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Agency says that my requests are atypical for raising fee due to rush job
Thread poster: Vincent Lemma

Vincent Lemma  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:10
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Mar 12, 2012

Hi all,

So I get this agency that rings me and says they need s rush job of 3000 words on pharmaceuticals. File delivered to me at 7 pm and to get back by 12 pm next day.

The guy starts barking out orders as if I had accepted. I go through the usual process and ask to see the file and have me send my cost estimate.

The agency is in Italy and my fees are VERY reasonable. I ask 20% extra for rush job done over night and provide a cost net of VAT. The agency sais they'd accept only if the price was gross of VAT.

When I state my case the guy (suppose the PM) says "sorry but this is all atypical for us".
Wonder what was strage. My rates are clear and honest, but I guess that the surcharge was out of question for them.

Anyone get that hassle ever? Certainly, I do not care to work for agencies that expect everything for nothing (or close to ziltch), but I found the reaction to be so uncalled for.

Cheers!


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Valery Shapovalenko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 21:10
English to Russian
+ ...
Check that agency first. Mar 12, 2012

Ciao, Vincent

This is a kinda technique of influence or they're just beginners at the market, or they're 'trying you', or whatever else... Check them first.


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Vincent Lemma  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:10
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
They are Blueboard Mar 12, 2012

Hi Torao,

This seems to be just a pushy technique to which I just respond with a kind thanks anaways.
Unfortunately there is always the next guy willing to be a push-over and work for peanuts. This is a problem to us serious and qualified translators.


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Texte Style
Local time: 20:10
French to English
He's just trying to bully you Mar 12, 2012

In order of importance (for me at least)

1) he's rude and treats you worse than an employee

2) he doesn't appear to be a regular customer of yours

3) 3,000 words in just over 24hrs is definitely a rush job


Therefore I see no reason to treat him to any favours. He probably only respects people who stick up for themselves as well, since that's how bullies operate, so stick to your guns!

Good luck!


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:10
Hebrew to English
Hassle Mar 12, 2012

It may be that this agency really hasn't dealt with translators who add a surcharge for rush/urgent jobs.

Indeed many translators don't, they hold the opinion that extra money won't create extra hours in the day, and that they can either meet the deadline or not. If they can meet the deadline then there's no reason to charge more than the standard rate, if they can't meet the deadline, then the job is refused and no amount of throwing more money at them can change that.

Other translators take a different stance and add surcharges, they charge an additional fee for unsociable hours (having to stay up half the night to get the translation done in time) and for the added "stress" of the rush.

If this agency has only ever dealt with the former then that is just luck of the draw (or a lie) and sooner or later they'll encounter more of the latter group and realise it's not so "atypical".

Anyone get that hassle ever?

The hassle of some ignorant PM/disrespectful agency talking at me and treating me like I'm here for their convenience?
It happens from time to time, unfortunately.

It pays to have an elephant's memory with these type of people so you can remember them when they have exhausted their supply of doormats and eventually come crawling back to you, so you can react accordingly.


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Vincent Lemma  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:10
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks all, really interesting feedback Mar 12, 2012

Indeed, this is not a usual client of mine.

To be honest, one of the reasons I turned down this job was the rudeness of the PM, heck I had never even spoken to the man before let alone even make his acquaintance.

As for my stance on surcharges, I apply them given that my rates are reasonable and I'm willing to stick it out to get the job done on time, but need to draw a line.

Fact is that some agencies will expect you to provide 24h service if you don't tell them that you either can't or will do so for an extra price.

I still find it shocking to see agencies trying to pull of the big bad bully act. Might have to leave a comment on the Blueboard so that other translators can factor this is when dealing with the agency at question.


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Decipherit  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:10
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Not enough of us are applying surcharges Mar 12, 2012

Thus his reaction. A tiny handful of agencies will offer (because the client is too valuable to them), a small handful will agree to a surcharge if asked, a sizeable majority don't even consider it. It's our own stupid fault. Next point: a PM who barks at you is a PM not worth wasting your breath on. Comfort yourself with the fact that you've probably avoided a headache. There'll be something else round the corner.

