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Translator not delivering
Thread poster: Vince1974

Vince1974  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 05:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
Aug 25, 2014

Hello,

A friend of mine asked me to post a job for a 11k words document to be translated. A translator offered his services and we awarded him the project on the 14th of August with the deadline being the 18th. No delivery occurred on the 18th and I reminded him on the 19th, 21st and 23rd, both by email and Skype.

He is a translator with 30+ positive reviews on Proz, which is hard to understand based on my experience.

What's the best course of action now?

Thanks,

Vincent.


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:26
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Be patient Aug 25, 2014

Vince1974 wrote:

Hello,

A friend of mine asked me to post a job for a 11k words document to be translated. A translator offered his services and we awarded him the project on the 14th of August with the deadline being the 18th. No delivery occurred on the 18th and I reminded him on the 19th, 21st and 23rd, both by email and Skype.

He is a translator with 30+ positive reviews on Proz, which is hard to understand based on my experience.

What's the best course of action now?

Thanks,

Vincent.


Dear Vincent,

As a professional translator you should never have tried to pass through a 11K words job with a deadline of three days.

Cheers,
Gerard


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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:26
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Telephone him Aug 25, 2014

Try phoning the translator. Sometimes e-mails get lost in cyberspace.

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Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 14:26
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Find somebody else Aug 25, 2014

Although I agree with Gerard that placing a 11K project for 3 days is not a good idea especially when you are not in rush, I do not think that translator's silence is acceptable.

I think it might be a good idea to cancel the project and find another translator but this time to set a more reasonable deadline (at least 5 days).


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Vince1974  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 05:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Enough time Aug 25, 2014

I posted the project on the 11th, assuming I'd find a translator soon enough and leaving enough time for the translation. Due to the client and translators responding quite slowly to any answers the project wasn't awarded until the 14th, still giving the translator 4 days to deliver 11k words, from personal experience I can say that's quite easily doable if you're fluent in both languages and the subject matter isn't too complicated.

Anyway, I might give this guy another phone call but I think we're going to have to look for another translator. Can you post a WnWA for someone?

V.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What was his reply? Aug 25, 2014

Vince1974 wrote:
I reminded him on the 19th, 21st and 23rd, both by email and Skype.

Are you saying that there has been no response at all? Or that he's stalling for more time? Or what?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:26
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Agree and disagree Aug 25, 2014

Vince1974 wrote:

I posted the project on the 11th, assuming I'd find a translator soon enough and leaving enough time for the translation. Due to the client and translators responding quite slowly to any answers the project wasn't awarded until the 14th, still giving the translator 4 days to deliver 11k words, from personal experience I can say that's quite easily doable if you're fluent in both languages and the subject matter isn't too complicated.


Quite fair, 4 days for 11 (even 12) Kwords.

Vince1974 wrote:
Anyway, I might give this guy another phone call but I think we're going to have to look for another translator. Can you post a WnWA for someone?


However if you tried to contact him on three days via two independent methods (e-mail & Skype) and got NO return, there is reason to believe that something bad may have happened to him.

For instance, a client had scheduled to send me some large files today to translate on a somewhat tight deadline, and I haven't heard from them. However I read on the local news here that there was a major earthquake in their area yesterday, even though I am some 10,000 km away.

Yet an individual accident or a sudden illness would not have been publicized so broadly.

Therefore, if I had the number, I would definitely have phoned him by now.
I intend to phone my client tomorrow.


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:26
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Something is amiss Aug 26, 2014

If you didn't call him the moment he was late, you should have.

The telephone is still your most powerful communication tool. Not email, not Skype, not texting. The reason is that the telephone operates in real time with immediate communication.

As an outsourcer you need to keep your finger on things. Since it was a new translator you should have been checking up on him, asking how the job is coming along after a day or two. No response to your emails means that you should make a phone call.

Who knows what your translator is thinking? You are not using all means at your disposal to communicate.

FWIW, 4 days to translate 11k of "typical" material should be enough time to get the job done.

[Edited at 2014-08-26 04:03 GMT]


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:26
French to German
+ ...
Phone call Aug 26, 2014

I always wonder why people dont phone when they get no reply via mail.

