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Poll: Do you extend your working hours if you have a tight deadline?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:25
SITE STAFF
Nov 7, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you extend your working hours if you have a tight deadline?".

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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Contingency time Nov 7, 2012

I always try to finish my translations within my working hours, which are quite long by the way. But of course I will work until I get the translation finished. I don't have much choice about the matter really. Having said that, I only accept comfortable deadlines.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:25
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, always Nov 7, 2012

But "No" if it means that I'll be missing out on my social life or be deprived of sleep.

It all depends on how motivated you are whether or not you work later or longer hours. I have found that a stack of bills on the shelf near the computers will always motivate you.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:25
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, always! Nov 7, 2012

My working hours depend on the assignment and if these more than 30 years as a professional translator have taught me anything it is this: never bite off more than you can chew and never accept unrealistic deadlines!

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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:25
English
+ ...
Hear hear! Nov 7, 2012

Teresa Borges wrote:

My working hours depend on the assignment and if these more than 30 years as a professional translator have taught me anything it is this: never bite off more than you can chew and never accept unrealistic deadlines!


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Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 22:25
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
I am still learning that... Nov 7, 2012

Anyway, one of the advantages of being a freelancer is being able to work when we want - if I decide I want to work from 6 in the morning till midnight on one day and not at all on the next, I can do that. And I prefer it this way for many projects - I am more concentrated working on one and the same thing for long hours. Every time I return to my computer from a longer break I take a while to readjust to the text, the style of writing and the topic (and procrastinating, of course). Doing it in one rush yields better results for me.

But lately I have been definitively bitten of more than I can chew and am suffering from too long working days the last two weeks. I guess to know our limits comes with experience.

[Edited at 2012-11-07 10:38 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Of course Nov 7, 2012

When I accept a project, I also accept the responsibility of delivering on time. Should this require extended working hours or even overnight work, then so be it! The client comes first. Only in case of events beyond my control would I stick to my regular working hours, of course, informing the client a forehand. Meeting an accepted delivery deadline is a matter of good business conduct and, yes, of honor.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Whatever it takes to get the job done Nov 7, 2012

I only accept tight deadlines if I believe I can comply. I calculate how long I think the job will take me, add a dash of leeway, and make up my mind whether to accept the job or not.

In my experience, clients prefer to be told no rather than receive a yes that isn't true.

In any case, I'd say that only a small percentage of translators can set conventional office hours and expect to strictly follow them, so I'm wondering about the validity of the question

@Julian: It's true, bills are often times harder taskmasters than any client.


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:25
German to English
+ ...
Flexitime Nov 7, 2012

Flexitime is one of the cornerstones of freelance work.

The fact that this often means working all day and half the night is of no consequence.

If I worked extra hours in the corporate world for all those tight deadlines belonging to other people for years, I feel more than entitled to work extra hours for myself!


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:25
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
I hear you! Nov 7, 2012

John Cutler wrote:
It's true, bills are often times harder taskmasters than any client.


@John. Thanks!

Unfortunately, it is almost 9pm here and I am looking at another three hours of work ahead of me.

To quote others in this poll, "one thing I have learnt in my close on 30 years of translation" is that some jobs can still be full of ugly surpises, like the one I am slaving over right now.

Hmmmm, I'd like to sign off with a "Happy translating " but not in this particular case. O me miserum!


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Leanne Young  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:25
Italian to English
What working hours Nov 7, 2012

Of course! I try to maintain some form of routine and to avoid working weekends but it is impossible. Some days are 10+ others whilst others are very different.

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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:25
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
yes Nov 7, 2012

I was a journalist for a long time and deadlines are sacrosanct!

If I have to work late, I do. Since I'm flexible, I can sleep late the next day or take the day off. I don't overload myself but sometimes, you have to work a few extra hours.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The question itself is illogical Nov 7, 2012

A "tight deadline" logically implies that the translator will have to "do what it takes" to complete the project in question, which means extending his or her work day.

Any translator not prepared to do this would not accept a project imposing such a requirement.

For this reason, the question itself makes no sense. The more logical question would be, "Are you prepared to accept projects that require you to significantly extend your work day?" (Or, alternatively, "To what extent are you prepared to.....").

Once again, we have a poorly formulated question that has gone unnoticed--and unocorrected--by site staff.

I scratch my head and wonder how such things can repeatedly go undetected....


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:25
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I plan myself out of it if I can... Nov 7, 2012

One or two of my really LOVELY clients book me in advance when they know a deadline is going to be tight, and I gladly reserve time for them.

Those are the sort that pay extra for rushed evening work, so I might even get a break in the afternoon to be ready if that is what is needed.

I fit in the usual 'how soon can you get this back to us?' jobs when I can, and my working hours are fairly elastic anyway.
I have learnt to say no when the deadline is really impossible!

I answered 'yes, sometimes'.


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Samantha Payn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:25
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Saying no ... Nov 7, 2012

I don't consider myself to have regular hours at all and, as others have said here, that is the joy of being a freelance. Some days are long work days, and some are days off by choice (and some are days off not by choice, but I still try ot make the most of them!).
On a side note, I have found more than once that if I've said to a client "I can't make your deadline, but I could complete the task by XXX" they'll extend it. These are almost always agencies who, presumably, renegotiate with their clients.
Oh, and Julian, I know about the "nasty surprises" too! They do cause unplanned lost sleep sometimes!


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