Poll: Have you ever regretted accepting an assignment?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:38
SITE STAFF
Feb 5, 2016

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

This poll was originally submitted by Carla Lopes. View the poll results »



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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 23:38
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Feb 5, 2016

I have never regretted accepting an assignment during the project per se (well, maybe once or twice) as I always have a good look at the text first: time “wasted” at the beginning represents fewer headaches later on!

When translating longish assignments I’m more prone to bouts of self-doubt (Will I finish on time? Am I doing a good job?), even if I have been translating for more years than I care to admit.

On the other hand, I must say that I have regretted it every time I have to chase payment…

[Edited at 2016-02-05 11:44 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-02-05 11:45 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Feb 5, 2016

And one of them included this verbatim gem from an Argentinian farmer: "Uno se quema con la leche, ve a la vaca y dispara" - Literal translation: You get burnt with the milk, see the cow and shoot.
(Actual meaning: If you buy a phytosanitary product and it doesn't work, you won't go back to the same manufacturer or supplier in future).


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same here Feb 5, 2016

Teresa Borges wrote:

When translating longish assignments I’m more prone to bouts of self-doubt (Will I finish on time? Am I doing a good job?), even if I have been translating for more years that I care to admit.

On the other hand, I must say that I have regretted it every time I have to chase payment…


Nevertheless, I think self-doubt, which I believe to be part and parcel of self-awareness, is preferable to complacency.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:38
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
To neilmac Feb 5, 2016

Would "Once bitten, twice shy" do as a translation for that idiom about the milk and shooting the cow?

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:38
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Just recently Feb 5, 2016

During the last part of December I translated a large project consisting of severaly pages of a website with different topics. There were a few questions which I immediately forwarded to the customer. Unfortunately, I never received a reply. So I did regret having accepted the project. The end of the story: the translation was accepted in early January.

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Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:38
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Several times a year Feb 5, 2016

... when I accept projects "that should take no time" while juggling other (writing, family) deadlines
...when I only glance through the first couple of pages of a document before accepting, and these turn out to not be representative
...when I realize half way through a project that I should have asked for the InDesign file instead of the converted nightmare of a pdf I'm dealing with
...when something I thought would be interesting turns out to put me to sleep - and there are still 15000 words to go

(+++other non-classifiable events that occur because translation is human endeavour)


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Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 00:38
English to Italian
+ ...
THIS Feb 5, 2016

Hege Jakobsen Lepri wrote:

... when I accept projects "that should take no time" while juggling other (writing, family) deadlines
...when I only glance through the first couple of pages of a document before accepting, and these turn out to not be representative


Story of my life! And I would add: I regretted, still regret and will forever regret taking on a job in the early beginnings of my career (i.e. a year and a half ago!) with a ridiculously "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE" deadline... 30 pages-patent in 24 hours, no CAT-tool...I remember that in the end I asked my mom to type what I told her (kind of a homemade edition of DNS? ) because my fingers really hurt!


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
I misread it Feb 5, 2016

I thought the question asked if I've ever regretted not accepting an assignment. My mind works in mysterious ways sometimes


Of course I've regretted accepting this or that assignment, the same as a dentist regrets working with a difficult patient or an insurance agent or real estate agent dealing with a suddenly unpleasant situation. It's called life.

Unless, of course, regretting accepting certain assignments become a pattern in your life, in which case I'd advise you to take a deep and analytical look at it.


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Chie. I  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 08:38
Partial member (2013)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Summers and Chiristmas... Feb 5, 2016

When everyone is taking days off, sometimes workload soars for working individuals.

I do not regret specifically "which ones" but I do get a kind of bitterness after completing everything and then looking back and noticed a 7 days week schedule in mid holiday seasons.
The most terrible one last summer was when a PM assigned something large
then immediately went for days off with no room for question or explanation or follow ups.

My partners said that has been the same for theirs and together we hope to avoid this cluttered situation in future in some way.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:38
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Occasionally Feb 5, 2016

Mainly when something better (i.e. more lucrative/interesting) comes along and has to be rejected, or when other non-work commitments suddenly appear and cause problems.

That's life, though.


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Texte Style
Local time: 00:38
French to English
all too often Feb 5, 2016

As an in-house translator, I was often bullied into doing stuff I didn't want to do. Like 200 pages of messages for the interface of an accounting programme (I know nothing about programming or accounting), listed in a completely random order, full of spelling mistakes making it impossible to find the terms elsewhere. The file was too big and kept crashing, and because it was not flowing text but elliptic computerspeak it took far longer than the same number of words in prose would have taken. I had my first migraine and had to start wearing glasses because of that project.

I have also had my fair share of stuff that could have been a breeze apart from the tech problems.

As a free-lancer, I have had considerably fewer problems, partly because I've learned from experience and partly because I can and do refuse stuff.


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Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:38
Member (2015)
German to English
Certainly when it's over 30 degrees in my office. Feb 6, 2016

I was stuck indoors working on a project for a good 4 weeks when the weather was particularly hot and sunny. Needless to say the weather changed once I'd finished.

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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 17:38
German to English
+ ...
In my early years Feb 6, 2016

In one instant, I was given a "representative sample" which was nothing like the actual material. Ever since, I insist on seeing the entire document before accepting the work. In another instant, a company phoned me long distance from England, begging me to take on the job because their translator had quit mid-project. I've learned that agencies with emergencies are often poorly run agencies. To this day I remain unpaid, and within 3 weeks, PMs had come and gone so fast that it made me dizzy.

Both experiences taught me what to watch out for so this kind of thing has not happened since.

Neither was an "assignment" since as freelance translators we are not employees who can be assigned work. But they were the usual translation requests which are up to us to accept or refuse.


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:38
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Many times... Feb 6, 2016

Considering 28 years translating, but this could be "a few times" considering the average. There are mainly three kinds of "regrets" in my career:

1. I had several one-time clients that sent me scanned img pdfs of personal documents/certificates/etc. to translate = hard work and small word count. These are terrible.

2. Then come the master's and doctor's thesis and similar papers. These documents are usually very pedantic, and the authors try to use as many "nice terms" and "intellectual language" as possible, ignoring other gross grammar, punctuation and agreement mistakes. Then, they invariably criticize your translation, because they think they speak any English, and you end up being forced to transform your translation into a pedantic stupi text like the original, not at all applicable to English.

3. Last, but not least, are abusive clients and agencies of all sorts. Ones that pay low rates, send you lots of non-editable PDF's, delay payments and require reminders, unduly criticize your work to put it down, and the worst: hire incompetent revisers to proofread your work (and destroy it). The last one I got rid of sent me several blueprints in pdf format and wanted me to edit them in Adobe Pro or add those stupid balloon comments with the translations. Later, they sent my hard work to one of the worst revisers I ever met. I did two medium jobs for these people and "dismissed" them.


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