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Poll: What would be the main reason for you to reject a project?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 14:09
Dec 30, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What would be the main reason for you to reject a project?".

This poll was originally submitted by Irène Guinez

View the poll here

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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Could reject a project Dec 30, 2009

for any one, or combination, of those reasons...


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Member (2008)
English to Italian
same here Dec 30, 2009

Hilde Granlund wrote:

for any one, or combination, of those reasons...

Same here


Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:09
English to Japanese
+ ...
Ditto Dec 30, 2009

Gianluca Marras wrote:

Hilde Granlund wrote:

for any one, or combination, of those reasons...

Same here



Teresa Borges
Local time: 22:09
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Same here... Dec 30, 2009



Maria Drangel  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
I replied "reputation of agency" Dec 30, 2009

I think that rate offered is one other common reason, but I can normally see that on the blue board and then I still think that counts as "reputation of agency", so even though it may be for several reasons, I think that the reputation is the most common reason when I reject an agency. It might even be lack of reputation. If an agency lacks history on the blue board and I have available capacity I would rather take a few days off while waiting for a project from a favourite or someone with a good rating than spend time working for someone where it is uncertain if/when/how I will be paid.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:09
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Deadline, illegible PDF, rate Dec 30, 2009

Leaving CAT tools out of the picture, I would consider the criteria above in the order listed.

First, time is finite; an impossible deadline would be impossible, so it's not negotiable.
Next, you couldn't pay me enough money to spend time deciphering an illegible PDF - been there, done that, and I have earned the right to leave that kind of work to the young people.
Third, at least I get to choose whether or not I want to reduce my rate.

I will leave the CAT tools for another discussion, though I will say that I do postedit machine translation.


Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:09
French to English
+ ...
Depends... Dec 30, 2009

... on whether it's an existing client or not. If I'm not available, I'm not available to anyone - though if it's a new *and reputable* client with a small job I'll always try to fit it in. If the client is not reputable or they won't agree to pay my rates, I'd rather clean the house, regardless of whether I have other translation work to do or not.

Thinking back, I most often reject jobs because I am not available - the second most common reason is that they're jobs I don't want, such as birth certificates, immigration documents and the like (I hate doing them, and I have a friend who likes them, so I pass them to her).


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Dec 30, 2009

Hilde Granlund wrote:

for any one, or combination, of those reasons...

There's no real order of priority, except perhaps reputation. But I do receive offers for something like 60% of my rate and I'm disinclined to create precedents I'll have to live with over the long term. Availability may be flexible or not -- that's negotiable. But I can state any one or a combination of these.


R-i-c-h-a-r-d  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:09
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Again, a number of the above... Dec 30, 2009

The most frustrating is (a lack of) 'My Availability'. I've had to refuse consecutive jobs in the past from one of my preferred agencies, subsequently taken as an offence and as a refusal in general. It's NOT!


Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:09
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
a combination thereof Dec 30, 2009

but if they are offering some ridiculous rate, I just reject it right away. I'm not going to do a lot of work for sweatshop rates, even if all the other things are ok.

the other considerations are impossible deadlines (especially if i'm already busy), an agency that looks to be rather iffy, format (illegible, pdfs, handwritten, etc).

But no matter how great the project, ridiculous rates are the main reason for rejection.

[Edited at 2009-12-30 22:50 GMT]


Interlangue (X)
Local time: 23:09
English to French
+ ...
Availability Dec 30, 2009

... which depends on the workload AND on my private life.

I set the rates (different rates for different file extensions) and they are not negotiable. I do not decline work because of the rates, some customers just refuse my rates.

When deadlines do not suit me, I always try to offer an alternative and leave it up to the client to accept or refuse.
I basically work for the same customers, direct and agencies. They know I do not use CAT tools. They also know there are some themes or specialties I am not familiar with, some I like better than others too. When I am working on a very large project, I let them know when I will be available again – with possible changes if the larger project is extended.

As for “reputation”, I remember one agency I sort of ‘blackmailed’ saying I would hand in their job as soon as they would pay the outstanding bills (and I quit working with them altogether after that) and another agency for which I refused to do a test, telling them bluntly about their reputation.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:09
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The MAIN reason is the subject area Dec 30, 2009

If it's medicine or accounting/finance for practitioners in these areas, I'm out. I happen to know personally the best expert translators for each of these in my language pairs, so I refer refer the client to them pointblank.

On the other hand, if it's in these two subject areas, but the text is aimed to the general public - which includes me - I'll have no objection. The point is that I don't understand highly technical content in these areas in any language, so what's the point? Conversely, if I - as a member of the general public - cannot understand some material in these, it was not properly written.

Of course, the other criteria are also relevent, but may be negotiated.

Rate offered

Obviously. If they want to pay less than half of my standard rate, I emphatically suggest they use automatic machine translation. As my rates are based on the market average, at such low rate it won't be much worse than MT, though the flaws will be different.

Now and then I get hired to 'fix' or redo such cheap jobs, when the end-client rejects them.

Agency's reputation

This can be overcome with up-front payment. No badmouthed agency has ever accepted it, but I'm open to such solution.


Many clients and agencies consider me unusually fast. So it's relatively safe to assume that it will be hard to beat my delivery time using one translator alone.

I manage my time on a per-project basis. So at any time I can tell a prospect when a project will be delivered if it is assigned to me at that very moment. Haven't missed a deadline yet in all these years. I prefer to deliver two days early than two hours late.

My availability

This is a reason for the client to turn me down, not the other way around. As I've just said, I'll tell them when it will be done, considering all other jobs I've got going and their respective deadlines.


I could have chosen this answer, but it wouldn't have been accurate.

I'll reject a job on the grounds of 'theme' if I'm outside the intended audience.
If it's reasonable to consider that I could never be expected to read and understand such material, I'll be unble to translate it.

File extension / CAT tool required

These two usually go together. Most files can be converted back and forth nowadays.

If a client wants me to translate and subtitle a FLV video file, I can convert it to AVI, do the job, and then convert it back to FLV.

However if a PM wants me to have Trados and no other, just for the sake of demanding it, they need a Trados operator, not a translator. My personal opinion is that unless it's a large and constant client having to update extensive (usually technical) literature, it's none of the client's business if and what CAT tool I use.

Automatic transmission and/or power steering won't improve my driving, they will just render it more comfortable for me. So it's none of my business if the vehicle has any of them when I'm riding a cab. This is the basic idea.


Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

Rejection oof a project is always composite Dec 30, 2009

i.e. the combined effect of some or all af the factors make us reject a project.
an important factor : TONE.

If for nothing else, if the tone is wrong, we tend to have serious doubts.

We often ask "Do you like the music from this potentional customer?"

If the answer is NO, we abstain.

This sense needs a few years to developicon_wink.gif



Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:09
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Assuming I was available and the deadline wasn't ridiculous, Dec 30, 2009

the agency's reputation is highest.
However, I also won't accept anything that is outside my specialties.
And you can't ever pay me enough to translate another contract or SAP project.

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