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Availability after delivering translation
Thread poster: GudrunPancake
GudrunPancake
United Kingdom
English to Finnish
Mar 4, 2015

I work for one particular PM who likes me to be available for the rest of the day after I deliver the translation. When he gets round to it, he looks through my work and usually has a few questions.

It only takes a few minutes to respond to his email, but sometimes I need to go out to run errands and am simply not able to respond by the PM's delivery deadline.

Do you think it is reasonable of the PM to expect this? Last time, he got quite stressed and called me several times as he was going to be late delivering the file. I was not at home and did not know I was supposed to sit by the computer all day in case he had a query. He said it was expected of translators to be available in office hours after submitting a project.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Something you need to find agreement on Mar 4, 2015

GudrunPancake wrote:
He said it was expected of translators to be available in office hours after submitting a project.

I can see his point in some ways, but then he's an employee and required to work office hours - and you aren't. And he must be made to understand the difference (and become envious). I don't think either of you are being unreasonable; you just need to find common ground so you can make post-delivery queries work. Perhaps you can guarantee to respond to queries within n hours of the initial delivery?


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B. D. Laux  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:47
Member (2009)
German to Norwegian
+ ...
Tell them when you are available Mar 4, 2015

I usually tell it when I deliver a job if I'm not available the next hours.

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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 05:47
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
No Mar 4, 2015

Does he pay you for the time he expects you to be on call?
And even if he was willing to pay, you are not an employee - but an independent business owner that doesn't have to accept terms you are not comfortable with.

The delivery date you agreed on with the agency client is the only delivery date you are responsible for. While it is a professional curtsey to reply to reasonable follow-up questions within a reasonable time (I argue 24-48 hours), or to try and reach a mutual acceptable framework for any follow-up question - immediate availability or remaining on call on your expense (in time and money) do not fall under the definition of reasonable.
If that PM doesn't allow enough time and/or budget for follow-up questions, he/she isn't much of a project manager.

[Edited at 2015-03-04 11:36 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 03:47
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It’s included in my fee! Mar 4, 2015

One of the agencies I have been working with for some years, always sends me the translated files converted to PDFs, just to have a last look at the layout and make sure that everything is in the right place. This is part of the agreement I have with them and they always inform me in advance when they are going to send the files.

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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:47
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Availability is for sale Mar 4, 2015

I also had exactly the same type PM.
I always go through questions together with PMs, normally, at no charge. But! My time is my time and if they want me to be available for them, there is an hourly rate for that.
I tend to deliver my translations before the deadline, sometimes days in advance, specifically for giving some extra time to the agency for eventual questions. And yet there was one PM that would wait couple days after the oficial deadline and then would get mad that I wouldn't sit behind my desk and wouldn't wait for their appearance! Once I explained them, quite bluntly, I am a freelancer and I manage my time as I wish.
Strangely, other PMs have no problem to simply ask: this is an important client; could you be available on x day for y hours, just in case eventual questions occur?


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Normal practice Mar 4, 2015

I wish all PMs did it.

I love having my translation evaluated. I usually receive edited file with track changes and then accept/reject them, with comments, if proper.

I consider this is included in my rate. After all, I am just a part of a cycle and it needs to be closed.

I also like to have the "last word" on my translation. Sometimes (not too often), editors may introduce errors in your translation and I would like to have an opportunity to reject those changes.

Now, you cannot/should not be expected to be available at all times. If I am running errands, I simply email my client from my phone and tell them I will be able to review the edited file in one hour, two hours, etc. Most of the time though files arrive when I am in front of my computer.


[Edited at 2015-03-04 12:56 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:47
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I agree Mar 4, 2015

GudrunPancake wrote:

..... He said it was expected of translators to be available in office hours after submitting a project.



I agree with him. I keep Italian office hours (0930-1900). Here in London that's 0830-1800. And being Italy there's usually not much happening on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, which is when I do pop out to do a few things locally. But I'm never away for long. Then there are the numerous Italian feast days and saints' days, which I count as days off for me.

