Poll: How long does it usually take you to reply to a client's email?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:27
Jun 29, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How long does it usually take you to reply to a client's email?".

This poll was originally submitted by Natalia Pedrosa. View the poll results »


ventnai  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:27
German to English
+ ...
Very quickly if possible Jun 29, 2015

I try to respond to client emails as quickly as possible but may take time if there are more pressing matters at hand.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:27
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other - it depends Jun 29, 2015

It depends on several factors.

Time zone: My nearest client is 3 hours away and the rest are farther, so their work day does not coincide with mine. More often that not, I'm away from my desk when they write to me.

Cell phone: I don't take business calls on my cell because I don't want to make decisions on the fly without all the documents in front of me, including my Excel spreadsheet with all my upcoming deadlines.

E-mail turned off: When I'm really concentrating, sometimes I turn off my e-mail so I won't be tempted to answer a message that is not high priority, especially if I'm too booked to take on more work.

Too many other e-mails to answer: One day last week I was exchanging e-mails with three clients all at the same time, and one of them had sent separate e-mails asking for quotes on two different jobs. I couldn't answer them all at the same time.

All that said, under ideal conditions I respond right away.


Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:27
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Jun 29, 2015

As soon as I see it.
If I am really busy and really do not want to be disturbed, it may take longer, but usually I get a notification of mails arriving and respond straight away.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:27
English to Portuguese
+ ...
ASAP = As Soon As Possible Jun 29, 2015

Quite often, they'll send me files to analyze and give cost & turnaround time estimates. In many cases, these include either a large number of files, or some giant FHD video files that take a whale of time to download, in spite of my fast connection. My clients know that I'll respond ASAP, so they wait. I always do it ASAP, to keep up the 'deal' on my side.

In the rare cases when I cannot answer immediately, I'll tell them why.

If it's any quick question or info, they'll text me on Skype from overseas, or phone me, if local. If it's desperately urgent, they'll call me on Skype.


MelanyDP  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Definitely under 1h. Jun 29, 2015

As soon as I see it on my phone I will answer.

If they have already attached the document it normally takes me under an hour to give them a quote (unless I'm out and about and the document is a PDF *sigh*)

It also depends on the time zone.


Sadek_A  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:27
English to Arabic
+ ...
+1 Jun 29, 2015

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

Cell phone: I don't take business calls on my cell because I don't want to make decisions on the fly without all the documents in front of me, including my Excel spreadsheet with all my upcoming deadlines.

Sadly, there are clients who think the translator doesn't need to see the documents prior to making a decision. Mostly, such clients will be providing unwanted, mine-field projects and don't want the translator to have time to think and negotiate. A very shameful practice!

And, in answer to the poll question, the reply will surely be made the same day, but how early or how late is dependent on a whole bunch of criteria.

[Edited at 2015-06-29 14:31 GMT]


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jun 29, 2015

ASAP. However, the more things I have to explain in the email, the longer it will take me to draft and send it if it is in Spanish, especially if I have to be careful about not ruffling feathers and things like that. If the email content is particularly sensitive, I may heve to get a Spanish-speaking colleague to help with the niceties.

For example, telling a writer, whose paper has been rejected by a reviewer citing the English in the work as one of the reasons, that the English is in fact faultless, and what was lacking was more likely to have been the content per se, requires great tact. This happened to me this weekend and we had to draft one letter to the Journal en question and one to my client, which took longer as I had to explain it all in Spanish. In the end, it took me almost all Saturday morning...


Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:57
English to Hindi
+ ...
Depends on when I see it Jun 29, 2015

My clients are 12 to 15 hours behind me in time (in the US, Canada, UK, Germany etc., while I am in Mumbai, India). Often emails arrive when I am deeply asleep. In such cases, all I can say is I reply as soon as I see the emails, which could be within minutes to several hours later.

In special cases, when I am expecting some communication from clients, I sleep beside my phone (and sleep very badly!) so that if the need arises, I can respond almost immediately.


Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:27
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Like everyone else: As soon as I see it Jun 29, 2015

The time difference affects when an email is sent and when I see it. My long-term clients know that if they send something in the morning, I will answer in the afternoon.

If I am completely focussed on a problem translation, I will go hours without moving, let alone dealing with the distraction of email. Yes, I have missed out on some projects due to this, but I'm busy enough so as not to matter to me. And my long-term clients appreciate the concentration levels I bring to the work, so they put up with me.icon_smile.gif


French to English
+ ...
ASAP, or a day Jun 29, 2015

5 minutes or asap if I'm online, but it could be as much as a day between getting online.


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