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Submitting a translation ahead of deadline
Thread poster: llevicky

llevicky  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:57
French to English
+ ...
Nov 13, 2013

Hi Proz!

I have a question that may seem a bit nonsensical. A client I frequently do proofreading for often gives me deadlines that are very easy to meet.

However, I'm wary of sending in my assignments too far ahead of the deadline, as I believe it sets a precedent that I might not be able to stick to in future (as in scenarios where you respond to emails immediately and people gradually come to expect it of you, rather than waiting a couple of hours and having that be the norm).

Should I go ahead and send in the finished assignment ahead of time? Or should I wait till the last or next-to-last day?

Cheers
Louise


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Jitka Komarkova (Mgr.)  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 06:57
Member (2013)
English to Czech
+ ...
To send or not to send... Nov 13, 2013

Hi Luise,
reading your post I realize I have had the same doubts several times already...
However, when I finish an assignments earlier, I usually send it right away after thorough check. I sometimes add a note saying "this time I managed to finish earlier" or "luckily, I can deliver earlier today"...
It helps me feel more relaxed knowing that it is "ticked off" and regardless of what happends to my computer, network or me, I do not have to deal with delivering the job.
On the other hand, having some experience as a Project Manager as well, I know that the people on the other side often appreciate having some extra time to go through and check your delivery.
After all, I have never had the feeling of spoiling the Project Managers.
Good luck with your work and your PMs!


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:57
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Very good question Nov 13, 2013

Hi Louise,

I'm often faced with this dilemma. I don't like to quote with deadlines I can hardly meet, but that also means that I can win many days when all goes well, especially with big jobs, when I quote in business days and work all week. One of my direct customers always wants a quote and will give me their go-ahead 1, 5 or 11 days later. I use their orders to balance out my agenda and love their slow approval system. When I've already done the 6,000 words by the time I receive the PO, I'll send them the translation by return. They understand.

When you've asked a PM to go out of her way to obtain delivery on Monday morning SOB, it would be very unwise to deliver before Sunday 22.00 PM.

Cheers,
Gerard


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Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:57
Member (2009)
English to Russian
+ ...
My advice is not to wait. Nov 13, 2013

If the job is done, send it. If you need more time to check some terms or other issues, do the job carefully and then send it as soon as it's ready. Don't worry about sending it "too early", as you only need to worry about doing the job properly. I usually charge per hour, and I'd never try to pretend that it took me more time than stated in my invoice.
Good luck!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:57
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Job done? Send it. Nov 13, 2013

I know of people who think that sending completed work ahead of time makes customers little tyrants, but my experience over the almost 20 years of frequent early deliveries is that reasonable customers remain reasonable, and abusive customers remain abusive. What you want to do is work more for reasonable customers and let go of the abusive ones. If sending early deliveries helps you pinpoint unreasonable customers... it will only be good for you.

If a job is done, send it so that more people along the line have ample time to do their work in an attentive manner.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:57
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Job done and dusted? Send it! Nov 13, 2013

I am known to deliver quite often ahead of time and I have found that this gives me an excellent argument when I need to negotiate a new deadline.

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llevicky  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:57
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Nov 14, 2013

Thanks, everyone, for your advice. I'm a beginner and every little definitely helps! From now on, if it's ready to go it gets sent in - and if clients take advantage of that, they're out!

Thanks again!


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 05:57
Japanese to English
Check it one last time, though. Nov 14, 2013

I'm a fan of sending things when they're done as well. In addition to all the other reasons given above, it also protects you from unforeseen troubles like falling sick, having personal emergencies, your hard drive going on the fritz, your Internet company choosing that very hour to do maintenance, etc. If it's done, let it go.

But give it one final check before you send it. I find typos doubly embarrassing when I had all the time in the world to nab them and didn't. Oh, the shame.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:57
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Same here Nov 14, 2013

Jitka Komarkova (Mgr.) wrote:
However, when I finish an assignments earlier, I usually send it right away after thorough check. I sometimes add a note saying "this time I managed to finish earlier" or "luckily, I can deliver earlier today"...


I do the same. I send it as soon as I'm truly finished with it. If it is a small task and I can complete it within 20 minutes, even though the deadline is 3 days away, I send it as soon as I'm done with it and I don't wait until I'm close to the deadline. If this client deals with dozens of languages, you can bet that most languages' translators will send their files shortly before the deadline.

