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How do you deal with impoliteness and bad manners while working?
Thread poster: Oriol Vives

Oriol Vives  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:14
Member (2009)
English to Catalan
+ ...
Sep 9

Hello everyone,

I have been recently contacted by an agency with a quite urgent, weekend job. There were some misunderstandings at the beginning (which now I think were simply bad faith from the other part), but we reached an agreement as for the job terms, or so I thought.

After the job has been completed and the work delivered (4 hours before the deadline - something that has been thrown to my face, incredibly), I have politely communicated the delivery and weekend/u
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Hello everyone,

I have been recently contacted by an agency with a quite urgent, weekend job. There were some misunderstandings at the beginning (which now I think were simply bad faith from the other part), but we reached an agreement as for the job terms, or so I thought.

After the job has been completed and the work delivered (4 hours before the deadline - something that has been thrown to my face, incredibly), I have politely communicated the delivery and weekend/urgent job bump I usually apply in these cases. It seems my client was not aware of this (although I swear we already discussed it a month ago in previous emails - still checking this). The situation is now an extreme case of bad manners and bad faith in the other end. I have been accused of incompetence (because I delivered the job 4 hours before the deadline), I am facing non-payment of the right amount and I am extremely inconvenienced because I have a terrible time facing impoliteness. I don't know whether to get angry or to stick to their level, both of them not OK by me, nor for me.

So, how do you deal with someone in the workplace that is being extremely rude? Share your thoughts, please!
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Hard lesson to learn Sep 9

Oriol Vives wrote:
I have been accused of incompetence (because I delivered the job 4 hours before the deadline)...


It's a lesson that all translators eventually learn: never deliver a job too soon, or the client will lose faith in it. Been there, done that.


Morano El-Kholy
John Fossey
Tradupro17
chopra_2002
 

The Misha
Local time: 20:14
Russian to English
+ ...
Huh? And why's that? Sep 9

Samuel Murray wrote:

Oriol Vives wrote:
I have been accused of incompetence (because I delivered the job 4 hours before the deadline)...


It's a lesson that all translators eventually learn: never deliver a job too soon, or the client will lose faith in it. Been there, done that.



I never learned that in my 30+ years in this business and no one ever held that against me. Maybe one simply needs to look for better clients?

In a situation the TS describes, I would get the money for the job done and drop them like a rock. You know what they say, you are only the victim the first time. After that, you are a volunteer.


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Oriol Vives  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:14
Member (2009)
English to Catalan
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not the point - I am interested in managing the answer. Sep 9

Samuel Murray wrote:

Oriol Vives wrote:
I have been accused of incompetence (because I delivered the job 4 hours before the deadline)...


It's a lesson that all translators eventually learn: never deliver a job too soon, or the client will lose faith in it. Been there, done that.



Thanks for sharing, but that is not my point. Personally, I don't see how that grade of cynicism is a lesson (lose faith in it? Really?), but hey, that's your stuff and I am not going to judge it.

My point is: when faced with someone that's openly rude or not in his/her right mind, how do you deal with it?


Josephine Cassar
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:14
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Always a difficult situation to handle Sep 9

Oriol Vives wrote:
I have politely communicated the delivery and weekend/urgent job bump I usually apply in these cases. It seems my client was not aware of this (although I swear we already discussed it a month ago in previous emails - still checking this).

Although I can understand it, particularly when the job was already a rush one, it was a mistake to not mention the actual terms for this job. The fact that a surcharge will apply should be mentioned each and every time, even if you don't bother to restate the detailed terms. Otherwise, they can always claim that someone else was involved last time, or this is for a different end client, or their policy has changed, or whatever.

I don't know whether to get angry or to stick to their level, both of them not OK by me, nor for me.

So, how do you deal with someone in the workplace that is being extremely rude?

That's an easy one. The nastier they get, particularly if they start getting personal, the more cold and business-like you should get. It's business and disagreements happen in business, and there are ways and means of dealing with them. You aren't friends and don't need to get upset. You just need to get your money and then you can say goodbye (or something extremely rude to the same effect ). So, I advise you to start with an email setting out a few facts very briefly, regretting the misunderstanding (i.e. it's a failure that happened between the two parties) but standing firm. Remember that you're likely dealing with a PM who's facing enormous sanctions from their boss for losing the company some money. It's a major blow for them so they're hurting. After that, try not to get drawn into heated discussions, even in your own defence (although I personally find that difficult). Send a polite reminder just a few days after payment is due. And another reminder a week or so later that's more formal, cooler. Then you're into the final demand, sent on paper by registered post.


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Laurent Mercky
France
Local time: 02:14
Member (Jul 2019)
Chinese to French
+ ...
They are too impolite Sep 9

In such a situation, I would write a mail telling them how much I am displeased by their attitude and I would argue that "I have respected all job conditions, SO nothing wrong with me, just give me the payment on time and next time if you should react the same, I WON'T work with you."

 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 18:14
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
@Laurent Mercky Sep 9

Laurent Mercky wrote:

In such a situation, I would write a mail telling them how much I am displeased by their attitude and I would argue that "I have respected all job conditions, SO nothing wrong with me, just give me the payment on time and next time if you should react the same, I WON'T work with you."


I don't agree with that suggestion. Oriol's main objective should be to get paid for the work he did. He can only achieve that by staying cool, calm and collected, and repeat the terms of the agreement and what he expects from the agency. It would not be wise to express his opinion about the agency's behavior or to get angry and say something like "I won't work with you in the future". Getting emotional is throwing oil on the fire and will only make matters worse.

Since it seems that the weekend surcharge was not made entirely clear and seems to be a point of contention, if it was me, I would consider dropping that charge and only insist on being paid for the work done at the agreed rate.

