Does the translation I submitted qualify as on-time or late?
Thread poster: adanepst

adanepst  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:10
German to English
+ ...
Sep 17

Dear Colleagues,

Last night I pulled an all-nighter to meet a translation deadline for a job of about 2700 words. I am in East Asia, in a time zone six hours ahead of the client in question, who is in Europe. Upon completing the "rough draft" at around 9PM European time on the day of the deadline (incidentally, 3AM my time the next day) I sent the client a list of my questions regarding the text, then proceeded to the editing/polishing and logged into my e-mail account again at arou
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Dear Colleagues,

Last night I pulled an all-nighter to meet a translation deadline for a job of about 2700 words. I am in East Asia, in a time zone six hours ahead of the client in question, who is in Europe. Upon completing the "rough draft" at around 9PM European time on the day of the deadline (incidentally, 3AM my time the next day) I sent the client a list of my questions regarding the text, then proceeded to the editing/polishing and logged into my e-mail account again at around 11:40PM European time to send the text, having left the lines related to the questions in bold face, to be altered later when I had the answers to the questions. I discovered in my inbox that my client had already replied to the questions. I sent the text anyway, mentioning that I had not yet integrated the answers to the questions, and then proceeded to work through the answers. I sent the client a few follow-up questions where things were still unclear at 11:59PM European time (5:59AM my time) and expect to receive the remaining answers today, upon which I will re-send the text with all the changes made.

(I am also making a few more changes today, both related and unrelated to yesterday's answers to my questions).

I am wondering if this qualifies as delivering the project on-time or late, which would determine whether I feel I am entitled to charge the full amount for the translation or if it would be right to offer a discount.

I'd be very grateful for your input/reflections!

Thanks very much in advance.

[Edited at 2019-09-17 03:56 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-09-17 04:04 GMT]
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Adane Sep 17

adanepst wrote:
I am wondering if this qualifies as delivering the project on-time or late...


This depends on what the deadline was (which you didn't tell us yet).

Added: It sounds as if your question is that if only a time was agreed, but no time zone specified, whether one should assume that the client meant his time zone or your time zone. I think, generally, if no time zone is specified, then it is the client's time zone. If a client 6 hours to the west of me says "9 AM", then I generally assume I have until 3 PM to deliver.

[Edited at 2019-09-17 06:39 GMT]


Christophe Delaunay
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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:10
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Confusing Sep 17

It would be much easier to understand your dilemma if you simply stated the deadline in absolute form (not like last night, today, tomorrow etc.) with time (if there was a specific time), and what you submitted when in a single timezone (the same timezone for all of the times).

Christophe Delaunay
IanDhu
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:10
Member (2018)
French to English
. Sep 17

If I understand correctly, you handed in a version that didn't take the client's answers into account before the deadline and are still working on incorporating the client's answers into a later version, but the deadline has now passed, is that it?

You're supposed to hand in your final version before the deadline is up. A client may be OK with you taking a little more time to factor in their answers to your questions, especially if they get back to you late, but that's very much th
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If I understand correctly, you handed in a version that didn't take the client's answers into account before the deadline and are still working on incorporating the client's answers into a later version, but the deadline has now passed, is that it?

You're supposed to hand in your final version before the deadline is up. A client may be OK with you taking a little more time to factor in their answers to your questions, especially if they get back to you late, but that's very much their call. Did you discuss this at all with the client?
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adanepst  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:10
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification Sep 17

Thanks for your replies so far and sorry for not being clearer! The deadline was September 16 in my client's time zone (the deadline was not specified further, i.e. time of day, etc.). As I mentioned, I sent the first round of questions, the text (with the answers to the questions not yet integrated, and thus not the final version of the text), and the follow-up questions technically within that deadline (before midnight on September 16 in my client's time zone).

Today (September 1
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Thanks for your replies so far and sorry for not being clearer! The deadline was September 16 in my client's time zone (the deadline was not specified further, i.e. time of day, etc.). As I mentioned, I sent the first round of questions, the text (with the answers to the questions not yet integrated, and thus not the final version of the text), and the follow-up questions technically within that deadline (before midnight on September 16 in my client's time zone).

Today (September 17 in my client's time zone) I made a fair number of additional changes in the text not related to any of the questions, and having received my client's answers to the follow-up questions, amended the text to integrate those answers as well. I then sent my client the final version today (September 17 in my client's time zone).

(The information about my being in a different time zone and pulling an all-nighter is probably irrelevant to my specific question).