With 30 positive entries on ProZ this translator seems to be a reliable one, maybe something bad happened to him as already mentionned José or there is a mail problem... (?)

The best thing to do is to give him another phone call and get that clear...

[Modifié le 2014-08-26 08:19 GMT] If you can't speak to him leave a message with a deadline (by mail as well) and tell him that if he does not answer you are looking for someone else to do the job.

[Modifié le 2014-08-26 08:21 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:26
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Try to find out what's happened Aug 26, 2014

You can't mention names here, but if you mention the language pair, and perhaps give a few more clues, maybe another user here will be able to identify the translator and could try contacting him to find out if everything is OK.

Assuming that you chose this translator carefully and that he is a professional person, the only logical conclusion is that something bad has happened to him.

[Edited at 2014-08-26 08:29 GMT]


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:26
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Confirmation? Aug 26, 2014

Did you receive a confirmation when you placed your order? If not, maybe he simply hasn't received any of your emails.

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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:26
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Capacity can change quickly Aug 26, 2014

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Vince1974 wrote:

giving the translator 4 days to deliver 11k words, from personal experience I can say that's quite easily doable if you're fluent in both languages and the subject matter isn't too complicated.


Quite fair, 4 days for 11 (even 12) Kwords.


In theory, and *only* if the translator is sitting around with nothing else to do for days but wait for you to confirm the job. How likely is that? I might be able take 11 or 12 k for 4 days if you ask me at a propitious time today. If you ask me again in three days by the time you get the job confirmed, who knows? My availability is certain to have changed within a few hours, even minutes, as other jobs roll in.

Unless it's very a short job, I also always qualify quotes for potential jobs with the caveat that the time frame is subject to re-examination at the time of order confirmation, though this should really go without saying. Most good oursourcers ask if the time frame is still OK, especially if some time has passed. Of course, the translator should have told if you the deadline was no longer doable.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:26
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Ability to do the job is not the issue Aug 26, 2014

There're too many comments here, in my opinion, talking about whether or not it's possible to do the job in the time allotted.

The fact is that the translator was asked, and he accepted, to do the job in the time specified. Assuming that he's a professional with plenty of experience, who knows what he's talking about, who would not take on a job if he couldn't do it, I'd say that's the end of that particular consideration.

The only question is, where is the translator? Is he OK? Has he disappeared from the face of the earth?

A bit of speculation about this might be more useful…

[Edited at 2014-08-26 09:43 GMT]


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:26
English to Polish
+ ...
... Aug 26, 2014

1. The translator's silence is, of course, unacceptable. Perhaps ask Proz.com staff to try to contact him and see if he's alive and well? Phone the police at his location with the same question? (NOTE: Not to complain, only to make sure he wasn't, for example, injured in a car accident and put out of commission for a while.)

2. While 11K within 3 days is doable, you should be aware that in such a situation you should be: 1) paying urgency surcharges ('rush fees'), and 2) the bearer of risk associated with such urgency, 3) conscious of limitations normally put on the quality of such urgent translation.

Plus, while I don't know the details of your individual situations, it's not quite serious and responsible when job posters have a whole week to translate a large file but still take sweet time until like Thursday to select their translator. After selecting that translator they, of course, still want same old 'highest quality' and don't want to pay any rush fees, either asking politely for a waiver (finishing the selection faster would have achieved the same saving without burdening the translator with the economic cost) or just refusing to proceed with the job otherwise, whatever really happens there. I've been trying to call staff's attention to this problem for a longer and while. Some reminders and warnings are really in order.


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 13:26
Japanese to English
+ ...
Yes Aug 26, 2014

Tom in London wrote:

The fact is that the translator was asked, and he accepted, to do the job in the time specified. Assuming that he's a professional with plenty of experience, who knows what he's talking about, who would not take on a job if he couldn't do it, I'd say that's the end of that particular consideration.


Have to agree with this. It really doesn't matter if the job was for 100k words in 3 days, once a translator accepts it then he or she is responsible for seeing it through. We can speculate on this particular case all we want, but ultimately unless the translator is dead or otherwise incapacitated there can really be no excuse for not at least emailing or calling the client to let them know what's going on.


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