[Edited at 2019-09-09 15:25 GMT]


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:14
Member
Italian to English
Agree with Sheila Sep 9

As far as your surcharge goes, I fear you may have to chalk this one up to experience and move on. The fact that they blamed your "incompetence" due to early delivery sounds like a defence strategy to avoid paying the surcharge.
Sadly bad manners are something we all have to learn to deal with if we want to stay sane. Once you receive payment, you can stop working with them.


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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:14
Member (2018)
French to English
. Sep 9

Samuel Murray wrote:

Oriol Vives wrote:
I have been accused of incompetence (because I delivered the job 4 hours before the deadline)...


It's a lesson that all translators eventually learn: never deliver a job too soon, or the client will lose faith in it. Been there, done that.


Hmm I have yet to "learn" that. I typically ask for longer deadlines, then often deliver when the client originally wanted. I'd rather always have more time than I need, because otherwise it's just too stressful. Most of my clients are delighted that I send stuff early, and others don't seem to care.
I have occasionally delayed delivery simply because I don't want clients to get into the habit of thinking that I will always deliver well ahead of the deadline.


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:14
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Sometimes it's great not to be an employee Sep 9

The greatest advantage of being our own boss is that we don’t have to deal with impoliteness and bad manners. See that you get paid – I would drop the surcharge – and tell them this was the last time you’ve worked with them. Feeling good about yourself is more important than money.

Cheers,
Gerard


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IrinaN
United States
Local time: 19:14
English to Russian
+ ...
Sadly, there is not much we can do about rude people in general Sep 9

Except for protecting ourselves from any future contacts.

Back to your question on handling rude people. Having agreed with the above, I'd like to share my way of dealing with such encounters: I do not deal with it, even though at times I wish I were Chuck Norris:-). He did it best.

Imagine yourself walking down a beautiful meadow filled with divine scents and gorgeous butterflies:-). And... stepping into a cow pie. Very upsetting, right? You rush to clean it off and ke
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Except for protecting ourselves from any future contacts.

Back to your question on handling rude people. Having agreed with the above, I'd like to share my way of dealing with such encounters: I do not deal with it, even though at times I wish I were Chuck Norris:-). He did it best.

Imagine yourself walking down a beautiful meadow filled with divine scents and gorgeous butterflies:-). And... stepping into a cow pie. Very upsetting, right? You rush to clean it off and keep going. Yeah, your mood may be ruined (or maybe even not so much, if you are in good humor at the moment) but you can't really feel deeply offended and disrespected by a cow, can you? The cow does not know any better. Subject closed:-) Rude people do not know any better or they would not be rude. In fact, it became a code word between me and my friends whom I taught my trick. I would feel offended and let down only by those I love and respect, by those whose opinion I value. For all others - cow pie! Keep improving your nerves of steel, which are an integral part of our specs.

Any threats of not working for them anymore are useless and counterproductive. You don't threaten to stop working for such clients. In Russian we call it "a try to scare a hedgehog with a bare behind":-). You just stop.

Forfeit the surcharge for the reasons already explained above, get paid, and then say Thank you. Please delete me from you database. After all, the amount is hardly life-changing, and you'll make much more working on another project over the same time you'll be fighting a cow.
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Kay Denney
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 08:14
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
A month... Sep 9

although I swear we already discussed it a month ago in previous emails

To follow up on what others have said: I literally don't remember a single thing that happened a month ago. The fact that you're "swearing" you discussed it rather than being able to bring up proof immediately shows just how unreliable memory is.


LIZ LI
 

Oriol Vives  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:14
Member (2009)
English to Catalan
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I think that's it! Sep 10

Thank you all for your comments and help - I will definitely keep working on my nerves of steel and in keeping my cool.

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IrinaN
 

Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 03:14
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Not all Sep 10

Samuel Murray wrote:

It's a lesson that all translators eventually learn: never deliver a job too soon, or the client will lose faith in it. Been there, done that.



Like several other posters in this thread, I have never learned this lesson. I live in a rural area. Unscheduled power cuts and internet dropouts, while not common, nevertheless have to be allowed for, so I always try to get a deadline that leaves me a safety margin of a day or so.

With regular clients I deliver a translation as soon as it's ready, which may thus be a day earlier than promised.

Nobody has ever complained.


Fiona Grace Peterson
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ahartje
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Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:14
German to English
+ ...
different aspects Sep 10

Various

- If someone you have never worked for contacts you for work that is "urgent", i.e. tight deadline, and esp. over the week-end or overnight, that is reason for caution. (I'm talking of agencies,i.e. middlemen, whose business involve translation - not the layman / end client, who may be caught up in an unexpected situation). The urgent/last minute type of thing can be signs of other things, including disrespect/consideration of the translator.

- Always take the
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Various

- If someone you have never worked for contacts you for work that is "urgent", i.e. tight deadline, and esp. over the week-end or overnight, that is reason for caution. (I'm talking of agencies,i.e. middlemen, whose business involve translation - not the layman / end client, who may be caught up in an unexpected situation). The urgent/last minute type of thing can be signs of other things, including disrespect/consideration of the translator.

- Always take the time to concluded your arrangement before starting, so that everyone is clear - and do not attach a surprise addition afterward (surcharge for rush etc.) which is not part of the arrangement. Put it in writing before you start, and seek confirmation. "I will translate document X for a fee of $nnnn, based on $0.16/word with a surcharge of $0.02/word as a rush and week-end charge. Please confirm so that I can go ahead." (For a regular client this can be shorter).

Delivering early is NOT incompetence, and any client working in translation suggesting so is showing their own incompetence - this is just silliness. In fact, when calculating deadlines, I make the deadline generous so as to always deliver on time or early - it is a policy that I tell clients. Anyone I have worked for has always appreciated "early".
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Ryan Shevlane
missdutch
 
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