Poll: Have you ever accepted an assignment that you later regretted?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:24
SITE STAFF
Jan 16, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever accepted an assignment that you later regretted?".

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Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:24
Member (2009)
German to Greek
+ ...
A few times... Jan 16, 2015

...and they were all longish proof-reading assignments. Those for which you need more time than for a translation from scratch and get paid one third of the price.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:24
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It happens Jan 16, 2015

I said "many times." While I haven't *often* regretted accepting a job, over the 40 years that I have worked the number adds up to many.

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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:24
English to Japanese
+ ...
. Jan 16, 2015

Does this include non-payment?

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
A few times Jan 16, 2015

For me, the problems usually come in non-Word formats. I've had innocent-looking Powerpoint files which I managed to translate and clean up, only to discover that the spellchecker has unearthed swathes of invisible text, all in tiny boxes, which took forever to finish manually. Or PDFs that clients swore blind would be manageable which turned out out not to be. Etc... (in fact I could go on about things like this all day).

However, nowadays I'm usually able to tell by a quick look at a document if I will be able to handle it or not, and manage to avoid the most nasty surprises by sticking to my guns.


[Edited at 2015-01-16 08:37 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:24
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Once or twice Jan 16, 2015

As my answer to the last poll with this topic, it did happen twice.

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Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:24
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
A few times Jan 16, 2015

I've regretted taking on a few things, such as jobs that turned out to be very different to what I had expected, texts which were outside my comfort zone in terms of vocabulary and terminology, and awkward customers who tried to bring the deadline forward in the middle of the project, 'corrected' my native English with incorrect English, or simply didn't pay. However, I treat these as a learning process. With each one I gain a little more experience - having been stung once, I put measures in place to prevent it from happening again. Hopefully, as the years go by, such jobs will become less and less frequent as I get better at spotting the warning signs in advance.

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 09:24
Turkish to English
+ ...
Once or twice Jan 16, 2015

More than once or twice, actually, but less than many times. With experience we learn that it is better to decline jobs that are going to be troublesome from various points of view (such as the subject matter being outside one's normal areas of expertise or unrealistic deadlines). Nowadays, this is not a problem that I experience much.

[Edited at 2015-01-16 11:20 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Regrets, I've had a few Jan 16, 2015

But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

Actually, the only time I have regrets is when I don't get to do things my way.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:24
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Somewhere between once or twice and many times... Jan 16, 2015

Perhaps many times over the years, but I am getting better at turning them down.

There are occasions when a job looks fine... but the client keeps coming back with queries, extra files, odd comments, and a job simply will not go away after the deadline.

It is very difficult to predict those!

Only recently a regular once-a-year client changed the format of the job, an illustrated brochure. Whoopee, I thought, Word files instead of messing about in PDF between the graphics.
But no. I just couldn't see the graphics, and was asked to keep to the same number of keystrokes with spaces as in the source. That really IS difficult. I had no idea where it needed tweaking and where it was less important. The text did not fit the spaces, sounded odd and was a complete flop (according to their new editor).

I'm fired - they are getting some other poor sucker to do the proofreading, and I don't envy him/her!

A pity, because in earlier years they were at least cooperative and paid for my time, so I enjoyed it as a change from Trados.


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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:24
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
A couple of times Jan 16, 2015

but only because I did not take the time to check out the job (well enough) before I accepted it.

So now - even when I am busy - I try to not to be too hasty.


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Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 08:24
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Those are the ones! Jan 16, 2015

Christine Andersen wrote:

There are occasions when a job looks fine... but the client keeps coming back with queries, extra files, odd comments, and a job simply will not go away after the deadline.

It is very difficult to predict those!


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:24
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Two types I"m running away from Jan 16, 2015

Until a few years ago, my worst nighmares came from graduation theses, not because they are hard to translate, but because the authors think they speak English or Portuguese well enough to complain about your translation and make absurd, absolutely undue "corrections" in your work. So, I currently only accept that kind of job if I have nothing else to do and need money; otherwise, I usually refuse these pain-in-the-arse candidates to PhD and Masters degrees.

Now, we have a new nightmare in the market. Machine translated documents from Chinese manufacturers or worse, sent to us for proofreading instead of translating. So I no longer do proofreading/revisions and I warn my clients in the quotation replies that, if the document is machine translated I will not accept it.


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:24
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
not too many Jan 16, 2015

there was one that was relatively easy until...it turned out to be a scam.

Another was an editing job that i took with a client, with whom i'd worked a few times. Unfortunately, he got a terrible translator who also lived in another time zone. it turned out to be a real PITA and poorly organized. I never worked for him again, although he did pay me in full of course.


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