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Stupid end client in a panic wants translation FAST without actually finishing the source text
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:34
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Apr 4, 2017

I don't know if it's only Italians who leave everything to the last minute and then expect the translator to make up for their inefficiency:

Just a few days before the Easter break, an agency sends me an unfinished document that the end client is still working on, and asks me to start the translation very urgently, warning me that while I'm doing the translation the end client will probably continue to make changes and add sections.

Looking at the document, I have the distinct impression that several people are working on it, and that there is a boss somewhere who insists on her/his entitlement to change it, or add to it, as and when s/he feels like it.

The document is very challenging and the translation requires a lot of research. I would need plenty of time to do a good job.

I'm given a deadline just before Easter. Guess what: the end client has just realised that he needs to get this job done before Easter, and has forgotten that it needs to be translated.

Needless to say, I'm not going to accept this job. Once I have begun any job, I absolutely never accept any changes or additions to the source text. Not even if it's my mother.

Oh, and did I mention that the agency wants a discount on my rate?

Grrrrrrrrrr! Italians please note: COSI' NON SI FA' !!!

[Edited at 2017-04-04 09:02 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Happens all the time Apr 4, 2017

I agree it's frustrating but it's actually quite normal for many clients to send drafts for translation that are subsequently updated, and it's not necessarily down to a lack of organisation on their part.

I work mainly with financial institutions where everything can, and very often does, change at the last minute. They spend weeks writing a forecast or report and then something like Brexit comes along.

You get used to it after a while.

Except on bad days, when you scream and shout and would happily mow the buggers down with a machine gun for deleting that sentence you spent whole minutes perfecting.


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Redline Apr 4, 2017

It doesn’t usually happen to me. What I’m trying to say is that it does happen, yet only occasionally. When it does, I usually receive an update request; the source document with track changes, the existing (my) translation edited and perhaps a reference document(s)/glossary. Needless to say, I charge for it as a separate update project. It doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, it’s more paid work, which is, after all, welcome.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 02:34
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It happens... Apr 4, 2017

It’s frustrating but when you know that beforehand it’s part of the job and usually I invoice it accordingly. Having worked for 20 years as in-house translator for an EU institution I became quite used to unfinished documents being worked by several people and to tip it all in a non-native language (usually English)…

 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:34
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sounds like ... Apr 4, 2017

... a good case for a CAT tool, but I know you don't like them.

Other than that, it's not just your combination, Tom, or area, as Chris says - annual accounts and that kind of blaargh reports go through several drafts. Someone's lying in bed at night and thinks, Oh no, I forgot about such and such for Chapter 28, better put it in now and send the new version to the translation boffins at 3 in the morning, to help them out because that means they'll be getting it as soon as they wake up. Then he's having a coffee at 11 that morning and thinks, Oh no, I forgot about such and such for Chapter 54, better put it in now and send the new version to the translation boffins. Then, after lunch the same day, he thinks ....


 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:34
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Even when ... Apr 4, 2017

... they say they've finished it, beware of those dead giveaways in the margin, "Better talk to FW on this one", "Are these the 2016 figures? - have to ask TS", "Has this been checked by AN, validated by KT and approved by PQ?".

Means it's kind of finished, apart from a few things here and there. Here, there and everywhere, more like.

[Edited at 2017-04-04 10:14 GMT]


 

Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 03:34
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Meow Apr 4, 2017

A decent CAT tool will highlight all text additions and omissions to/from text that you've already translated in the colors of your choice.
It will also calculate the percentage value of such changes so you can assess how much more work it means for you.

You can also compare 2 documents in MS Word and have the differences shown (https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Compare-document-differences-using-the-legal-blackline-option-dbfc7351-4022-43a2-a0c4-54d1898702a0).


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:34
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Time wharp Apr 4, 2017

Yesterday at 12:30 I received an urgent job which had to be completed at 11:30 (am) same day. I told the PM I didn't do "past" translations, at which he asked me at 13:00 if I could do it before 13:00. I am still wondering what was going through his head.

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:34
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Yes but-- Apr 4, 2017

Jan Truper wrote:

A decent CAT tool will highlight all text additions and omissions to/from text that you've already translated in the colors of your choice.
It will also calculate the percentage value of such changes so you can assess how much more work it means for you.

You can also compare 2 documents in MS Word and have the differences shown (https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Compare-document-differences-using-the-legal-blackline-option-dbfc7351-4022-43a2-a0c4-54d1898702a0).


Yes, but I don't want to do that extra work.

Usually when I complete a job, meeting the deadline, I have another one lined up to start immediately, and for which I have given a deadline.

I can't start interrupting the second job to make time-consuming alterations and additions to the first one, when I'm already working flat out on the second one.

That's a decision I made many years ago, based on painful experience.

[Edited at 2017-04-04 11:08 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Oh Apr 4, 2017

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Sounds like a good case for a CAT tool



I find CAT makes things worse. What am I doing wrong?

You run the new file through and it grinds to a halt whenever it finds an effing tag. Then it fails to pick up quite a few 100% matches and chooses the wrong option where you have multiple translations. And the bits it cocked up before it cocks up again so you have to correct them again while inventing new swearwords, a major multitasking challenge. And then it files a zillion half-finished segments into the memory ready to throw you a curveball next year.

So I tend to do the old-fashioned compare docs and update in Word...

I admit I'm rubbish at Trados, but even so.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 03:34
German to Serbian
+ ...
Not only Italians. Apr 4, 2017

It's happening with clients from any country.

: (


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:34
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
I see Apr 4, 2017

Lingua 5B wrote:

It's happening with clients from any country.

: (



Stupidity, inefficiency, and a failure to plan ahead are universal and ignore national boundaries.

It's amazing that some end clients don't understand that if they want a very good, accurate professional translation they have to incorporate the necessary time and cost into their workflow.

[Edited at 2017-04-04 11:15 GMT]


 

Bo Wang  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 10:34
Member (2014)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Let them mark the changes Apr 4, 2017

They should mark any changes made to the source text.

 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:34
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Do the same Apr 4, 2017

You could send it to them halfway through, then send them an e-mail after about 10 minutes, saying it isn't the final version. Continue to do so for the next few hours, sending a new version every half hour until you get bored or get fired.

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:34
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Great idea Apr 4, 2017

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

You could send it to them halfway through, then send them an e-mail after about 10 minutes, saying it isn't the final version. Continue to do so for the next few hours, sending a new version every half hour until you get bored or get fired.


Great idea, Mervyn. Fight fire with fire.


 
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