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Poll: The most common reason why you might turn down a client is...
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 03:57
Jul 13, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "The most common reason why you might turn down a client is...".

This poll was originally submitted by Anna Smith. View the poll results »


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Deadlines too short Jul 13, 2016

In fact, yesterday I refused a job (via an agency) simply because the client wanted it by 2 pm the following day. As it happens, I could have squeezed it in at a pinch, but instead offered to do it by Friday. I just resent random punters thinking they can snap their fingers and a translator or proofreader will appear, genie-like, to dance to their ill-prepared and hasty tune. No, my dears, if I take a job like that on nowadays, I'm doing you a big favour.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:57
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rates are too low Jul 13, 2016

Period. End of discussion.

[Edited at 2016-07-13 08:27 GMT]


Ana Vozone  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:57
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Rates Jul 13, 2016

are always the starting point of the discussion, possibly/usually including an extra charge for urgent work. If rates are not acceptable, why bother?


John Cutler  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Combination Jul 13, 2016

...of low rates and too tight of a deadline. It's like a lethal cocktail as far as my interest in doing the job is concerned.


John Cutler  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Exactly Jul 13, 2016

Ana Vozone wrote:
...If rates are not acceptable, why bother?

Thanks Ana, you made my day.icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif


Teresa Borges
Local time: 11:57
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The rates are too low Jul 13, 2016

I'm pretty confident that I can manage all the other aspects but when rates are too low everything else falls by the wayside…


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:57
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Low rate Jul 13, 2016

'Low rates' are very popular today. icon_smile.gif

There is no 'middle road' where rates are concerned - you either receive payment commensurate with your experience and effort required to produce a decent translation, or not. A rate is either acceptable or otherwise. Period!

You can be flexible and compromise on the other points but not on rates.

[Edited at 2016-07-13 08:55 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-07-13 11:05 GMT]


Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
Member (2006)
German to English
Turning down a customer or job? Jul 13, 2016

If it is a customer, then usually because if the rates.

Hey, wow, you can upload images!!


Anna Smith
Local time: 12:57
Member (2010)
English to Swedish
Overcomplicated workflow - aaargh Jul 13, 2016

Thanks for responding to the poll!
I suggested a few other options when I submitted this poll, for example "overcomplicated workflow". That's something that really puts me off. Receiving a huge zip file with loads of irrelevant files that I have to waste my time on is not a good way of sparking my interest or, most importantly, enabling me to do a good job. The bigger the company, the more documents they tend to include and require. For this reason, I prefer the medium sized companies. They are big enough to pay well, but small enough for a straight-forward workflow.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I set my rates Jul 13, 2016

Low rates, and then a subject area I don't mess with.

I am pretty much a generalist, and I understand I do take on some things that others turn down. But there are definitely things I won't touch - others do them far better.
My grandmother taught me: If you're going to do a job, do it properly!

I've just seen the comment about complicated workflow...
Maybe not the commonest reason I turn down work, but I have definitely dropped several big agencies on that account.
Especially the ones who will only pay for 15 minutes QA, while it takes me half an hour to download the files and read the instructions and another three quarters of an hour to break into the system and invoice them...icon_mad.gif


ventnai  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
German to English
+ ...
low rates Jul 13, 2016

Deadlines often turn out to be more flexible than what the client initially offers, so I'd say low rates are the most common reason. Unfriendliness may come into play when choosing whether to accept a job or not, although it doesn't usually mean I will stop working with them. They will just come further down the priority list. I have had two particular problems with (non-native) proofreaders who were agressive when I questioned their changes. Curiously, neither wrote their comments in English.


Nikola Bijelić, MD, PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
Member (2012)
English to Croatian
+ ...

Posted via Mobile

Mostly rates, but other reasons too Jul 13, 2016

It's mostly the rates. Taken into consideration the fields of expertise they need when they contact me, some agencies' rates are simply insulting.

One other thing that made me turn down clients are insane contract clauses. Although I never had any legal issues, I still can't put my signature on a contract that makes me promise I'll pay hundreds of thousands of Euros if there is a confidentiality breach. I won't make that kind of money in a lifetime; are you serious? And yes they were.icon_smile.gif


Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
English to French
Deadlines Jul 13, 2016

I understand clients as people who you do business with, and I only do business with agencies who accept my rates, are responsive, are friendly and are other (ie know what you can and can't do, pay on time, send you a box of chocolates for Christmas, provide support, etc.).

So when I turn down work from a client, it's only because I cannot accommodate their project by the deadline stated. I always offer an alternative deadline, and sometimes it works out.

Clients who cannot afford rate increases or consistently pay late or with reminders quickly end up in the non-client category.

About prospective clients, I turn them down when they set my rates and/or their payment terms, and my counter-offer is rejected.



José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:57
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other - many options Jul 13, 2016

Common reasons why I'll turn down a client BEFORE they ever become a client:
  • Rates too low, of course
  • Payment term too long
  • Demands a CAT tool I don't have/use
  • Demands discounts on fuzzy matches
  • Stubbornly demands references, obviously to attempt client poaching
  • Abusive T&C disguised as a NDA
  • "Stay logged in and catch as you can" job assignment system
  • Bad payment history (Blue Board)
  • Ominously time-wasting online vendor management system

Common reasons why I'll turn down a client AFTER a first experience:
  • Late payment
  • Attempted to renegotiate price after delivery
  • Attempted to renegotiate anything (payment term, method, etc.) after delivery
  • Tidal responsiveness: micromanagement before delivery; stonewalled afterwards
  • Too many and/or sizeable FREE add-ons to the original order, "The end-client forgot..."

The other options:

Deadline too short - I'll tell any client when I CAN deliver a job. If that's good enough for them, I'll do it. Otherwise they'll turn ME down, and specifically on that job.

Unfriendly PMs - If that's part of the cost of their efficiency, it's all right by me. They don't have the time to waste in pleasantries.

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