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Dealing with a rude client
Thread poster: Laura Pascual

Laura Pascual  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 25, 2013

Yesterday I was about to take a project for a client (company owner, but not a translation company) and I informed him that he had missed about 300 words in the word account. He never asked for a discount or anything, just told me he wanted another translator and called me an idiot because my duty was to work and not to be picky about a few words.

I didn't even bother to reply to someone insulting me. I've had contact with clients that never came to an agreement but this kind of thing had never happened to me before. I am not supposed to report this client on the Blue Board because obviously I never took nor sent the project, but I wanted to share it anyway and ask what would you do in such a situation?


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:50
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
What would I do? Apr 25, 2013

...called me an idiot because my duty was to work and not to be picky about a few words...
what would you do in such a situation?


smiley-laughing025.gif

Laugh.
Honestly, when the other party is at this level, there is nothing else to do.

[Edited at 2013-04-25 13:15 GMT]


 

Michal Fabian  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:50
Member (2012)
Dutch to Slovak
+ ...
How to deal with a rude client? Apr 25, 2013

Don't. Easy as that.

Add their e-mail address to the spam/ignored folder and on to the next one. No time to waste time.


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 00:50
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Tone? Apr 25, 2013

Laura Pascual wrote:
Yesterday I was about to take a project for a client (company owner, but not a translation company) and I informed him that he had missed about 300 words in the word account. He never asked for a discount or anything, just told me he wanted another translator and called me an idiot because my duty was to work and not to be picky about a few words.


Could it have something to do with the *way* you said it?


 

Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:50
German to English
Spanish archer Apr 25, 2013

El Bow. Next....

Steve K.


 

xxxTimWindhof  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:50
English to German
Be happy! Apr 25, 2013

You should be happy you did not end up working for such an unprofessional person. You probably would not have been paid by that guy anyways!

 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:50
German to English
+ ...
You dodged a bullet! Apr 25, 2013

Lack of respect on a very basic level. Ignore and move on.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:50
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Count your blessings Apr 25, 2013

You don't want to know how this person will behave in an actual business relationship. Count your blessings, mark this person's email as spam, and forget about it. Good luck!

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:50
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Part of your job Apr 26, 2013

is to be picky about clients.

Rude ones, cheats, liars: you pick NONE.


Thanks for your post. If that guy ever comes my way, I now have my answer ready for him:

"I like picky clients. But if you don't pick which 300 words I don't translate, as a true professional I do what I'm paid to do and so I WILL DO IT FOR YOU"


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:50
English to Polish
+ ...
Lecturing Apr 27, 2013

I believe in informing clients when their behaviour is not acceptable.

 

Sudip Banerji  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:20
Member
English to Bengali
+ ...
Put him in his place Apr 28, 2013

In my opinion dealing with such people are are out of question but only after you have taken time out to explain to him that he is dealing with a professional and not any run of the mill amateur who earns a little on the side translating.

Source word count is important because that's what our charges depend on, so we will definitely dispute it if there is a mismatch.

Its important the world understands and respects our profession and we in the community shun such people as a whole.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:50
Russian to English
+ ...
Never work for such a person again Apr 28, 2013

There are many clients that are too much -- sometimes their administrative personnel as well -- like various pseudo managers. They treat translators as if they were junior data entry personnel. Some somehow have forgotten, or it has never occurred to them, that most professional translators have education more similar to lawyers. Of course no one, even a starting filing clerk should be treated in a degrading way like that. can only pay that". Try such ads if you are looking for a lawyer, and you will be totally laughed at. No serious company would advertise like that. It would be a proof of their lack of professionalism, the same as very low rates.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Per-word may seem picky to new clients Apr 28, 2013

Sudip Banerji wrote:
Source word count is important because that's what our charges depend on, so we will definitely dispute it if there is a mismatch.


Actually, charging per tiny unit is really unique to the translation industry. There is a chance that the client thinks that the translator is nitpicking and turning over pennies[1]. The concept of setting a quote based not on an estimate of the total amount of time that it would take, but on something as silly as individual words, can seem odd and picky to a client who doesn't often deal with translators.

In the non-translation world, the way quotes work make it possible for small changes to be made to the job requirements without affecting the quoted price, but if you're going to charge per word, then any change in the documents will change the amount, again and again and again. If my guess is correct, then this client may have been happier if you had quoted him a minimum fee PLUS a per-word rate instead of just a per-word rate, because that would mean that any small change in the word count would not affect the price ultimately.


 

Wolf Kux  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:50
Member (2006)
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Some people in Brazil have ... Apr 28, 2013

... ironic answers to such crude guys:

"Let me know where you learned your good manners - I think it was at the beautiful american army site at Guantanamo, correct ?"

"You are very well educated. Did you already learned to give paw?" ("Give paw" is a standard "education" for dogs!)

[Editada em 2013-04-28 12:07 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:50
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
You're quite right Samuel Apr 28, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

Sudip Banerji wrote:
Source word count is important because that's what our charges depend on, so we will definitely dispute it if there is a mismatch.


Actually, charging per tiny unit is really unique to the translation industry. There is a chance that the client thinks that the translator is nitpicking and turning over pennies[1]. The concept of setting a quote based not on an estimate of the total amount of time that it would take, but on something as silly as individual words, can seem odd and picky to a client who doesn't often deal with translators.

In the non-translation world, the way quotes work make it possible for small changes to be made to the job requirements without affecting the quoted price, but if you're going to charge per word, then any change in the documents will change the amount, again and again and again. If my guess is correct, then this client may have been happier if you had quoted him a minimum fee PLUS a per-word rate instead of just a per-word rate, because that would mean that any small change in the word count would not affect the price ultimately.


They have a budget and they have a rough idea of how much they need to have left over after the translation is finished. Their budget might be huge, with translations only accounting for a tiny proportion, and so arguing over 30 euros (if you're charging 10ct/word for the sake of simple maths) could well come across as nitpicking to them.

I believe it's Nicole who always advises giving a flat rate and for direct clients this is probably easier for them to handle. On the strength of her advice I have adopted this as a strategy for new clients, and if I get the feeling that they are going to quibble over my terminology choices or come back to squeeze a few more words out of me because they've changed their mind about a couple of paragraphs, then I simply round my figure up a bit further than usual.

* I would say "counting the pennies", but it's not such a negative thing in English because of the expression "count the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves", meaning that if you are careful not to waste pennies, they add up to larger sums and you will not have to worry when you need to start wielding larger sums around


 
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