I need advice: Failed interpreting assignment, yet the agency is asking how it went
Thread poster: Ildiko Santana

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:05
Member (2002)
Hungarian to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Jun 19

Dear Colleagues,

I am out of ideas how to respond to an e-mail from an agency. I had never worked with them before. They contacted me on June 10, for an all-day interpreting assignment on June 19. I have stated my conditions of availability (written contract, hourly rate, mileage, per diem for travel, 25% deposit). These conditions have not been met. They sent me a blank business associate agreement dated 2013, and I immediately asked for a current one, to no avail. The contact pers
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Dear Colleagues,

I am out of ideas how to respond to an e-mail from an agency. I had never worked with them before. They contacted me on June 10, for an all-day interpreting assignment on June 19. I have stated my conditions of availability (written contract, hourly rate, mileage, per diem for travel, 25% deposit). These conditions have not been met. They sent me a blank business associate agreement dated 2013, and I immediately asked for a current one, to no avail. The contact person asked the same questions over and over, which I repeatedly answered, but no contract, no deposit, to this day. Consequently, two days prior to the assignment I sent a separate e-mail "Unavailable" stating that I was no longer available, because my conditions were not met. I have proof that this notice was received. Altogether 31 e-mails and 9 days later, the contact person (whose title is Scheduling Specialist) wrote to me today, "I haven't heard back from you regarding today's all day assignment. Did all go well?"

What would be the most professional response?
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Michele Lemieux-Madison  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:05
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Be honest Jun 19

I presume the Scheduling Specialist is the one you have tried to communicate with all this time. I would write a summary of all the emails and explain the situation and why you did not go. Then move on, do not worry yourself any more than you have done so far. It is on them, not on you. They should have confirmed before. I can't imagine they are more professional with their own clients than they are with their contractors.

Having said that, I understand that we, as professionals, a
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I presume the Scheduling Specialist is the one you have tried to communicate with all this time. I would write a summary of all the emails and explain the situation and why you did not go. Then move on, do not worry yourself any more than you have done so far. It is on them, not on you. They should have confirmed before. I can't imagine they are more professional with their own clients than they are with their contractors.

Having said that, I understand that we, as professionals, are very uncomfortable when faced with such non professional behavior. I'm sorry this happened to you.

Good luck!`

Mchèle
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Ildiko Santana
Tina Vonhof
Elena Aclasto
EmmanuelleAnne
 

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:05
Member (2002)
Hungarian to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Great advice Jun 20

Thank you Michele. This really helps.
In 25 years working in this industry, I have never had to deal with such bizarre business conduct. Honesty has never been an issue, but when I can't get through and feels like there is no one really reading just typing.... it's confusing and a bit alarming.

Thanks again! Kind regards,
Ildikó


 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 09:05
English to Russian
+ ...
Beyond ridiculous Jun 20

They should have known "if everything went well" within the first 15 minutes of the interpreter's no-show. All hell was supposed to break loose within the next 15 minutes.

Did anyone expect an interpreter on that day at all? Some mind-boggling mystery...


Ildiko Santana
Viacheslav Silkin
Kay Denney
Teresa Borges
Philippe Etienne
Marija Jankovic
Tina Vonhof
 

Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 17:05
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Unprofessional Jun 20

Ildiko Santana wrote:

What would be the most professional response?


Why do you think they deserve a professional response? They have been completely unprofessional from the start. I'm surprised you stuck with them so long.

Presumably, their latest mail was sent to the wrong person. You might write back, pointing that out. Then forget them.


Viacheslav Silkin
Sheila Wilson
Christophe Delaunay
IrinaN
Philippe Etienne
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Cecily Bernard
 

Muhamed Durmić  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 16:05
Member (Jun 2019)
English to Croatian
+ ...
Signed anything? Jun 20

My only question is if you have signed any form of contract with them? If not, they can’t hold you liable for anything, and you have a whole bunch of e-mails to prove you tried everything to communicate. In my personal experience with such clients (and in my part of the world we have plenty of them), best is just to make your point in connection to your experience and terms politely but firmly and tell them you’re sure they will find a suitable interpreter for the future assignment... See more
My only question is if you have signed any form of contract with them? If not, they can’t hold you liable for anything, and you have a whole bunch of e-mails to prove you tried everything to communicate. In my personal experience with such clients (and in my part of the world we have plenty of them), best is just to make your point in connection to your experience and terms politely but firmly and tell them you’re sure they will find a suitable interpreter for the future assignment


[Edited at 2019-06-20 06:05 GMT]
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DZiW
Ildiko Santana
Marija Jankovic
Tina Vonhof
 

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:05
Member (2002)
Hungarian to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Professional response Jun 20

Philip Lees wrote:

Why do you think they deserve a professional response? They have been completely unprofessional from the start. I'm surprised you stuck with them so long.