Gerard de Noord wrote:
When you've asked a PM to go out of her way to obtain delivery on Monday morning SOB, it would be very unwise to deliver before Sunday 22.00 PM.


No, I disagree. If you can give a convincing reason why you're delivering the work on Saturday afternoon, then it can't hurt. Who knows... perhaps that PM is also working the weekend, and getting the file earlier might just brighten up her day.

I sometimes get translation requests while doing something else for which I can't be exactly certain by what time I'll be done. In those cases, I play it safe and ask the second client for a longer deadline because (and I say this to them) I can't guarantee when the other job will be finished. For example, I may have a job that I suspect will take me another 10 hours, but then I hit an unexpected string of easy paragraphs or high fuzzy matches (or, in the case of editing, it turns out unexpectedly that documents 2, 3 and 4 must have been translated by a much better translator than document 1 was), so I can finish it in 4 hours. Or, sometimes I have a non-translation appointment and I expect to be back in 6 hours, but then the appointment is cancelled or I get back after only 3 hours. These are examples of me telling the client that I can't deliver soon, and then end up delivering soon. Another example is when a client starts the request procedure shortly before dinner time -- even if it is a small task, I may not be able to finish it until 3-4 hours later, if the client sends it too soon before I have to report for duty at the table. But if they do send it quick enough, then I do it quickly and send it immediately.



[Edited at 2013-11-14 08:38 GMT]


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xxxnrichy
France
Local time: 06:57
French to Dutch
+ ...
When it's done, send it Nov 14, 2013

I have a colleague who is convinced that he shouldn't "give bad habits" to his clients. And therefore, he always delivers just before deadline. I know very well one of these clients, and this behaviour is working against him (as if he always needs 4 days to translate 1000 words, is he sooo busy?).

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:57
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Deliver at the most comfortable time to you Nov 14, 2013

Natalia Mackevich wrote:
I usually charge per hour, and I'd never try to pretend that it took me more time than stated in my invoice.

Clearly you'd never charge the client more than you need - that would be the quickest way to lose them. But they mustn't think they are your only client either, taking up 100% of your time.

I treat each job separately. Sometimes, I'm able to deliver quite a bit earlier: whether I do or not depends on what I prefer to do at that time. If I'm expecting a busy period then I usually deliver it immediately, and tell them they got lucky. That's so much better than forgetting the deadline! I often promise delivery on a Monday, to give me the weekend to finish things off if necessary, and in that case I often deliver on Friday evening so it's ticked off. But I wouldn't deliver at 10pm on a Sunday evening unless I really had to. If the client insists on a deadline that means Sunday work then he pays a lot extra; if I choose to work Sundays then I prefer not to tell the client as I don't want to give the impression that they should expect it.


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:57
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
It'll make your PM's day Nov 14, 2013

When I deliver early I often get a nice reply from the PM, thanking me for the early delivery.

So not only have I got the job done early, but I've made someone else happy. And that happy person will be more likely to come to me again with future jobs.


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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:57
Dutch to English
+ ...
We usually take our time Nov 14, 2013

The only time I always send way ahead of schedule is when it's for 9 to 11 o'clock in the morning. I'm always scared I won't hear the alarm in the morning. I mostly deliver about 1 hour before deadline.
Otherwise, I really have to be totally and utterly happy with it and read it over 3 times and find it absolutely perfect before I will send the translation over way ahead of time. Otherwise, there is a reason why I should keep it, let it rest and then read it once or twice more.

Whenever I have got Dutch translations way ahead of schedule for proofreading, they were not the best ones. They could have been read a few times more sceptically, let's say. And they were mostly questionnaires which are not the most difficult ones to do.


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Texte Style
Local time: 06:57
French to English
fiddling Nov 14, 2013

I'm a perfectionist so I tend to want to use up all the time I have fiddling about adding a comma here and a colon there.

I have had experiences with clients calling and expecting me to do something on the spot, these never get the translation early.

Those who treat me with respect, who usually give me a reasonable amount of time, will then be delivered ahead of schedule when my workload is such that I can't spend any more time fiddling without jeopardising the next deadline.

It's true that if you hand things in early sometimes, clients are more willing to give you a bit more time, they know your request is genuine.


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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:57
German to English
Under-promise and over-deliver Nov 14, 2013

Always quote deadlines that you know you can meet, always try to deliver before that deadline. This results in a happy customer and a happy you!

Steve K.


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