Don't these people have diaries?
Thread poster: xxxDr Howard Ca
xxxDr Howard Ca  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:00
Italian to English
+ ...
May 20, 2016

I see we are back in 'silly season' again, regarding job postings on Proz. A scan of the most recent postings shows another marked increase in the number of jobs defined by the poster as 'urgent', 'very urgent', 'needed in 5 hours' or similar. Don't these people have diaries? Everything is 'urgent' until the invoice is sent, then the wait begins. Quality and haste are uneasy bedfellows, but if the job really is urgent, a similar turnaround speed should apply to payment.

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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 06:00
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
The culture May 20, 2016

Dr Howard Camm wrote:

I see we are back in 'silly season' again, regarding job postings on Proz. A scan of the most recent postings shows another marked increase in the number of jobs defined by the poster as 'urgent', 'very urgent', 'needed in 5 hours' or similar. Don't these people have diaries? Everything is 'urgent' until the invoice is sent, then the wait begins. Quality and haste are uneasy bedfellows, but if the job really is urgent, a similar turnaround speed should apply to payment.


I always read the word "urgent."
I always reply them in ironic way e.g. "your job is not worth my urgent handling", "You are a new agency. I decline your non-rational word 'urgency'", "please pay urgently in advance" etc.

I try hard to position translators are an advantage. I do not know how it is effective or not.

Best regards,

Soonthon L.


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:00
Member (2014)
English to German
Yes, May 20, 2016

just as I declined one such job (6000 words in PDF until Monday noon, they plan to split it into 3 chunks) and completed two others this week?!

What I really do not understand is the little importance and thought is given to quality. I assume it is often the client (?), e.g. if a not so large job has to be divided up then writing style and terminology used will change, as a TM is not always that useful.


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xxxDr Howard Ca  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:00
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No sense of the date, either. May 20, 2016

Unbelievable. Another 'urgent' job posted this morning. Supposedly available 1600hrs CEST on Thursday for completion today 1200 CEST. It is already 1239 CEST here in Amsterdam and the job was posted a short while ago today, after both the posting date and deadline. Perhaps translators now need a qualification in time travel? Obviously this would be cheap qualification to obtain, as the rate is a staggering 0.04 EUR per word.

[Bijgewerkt op 2016-05-20 10:50 GMT]


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Of course it is quite convenient May 20, 2016

to pretend that my translation is urgent, or even very urgent, without having to pay any rush fee and then pay the bill at my convenience, isn't it, so why not?
For an urgent translation we have to drop everything else we are doing or are about to do, and a rush fee applies or at least should apply (as well as for weekend jobs). But as a matter of fact, rush fees seem to have come out of fashion among translators, while I still have to see an agency that doesn't apply them.

So it's not surprising that we are seeing an increasing number of urgent or very urgent jobs


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:00
Member (2014)
English to German
Rush fee? May 20, 2016

Christel Zipfel wrote:

to pretend that my translation is urgent, or even very urgent, without having to pay any rush fee and then pay the bill at my convenience, isn't it, so why not?
For an urgent translation we have to drop everything else we are doing or are about to do, and a rush fee applies or at least should apply (as well as for weekend jobs). But as a matter of fact, rush fees seem to have come out of fashion among translators, while I still have to see an agency that doesn't apply them.

So it's not surprising that we are seeing an increasing number of urgent or very urgent jobs



Although, I do inform clients of a rush fee, if the job is not doable in working hours, however, this often seems to be an alien concept to them, but they do make an effort to avoid it.


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SuomenKielikuva  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 01:00
Member (Aug 2017)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Few jobs are really urgent May 20, 2016

Quality and haste are uneasy bedfellows, but if the job really is urgent, a similar turnaround speed should apply to payment.


Aye... but it rarely is.

I know a freelance web designer who refuses to touch any jobs marked as 'urgent'. Her motto is that "Just because your hair is on fire, doesn't mean that mine should be.". It is my new favourite quote, as I could not say it any better myself.

