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Poll: If asked to state your own deadline for an assignment, how much leeway do you plan in?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:26
SITE STAFF
Oct 10, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If asked to state your own deadline for an assignment, how much leeway do you plan in?".

This poll was originally submitted by phoeberuth. View the poll results »



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Paul Stevens  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:26
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It really depends Oct 10, 2012

on the size of the project, so I selected "other".

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:26
Member
German to English
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Ditto Oct 10, 2012

'Other' because the amount of leeway is dependent entirely on the size of the project.

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Nicola Wood  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 05:26
Member (2010)
German to English
Other Oct 10, 2012

It depends upon the size of the job and the circumstances at the time.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 13:26
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Me, too Oct 10, 2012

Paul Stevens wrote:
on the size of the project, so I selected "other".


As a rule, I add on 10 to 15% of my initial time estimate. Customers tack on extra time at their end for extra safety, so I might as well do the same to be on the safe side. HTH


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Desiree Staude
Germany
Local time: 05:26
English to German
+ ...
If a leeway, only in delivering earlier Oct 10, 2012

I never plan to deliver late. But I always start a bet against myself, how much faster I can deliver (without quality issues) and am happy, when I deliver a project earlier than expected by the project manager.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 05:26
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Depends on a lot of factors Oct 10, 2012

One of my regular clients often sends very small, routine jobs and asks 'how soon can you get this back to me?' He needs to relay the English version as a source for other translators.

Then I deliver as fast as realistically possible and we both know that I usually have other things in hand. But no extra leeway there.

Most of my jobs are small - average 1000 - 2000 words, so I calculate when I can start after the current job, and then add a coffee break or two and a decent night's sleep if appropriate.

If a new client sends me a huge file in a subject area I will have to read up on, or with a huge pile of background reading... then I really like to take time over it.

A rough rule of thumb is double the time it will take to do the job!
That means a couple of hours or overnight with proofing next morning for my average jobs, and time to keep my regular clients ticking over for really big jobs.

I have to adjust for the medium ones, but then I am not usually allowed to set the deadline myself - or only within certain limits.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:26
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other, several factors are considered Oct 10, 2012

I tell my clients that I prefer to deliver two days early than two hours late.

My rated production, 3,000 words/day, already includes some leeway. As a matter of fact, my all-time record so far was 10,000 words translated in one day (less than 5% repetitions, NO 75~99% fuzzy matches). Of course, I did reviewing on the next day.

Circumstances are also considered. If I have other jobs going, or even unrelated commitments, these detract from the days/hours I have available for a new job.

I have my fixed rates, however they are for what I call "commercial translation". When I translate books, to make them viable I adopt lower rates, however I won't commit more than 1,000 words per day to such a project, leaving time available for commercial projects, if they come up in the meantime. This doesn't prevent me from translating, say, 5,000 words of a book in one day, if nothing else comes up.

As my rates are fixed, the payment term becomes the free variable. Then what I call "managed availability" steps in. The system is organized in a more complex manner, however bottom line is that faster-paying clients get quicker service. Slower-paying clients are advised that they may lose priority on the way.

Finally, there is the type of work. I try to schedule all the work that will take over the computer and won't require my presence to be done overnight. Typical cases are burning subtitles on long videos or rendering an authored DVD.

For me it's a more complex issue than merely padding each and every job with a few hours or days. So far this system has helped me to:

  • never deliver a translation job late in 39 years;
  • have availability to spare for clients suddenly having an urgent need;
  • improve my cash flow.


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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 07:26
Italian to Russian
+ ...
Other Oct 10, 2012

I'd say, how much time I add to/extract from the accorded delivery time, for hardware software "bioware" maintenance.
On the average, a 15-minute interval every working hour, within eight-hour day (from 10 am to 8 pm), 40 hrs week.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:26
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In general Oct 10, 2012

2,500/3,000 words per day + 1/2 days or more for revision, depending on the size of the project... In 30 years I have never delivered a translation late and I am pretty proud when I deliver before the deadline!

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 10, 2012

I prefer to err on the side of caution, so ask for as long as humanly possible, then try to deliver ASAP. So, if asked to set a deadline, I might ask for a week and deliver in a day, or two, or less - it all depends on my workload, which dynamically varies from one minute to the next.

Most of my regular clients are used to me always delivering ASAP anyway, but I always ask them to try to remember that 2000 words a day is more or less the amount of words I can safely undertake - the only problem is when 3 clients turn up on the same day, with similar volumes and "urgency"...

[Edited at 2012-10-10 12:08 GMT]

I often ask myself why almost everyone (in Spain anyway) seems to be in a hurry, and very few clients (if any) ever seem to take into account the time needed for translation when doing their planning (if they actually do really plan anything properly). Whatever the reason , I think the only thing we can do as translators is constantly remind them about it, even if it amounts to nagging.



[Edited at 2012-10-10 14:54 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:26
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Oct 10, 2012

It all depends on various factors, size of file, quality of source document, yes, even on the field.

Thus far I've met all delivery deadlines with 2 exceptions, both were related to severe formatting issues, and one also to the "not too good" quality of the video.

My regular clients know that I will deliver ASAP and,, they also give deadlines that I could meet easily with twice as many words as the project they've sent me.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:26
French to English
Other Oct 10, 2012

I cannot express an answer in terms of time, as that depends on the size of the project. I would not allow 1 hour extra for a 20 000 word project for example, nor would I allow 3 days for a short 1 500 word piece. Actual time is not a helpful way of expressing an answer to the question. In percentage terms however, I generally allow at least 10% as standard and if there are other factors which introduce something unknown (new client, slightly different type of text to ones I'm used to doing etc), then I will allow for that.

[Edited at 2012-10-10 13:59 GMT]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:26
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Deadlines Oct 10, 2012

In today's market, I find that I never get the amount of time I would like to spend on a translation. Therefore, I have a minimum 48-hour turn around time (this eliminates a lot of last-minute rushing). For longer projects, I usually work backwards and try to determine the longest period of time I figure the client is willing to wait for the translation and if I believe I can finish the job in that amount of time, then that is my deadline.

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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:26
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
*At least* one or two days Oct 10, 2012

My approach is very similar to Neilmac's: I propose a deadline that allows me more than enough time to complete a project. This in order to have the freedom to : 1.) accept other work (especially well-paid rush jobs) in the interim; 2.) to deal with other issues in my life that might arise; 3.) to rest if I should get sick.

In my own view, any circumstance that puts me in a position of being obliged to work on a single project and do nothing else until the project is complete is something that constitutes a rush job, and that should be compensated accordingly.


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