But it is important to be available after you've delivered a job. There may be questions, either from the PM or from the end user. All part of being a professional rather than a person who's "working from home".

[Edited at 2015-03-04 12:59 GMT]


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:47
Danish to English
+ ...
I disagree Mar 4, 2015

This particular PM may have certain expectations, but there are no general rules and regulations in the world of translations, everything is up for negotiation.

I do agree, however, that we should be prepared to receive questions and to give feedback about our translations, within a reasonable timeframe. But not within a timeframe that is dictated by somebody else's ideas of 'normal working hours'.


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GudrunPancake
United Kingdom
English to Finnish
TOPIC STARTER
Professional? Mar 4, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

GudrunPancake wrote:

..... He said it was expected of translators to be available in office hours after submitting a project.



I agree with him. I keep Italian office hours (0930-1900). Here in London that's 0830-1800. And being Italy there's usually not much happening on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, which is when I do pop out to do a few things locally. But I'm never away for long. Then there are the numerous Italian feast days and saints' days, which I count as days off for me.

But it is important to be available after you've delivered a job. There may be questions, either from the PM or from the end user. All part of being a professional rather than a person who's "working from home".

[Edited at 2015-03-04 12:59 GMT]


I am not sure I agree with this. Of course, I do think it's appropriate to respond within 5 hours, perhaps, to an email enquiry. I am not saying that I seemingly vanish for an entire day.

However, even professionals who work 9 - 5 every day have other things to attend to. Meetings with clients, phone conferences, trips out for interpreting jobs etc. I do not want to sit tied to my computer all day in case someone has a last-minute question.

In the most recent case, I sent the PM my translation two hours early at noon. Knowing what he is like, I said "I will be at home for the next two hours, then I will not be back until 5:30 so will answer any other emails then." The PM was NOT happy with this and said he would have to rearrange all of his afternoon work to review my file right away, as it was due to be sent to the client at 5 pm.

Was that reasonable of him? I hate to disappoint a client but I do have a life to get on with. It's interesting how some agencies ask you to work weekends and evenings yet also be working all day long ...


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
But THEIR hours can't always apply Mar 4, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

GudrunPancake wrote:

..... He said it was expected of translators to be available in office hours after submitting a project.



I agree with him. I keep Italian office hours (0930-1900). Here in London that's 0830-1800.

In the simple case of working 100% with one other country, then that's simple to manage. But what if, like me, you have clients in many different parts of the world? It's clearly not feasible. I think the only thing you can do is to arrange with each client, and maybe for each job, when you'll be able to respond to their queries (either between certain times of day or within a certain time-frame).


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Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:47
Member (2012)
French to English
Just a thought Mar 4, 2015

If you need to go out, aren't most of the questions answerable from your iPad or iPhone or similar device?

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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:47
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Not always Mar 4, 2015

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

If you need to go out, aren't most of the questions answerable from your iPad or iPhone or similar device?


In my case, and I believe in many others, that is often not possible - some of us provide also interpreting services. Is it really reasonable to expect someone to text from the court room or during a business meeting, for that matter? I guess, not.


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not always Mar 4, 2015

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

If you need to go out, aren't most of the questions answerable from your iPad or iPhone or similar device?


My iPad shows no track changes, comments, etc. I find it uncomfortable to work from my iPad. I cannot just shoot an answer, I need to open the target file, source file, maybe something else. I need my computer for that.


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Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:47
Member (2012)
French to English
. Mar 4, 2015

Merab Dekano wrote:

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

If you need to go out, aren't most of the questions answerable from your iPad or iPhone or similar device?


My iPad shows no track changes, comments, etc. I find it uncomfortable to work from my iPad. I cannot just shoot an answer, I need to open the target file, source file, maybe something else. I need my computer for that.



I agree that it's not so comfortable working on an iPad, but you can certainly access and work on documents on your computer from your iPad via an app such as Filebrowser.

[Edited at 2015-03-04 15:52 GMT]


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