In all honesty though, jobs that are truly urgent are rare. Most of the time an urgent job is a (bad) translation agency trying to source the translation for pennies, and they only mark the work as urgent as they need time for all the project management involved in the way they operate (finding a translator, haggling them to a low price, finding someone else to proofread the document, haggling them to a low price, sending documents back and forth, reserving time for finding another translator if the first one fails to deliver, sending the proofread version back to the original translator so s/he can confirm or decline the proposed changes etc.). Or in a case of true entrepreneurship, the outsourcer is another "translator" that has taken on a job that they either do not have the skills or the time to complete, and is now trying to source someone else to do it for him/her within the deadline given by their client.

Of course sometimes project like these actually become urgent because the client keeps refusing reasonable offers, in hopes of finding cheaper ones, as it is part of their business structure to source translators for 1/4 of the going rate while they charge their end clients the full whack. I can understand this with simple translations, such as a customer satisfaction survey with a lot of repetition, but when these agencies try to get you to translate complex technical safety manuals or company fusion documents, that's when I facepalm.

[Edited at 2016-05-20 11:39 GMT]


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Christina Baier  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:00
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
Translation comes at the end of the developping chain May 20, 2016

Last week, I translated the website of a big French company, opening their first shop in Germany. They had been announcing and preparing this for weeks, but it was only three days before the opening date that they came to think of "oh yes, probably we should have the website translated into German..."

Sometimes clients want to have a text that took them 10 days to write translated in 1 day! They consider translation mostly as a "typing job".


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xxxDr Howard Ca  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:00
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Money, money, money May 20, 2016

It is absolutely all about money for translation agencies. I know of agencies which actively target 'urgent' jobs, charge the end client an 'urgent' fee, but decline to pay the real talent, the translator or interpreter, any 'urgent' fees at all. As part of my terms and conditions, I add +25% to my fee for 'urgent' jobs, requiring payment on completion. Some time ago, I accepted an 'urgent' translation job, which required an all night effort to translate a highly complex medical report from Serbian>Italian and I met the deadline as posted. When I invoiced the agency, I had to wait 6 months for payment, which was only eventually made when I applied for a European Debt Order against the company in question and a court official visited their premises. To be frank, I see no reason at all for the existence of translation agencies, when all translating and interpreting jobs can be posted directly online, very easily. Translation agencies in themselves have no expertise - they simply act as 'middlemen' to broker jobs from which they profit, to the detriment of translators and interpreters who actually do the work.

[Bijgewerkt op 2016-05-20 12:22 GMT]


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SuomenKielikuva  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 01:00
Member (Aug 2017)
English to Finnish
+ ...
The Chinese Whisper May 20, 2016

Some time ago, I accepted an 'urgent' translation job, which required an all night effort to translate a highly complex medical report from Serbian>Italian and I met the deadline as posted. When I invoiced the agency, I had to wait 6 months for payment, which was only eventually made when I applied for a European Debt Order against the company in question and a court official visited their premises.



I know a translator who was not paid by the agency that contracted her. When she didn't receive her payment, she contacted the end-client and explained the situation to them. The end-client was livid with rage and rained fire and brimstone on the agency, requiring them to pay all that she had paid for the translation to the original translator. The translator was quite surprised when this ended up being over 4 times the amount she had quoted...


To be frank, I see no reason at all for the existence of translation agencies, when all translating and interpreting jobs can be posted directly online, very easily. Translation agencies in themselves have no expertise - they simply act as 'middlemen' to broker jobs from which they profit, to the detriment of translators and interpreters who actually, really do the work.


I can see why big corporations like to use agencies; it is because large companies such as Microsoft require translations in several languages (often over 20), and it is easier for them to ask for quotes from five agencies that promise to deliver on all the required languages, rather than getting 100+ quotes from different freelancers for different languages. It would be poor time management, and since the person having to shift through the proposals would not speak all the languages required, it would also be impossible to do quality assurance. So they hire an agency, trusting in their capability to do both the project management and the language QA.

There is also an assumed level of competence with agencies, as a translation company obviously makes their money doing translations, which fools the client into thinking that all the translators working for the company are linquistic professionals. Most corporations are not aware of how these agencies truly operate, and honest freelancers that give them quality content for pennies on the dollar have kept them in operation for far too long.

