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Thread poster: Patricia Rosas

Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 25, 2005

Oh, no! I just wrote this whole whiney thing, and now I see the previous poster has asked an almost identical question. CAN I DELETE THIS? SO SORRY (well, it did feel good to put it down in writing ...)

I'm agonizing about an invoice I have to submit. For multiple reasons, I want to charge something in addition to the per-word rate that I quoted, but will I appear to be unprofessional if I do that?

I bid the job assuming that I would get a finalized manuscript in May. Instead, it came piecemeal throughout the summer, and even then, various pieces were pulled back and rewritten, one and even two times. I know what I translated and finalized, but there were parts that I translated in draft (only to find out that the source text had been deleted). Figuring out how to bill for these bits and pieces will be a time-consuming mess.

Second, after turning it in, I was asked to edit it further. I found places where I was able to shorten the translated text, and I caught a couple of typos -- definitely my responsibility. But, I was also asked to edit out the cautionary language, “In the opinion of the experts...” or “Given the evidence uncovered thus far,...” was to be replaced with “maybe” or “perhaps”. I was also asked to use my judgment to change substantive information. The editor, to give me an example, suggested replacing a detailed geographic description with the name of the country in reference. So, if I came across obscure flora and fauna, I could change the passage to “and other animals and plants”. (Of course, I'd spent hours research those very terms!)

Third, over the course of the project, I found many errors in the source text and called these to the publisher’s attention, but it involved writing memos and doing research. Normally, I wouldn't charge for that, but the quantity added up!

What would you do if you were in my shoes? Should I add a few days of time to cover the extra hours I worked because the original text was not well written or carefully edited? Or do I just rack this up to experience? I told the client I was planning to add 3 days, and that was met with silence. A long-term relationship with them is at risk...
Thank you all!

[Edited at 2005-10-25 23:59]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
Difficult spot Oct 26, 2005

In retrospect, the best thing to have done was to have dealt with your client on the issues you mention as soon as they started coming up so there would be no misunderstanding. You obviously bid on it assuming there would be a clean process and then the process became messy and continued becoming messier.

Dealing with it now may be a bit difficult. But I think the best thing to do is to have a frank conversation with the client and explain your position. This may or may not get you very far, and you may have to "eat" some of the inconveniences. Then again, if the client wants you to "eat" too much of it, you may not want to continue dealing with that client.

Some people just cannot understand that having a good process is so important to our work. As soon as you start getting the idea that your client's process may not be so good, and it will have a negative impact on yours, then the terms of the agreement will need to be modified.

So good luck, and give it your best try. A good client will understand, and a bad one will not.


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
tried and tried to get clarity Oct 26, 2005

Henry,
Thanks so much for the support. Just for the record, from the moment we started, there were problems, and at each point, I asked for clarification or I laid out some "ground rules". But there are about 10 individuals working on the manuscript, and I was dealing initially with one (well, 1.5 of them). In defense of my contact, I don't think she knew what a deep dark hole we were all falling into. That means, however, that they've had lots of "additional" expenses, so my added bill won't be a happy event. If need be, to keep them, I will probably eat it all if they balk.
Thanks,
Patricia


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xxxAWa
Local time: 11:13
English to German
+ ...
What about the next time this happens? Oct 26, 2005

Patricia Rosas wrote:

If need be, to keep them, I will probably eat it all if they balk.
Thanks,
Patricia


What if the client expects you to deal with such a chaos again at no extra cost arguing that "last time you did this without charging for it" ? Or can you be absolutely sure that this was just one unfortunate incident with that client and won't ever happen again?


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Add it to your experience AND rate Oct 26, 2005

When I had a similar experience, I told the client about my extra efforts and that I will have to check future projects more thoroughly before I could agree on the rate.

When the next project came in, I raised my rate according to the presumable extra efforts. This continued for some projects, then the client had learned how to prepare them and asked me whether I could lower my rate to the old level, and I agreed. No problems with this client since then.


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