Hi Philip,
Thank you for your feedback.
I can't be the judge of who is deserving what, but I wanted to send a professional response because I am a professional, regardless of how others operate in this world.
I agree with you that I probably spent too much time trying to make it work... I do enjoy all-day assignments.


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Tina Vonhof
Thomas Pfann
Khalid Sabili
Kuochoe Nikoi
 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 09:05
English to Russian
+ ...
Indeed Jun 20

Philip Lees wrote:

Presumably, their latest mail was sent to the wrong person. You might write back, pointing that out. Then forget them.


They must have disliked your terms and simply ignored you from that point on, used another person without letting you know and emailed to you by mistake. Or the PM has a broken line with that Scheduler. Or both. There can hardly be any other reasonable explanation and, professionalism aside, there is never any point in replying to rude people, any rude people, unless, of course, you have a chance to punch them on the nose and get away with it:-)

Just ignore them.


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 16:05
Member (2016)
English to German
Professionalism Jun 20

Ildiko Santana wrote:

I can't be the judge of who is deserving what, but I wanted to send a professional response because I am a professional, regardless of how others operate in this world.


I think this is an excellent point that cannot be underlined enough. Be professional no matter what. Even if you think the other side is unprofessional, disorganised or even rude. Always be aware that you see only part of the picture, you see only the messages that reach you. Do not draw conclusions, do not speculate about what happened or what might be the mindset or intention of the other side. Just talk about your side of the matter and state the facts.


Rox-Edling
Tanja Oresnik
Mariana Passo
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Olavo Nogueira
Kuochoe Nikoi
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:05
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
You are right Jun 20

IrinaN wrote:
and emailed to you by mistake. Or the PM has a broken line with that Scheduler.


It is as simple as that, and it doesn't deserve any further pondering, let alone replying to them in a professional way.

You may simply write back asking "is this email intended to be sent to me"?


Yolanda Broad
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:05
Member
Italian to English
This would by my "professional response" Jun 20

I would respond as follows:

"Dear Scheduling Specialist,

Thank you for your email.
Due to your failure to send the current business associate agreement I requested, and your failure to meet my specified requirements, I was unable to perform the assignment. I am attaching the email with subject line "Unavailable" stating that I was no longer available, sent to you prior to the date of the assignment, together with the proof that this notice was received by you. I
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I would respond as follows:

"Dear Scheduling Specialist,

Thank you for your email.
Due to your failure to send the current business associate agreement I requested, and your failure to meet my specified requirements, I was unable to perform the assignment. I am attaching the email with subject line "Unavailable" stating that I was no longer available, sent to you prior to the date of the assignment, together with the proof that this notice was received by you. I hope this clarifies the matter.

Warmest regards,"

You have been professional from the start. I think you are right to contact them, but agree with you that it is important to remain professional despite the obvious bedlam at their end.
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Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Khalid Sabili
Joe France
Melanie Meyer
Ildiko Santana
 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:05
Serbian to English
+ ...
From what you are saying Jun 21

they made you an offer that you didn't accept; you made a counter-offer that they just kept ignoring. There was no contract whatsoever.

If you really want to waste more of your time on that kind of people, send to all people from that agency that contacted you the whole thread / the whole exchange of emails.

Plus a copy to the MD - just in case. It wouldn't be the first time if it turned out that some employee was trying to be more catholic than the Pope, i.e to
... See more
they made you an offer that you didn't accept; you made a counter-offer that they just kept ignoring. There was no contract whatsoever.

If you really want to waste more of your time on that kind of people, send to all people from that agency that contacted you the whole thread / the whole exchange of emails.

Plus a copy to the MD - just in case. It wouldn't be the first time if it turned out that some employee was trying to be more catholic than the Pope, i.e to show off their "superior negotiating skills" to the point of damaging the company. And then forget them.
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Ildiko Santana
IrinaN
 

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:05
Member (2002)
Hungarian to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you All for your input Jun 24

Many thanks to all who responded. This community spirit is one of the key benefits of long-term membership with Proz.com!
I did send a brief email, outlining the basic facts, closing with a statement that I found very important to emphasize:
"As I have not been engaged in the subject legal matter, I have no information regarding the outcome of the deposition, either."


 


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I need advice: Failed interpreting assignment, yet the agency is asking how it went

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