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Good agency. Bad communication.
Thread poster: Miranda Drew

Miranda Drew  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:44
Italian to English
Oct 25, 2018

I have a lot of agency clients. There's one agency I've been working for for about a year. They pay well and on time. On that score they are very professional and reliable. But their communication is terrible.

An example: They send me a message proposing a job. I answer. Then crickets. If the job is not confirmed by the client, they just don't answer me. This happens with all of their PMs, not just one of them. Once I told them I could do an urgent job, no answer. Two hours pass, d
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I have a lot of agency clients. There's one agency I've been working for for about a year. They pay well and on time. On that score they are very professional and reliable. But their communication is terrible.

An example: They send me a message proposing a job. I answer. Then crickets. If the job is not confirmed by the client, they just don't answer me. This happens with all of their PMs, not just one of them. Once I told them I could do an urgent job, no answer. Two hours pass, during which I get other offers and take one of the other (confirmed) offers. I write them that I'm getting other offers, and they say - "we're working on preparing the file for your to translate." I didn't take the job that time because they never answered me, didn't let me know what was going on and I told them that (politely).

For the last few months, when they don't answer me, I've been sending another email, saying, "can you please let me know if this job is confirmed or not?" That seemed to work. But recently they sent me a job offer, I look at the file, and it's a horrible mess of track changes. Of course it's urgent. I tell them that I can do the job if I can accept all the revisions and translate the clean file (I use MemoQ). Crickets again. After half an hour, I sent "can you please let me know as soon as possible whether I can accept the changes or not?". Their answer was "we are checking with the client to get an answer to your question." Ok. That's fine. But I can't read minds. Why don't they communicate what's going on?
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Morano El-Kholy
Mirko Mainardi
Anna Varricchio
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Emma Page
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:44
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
Annoying, but easy to deal with Oct 25, 2018

Of course this is really annoying. But assuming they pay on time and never blame you for their delays (meaning, if they say it's "urgent", then you reply with a question and they take a day to answer, they accept that you will deliver a day later without complaining), it's not the end of the world.

An unconfirmed job is an unconfirmed job. Treat it as such! Assume that silence means they don't need anything from you, and you can commit to other work or do something else. They can't
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Of course this is really annoying. But assuming they pay on time and never blame you for their delays (meaning, if they say it's "urgent", then you reply with a question and they take a day to answer, they accept that you will deliver a day later without complaining), it's not the end of the world.

An unconfirmed job is an unconfirmed job. Treat it as such! Assume that silence means they don't need anything from you, and you can commit to other work or do something else. They can't deliver without you, so it's up to them to get you the information you need to do the work. Work to your own standards of professionalism and don't spend bandwidth worrying about when they'll email you back.
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Morano El-Kholy
Teresa Borges
Miranda Drew
Deborah do Carmo
Valérie Ourset
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
B D Finch
 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:44
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Crickets? Oct 25, 2018

I've never seen the word "crickets" used as you use it here. I presume it means "nothing" or "silence" in this sense. Please enlighten me.
I agree with you that such tardiness about jobs offered as "urgent" is annoying but, as Emma has already said, it's best to consider them as not confirmed until they actually are confirmed and to accept other jobs meanwhile.


Miranda Drew
 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:44
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Good agency. Bad communication Oct 25, 2018

I would drop them.

 

Miranda Drew  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:44
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
"crickets" Oct 25, 2018

I agree with both of you. Jennifer, I'm American so maybe this usage of crickets is specifically American. It means silence, no answer.

http://www.yourdictionary.com/crickets


Yolanda Broad
Emma Page
 

Natasha Ziada  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 10:44
English to Dutch
+ ...
Crickets Oct 25, 2018

Jennifer Forbes wrote:

I've never seen the word "crickets" used as you use it here. I presume it means "nothing" or "silence" in this sense. Please enlighten me.


The use of crickets this way is new-ish, but has become pretty popular pretty quickly, in particular on social media:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/words-were-watching-crickets-silence

ETA: it's used in Australia as well

[Edited at 2018-10-25 10:38 GMT]


Yolanda Broad
Claudia Cherici
 

Miranda Drew  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:44
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
I'd rather not drop them. Oct 25, 2018

Michael Newton wrote:

I would drop them.


My instinct is to drop them but I'd rather not because they pay well and with shorter terms than my other clients.

I do try to not worry when the job is not confirmed, and of course accept other proposals that I receive in the meantime. But they've acted this way with confirmed jobs. The last example I was talking about, the job was confirmed. At this point I guess I will let them know in each case that if they don't answer, I can't take the job....