Funny story, actually - one of the agencies I took work through when I was starting out sent me files last month where they wanted me to do a "test" for a client. I refused, as when I asked them about payment, they said "we don't know yet". A couple of days ago I sent in a quote to a job posted on one of freelancing platforms I source work through, and the client ended up being the end-client of that test translation. They even sent me exactly the same files. The client told me, that for the past months, they had been working with an agency, but decided to outsource themselves after they realized that the translation quality they had been receiving from the agency had been just slightly above Google translate. Figures... When I explained to the client the game of Chinese Whispers these agencies often use, they were not impressed.

[Edited at 2016-05-20 12:35 GMT]


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:00
Member (2014)
English to German
Typing job! May 20, 2016

Christina Baier wrote:

Sometimes clients want to have a text that took them 10 days to write translated in 1 day! They consider translation mostly as a "typing job".


But how can they be educated?

I was approached by an agency offering a large project with a turnaround time of 2 hours for 500 words, of course with bigger texts the deadline would be longer!? We didn't get as far as discussing rates ... and no, I didn't want to give it a try.

[Edited at 2016-05-20 12:45 GMT]


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:00
German to English
Frequently two different factors involved May 20, 2016

The first obvious reason why translations are regarded as "urgent" has to do with the end client not understanding what is involved in the translation process. Over the years I've had several offers of rush jobs from direct clients, some of which I've taken. In almost all cases, the time stamp on the file or the date otherwise indicated on the text was created weeks earlier. The client basically ignored the file until the deadline for a response/meeting was imminent and went into a panic. Doubtless this happens to agencies all the time. Often the agency will charge a rush fee – and occasionally will pass it along to the translator as an incentive.

A second factor has to do with agencies outsourcing to one another. The result is a compression of both the deadline and price. Agency A will accept a job for – say 24 cents/word – but discovers that all its "A list" translators for that language combination/specialty are busy, so it subcontracts to agency B for 20 cents/word. Perhaps the same thing happens to agency B, so it sells the job to agency C. Consequently the deadline grows shorter, together with fee shrinkage.

In theory, there's nothing wrong with out-out-sourcing. Many agencies can't afford to pay a sales force to beat the bushes for engagements, and thrive on getting subcontracted work, while paying their translators an acceptable rate (well, minimally-acceptable in some cases), while maintaining some semblance of quality. In practice, the system breaks down further along the food chain with near-impossible deadlines and insulting rates.


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:00
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Of course it's urgent May 23, 2016

If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have contacted you tomorrow...
(and of course they want it ready yesterday....)
So I ask them if it's really really urgent, and they I promise to do it after the stuff that is really really really urgent.... (IF we can agree on the really really urgent FEE, of course...; which usually means somewhere next week is actually OK too...)

(Most often something becomes urgent because they where not able to find a really really cheap transaltor during the two weeks they've been sitting on the text...)

if all fails just send them you calendar and a book on project planning for the win:

http://prntscr.com/b7cijf

http://prntscr.com/b7ciq7


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:00
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
There has to be time for reviewing and QA... May 23, 2016

People think translation is instant, but then it just has to be 'tidied up' or 'adjusted' or whatever they like to call it.

If agencies are ISO-certified, they have to document their Quality Management and Quality Assurance etc. You can really make a big job of all that if you start out with a mess. Then you can convince the ISO auditors that you are really doing things with quality.
Never mind the result, these people want something they can spend their QA time on, to keep up their ISO certification...

I am not sure that is really how it works, but sometimes I have turned down a rushed translation job because I did not have time. Several days later, when I could have done it after all, I would be asked to 'review' or QA the same text, and I am often the second or third person to mess with it! (Or would be, but I always refuse those jobs.)
____________

Back when I started, the idea was to pick the right translator and allow time for him/her to do the translation properly and check it through. Then you could set a rookie like me to play devil's advocate and read the translation, without the source, for fluency, typos and commas. Only after that would I check it against the source for omissions. I learned how a real translator worked, and there was never really much to correct anyway. And of course, the experienced translator had the final say about any changes.

It is often useful to have a proofreader who has NOT read the source text, at least the first time round, and that is the one thing the translator cannot do!

I am sure too much QA is counter-productive. If you want quality, you have to allow the translator time to get it right from the start... But that is where reasonable deadlines are whittled down and precious time is wasted.


[Edited at 2016-05-23 15:55 GMT]


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