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Poll: When asked by a client how many words of a large project you can translate, you...
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Sep 17, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When asked by a client how many words of a large project you can translate, you...".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 17, 2016

I prefer to work on my own, or with my own team of close collaborators. So, I tend to refuse requests of this type, especially when I have no idea how many other translators will be working on it, or who they are, or what they are like.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:12
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ditto! Sep 17, 2016

neilmac wrote:

I prefer to work on my own, or with my own team of close collaborators. So, I tend to refuse requests of this type, especially when I have no idea how many other translators will be working on it, or who they are, or what they are like.



When I worked in-house some very large projects were usually split between several translators but everything was very well organized with a project coordinator, several proofreaders and at least one reviewer. We also had a terminology unit, what in my opinion is essential to avoid never-ending discussions about what’s the best solution.
After I retired from my in-house position, I have coordinated a few split projects with a team of translators I trust and I took part in one huge project with my favorite proofreader/reviewer.


[Edited at 2016-09-17 09:56 GMT]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:12
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
For a frequent client Sep 17, 2016

For a frequent and reliable client, I state my usual daily capacity "as my work load stands at present", with the understanding that no commitment is established on either side until the order is actually issued and accepted. This seems to work for me.

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:12
French to English
Same here Sep 17, 2016

neilmac wrote:

I prefer to work on my own, or with my own team of close collaborators. So, I tend to refuse requests of this type, especially when I have no idea how many other translators will be working on it, or who they are, or what they are like.



Collaborating on a big projet generally means churning out miles and miles of text at top speed without knowing quite how the others are working. I don't like working in this way. There are too many unknowns. I don't think I can produce quality work in such condtions. I'm not itnerested in this type of work and refuse.
I do however work with a couple of folk I know from time to time. They are people whose mind ticks the same way mine does. It cannot work otherwise.
You are only as good as your last piece. If you fluff it up, you're out. And if in fact it is not you, but someone else who fluffed up, or if the project does not provide a coherent result, then you still risk your reputation. It takes years to build, I'm not about to start shootoing myself in the foot now!


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 08:12
English to Russian
+ ...
Other Sep 17, 2016

It depends!

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:12
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
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Allow about 25% Sep 17, 2016

Good question! Yes, if possible I low-ball the delivery date so I can squeeze in other clients. I have one client that pays about 25% more than the others, so I want to be able to accommodate them if they contact me with some work. They usually send me fairly short jobs. But some of them have been long and I have had to turn them down with great regret.

If nothing else comes along, I'm able to deliver the initial job earlier. That impresses the client and it also frees me up for more work sooner.

It's a strategy that keeps everyone happy.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:12
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Sep 17, 2016

The story is much longer, but since 2013 I have done away with rush surcharges, and have been prioritizing my jobs based on shortest payment terms being served first. About 95% of my frequent clients pay me COD (within 3 business days from delivery with invoice).

Specific driving factors are a) interest rates in my country being 18% per month (sic!); and b) rush surcharges in the now distant past having contributed more to havoc in my schedule than to my actual income.

The trick to get me exclusively working on ONE project is simple, straightforward, and inexpensive (as compared to rush rates): prepayment. I'll only take one prepaid job at a time, and won't drop it until I'm done. The beauty of it is that after one client has prepaid for a job, no other can travel in time to prepay earlier, no matter how much extra. For the record, I've been having 2-3 such urgent prepaid jobs per year, not more than that.

It should be kept in mind that my record translation throughput is 3.3x my rated output (3,000 words/day), so I always keep plenty of spare capacity, though I wouldn't be able to keep maximum speed for longer than one, or perhaps two consecutive days.

So, the number of words per day I'll assign to a client with a large project would depend on their payment term (my rate doesn't change):

a) COD to 4-day payment after delivery with invoice = 2,500 words/day (some slack for mishaps)
b) 5 days ~ 2 weeks = 1,500 ~ 2,000 words/day
c) > 2 weeks = 1,000 words/day or less
d) prepaid = 8,000 words/day (some slack for mishaps)

Of course, I'll always do my best to deliver earlier than promised, as I've been upholding a policy of NEVER delivering late.

Within this system, a client may ask me about a daunting goal, say, on a Monday, "Okay, you've promised it for the next Friday COB. Can you deliver it by Thursday noon?" I'll tell them (if I think so) that I can PROBABLY deliver it by Wednesday noon, however I WON'T PROMISE delivery before Friday COB." More often than not, if nothing goes wrong, I deliver such a project on Tuesday evening.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 14:12
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other Sep 17, 2016

Quote double or more

Because they will give you only half, anyway.

This way, you might get what you want out of this project and you will be busy for a while. With large projects, your engine speed picks up after a certain volume, you go into overdrive, and you can do more in less time.


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Luiz Barucke
Brazil
Local time: 03:12
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends Sep 17, 2016

If they offer me a really great rate I could even offer 120%

But I usually save half of my daily hours to small jobs that will always arise.


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Bruno Veilleux
Canada
Local time: 00:12
English to French
Other Sep 17, 2016

I can't work at full capacity for very long due to RSI so I tend to avoid VERY large projects and when I take on large ones I give myself enough leeway. If I feel I could do 5,000 words a day or more but expect to work on a project full time for two weeks, I might commit to 4,000 per day instead and work on weekends to balance the load. I once spent about 3 weeks on the same project doing up to 6,000 words a day and by the end I winced every time I touched the keyboard. I could do it again if I had to, but I won't.

If other offers come up partway I generally turn them down, unless they're for trusted clients and I've made enough progress to be reasonably sure I'll have plenty of time for both (which is often the case thanks to the above leeway). Then I take several days off to recuperate...


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:12
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Several considerations Sep 17, 2016

- I work on such projects only if contacted directly by (one of) the other people who will be working on the project and I know them well.
- I have seen the whole document.
- I give an estimate of the time required only if I know which part they want me to take.
- The time required includes one day for whatever delays may happen along the way.

I have worked this way on a few projects and it was a very good experience.


[Edited at 2016-09-17 16:03 GMT]


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:12
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends Sep 17, 2016

Usually I quote 100% of my capacity, but if the clients defines the start date, and I already have another job or expected job for the same period, of course I will quote proportionally, and that happens a lot.

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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:12
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
But my capacity is variable Sep 18, 2016

depending on many factors (and everyone's is, isn't it?), and of course there is other work. I usually quote a capacity that I can achieve even on a project that is rather difficult to me, while explaining to the client that all depends, and, if they are not a "priority" client (and especially if they are a new client), that other work may take precendence. I am talking mainly about the general "capacity" question when registering with a client, I mostly avoid shared projects, and generally large projects.

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