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Poll: Have you ever had to cancel a project you had already accepted?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 19:04
Aug 20, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever had to cancel a project you had already accepted?".

This poll was originally submitted by Takako Shibuya. View the poll results »


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:04
Member (2008)
English to Italian
yes Aug 20, 2010

I usually tend not to do this, in case of problems I have some valid colleagues who can cover me.
But last year I had to cancel about 4 projects since I had to assist my father who was going to die. And sometimes I was asked to get on a plane and go, ASAP.

After that experience I had to change my approach to work, since his conditions were always unpredictable.

So I only took projects with a very long deadline, and this gave the freedom to manage my projects without cancelling them.

The situation is now back to normal, unfortunately I do not have to worry about my father's conditions anymore.


Interlangue (X)
Local time: 04:04
English to French
+ ...
Yes Aug 20, 2010

Just once (3 jobs, 2 PMs of 2 offices of the same agency), a long time ago, when I was taken to hospital in an emergency.


Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:04
French to English
+ ...
Yes - twice Aug 20, 2010

Once when I had swine flu last December and once before, when I went into labour with my first son a week early 21 years ago - as someone who tends to always do things on the last minute, it took me completely by surprise! On both occasions my clients were very understanding and I was even paid for what I'd done in the earlier case, even though I'd just had to down tools and leave it halfway through without proof-reading.


vixen  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:04
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Once Aug 20, 2010

Last year, I was back in the Netherlands because of my mother's rapidly declining health, but I had taken my laptop with me to get some work done in between visits. I had to cancel one project when my mother died and was able to postpone another (small) one.
The client knew beforehand when and why I was going to the Netherlands and was very understanding when I had to cancel the project.


Mariam Osmann
Local time: 04:04
English to Arabic
+ ...
Once Aug 20, 2010

A friend of mine died. It was very shocking and I had to cancel one hour after I accepted the assignment.

It wasn't too late I think. Unfortunately the client wasn't so understanding and believed that I can easily calm down and work.



Szymon Metkowski  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:04
German to Polish
+ ...
once Aug 20, 2010

Last year, as I had to go to the hospital. The client was understanding and it did not affect our further cooperation.


Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:04
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
yes Aug 20, 2010

when my father was terminally ill last year. I was still able to work but had to turn down a large project after accepting it when I realized I just wasn't going to be able to carry it off. As it was I was working on a large proofreading project during the whole thing but my client was very understanding. The one I cancelled on understood of course.

This past january I came down with that norovirus that was going the time I was working on a small job and simply had to stop, but in that case, I did manage to get it finished when I was able to look at the computer again!


Maria Drangel  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:04
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
No, but... Aug 20, 2010

...once i wish I had. I was asked to do a job with a fixed rate that was supposed to take 6 hours.

It sounded like a good deal but the job was much bigger than then the client had said and it took me over 30 hours to finish it - naturally I only got paid for these six hours. It was our first co-operation and they did some other tricks after that so I no longer accept work from them...


Varsha Pendse-Joshi  Identity Verified
Japanese to English
+ ...
Never Aug 20, 2010

The project was canceled by other side (client)


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, but Aug 20, 2010

I've sometimes had to renegotiate deadlines for technical reasons. I live and work in a rural area where there are often power cuts, brownouts or internet (wifi) failures, often due to storms, flooding and lightning striking antenas, etc (3 days without service last weekend)

My PC needs a service too, it's been running really slowly this week, and I just notified a client that I will not be able to meet tight deadlines next week as it may take a few days to solve the problem (my nearest IT technician is always busy).

I have also occasionally sent back jobs that turned out to be in unreadable formats or versions, damaged files, scanned PDFs or simply gibberish (pax, Google translate).

Usually if I accept a job my word is my bond, which has not always worked out to my advantage (for example if a client asks for a deadline and says the latest job is as long and complex as a previous one, which then turns out not to be the case).


Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:04
English to Spanish
Yes Aug 20, 2010

I cancelled a job in order to rush to Concepción after the earthquake to see my parents & sister, and try to contact my cousins from whom I'd had no news at all.


Magdalena Altieri
Member (2010)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Never, never, never in ten years (workaholic!) Aug 20, 2010

I am so responsible (too much, sometimes) that I can be awake all night long if I have agreed a certain deadline!! It's not very healthy, I know, and there is always a first time -all of you have given really worthy reasons to cancel a job!- but I have weekly deadlines in my journalistic work and I've never missed one in ten years! The same for my translation work. In these cases, when an urgent work comes up, I prefer to say NO before, if I know it would be impossible to get it done. When I need to travel, or to take some days off for holidays, I work a lot in the previous weeks in order to have everything ready before leaving. I did the same thing when my son was born, it's one of the disadvantages of being a freelancer!! no maternity leave! I took just two weeks to recover myself and being full time with my baby, then I started with my normal working time (at home, of course) but I have to say that I regret a little bit... perhaps he would have needed more "exclusivity"!


Local time: 21:04
Spanish to English
Changed conditions Aug 20, 2010

A single 21,000-word annual report that magically changed into 300 mini-files requiring rolling delivery before getting the next files; delivery based on receipt of original by xx xx xx, which was not met; an MS Word original that became an illegible image file (I was then asked to do a portion, but declined further involvement with this source) and a legal document that turned out to be an excel file of medical definitions.
Other than things like the foregoing, earthquakes, hospital time, HD failures, blackouts and ISP failures are workarounds (usually covered by contingency-time add-ons).
Got my knuckles whacked pretty good by the Sweet Sisters of a Vengeful Lord in second grade, so haven't tried "dog ate my HW" tales since then).


Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:04
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Richard LOL Aug 21, 2010

sounds like Sister Mary Elephant...or something out of Portrait of the Translator as a young man....

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