Huge projects?
Thread poster: conejo

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:59
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Apr 17, 2012

Do you take huge projects?

By huge, I mean something that would take you a whole month or more to complete if you weren't working on any other projects.

It seems like new agencies I haven't worked for are usually the ones to offer this type of project. Of course if they don't have any ProZ rating I am highly skeptical, but what about if they do have a good BB rating?

It just seems strange to me that an agency that I've never worked with would suddenly offer such a big project.

In such cases, do you try to get a different type of invoicing? (Say weekly?)

Just curious about any type of advice people have about this sort of project (accepting or not accepting, and how to handle it, etc).

Thanks.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:59
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
If the terms and conditions are right, yes Apr 17, 2012

I can relate to your hesitation and it is definitely a bit risky to commit to long-term projects, but if you can agree with the client on specific terms and you can both stick to such terms, then it can be a very beneficial and pleasant experience. I prefer to agree with clients on the following conditions *before* I proceed:

1) price quote provided only if they send me the source text or at least a sample text (a few pages);
2) separate purchase order issued for each batch, e.g. every 5000 words or so, or 2 chapters at a time (when I translated a 175-page book over 3 months), or per file (when I translated legislative documents and amendments pertaining to a particular industry, involving various laws and decrees, taking a month or two);
3)* partial delivery of each batch;
4) separate invoice for each batch; and
5)** partial payment (net 30) for each batch.

* In the unlikely event the client is not satisfied with the quality of your work or if you miss a partial deadline, they can end the project right there and look for someone else.
** Even if the client is new to you, you won't be wasting *too much* time if they turn out to be bad payers. If they miss any of the payment due dates, you can move on and work for better clients.

If they won't agree to any of the above, I don't have to take on the assignment (which is the only 100% risk free scenario! : ) In my case, all of my long-term projects came from (then) new clients and over time they proved to be reliable and professional, and they also turned into returning clients after the first assignments. I believe it's worth the try. Good luck!


[Edited at 2012-04-17 21:33 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Set a credit limit. Apr 17, 2012

Make sure that you never have more than (say) USD/GBP/EUR 1,000 outstanding at any one time. This is standard practice in business-to-business transactions, and I usually find clients are very understanding. It sometimes means that they have to pay invoices immediately, to stay below the limit, rather than waiting a month or more.

[Edited at 2012-04-17 22:06 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-17 22:06 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:59
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Apr 17, 2012

Ildiko Santana wrote:
1) price quote provided only if they send me the source text or at least a sample text (a few pages);
2) separate purchase order issued for each batch, e.g. every 5000 words or so, or 2 chapters at a time (when I translated a 175-page book over 3 months), or per file (when I translated legislative documents and amendments pertaining to a particular industry, involving various laws and decrees, taking a month or two);
3)* partial delivery of each batch;
4) separate invoice for each batch; and
5)** partial payment (net 30) for each batch.


Yes, I will keep this in mind. I recently had an inquiry for a huge project, only 1 invoice per month, and up to 90 days for payment?? I had to say no.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Another thing to think about Apr 18, 2012

IMHO, taking projects where you could complete the project on time only "if you weren't working on any other projects" is risky.

If you really leave little or no time to take even small translations from your other clients for a month or more, you run the risk of alienating them for the long term.

You always want to leave enough time in your day to handle inquiries from other clients at the very least, and ideally, to also accept other, smaller projects that you can work on during the "small gaps" in your schedule - gaps that you have already built in for just such a scenario.

We need to keep in mind that when we accept large projects, we don't suddenly become employees, with all the perks and benefits that entails - and there is a good chance we will be left high and dry by that particular outsourcer once the project is finished.

We are still independent businesspeople, and we have to make sure that we build in time to look after our business. Another professional - even one working for an agency - should understand that concept. IMHO, that's something important to think about when the carrot of a large, potentially lucrative project is dangled in front of our nose.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:59
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes Apr 18, 2012

Janet Rubin wrote:
If you really leave little or no time to take even small translations from your other clients for a month or more, you run the risk of alienating them for the long term.
You always want to leave enough time in your day to handle inquiries from other clients at the very least, and ideally, to also accept other, smaller projects that you can work on during the "small gaps" in your schedule - gaps that you have already built in for just such a scenario.


Definitely... this was part of my concern


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:59
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Regular small invoices are best Apr 18, 2012

conejo wrote:

Just curious about any type of advice people have about this sort of project (accepting or not accepting, and how to handle it, etc).

Thanks.


I was ripped off recently by the author of a book that it took me three months to translate. Foolishly I agreed that she would pay me half of my fee halfway through the project, and the other half at the end. She paid me the first half, I completed the project, and now she has disappeared.

I wasn't able to "batch" delivery of the translation since the whole book is a unified text and had to be translated in a single operation.

Learn from my mistake. If you have a huge project of that type, always agree regular monthly payments.