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 01:44
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It kind of goes with the territory… Oct 25, 2018

Some clients are more organized than others, some clients have better PMs than others, and some clients are better payers than others. My strategy over the years has been trying to educate them and to accept work from them only when I have no other work…

Miranda Drew
Yolanda Broad
Kevin Fulton
 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 02:44
Russian to English
+ ...
Just stop worrying Oct 25, 2018

It happens all the time, and the easiest way to deal with it is just to stop worrying and take it as it goes. Don't give any extra priority to this client. If you know or feel the job may take a long time to be approved, answer that you can take it on a first come - first served basis. This way, if you are busy with another job by the time this one is approved, it's their problem, not yours - they have been warned.

Morano El-Kholy
Jean-Yves Préault
Iris Schmerda
Philippe Etienne
Valery Kaminski
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:44
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Bad communication... Oct 25, 2018

bad agency. There is no excuse for that... since you are not prepared to drop them, it looks like you will have to put up with their behaviour, because they are not going to change.

Fiona Grace Peterson
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
For urgent jobs, insist on communication Oct 25, 2018

I agree with others that for run-of-the-mill jobs it's better to just get on with other things, including accepting other work, in case the job never materialises. But for urgent jobs that isn't satisfactory as you risk failing to meet the deadline when the work does arrive, even if it's still doable. That might technically be the fault of the client, but don't expect them to see it that way.

What I've learnt to do is to give them a deadline for each urgent job. I tell them I can d
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I agree with others that for run-of-the-mill jobs it's better to just get on with other things, including accepting other work, in case the job never materialises. But for urgent jobs that isn't satisfactory as you risk failing to meet the deadline when the work does arrive, even if it's still doable. That might technically be the fault of the client, but don't expect them to see it that way.

What I've learnt to do is to give them a deadline for each urgent job. I tell them I can do it if I get the confirmation by such-and-such time. If they then say it's not quite ready, I'll give an extension as they're obviously serious about the job. Meanwhile, I'll do some admin rather than taking on other work. If the deadline simply passes then I forget about the job. If it arrives and I'm free, okay, but no guarantees.
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Yolanda Broad
Christine Andersen
Emma Page
Teresa Borges
Kay Denney
Arianne Farah
Miranda Drew
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:44
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Perhaps you could go a little higher up the system? Oct 25, 2018

With many agencies the PMs are not the decision makers or policy makers, and their time is very tight, so they can't keep an eye on your potential job while dealing with another.

I have tried mailing more senior people at agencies with my point of view. It doesn't always help, but some are glad to get feedback.

If your feedback does not get through to the right people, they assume you are happy. There is no need to be abrupt or rude - try to sound as if you can see thi
... See more
With many agencies the PMs are not the decision makers or policy makers, and their time is very tight, so they can't keep an eye on your potential job while dealing with another.

I have tried mailing more senior people at agencies with my point of view. It doesn't always help, but some are glad to get feedback.

If your feedback does not get through to the right people, they assume you are happy. There is no need to be abrupt or rude - try to sound as if you can see things from their side too. That is how you sort the REALLY good agencies from the crowd. It is in their interest to keep the good translators loyal, too.

[Edited at 2018-10-25 13:04 GMT]
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Kevin Fulton
Dmytro Nehrii
Miranda Drew
 

Emma Page
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:44
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
Well said Oct 25, 2018

Sheila Wilson wrote:

What I've learnt to do is to give them a deadline for each urgent job. I tell them I can do it if I get the confirmation by such-and-such time. If they then say it's not quite ready, I'll give an extension as they're obviously serious about the job. Meanwhile, I'll do some admin rather than taking on other work. If the deadline simply passes then I forget about the job. If it arrives and I'm free, okay, but no guarantees.


I do this now compulsively for anything remotely urgent, with any client. Saves a lot of headaches.


Jessica Noyes
Arianne Farah
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
biz is people: no cricketers, by crikey! Oct 25, 2018

While there're always people better or worse at many things, I'd rather not judge the company by a single (not always the best) representative, let alone a newbie PM.

However, if it's about a long-term cooperation, I would insist on having a personal contact--a responsible/duty curator to directly solve urgent matters


P.S. Sometimes in cartoons they add cricket sounds when a sudden silence comes

[Edited at 2018-10-25 14:49 GMT]


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:44
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
It is annoying, indeed Oct 25, 2018

They expect you to reply to their emails instantly but they don't confirm the receipt of your reply. It is particularly annoying when they don't acknowledge the receipt of the file you have delivered.

[Edited at 2018-10-25 17:17 GMT]


 
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