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The Angriest Email I've Sent in a While, or Whether I Should Choose to Work for Free
Thread poster: Lincoln Hui

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Pressure relief Oct 12

It might be more constructive, and cathartic, to mail them a big steaming turd.

You might want to do so anonymously in order to preserve your professional integrity.


Michael Wetzel
Mervyn Henderson
Zibow Retailleau
P.L.F.Persio
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 04:32
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reezon Oct 13

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Lincoln,

I copied and pasted all you've written on this so far, including your e-mails to the customer and others on the job, and also your replies to us here. I know it's a weird thing to do, but it comes to 2,677 words. That's a lot of words post-event, a lot of your time, and nobody's mood improves on such an annoying issue the more they write about it.

Maybe Kuochoe, DJ and I, for example, aren't telling you what you want to hear. It's easier to tell yourself what you want to hear, and then write to them after the couple of days you said you'd give yourself to cool off.

I'm just responding to comments right now, and leaving things open so that everybody who wants to give their take has had a chance to do so. Opinions are not quite unanimous, after all, even if I'll give more weight to some than others.

Frankly, I wasn't even sure what I wanted to hear, but I think we've all seen on these boards in recent weeks a prime example of someone who has had cause to regret an email they sent because they did not take the time to boil off or take the viewpoint of an uninterested observer into account, and right now I have the luxury of not having to rush a response.


Michael Wetzel
Mervyn Henderson
P.L.F.Persio
 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:32
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Well, my take is this Oct 13

Lincoln, I read the entire story and all the replies, and decided (after some hesitation) to tell you what I think.
First, I am sorry that you had to go through this.
I hope you are not going to be mad at me for saying this, but I think it was a big mistake on your side not to contact the project manager right away on that Friday when you received the project and saw that the previous stage was not completed.
I understand what your thought process was, but it is very important
... See more
Lincoln, I read the entire story and all the replies, and decided (after some hesitation) to tell you what I think.
First, I am sorry that you had to go through this.
I hope you are not going to be mad at me for saying this, but I think it was a big mistake on your side not to contact the project manager right away on that Friday when you received the project and saw that the previous stage was not completed.
I understand what your thought process was, but it is very important to not assume anything ever about these things. Whether it is a problem with the platform, or a problem with the translator, if the project does not look like what you were supposed to receive, always contact the PM immediately and clarify. In my experience, it is better to ask (even at the risk of being viewed as anal retentive) than assume anything and then come to a bitter realization.

I have had my share of receiving "translations" for editing that were absolutely garbage, and my experience is that the sooner I point out the problem the easier it is to resolve it to mutual satisfaction.

Of course, there is a difference with established clients or PMs who know and trust my judgement based on past work vs. your case with your client for whom - if I understand correctly - this was your first job. Perhaps the translator has been working for them for a while and nobody complained about the quality, so they had no reason to believe your claims. (I have had this, too!) But it seems they trusted you enough that they asked for a 3rd party check and that confirmed your statements for them, and now they are offering compensation, post-mortem.

You were late to alert them about the problem and that caused a delay, and they were late to believe your claims. All of this created frustration on both sides. I am sorry, but I think both parties are equally at fault here, therefore, throwing their money in their face would seem hypocritical. I think I would accept their payment, and wait, and if there was another job, I would approach it very carefully, especially if it was from Friday to Monday.
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Jan Truper
MollyRose
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
LIZ LI
Kay Denney
Arabic & More
Veronica Montserrat
 

tinageta  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:32
English to Latvian
+ ...
Yes Oct 13

Give them another chance. It seems that their attempt to make amends is genuine. Both sides are at fault here - if the job was due on Monday morning and on Friday you found that the text was not ready for editing (in your professional opinion), you should have alerted them loud and clear, and repeatedly, instead of assuming things and waiting, especially if this was a newish client.

MollyRose
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:32
Member (2004)
English to Italian
My take... Oct 13

don't let emotions cloud your judgement...