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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:10
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Hassle - and fatigue Mar 12, 2012

Ty Kendall wrote:


Other translators take a different stance and add surcharges, they charge an additional fee for unsociable hours (having to stay up half the night to get the translation done in time) and for the added "stress" of the rush.



Also to consider is the fact that if you need to stay up all night - or even half the night - trying to get anything but the simplest work done the next day is practically impossible. It's pretty safe to assume that if you pull an all-nighter, your next workday is basically shot. You should get extra compensation for that, if for no other reason.


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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
You won't repent it Mar 12, 2012

You won't repent turning down this assignment. I always do it with pushy, arrogant people and I have never repented it. This profession is already stressing by itself, does not need more hassle. Furthermore I am pretty sure you would have had problems with payments too. These things always go together (told by an Italian, me, which does not work with Italian agencies since a long time now)

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Vincent Lemma  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:10
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agree Mar 12, 2012

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons) wrote:

You won't repent turning down this assignment. I always do it with pushy, arrogant people and I have never repented it. This profession is already stressing by itself, does not need more hassle. Furthermore I am pretty sure you would have had problems with payments too. These things always go together (told by an Italian, me, which does not work with Italian agencies since a long time now)


I must say that my workload is nothing of short so I certainly don't care about turning down this little thorn in a not so rosy rose bush

As for Italian agencies, Giuseppina, I am starting to steer clear away from them. I Love my job, and don't see it as work half the time, but refuse to be taken advantage of.

I think that this problem (at least in Italy) is due to the rogue translators and cut-throat agencies that wander the range. Italy does have some bodies of accreditation for translators, but baasically the profession lacks any base regulation, as you have for accountants, lawyers, or other white collar fields.


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Vincent Lemma  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:10
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To Ty Mar 12, 2012

This elephant NEVER forgets

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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:10
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rudolf makes an excellent point Mar 12, 2012

Rudolf Vedo wrote:

Also to consider is the fact that if you need to stay up all night - or even half the night - trying to get anything but the simplest work done the next day is practically impossible. It's pretty safe to assume that if you pull an all-nighter, your next workday is basically shot. You should get extra compensation for that, if for no other reason.

***
Yes indeed. In some such cases, half the next day will be shot. In others, the whole day. Any surcharge should take this into account.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:10
Hebrew to English
Happened to me recently, so the memory is still fresh... Mar 12, 2012

Not so long ago (a few months or so), I had a similar experience, a ridiculously rude and presumptuous PM who, after trying and failing to draw me into a race-to-the-bottom bidding war, then went on to insult me by saying that [the other translator they were negotiating with] was "a professional well experienced translator" ...and what am I? The dog's dinner?

(which coming from an agency who copied me into the correspondence they sent to the other translator they were negotiating with, thus revealing to me the identity of my "competition" , is priceless). - An agency who seems unable to spell the name of my source language correctly on their public website dares to comment on "professionalism".

On Saturday I got another email from her, with another translation that just had to be done TODAY!.

Wishful thinking on her part if she honestly believed I would even bother responding.

With these types of agencies, you never regret walking away.



[Edited at 2012-03-12 23:25 GMT]


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 02:10
Chinese to English
Sometimes it's just individuals Mar 13, 2012

One agency with whom I have very pleasant ongoing relations has a (new?) PM in their US branch, who was exactly the same. Sent me a series of incredulous and borderline sarcastic emails implying that I was crazy to imagine that I could get a rush fee (despite the fact that her delay had turned a 24-hour job into a 16-hour job). I told her where to get off, and it doesn't seem to have affected my relationship with the agency at all.

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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:10
French to English
+ ...
On the scale of atypicalities... Mar 13, 2012

Vincent Lemma wrote:
So I get this agency that rings me and says they need s rush job of 3000 words on pharmaceuticals. File delivered to me at 7 pm and to get back by 12 pm next day.
hen I state my case the guy (suppose the PM) says "sorry but this is all atypical for us".
[/quote]

It sounds to me like the issue of the 20% surcharge is a bit academic then-- the bigger picture is: do you want to put effort into forging a relationship with an agency whose run-of-the-mill working practice is to demand 3,000 words at 7pm for noon the next day...?


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