Work scheduling
Thread poster: Hannele Marttila

Hannele Marttila  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:52
Member (2011)
Finnish to English
+ ...
May 25, 2012

We have probably all been there - be it a response to proz.com work offered or work offered by regular clients, everybody seems to want a job done in the next few days. This the nature of the beast, granted, but this practice makes it very difficult for us translators to plan our work for more than a few days to a couple of weeks forward or so. It also means that we cannot often accept more profitable work or shorter assignments to slot in between the bigger ones and of course, budgeting or cash flow forecasting is nigh impossible for more than a few weeks.

Direct clients may be more accommodating, but even then I often find the same urgency with the assignments.

There may be no solution here, I doubt it, but I would like some views on the issue?


 

Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:52
English to German
Downside May 25, 2012

This, I can only confirm. It's the one downside of this profession which I really dislike. And, like you, Hannele, I don't see any solution to this.

Annett


 

Natalia Potashnik  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:52
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
It comes with the job May 25, 2012

Like it or hate it, but our workload is irregular and unpredictable and almost always urgent. It is what it is and there is nothing to do about it. I got used to this over a number of years. Sometimes I lose because I accept a job and then I receive an offer with a better project that I have to decline. Sometimes I win when I get 2 offers at the same time and I can choose. Sometimes I negotiate the deadline with my old clients and they accommodate. But most often my life is hectic and it is juggling responsibilities all the time. I only get a break from it when I take a vacation and go out of town. Then it is strictly no work and any clients who are not willing to wait until I am back can send their projects to other translators in their database.

 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:52
Member (2008)
French to English
Develop a clientele May 26, 2012

The solution, which obviously takes time, is to develop a loyal clientele. Once developed, they will know what you are able for and will reflect your abilities to their own clients. Although you might not be able to plan in detail months in advance you should then be able, with some confidence, to know you will be kept busy and can decide how busy you want to be.

One of the most important things is to develop your practise to the point of being able to say NO, knowing that it won't mean that you will be out of work later as a result. It takes time to get there, but having this as a goal will help give direction to your business.


 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Duplicate post removed

Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:52
English to German
I also got used to it, May 27, 2012

to the ups and downs, the hectics, the always super urgent jobs. Of course, I also have some direct clients with whom working is very pleasurable. Unfortunately, I do not (yet) have enough of them and it is very difficult to acquire new ones. What's your experience here?

I have also learned to say "No" to jobs which I definitely cannot or will not do within a very tight time frame, or which are simply low paid.

Annett


 

Roy OConnor
Local time: 15:52
German to English
Reason has to prevail May 27, 2012

This is the most difficult problem of running your own business. I agree with John that you have to have a good relationship with your clients, scratching one another's backs as the case arises.

Those clients who always send you urgent jobs have to realise that there are only 24 hours in each day and they must sometimes wait a little longer. Other, more patient clients always get rapid service when they occasionally come unstuck and need a short translation urgently.

It's swings and roundabouts, but there is no guarantee that the client won't go elsewhere.

Roy


 

Hannele Marttila  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:52
Member (2011)
Finnish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Food chain May 27, 2012

The problem is of course that we are last in the food chain when working through agencies. Either the end client or the agency or both do not seem to have any forward planning in place and the regular translator usually gets the work offered first. I have many regular clients but I often have to say no as the time schedules do not fit my work load at that moment. I am usually 80% occupied which about the maximum anyway to deal with other things such as invoicing etc. But at times, I take on a big job, knowing I need to work flat out a couple of weeks. The reason for this is getting a good payment as I never know what will or will not be offered after that.

The only answer here is obviously regular direct clients but I've found them difficult to find. This may be partly due to my rather rare language pair. What I'd like is some regular bread and butter work, but so far, this seems to be difficult to achieve.


 


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