MollyRose
Tiina Linnamaa
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 04:32
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not yet sent response Oct 15

Toned down somewhat from what I might have sent a week ago


The file that I received was, for all due intents and purposes, unchanged from Google Translate. It is exceedingly disturbing that the handoff message claimed that an internal review was performed, yet it failed to detect what could have been easily determined by copy and pasting virtually any segment into Google Translate, and comparing the output with the "trancreated" file.

With that said, if you wish to continue to work with me, make me an offer and I will take that into consideration before making a final decision; understand, however, that any similar incident in the future will have implications for your company's reputation.

Otherwise, there will be no need to respond to this email.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Why? Oct 15

Lincoln Hui wrote:
Too much

I was only joking about sending them a turd. I think you should say nothing. What do you hope to achieve here? It’s only going to put their backs up. If I were them, I probably wouldn’t use you again anyway given the late delivery. Better to file under “live and learn” and move on.


 

Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:32
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Time out Oct 15

It seems to me that you have already explained to them what was wrong with the file you received, so no need to do this again.
I have felt what I think is a similar amount of frustration with one client, resulting from exceedingly poor project management on the client's part. After the end of the project, I sent them one email explaining why I did not enjoy the project (as I think you have already done). They asked me to give some more details, so I did, in as neutral a way as I could mana
... See more
It seems to me that you have already explained to them what was wrong with the file you received, so no need to do this again.
I have felt what I think is a similar amount of frustration with one client, resulting from exceedingly poor project management on the client's part. After the end of the project, I sent them one email explaining why I did not enjoy the project (as I think you have already done). They asked me to give some more details, so I did, in as neutral a way as I could manage.
I decided only to work with this client if and when I no longer felt angry or upset upon receiving emails from them. Any request from this client since that moment revived my anger, so I have declined all projects so far. I may yet start accepting projects from this client again some time in the future; if, by that time, they have stopped contacting me because I never accept, that will also be fine.
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Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 20:32
Japanese to English
A bit harsh Oct 16

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Toned down somewhat from what I might have sent a week ago


The file that I received was, for all due intents and purposes, unchanged from Google Translate. It is exceedingly disturbing that the handoff message claimed that an internal review was performed, yet it failed to detect what could have been easily determined by copy and pasting virtually any segment into Google Translate, and comparing the output with the "trancreated" file.

With that said, if you wish to continue to work with me, make me an offer and I will take that into consideration before making a final decision; understand, however, that any similar incident in the future will have implications for your company's reputation.

Otherwise, there will be no need to respond to this email.


The first paragraph is fine, but the second and the final line are unnecessarily harsh IMO. And somewhat condescending as well. If I received a message like that, I would think "Well excuuuuuse me, princess!"

It would be better for you to state what it would take for you to move past this incident (more money? an apology? a revised work process?) and then put the ball in their court. All this is assuming that you do want to work with them again. If not, send whatever you want.


MollyRose
Kay Denney
Zibow Retailleau
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lincoln Moment Oct 19

I had one of those today. Not a first-time customer, quite the contrary, but a longstanding customer's first-time customer. I initially declined, because of a sixth sense or instinct or experience or something, but I was told certain things to win me over, and I agreed. Turns out the things I was told weren't true. The fact that it was heavily-tagged MTPE, for example, not translation. I objected as quickly as possible and sent them what I'd done, saying I wouldn't charge, but wanted nothing mor... See more
I had one of those today. Not a first-time customer, quite the contrary, but a longstanding customer's first-time customer. I initially declined, because of a sixth sense or instinct or experience or something, but I was told certain things to win me over, and I agreed. Turns out the things I was told weren't true. The fact that it was heavily-tagged MTPE, for example, not translation. I objected as quickly as possible and sent them what I'd done, saying I wouldn't charge, but wanted nothing more to do with it. Then they finally got me on board again, promising to rectify the source text with no MT. Source text came back much the same. I've now wasted a couple of hours on this, just under the amount of time it should have taken me to do the bloody thing, and they say it'll be all right next time. Getting that sinking feeling ...

[Edited at 2020-10-19 18:32 GMT]
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