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Poll: Do you find it difficult to keep up with the speed at which clients require work completed?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:53
SITE STAFF
May 22, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you find it difficult to keep up with the speed at which clients require work completed?".

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:53
Hebrew to English
Yes, but only when.... May 22, 2012

They expect miracles. I really should add....

I don't do same-day delivery


...to my profile. (Although this would be misleading as if it's something small, a certificate etc, of course I can do same-day delivery)....

But I do get a biticon_eek.gif when people send me documents of 1000s of words and the turnaround time can be measured in hours, not days.


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes May 22, 2012

Sometimes yes.

If I truly feel that the deadline is unreasonable, I try to renegotiate it. If that tactic doesn't work, I use the old, tried and true Nancy Reagan approach: "Just say No".


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:53
Member (2006)
German to English
It all May 22, 2012

depends on how much work I actually take on with the deadlines and if the deadline is not "normal" for the amount of words, then I do not do it.

 

Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:53
Member
German to English
+ ...
Not normally May 22, 2012

I don't accept unreasonable deadlines. They almost invariably come from the same clients who pay unreasonable rates.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, but May 22, 2012

I think it has more to do with how you define "require". In Spain, many clients appear to ALWAYS have "urgent" requests, as if they would never get anything done if they didn't say it was deperately needed by yesterday. I have spent a long time cajoling and nagging my direct clients into simply bearing in mind that translation is a factor to be considered when they do what passes for planning.

This slackness can be irritating as well as costly. About 2 months ago one client called me on a Thursday and asked if I would be available for an "urgent" translation they needed by the Monday. I said yes, and rejected a (more lucrative) offer from another client because of this, only to find that the first client didn't come through - or even call me to cancel/postpone the deal. I was not amused. Then last weekend, the same client appeared again - with the same job! - Apparently it had been held up and they had simply "forgotten" to let me know. So, having perceived this lack of rigour as them undervaluing my services, I explained why and told them to "find another monkey" on this occasion. If they come back at a later date with another job, I'll probably accept it, but if not, it's no skin off my nose.

Sometimes the customer isn't right, but simply rhymes with it...


 

Samantha Payn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:53
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Just say No May 22, 2012

New clients with desperate, rush jobs don't fill me with joy so I avoid them. If the deadline is unreasonable then I will refuse the job.
Existing clients know that I will turn around work as quickly as is possible, and with them I will try to renegotiate if their expectations are unreasonably high or, very occasionally, agree to meet their deadline.


 

Interlangue (X)
Angola
Local time: 21:53
English to French
+ ...
Not usually May 22, 2012

I am in favour of the "just say no" strategy as well, but refusals always come with an alternative deadline.
It may happen though that I underestimate the difficulty (abbreviations, readability of scanned pdf files, and such) and have to rush to finish in time...


 

Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Not normally a problem... May 22, 2012

...as I do very little work for agencies. The hardy few who persist in using me know what I'm like and how I work. I simply won't accept deadlines I'm not happy with.

My direct clients are very reasonable in their expectations of turn-around time. On the other hand, they do sometimes have difficulty keeping up with my demands for the next stage of the project! icon_wink.gif


 

Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:53
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
realism works for me May 22, 2012

I normally have a fairly accurate idea of how long a certain job is going to take me. If the deadline is a bit earlier than that, I will try to negotiate or I may accept and put in some longer hours. If it is much earlier, or if the deadline conflicts with that of another project I am doing, I will usually decline, explaining I would be happy to do it, but cannot see I can finish before xxx. Sometimes they will then find someone else; other times, it turns out my suggested deadline will in fact work for them.
Occasionally I get nervous halfway through - but then the work usually ends up being finished well before the deadline as I put in some extra hours earlier on.
So far, I have not turned clients away by turning down a project - they tend to be happy with a realistic estimate on my part.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:53
French to English
Deadlines May 22, 2012

If you accept a piece of work, it is reasonable for the client to suppose that you can respect the deadline. Before you get up in arms, that is to be read with the following proviso : you agree a do-able deadline when you accept the job; if you cannot, you then either negotiate a longer deadline or refuse the job.

Sometimes it is only once you have started the job that you realize the deadline is short. You have to communicate that fact and/or find a solution with a colleague. The same principle should apply if something unexpected happens and it will have an effect on your ability to respect the deadline.

What strange things clients do sometimes though... send a job through without contacting you first to see if you are available. Sometimes I do wonder!


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 04:53
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Not usually May 22, 2012

And hats off once again to Nancy Reagan.

If I feel that I'm being treated as the "give it to him late Friday, he'll get it to you first thing Monday morning" or "we need it yesterday" guy, the customer will soon find out that the initials in my name really stand for Jekyll icon_smile.gif and Hyde icon_evil.gif.


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:53
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
I would... May 22, 2012

but I don't accept jobs if I know I can't meet the deadline. I avoid last minute rush jobs as I also prefer to have a bit of extra time built in just in case of any unforeseen eventualities - it may take longer than I expected as I need to look up a lot of terms, one of my children might be sick etc, etc. I do wonder sometimes why so many translation jobs are so urgent - has planning gone out of fashion?

[Edited at 2012-05-22 10:58 GMT]


 

Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:53
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
Planning and lack of it... May 22, 2012

Helen Hagon wrote:

I do wonder sometimes why so many translation jobs are so urgent - has planning gone out of fashion?


Rather than lack of planning, I think it's mainly due to ignorance. End clients have no idea how long it actually takes to do a translation, which is why we need to keep educating them so they become aware of what is involved.

As for my own planning, if I am pressed for time, then it is usually my fault for underestimating how long a job will take, although, on the whole, I'm pretty good at working out what I am capable of these days.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:53
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not usually May 22, 2012

I have been working with the same group of clients for over 20 years and I am almost never faced with unreasonable deadlines.

 
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