest done by the other translator.
Good luck!

Livia


 

Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:56
Member
French to English
+ ...
Cancellation charge? Nov 11, 2011

Maybe you could introduce a "cancellation charge" for situations such as these, where you have spent time on jobs without actually doing any translating? It might dissuade your clients from having these sudden changes of heart so often, and then there would be no issue over whether or not you can bill them.

 

Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:56
Member (2004)
German to Polish
+ ...
To unlock a PDF is easy Nov 11, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I guess I've just had an unlucky few days.
No fewer than THREE times this week, orders have been cancelled.

Case 1: A good, long-time client sent me some bulky accounting documents with a fairly urgent deadline. I spent some hours trying to print and save the files (PDFs). I could view them but not print or even save them. It eventually turned out that the end client had locked them and couldn't/wouldn't provide a password for them or unlock them, and the order was cancelled.


with a tool like PDF Password Remover.

Regards

A.


 

Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:56
French to English
FWIW Nov 11, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I guess I've just had an unlucky few days.
No fewer than THREE times this week, orders have been cancelled.

(...)

I guess I just wanted to have a rant. Phew! That's better.


Sounds a bit unlucky, still, Friday today, eh?

FWIW, which may not be much, I'd probably just write it off under those circs. Yes, you could probably claim time for the 1st one and work done for the 3rd one. My guess is that trying to bill the 3rd client would be fruitless, given the reason for cancellation. I've had a similar situation to the 1st one (good agency, some wasted time) in the past and if they are, in fact, a good client, they'll make it up to you, one way or another (you could drop hints, mind!). But basically, I do wonder whether sending a batch of invoices for time spent/work done here might end up embroiling you in potentially fruitless discussions about the reasons and justifications, and you waste 3 times as much time as you already haveicon_smile.gif


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:56
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, all Nov 11, 2011

Thank you all for your interesting replies.
That's at least 10 cents' worth by now, I reckon.

Stanislav, I've no idea why an end client would send files for translation that can't be opened. It doesn't make sense to me either, nor did it to the agency.

Andrej, I can assure you it wasn't easy at all to open or save the files. I've never heard of PDF Password Remover, but it sounds a good idea. My agency's computer technician evidently didn't know about it either, as even he couldn't do anything with the files. I'll tell them about it for future reference.

I'm inclined to agree with Charlie that it's probably not worth the time and hassle of trying to charge any of these clients in the (annoying) circumstances. I'm sure my good Case 1 client will be sending me more work - I've worked for them for some 20 years.
I did send the Case 3 client the little I had already translated of last night's job and they have already sent me another job.
It was just one of those weeks.
S**t happens, as the not-much-lamented George W. Bush was inclined to say.
Best wishes,
Jenny


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:56
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
PDF Password Remover Nov 11, 2011

I've checked on various websites which say that PDF Password Remover won't work if the documents have been protected with both an "owner" password and a "user" password, and you can't find out what they are, which eventually turned out to be the case with the documents I was asked to translate. The owner either couldn't or wouldn't tell us what the passwords were. Barmy.
Jenny


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Possible for Case #1 Nov 11, 2011

Hello Jenny,

Bud luck! Could happen to anyone, but it must be really galling to have it happen three times in one week. Did you manage to get much paid work done? I do hope so!

A thought occurs to me for the first case. You say it's a good agency, and it was their client who messed up the job. Would it be worth liaising with them? If they have charged the end client a cancellation fee (which is likely, I'd imagine) they probably won't have a problem with handing over the normal percentage to you for your part in the fiasco.

If they're really nice, perhaps they'll sugggest it. I work with a very good teaching school whose client (my student) cancelled the last third of the course. I just sighed - after all, I was free to do other work. Then my client sent me a cheque for 50% of the outstanding hours, so I had to retrospectively send him an invoice to keep the books balanced. Turned out he'd charged them 50%, so he thought I should have my dues.

Might be worth a phone call.

Sheila


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Set your own terms Nov 11, 2011

As a rule I tend not to work with clients who behave like those in the post.

It is extremely important to me that my clients should understand the importance of texts being in a workable format (etc etc) and I never tire of nagging them about it. Eventually most of them get the message, even it means I sometimes have to be rude or cheeky to get the point across.

The problem is when working with agencies, as many are reluctant to contact or question the client or let anyone else do so.

In the cases in point, I'd simply tell them to take their custom and unreasonable expectations eleswhere.


 

Kim Bakkers
Local time: 03:56
German to English
+ ...
PDF Nov 11, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:

Thank you all for your interesting replies.
That's at least 10 cents' worth by now, I reckon.

Stanislav, I've no idea why an end client would send files for translation that can't be opened. It doesn't make sense to me either, nor did it to the agency.

Andrej, I can assure you it wasn't easy at all to open or save the files. I've never heard of PDF Password Remover, but it sounds a good idea. My agency's computer technician evidently didn't know about it either, as even he couldn't do anything with the files. I'll tell them about it for future reference.




I seem to remember being able to open and edit a protected PDF via gmail. I sent it to my gmail account and clicked view as html, then copied it to word. I found this out purely by accident. Whether this still works I do not know!


 

Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:56
Member (2004)
German to Polish
+ ...
A good reason Nov 11, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:


My agency's computer technician evidently didn't know about it either, as even he couldn't do anything with the files. I'll tell them about it for future reference.


to fire himicon_wink.gif

It's a canon of technical knowledge of a translator, not even of a "computer tecgnician".

Definitely, look for another one.

A.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:56
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
THREE Nov 11, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I guess I've just had an unlucky few days.
No fewer than THREE times this week, orders have been cancelled.



The good news is, all "negativity" comes in threes, so that it should be over now with you having paid your dues.icon_smile.gif

Sheila's advice is good. You should try - if at all possible - to receive some compensation for the time spent on these jobs, though there will be no compensation for the frustration.

Perhaps in the future when your client sends you a non-workable file, ask them to provide you with the password before you start to work on the project. If they don't or can't, then at least you can spend the time working on paid projects instead of trying to figure out how to open the file and taking the chance of the job being cancelled.icon_smile.gif


 


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