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Pulling out of a project
Thread poster: Hannah D

Hannah D  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
French to English
+ ...
Oct 14, 2014

Hello,

I'd like to hear about your experiences of pulling out of a project.

Have you ever done this? If so, why?

Is it acceptable to do so or do you feel you have an obligation to finish what you started?


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Nicole Coesel  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:16
Member (2012)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes, I have! Oct 14, 2014

Dear Hannah,

Eventhough I am strongly committed to any job and my attitude is very flexible and easy-going, that does not mean there are no limits. A customer who keeps 'changing the rules' during the translation to my disadvantage is an absolute no-no. For example: "Our client has given us more work and we had to offer him a discount. You will therefore receive € 0,02 less per source word".
Thanks - but no thanks! There was no reasoning with them (client from India - no offence - but I should have known).

You do not give any specifics regarding your s(h)ituation, but ff you feel you are being treated unfair, then you probably are.
Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss further details regarding your post.

Best of luck,
Nicole.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I suppose it depends on the circumstances Oct 14, 2014

There have certainly been projects where I would have dearly loved to walk away but couldn't. Projects where I'd quoted too low for one reason or another, or simply accepted what the client offered (in the early stages of my career - I don't do that any more) and found it to be too low. But a contract is a contract and not earning enough is no reason to break it, unfortunately.

I can't remember it happening to me but I can imagine a scenario where the client didn't fulfil their side of the contract - that could result in me walking away. If they started insisting on adding more work for the same price, rewriting the source after I'd translated it, or refusing to give reasonable instructions etc.

There's also the possibility of offensive material coming to light once the job has been started, maybe hidden in a bigger job. I'll help clients market most things by translating/editing their texts, but not terrorism, hate campaigns, extreme porn etc.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:16
English to Polish
+ ...
... Oct 14, 2014

Very rarely. I withdrew my confirmation quickly once after noticing the nature of the goods in a distribution contract. Some other time I notified the agency the quality of the original was too low, and they took me off, understanding I was quitting, and I didn't protest seeing as they were letting me do that. I may have cancelled out due to falling sick once or twice, but always with the client's agreement.

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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:16
Danish to English
+ ...
Once or twice Oct 14, 2014

Very rarely, but yes, a couple of times I have accepted a project and started working on it, only to realise that I was out of my depth, typically because the text was legal jargon, in which I am no expert and have no interest.

In such cases, I have told the client (an excellent agency) about my dilemma, and stressed that I would, of course, not charge for the work I had already done. I have never had any problems with this, but that is probably partly due to the fact that I have an excellent working relationship with the client who knows me and knows that I would not let them down if I could possibly complete the job agreed.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:16
Chinese to English
Similar to Gitte Oct 14, 2014

It happens on occasion for non-work reasons - family emergency or similar. Just occasionally I've received work, then realised I didn't have the knowledge to do it properly. In my experience clients are understanding - after all, better that you pull out rather than mess up their project.

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Hannah D  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your replies Oct 14, 2014

My issue is despite having been told I would be working with Word files, the client sent me massive PDFs that require approx. 1 hour each to transfer into a Word document.

In addition, despite the fact that I invoiced and requested payment via bank transfer, I woke up one morning to find a cheque through the door (obviously exchange rates and handling fees at my own expense).

Stupidly, I completed the first stage of the project despite the PDF situation because I didn't have much on at that time. Now the PDF issue combined with the payment issue means I am feeling pretty irritated, but I don't want to call it off if that would be an unprofessional way of behaving. What do you think?


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sschill
Sweden
Local time: 03:16
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
Cheque and PDF? Oct 14, 2014

Hi there,
If you agreed to work with Word files and payment via bank transfer and you got a cheque and PDF's then they have not upheld their end of the bargain and I do believe you are justified to pull out of the project. Have you asked them why they told you that you would be paid via bank transfer and then were paid by cheque? Can they convert the PDF files into Word for you?


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Hannah D  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well... Oct 14, 2014

sschill wrote:

Hi there,
If you agreed to work with Word files and payment via bank transfer and you got a cheque and PDF's then they have not upheld their end of the bargain and I do believe you are justified to pull out of the project. Have you asked them why they told you that you would be paid via bank transfer and then were paid by cheque? Can they convert the PDF files into Word for you?


They never said they would pay by bank transfer, that's just what I requested with my invoice. I still think it's quite rude though. As for the PDFs, when I first got them I asked if I could have them in Word format as discussed and they just said ''we only have them as PDFS'' and implied that the person who originally had said they'd be available as Word docs had confused them with other documents.