Thanks again in advance!
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Adane Sep 17

adanepst wrote:
The deadline was September 16 in my client's time zone (the deadline was not specified further, i.e. time of day, etc.). As I mentioned, I sent the first round of questions, the text (with the answers to the questions not yet integrated, and thus not the final version of the text), and the follow-up questions technically within that deadline (before midnight on September 16 in my client's time zone).


Generally, when a client says the deadline is e.g. "16 September" without specifying the time, then they mean something like 9 AM or noon, certainly not 11.59 PM.

However, this sounds like it was a rush job, so it's possible that the stated deadline was deliberately short of the actual deadline in order to put pressure on the translator. Also, in situations where rush jobs occur, the translation is often not the only thing that is late -- several things may be behind schedule on the client's side, and the fact that the translation took somewhat longer than ideal, may be something that the client can absorb (he may have no choice but to absorb it). So unless client complains about you having missed the deadline, I would not mention it nor let it affect the invoice, as long as you create the impression that you're on the client's side during this difficult time.


 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:10
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Deadline Sep 17

"Generally, when a client says the deadline is e.g. "16 September" without specifying the time, then they mean something like 9 AM or noon, certainly not 11.59 PM."

Really? I would assume end of business if no time was specified. But I would always clarify this.


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 09:10
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Why does it matter? Sep 17

If they didn't complain, it's not late.

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IanDhu
 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 19:10
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Time zones Sep 17

Samuel Murray wrote:

Added: It sounds as if your question is that if only a time was agreed, but no time zone specified, whether one should assume that the client meant his time zone or your time zone. I think, generally, if no time zone is specified, then it is the client's time zone. If a client 6 hours to the west of me says "9 AM", then I generally assume I have until 3 PM to deliver.
[Edited at 2019-09-17 06:39 GMT]


Unfortunately the opposite is also true. If a client in the UK or Europe gives me a deadline of xx hour on the next day, even if it's EOD, I have to deliver it the day/evening before. It often costs me a job when that makes the deadline too tight.


Kevin Fulton
 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:10
Serbian to English
+ ...
What about next time? Sep 17

Lincoln Hui wrote:

If they didn't complain, it's not late.


You just run across the road without checking for traffic and stayed alive - no lorry hit you. So why worry?

Well ... you might not be so lucky next time, so it could be (just maybe?) sensible to get into good habits sooner rather than later, before there isn't any "later" any more?

You left it vague when exactly is the deadline, and no one complained. So why worry? Well, maybe next time they really badly need it unconditionally for say 10.00 their local time and if delivered few minutes later your translation is worthless and you are seen as terminally unreliable, maybe even a saboteur ...

Few deadlines are really that critical, but if you don't get into the habit of getting to know / forcing the client to be specific about the exact deadline, you will have an avoidable accident waiting to happen to you ...

You learn to drive before sitting behind the wheel, not after a close call?


IrinaN
 

adanepst  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:10
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you everyone for your replies Sep 18

With much appreciation!

 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 20:10
English to Russian
+ ...
To add to Dario's post Sep 19

A rush overnighter, when it's a true rush, may be very time-critical and non-negotiable. Say, an extra presentation must be added to the package for the meeting that starts on Monday in a different location or even overseas. Or another clause to a contract to be negotiated on that same Monday. On top of it, CEO demands to have it with him on Saturday or Sunday plane to read it beforehand. Usually it's a true rush only when the client agrees to a rush fee without a beep.

By all means
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A rush overnighter, when it's a true rush, may be very time-critical and non-negotiable. Say, an extra presentation must be added to the package for the meeting that starts on Monday in a different location or even overseas. Or another clause to a contract to be negotiated on that same Monday. On top of it, CEO demands to have it with him on Saturday or Sunday plane to read it beforehand. Usually it's a true rush only when the client agrees to a rush fee without a beep.

By all means, the exact client's local time of the rush weekend deadline must be requested in writing every time before accepting the job.

I would also ask "Will I have time and access for possible urgent questions over the weekend?" There is a hidden agenda in that question when you initiate it - you'll be surprised but sometimes the client may respond "Don't worry, we need just a draft, it's work in progress" or "We'll take care of minor things ourselves." This will make your life soooo much easier. BTW, it's better to keep the array of such questions to an absolute minimum. Don't shoot rounds for a 2700-word job!!! 3-5 sounds like tops.

This does not give us any slack in terms of quality:-); in any case such jobs should be accepted when the subject is very familiar and our level of confidence is very high. "Slack" only means that the client will not be blaming you for, say, use of equally valid/interchangeable terms instead of the exact ones they picked years ago for the project but never provided you with it.

Rush jobs are double-edged swords; it may win you a terrific client or...

Good luck!

[Edited at 2019-09-19 13:20 GMT]
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