Poll: Do you ever receive job requests with very flexible deadlines?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:09
Aug 14, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you ever receive job requests with very flexible deadlines?".

View the poll results »


Teresa Borges
Local time: 00:09
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, quite often! Aug 14, 2015

As I said almost one year ago: http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/273544-poll_do_you_ever_receive_job_requests_with_very_flexible_deadlines.html


Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
Italian to English
+ ...
Sometimes Aug 14, 2015

Universities often have longer deadlines than commercial clients.

BTW, may I suggest that, rather than have the usual chorus of little remarks pointing out how often the same questions come up on these polls, we either complain directly to ProZ (contacting support or whatever) or just keep our counsel. "Moaning" doesn't enrich the discussion.


Timothy Barton
Local time: 02:09
French to English
+ ...
Yes, especially if... Aug 14, 2015

It's amazing how flexible clients' deadlines become if you offer them an urgent price for urgent work, a normal price for normal deadlines, and a discounted price for long deadlines (for long jobs). It's a great thing to do, because whichever option they take you're happy. Even if they go for the long deadline, you're happy because it means you've got guaranteed income from a long job but you don't have to turn down other jobs that pay well while you're doing it.


DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:09
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
No .. Aug 14, 2015

Slightly flexible ... yes, very flexible ... no.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:09
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rarely Aug 14, 2015

Not nearly as often as I would likeicon_smile.gif


564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
Danish to English
+ ...
Where is the like button? Aug 14, 2015

Oliver Lawrence wrote:

BTW, may I suggest that, rather than have the usual chorus of little remarks pointing out how often the same questions come up on these polls, we either complain directly to ProZ (contacting support or whatever) or just keep our counsel. "Moaning" doesn't enrich the discussion.

So relieved to see I am not the only one to be a bit bored with the repetitive repetition of complaints about repeated questions. icon_biggrin.gif

As for the actual poll question, my answer is 'Yes, but rarely'.

I have one client who always phones in advance to hear when I will be available and then almost apologetically says that she needs something done 'urgently', which always turns out to be within a couple of months and very manageable. But she is a publisher, so she is probably used to completely different views of 'tight deadlines'. Unlike so many others who suddenly realise that they need a translation of something they have spent ages honing and perfecting, and then they need it yesterday and fail to understand that translation is not just a matter of hacking away at full speed on a keyboard...

Translation jobs are like sweets, aren't they? There are all sorts...


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, but rarely Aug 14, 2015

In fact, it's funny you should mention that, because I received one just this morning. It's the last in a series on short stories or essays by the same author I translated a book for a few years ago. This time the content is in a more literary vein than the texts I usually work with, so I might end up enlisting the help of some more artistically-minded colleagues, although I'll oversee the final drafts.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
Enrich this Aug 14, 2015

Oliver Lawrence wrote:

"Moaning" doesn't enrich the discussion.

As a paying member, I reserve my right to moan, whinge and waffle anectdotically as I see fit, thanks all the same.

PS: I've just found myself "agreeing" with all 3 suggestions in a proz query. I suppose that doesn't enrich things much either, but hey! It's a funny old world...

[Edited at 2015-08-14 10:55 GMT]


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:09
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes... books! Aug 14, 2015

The e-book revolution has made it possible for an author to publish books electronically with very little up-front investment. Actually, they can do it with NO investment at all on top of the effort of having written it, however if they don't invest in marketing, the outcome is likely to be bleak.

In my old days as a management consultant, a recurring subject I ran seminars on was Time Management. My own book adapting the techniques to do it efficiently and effectively from a big corporation environment to a freelancer's setting is still a vague idea. Anyway, a few concepts are ready to be applied.

From a time management course specific for salespeople, we can draw the concept of Prime Time. These are the hours of the day when their prospects are ready and willing to be contacted by potential suppliers. For a freelance translator, these are the times they are most productive, regardless of whether it's early morning when they've just had their first cup of coffee, or late at night, after all the kids have gone to bed.

For business success, a freelance translator should sell as much of their prime time as they can, for the highest rates they can get. Any leftover - aka idle time - may be sold cheaper. Better sold than wasted.

Try to draw ideas from other industries. Car dealers sell brand-new last-year models left over much cheaper. Airlines sell vacant seats close to boarding time for almost nothing. Supermarkets sell products close to expiration date with a hefty discount. Hotels sell vacant rooms through discount web sites. A TV network sells commercial air time at zillions per second during the nightly newscast, however entire minutes may become quite affordable in the ungodly hours before daybreak.

The idea is to sell cheaper whatever is usable and left unsold. This is how I came up with my "book plan".

How does it work?

An author may have a book - either successful or not - and want to publish it in another language, possibly for Kindle, on Amazon, though other options exist. So they need it translated.

They send me the book for a cost estimate. I calculate it based on my standard rate (I have only one), and give time estimate, treating it as a standard commercial translation.

I've had a couple of cases when they would have a specific event (e.g. a lecture or a course) that would guarantee them the sale of a few hundred copies, which would cover the translation cost. Here, commercial translation is the way to go.

Otherwise, if they are just trying to squeeze their masterpiece through a crack to the global marketplace, no deadline in sight, I offer them the "book plan".

What does it consist of? The rules are...
  • The price is lowered by 30%. Payment remains COD (my standard).
  • The turnaround time is multiplied by 4 (i.e. 3 weeks become 3 months).
  • I divide the book into similar-sized parts, usually chapters, clusters thereof, or parts thereof, depending on the structure adopted, and build a table with the corresponding word counts and prices.
  • Having received the green signal, I start working on one part at a time, in sequence, in my otherwise 'idle' time, e.g. between other projects, while the computer is rendering subtitled video, while my translation is being proofread, DTP'ed, etc.
  • As I deliver each part, I get paid the corresponding amount, according to that table, and move on to the next one.
  • The client entitled to tell me, at ANY time, and without having to provide reasons, to "Finish this part you are working on, I'll pay you for it, and then STOP!" I'll move the book to hibernation for up to one year. Any time they want to resume translation, they'll just have to tell me so. Indeed, one client told me to stop, because an investment opportunity had come up, and he was mustering all cash available. Three months later, he asked me to resume, and then I finished it.
  • I'll review the book from cover to cover, and deliver it assembled in one file together with the last part.
  • Basic rule: I'll only take ONE book at a time under this plan. If one book goes to hibernation, its clock stops ticking. If I take another book under this plan while it is asleep, I'll finish this second one before resuming the first.

Though sketchy, this system has been working very well. I don't have such books to translate all the time, but they make good use of my otherwise wasted available time (which hasn't been much lately).


Germaine  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:09
English to French
+ ...
A single rule... Aug 14, 2015

For the last two years, a new client of mines has been answering the question "When do you need it?" with "Whenever" (!!!!) or "There's no rush" (!!). He is the one and only. For the others, there's a single rule: "ASAP!" - although most add "Please!"...


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:09
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not very common, but yes. Aug 14, 2015

I translate a volume above the average, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays. Although both these characteristics may be common to many translators, the standard deadline offered by clients/agencies is usually pretty good for me, and allows me enough time for extra activities or additional jobs. I have a to-do list in order of priority on my desktop screen, and there are usually three jobs (most of the time) in the first three lines of that list, which means the deadlines offered to me, in average, don't hurt my schedule.

However, it is very common for agencies to find out about that "speed", at about the third job, and automatically try to reduce my deadlines, offering me THEIR urgent jobs, as they find out they can have speed and quality for the same price. I try to avoid that, but it's not always possible.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Poll: Do you ever receive job requests with very flexible deadlines?

Advanced search

WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »

  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search