I know it's my own fault as I should have just laid down the rules when I started, but as I said, I was having a slow period. Do you reckon I should just grit my teeth and see it through?


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sschill
Sweden
Local time: 03:16
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
Depends Oct 14, 2014

Depends on whether they are a client you want to keep a relationship with. Do you get a lot of work from them? Do you enjoy working for them? Do you have other jobs that pay better that you could be doing at this point in time? It's a hard decision to make to pull out of a project but if you are really not enjoying it maybe it would be better to cut your losses and move on.

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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:16
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
It happened to me once Oct 14, 2014

So far it has only happened to me once-I had been asked if I was available for a translation, and I replied in the affirmative and stated my rate. The agency took a long time to answer, and to cut a long story short, I ended up accepting to proofread, and I had to login in the agency's site, where there was written 'translation', but, instead, there was the source text again. Time was passing, so I just emailed the agency saying I was refusing to do the proofreading- in a nicer way than explained here of course- and I said the reason was that there was not the translation, but the source text. Well, the agency then asked me if I would translate the text, to which I replied 'no' as I do not like doing things in haste, then the translation was found, so I was asked if I would proofread-the agency is usually organised- and I accepted, but I would not hesitate to refuse if an agency kept changing terms or, as Sheila pointed out, if I discovered that the text contained any hate, fraud, child abuse, exploitation, terrorism, racist content, especially seeing I translate a lot of subtitiles too. I would not feel at all unprofessional in that case, just as I refuse contracts that have a lot of technical terms too.

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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
They can only trick you once into it Oct 14, 2014

Hannah D wrote:

My issue is despite having been told I would be working with Word files, the client sent me massive PDFs that require approx. 1 hour each to transfer into a Word document.

In addition, despite the fact that I invoiced and requested payment via bank transfer, I woke up one morning to find a cheque through the door (obviously exchange rates and handling fees at my own expense).

Stupidly, I completed the first stage of the project despite the PDF situation because I didn't have much on at that time. Now the PDF issue combined with the payment issue means I am feeling pretty irritated, but I don't want to call it off if that would be an unprofessional way of behaving. What do you think?


Finish it off and never ever again work with that agency. You will feel much better that way. Do not forget, there are folks waiting for that translation (the end client) who have nothing to do with the "ethics" of that particular agency. I know, it is not "our business", but I would not "let them down."

I can take one really hard blow, but 100 weaker blows will certainly kill me. Therefore, only once...

Oops, and you already did the first part, so...


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Irritating, but ... Oct 14, 2014

The time to pull out of the job was right at the start when you became aware that you would have to work with PDFs. I think having started work you have accepted the altered conditions and should probably just put this one down to experience and get on with it.

You don't have to work with this company again, but I do think it would be unprofessional to pull out at this stage.

As to the cheque, I think the lesson there is to make sure your terms and conditions are accepted before starting work. Putting it on your invoice is too late.

[Edited at 2014-10-14 12:43 GMT]


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Hannah D  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Rachel and Merab... Oct 14, 2014

I know you're right, dammit!

Thanks for giving me your advice, I'll grin and bear it and be smarter next time.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Renegotiate to some extent? Oct 14, 2014

Hannah D wrote:
They never said they would pay by bank transfer, that's just what I requested with my invoice. I still think it's quite rude though. As for the PDFs, when I first got them I asked if I could have them in Word format as discussed and they just said ''we only have them as PDFS'' and implied that the person who originally had said they'd be available as Word docs had confused them with other documents.

I don't think either is sufficient reason for pulling out. However, both give rise to a possibility of renegotiation. These are things that clearly weren't written in tablets of stone before you started work. Now it appears that the project has changed somewhat. It's quite likely one of their employees messed up about the file type, but that isn't your fault. And they've chosen a form of payment that isn't to your liking, and which they probably knew wouldn't be to your liking (unless they are a UK-based company paying in sterling).

So you have some disagreement - it happens; clients aren't 100% good or 100% bad and business equals negotiation. You are in a very strong position if they're interested in deadlines and consistency of quality. And you have justifiable complaints of the type everyone can recognise: ones that are hitting your purse.

I personally would inform them that from now on you will be adding a set handling fee for each page of PDF received, to cover handling. They can of course avoid paying this by providing Word files. And as for the invoice, you can draw their attention to what's stated there, and inform them of the reasons for refusing to accept a cheque. If you lay out the time delay in cashing it, as well as the costs, I'm sure they'll see there's a case to answer, although they will probably counter with the inconvenience/cost of a transfer at their end.

I imagine you can come to some sort of agreement. It's easier when there are two grievances: you can give way on one if they cede on the other. Fair and business-like.


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