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Poll: How often do you lose potential jobs because the deadline is sooner than you can deliver?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:32
SITE STAFF
Jul 18, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How often do you lose potential jobs because the deadline is sooner than you can deliver?".

This poll was originally submitted by Heinrich Pesch. View the poll results »



 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jul 18, 2013

Not "lose", but "refuse". If I reject a job because the deadline is ill thought out, implausible and hasty, then I don't consider it a loss.

It happens quite often - already once this week, an agency wanted 3K done by the next day (not an unreasonable request if the translator is sitting around twiddling his/her thumbs waiting for work offers to come in) and since I already have enough on my plate from regular clients, I refused. If they'd offered 2 days for delivery, I might have accepted. However, they didn't, and as far as I'm concerned, the loss is theirs.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:32
Hebrew to English
I don't lose them, I turn them down Jul 18, 2013

Happens quite often. I simply won't accept a deadline that:
a) I simply can't deliver - not feasible
b) would require me killing myself/staying up all night/working ridiculous hours to meet

I learnt that lesson the hard way early on in my translation career where I found myself translating a technical elevator specification at 3am. Never again.

I don't consider these "lost opportunities" though, as there's nothing "opportune" about them.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:32
Hebrew to English
Great minds think alike! Jul 18, 2013

neilmac wrote:

Not "lose", but "refuse". If I reject a job because the deadline is ill thought out, implausible and hasty, then I don't consider it a loss.

It happens quite often - already once this week, an agency wanted 3K done by the next day (not an unreasonable request if the translator is sitting around twiddling his/her thumbs waiting for work offers to come in) and since I already have enough on my plate from regular clients, I refused. If they'd offered 2 days for delivery, I might have accepted. However, they didn't, and as far as I'm concerned, the loss is theirs.


icon_biggrin.gif


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
All the time Jul 18, 2013

neilmac wrote:

Not "lose", but "refuse".


I was about to say the same thing - turning down work because you're too busy isn't the same thing as losing work because you're too slow or inflexible!


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:32
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Customer service skills Jul 18, 2013

neilmac wrote:

Not "lose", but "refuse". If I reject a job because the deadline is ill thought out, implausible and hasty, then I don't consider it a loss.


I refuse them too, however translating customer service training courses taught me an important lesson:
The word clients hate most is "NO!"


So I don't tell them I can't do it; I tell them the earliest time when I can get it done.
It's the client's call: they can have me do it by then, or go look for someone else.
The point is that while they are searching, the clock won't stop ticking.
If my turnaround is acceptable, they'll take it!

I always prefer to deliver two days early than two hours late.


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 15:02
English to Hindi
+ ...
Happened to me today Jul 18, 2013

I was travelling and this job came in which needed to be delivered while I would be in the train. I knew I couldn't do it, but I wrote them that I would be back in office only today, and would it be ok if it was delivered one day after their stipulated deadline? I could write this small email from my smartphone itself.

I got a reply that the job couldn't wait, but they were glad that I had informed them about my situation.

I think this was much better than an outright refusal. The latter could send out the signal that you don't want to do the job, or that you have taken offence at being send a job that you could not do, but how was the client to know this? Also clients feel better when they hear an accommodating reply than a curt or a blunt refusal.

As Jose says, it is always sound policy to keep your clients in good humour.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 10:32
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Very rarely! Jul 18, 2013

I seem to be the lucky one here who very rarely has to deal with unreasonable deadlines!

 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 05:32
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends on which market Jul 18, 2013

I work for two very different markets: Spain and the U.S. The former is much more demanding marketing/market oriented and has tighter deadlines whereas the latter is more flexible, deals with more documents that are more likely to be filed without being read in their entirety (legal) and therefore gives me more leeway on all fronts.

So I would say virtually never for the U.S. and sometimes for Spain (Europe). After some experience, I generally turn down work if I suspect that I could have problems meeting the deadline instead of being certain of that fact. Better safe than sorry.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:32
French to English
This one Jul 18, 2013

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

neilmac wrote:

Not "lose", but "refuse". If I reject a job because the deadline is ill thought out, implausible and hasty, then I don't consider it a loss.


I refuse them too, however translating customer service training courses taught me an important lesson:
The word clients hate most is "NO!"


So I don't tell them I can't do it; I tell them the earliest time when I can get it done.
It's the client's call: they can have me do it by then, or go look for someone else.
The point is that while they are searching, the clock won't stop ticking.
If my turnaround is acceptable, they'll take it!

I always prefer to deliver two days early than two hours late.


This works. It's common sense.


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:32
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Frequently, Jul 18, 2013

Unfortunately, all projects seem to be urgent!
I often have to decline a job (with regret), while in the middle of another, and often feel it as a loss.


 

Nicola Wood  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 11:32
Member (2010)
German to English
Exactly as most people have said: Jul 18, 2013

If I cannot meet the deadline I either tell the customer the earliest that I can deliver, which often proves good enough, or, if I am really so busy that I can't come anywhere close to the deadline, I politely explain this to the customer (usually still giving them some idea of when I would be able to deliver - you never know;-)). Almost all of my work is from repeat clients and turning down the occasional job has never stopped them coming back to me yet, so I don't think it has often lost me work I could do, only avoided me taking on more than I can manage.

 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
Well said Jul 18, 2013

Ty Kendall wrote:

Happens quite often. I simply won't accept a deadline that:
a) I simply can't deliver - not feasible
b) would require me killing myself/staying up all night/working ridiculous hours to meet

I learnt that lesson the hard way early on in my translation career where I found myself translating a technical elevator specification at 3am. Never again.

I don't consider these "lost opportunities" though, as there's nothing "opportune" about them.


For serious, seasoned translators, the phrase “potential job” is radioactive.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:32
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
New clients' deadlines are often unrealistic Jul 18, 2013

People who contact me through my profile here are often already running late and expecting me to wave a magic wand over their problems. I used to pull out all the stops for them, but there are many risks in jumping into a job for a new client without properly investigating them. I now reserve that type of response for existing clients. I rarely have to turn down a job for them based on the deadline, partly because they're prepared to negotiate, as they know I'll deliver when promised, and partly because I'm prepared to put myself out for them.

 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:32
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
it's not a loss, since I made the decision! Jul 18, 2013

if the deadline is simply unrealistic, forget it. Just the other night I got a rush job for 9 am the next morning.It would have meant staying up till all hours. Also it was a new client and we hadn't even settled any payment details and it was very hard to contact her. If I have any doubts about things like that, i pass.

Also, time zones are an issue. If i get something for the same day in Euro time, it's not always possible for me.


 
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