[Edited at 2012-04-18 07:48 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:59
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Tom ... Apr 18, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

I was ripped off recently by the author of a book that it took me three months to translate. Foolishly I agreed that she would pay me half of my fee halfway through the project, and the other half at the end. She paid me the first half, I completed the project, and now she has disappeared.



Surely there's something you can do! Where is the author located? She doesn't "own" the translation until she has paid for it, which means that she can't publish it either. At least that's how copyright laws work here in Italy.
Catherine


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:59
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I know Apr 18, 2012

Catherine Bolton wrote:

Surely there's something you can do! Where is the author located? She doesn't "own" the translation until she has paid for it, which means that she can't publish it either. At least that's how copyright laws work here in Italy.
Catherine


I know - I have a lawyer on the case. But it's all very tedious.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Desperation rules Apr 18, 2012

conejo wrote:

Do you take huge projects?

It just seems strange to me that an agency that I've never worked with would suddenly offer such a big project.

Thanks.


For regular contacts (agencies or direct) I consider projects of any size as long as the rest of the conditions are right (content, rates, deadline, responsive client, formats, team or individual working scenario... etc). For new approaches, I am usually wary, especially if it means working with other people (translators, PMs, proofers).

If someone offers me a large and lucrative project from the get-go I assume they must have heard very good things about me, or else are simply desperate to get anyone on board, probably because their rates or other terms are unattractive from the translator's point of view.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
A good figure Apr 18, 2012

philgoddard wrote:

Make sure that you never have more than (say) USD/GBP/EUR 1,000 outstanding at any one time. This is standard practice in business-to-business transactions, and I usually find clients are very understanding. It sometimes means that they have to pay invoices immediately, to stay below the limit, rather than waiting a month or more.

[Edited at 2012-04-17 22:06 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-17 22:06 GMT]


I agree, about 1000 euros is about as far as I'd be prepared to stick my neck out with a new contact.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sarah Elizabeth
Italy
Local time: 06:59
Italian to English
yes to huge projects, but don't commit yourself full-time Apr 18, 2012

I actually prefer what you describe as 'huge projects' but find the key is to not commit more than half your time to any one such job. Sometimes I have a few projects like this going on at the same time, and schedule no more than one-third of my time to each one.

In answer to your question about why they might contact you 'out of the blue' for a first-time big project, is the job somehow related to an area you are particularly specialized in? When I am offered a large job by a new client, it is almost always because the project falls within one or more of my narrow specialization fields, where I have a proven track record of published work - which I then assume, perhaps wrongly though, that the client is aware of.

If I were to be offered an enormous project by a new client in an area that isn't in one of my narrow specialization fields, I almost certainly wouldn't accept it (and I definitely would not accept it if it didn't at least fall with my broader specializations). I would probably be suspicious, not least because it would set off red flags in terms of the quality of the agency (in the sense of, why wouldn't they look for someone whose track record is more closely aligned with the project on offer, considering how big the job is?).

Sarah


Direct link Reply with quote
 
trent2101
Local time: 06:59
Dutch to Czech
+ ...
I´d advise against Apr 18, 2012

taking huge projects from a client you have no previous experience with. It happens to me a lot since I have a language pair not many people have plus a little stamp that makes new clients call me and ask if I can translate 80- page manuals within 14 days or so.

If I do know the client (usually an agency) and I have positive experience with them, I take the job.

I have a very negative experience with an agency that wanted a really demanding translation done, they kept changing the documents to be translated every day and I ended up printing additional documents in a copy shop and giving them to their assistant, because they realized they needed more copies 2 hours before the deadline.
They did send the advance payment I had asked for, but it took me 3 months and many phone calls, letters and finally getting in touch with a lawyer before I got the rest of the money.

There are so many companies that aren´t rated here on ProZ or anywhere else, it was only after I sent a warning to several colleagues that I learned that they had a similarly bad experience with this particular agency and didn´t get in touch with their lawyer just because the amounts of money this agency ( now under a new name, but with the same people) owed them were small.

So be careful. a huge project can be very tempting, especially after a "weaker" month, but it doesn´t always pay off to trust someone who comes with such an offer, especially in this economy.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:59
Member (2008)
English to French
I second that Apr 19, 2012

Sarah Elizabeth Cree wrote:

I actually prefer what you describe as 'huge projects' but find the key is to not commit more than half your time to any one such job. Sometimes I have a few projects like this going on at the same time, and schedule no more than one-third of my time to each one.

Sarah


Hear hear. Though even with that built-in protection I've managed to burn myself out after dragging a big project for months while taking on other small projects.

Also, to the original question of why established agencies need translators for large projects, the project might be larger than you think and it's already stretched their translator pool to its limits. I'm thinking especially of the technical field - drug accreditation dossiers - potentially thousands of page with a tight deadline - time is money and accreditation is the only way to recoup the investment; proposals for large public works projects - railroad, highways, etc. again with a specialized field and a tight deadline that's completely non negotiable. You could be one of dozens of translators working 'full time' on but a fraction of a project.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Huge projects?

Advanced search







BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search