Poll: Would the quality of your work be greater without the increasing pressure on turnaround times?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
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SITE STAFF
Aug 4

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would the quality of your work be greater without the increasing pressure on turnaround times?".

This poll was originally submitted by Claudia Vicens Burow. View the poll results »



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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
No increasing pressure Aug 4

All my regular clients are aware that they are not the only ones, and I can usually manage to service them all without too much pressure. Nor do I feel said pressure increasing. Of course, there is always the possibility looming in the background of an urgent job that needs to be given priority, but that's all part and parcel of being a freelancer.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:13
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm not sure Aug 4

On the one hand, I do some of my best work under pressure.
On the other hand, I don't always have time to re-read my translation more than once. Every time I read something I've worked on, I find little improvements I would like to make.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:13
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No, and I don't feel any increasing pressure on turnaround Aug 4

My regulars know me quite well and what I can and can't do. I decline most jobs from new clients if the deadline is too tight, though I’m flexible enough to deal with it at the right price…

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:13
French to English
Not sure Aug 4

There's nothing like a bit of pressure to focus attention for efficiency. There is a difference between being under pressure and an impossible deadline.

Perverse pressure arises with poorly paid jobs. I try to get these out of the way as soon as I can. They are seldom a priority. I give priority to well paid jobs. I invoice per word, but know what I need to average per hour to make it worthwhile. Some jobs are less well paid than others and if I don't do them quickly, then the per word rate works out as a very poor hourly rate. The quality is likely to be a little under par, which bothers me for three reasons:
(1) One is simply professional pride. I take pleasure in doing a job to the best of my ability.
(2) What I don't do so well on the translation stage will be slowed at the proofreading stage (mine and externally), so I still need to work at a decent speed, even when the rate is not good. That gets up my nose as it means I'm still trying to do a good job, at greater speed and being paid less for it. Too great a compromise on quality can backfire and the "after-sales-service" tends to take up valuable time I prefer to spend doing something else. Who's playing the fool in that story, huh?!
(3) As my clients come by word of mouth, it is because since 1994, I have built up a reputation for quality work. Just as satisfied clients will pass your name on, so will unsatisfied clients. The latter are more often than not those who expect to pay poorly and be served well, yet do not put into practice their own principles. Just as a good client can bring you business, a bad client lose you business. I prefer to work for people who pay well, on time and are efficient and respectful. Common sense dictates that those clients are valued and to be protected. Why risk losing that?

I have set myself a monthly limit on the value of less well paid work I can accept, and I stick to it. I don't want to dig a bottomless pit for myself. Producing quality work, with a fast turnaround, yet for a pittance, does not make good business sense. Another reason is that after more than 20 years, I have learnt that bad payers are generally clients who pay a low rate and feel they are in a storng position because they have a steady flow of work. Although not always true, it is often the case that they are getting that steady flow themselves for a number of reasons, one of which is the low price they are offering their clients. That means that the day that flow slows, they are in danger of going belly up and I don't want to find myself falling off the cliff with them.

[Edited at 2017-08-04 09:37 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:13
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I resist the pressure on turnaround times Aug 4

OK, things have changed since my father was on a translation committee that met for a week three or four times a year, and otherwise communicated by post. (The kind with a postman on a bike who delivered letters and parcels with stamps on...) Occasionally they used the telephone.
In these days of e-mail, documents can go several times round the globe in an hour, stopping for comments on the way, and that does justify tighter deadlines than in the 1950s.

With my CAT, a lot of the terminology and references to earlier work are more easily accessible than my father's careful, handwritten notes.

We use online databases more often than the big technical libraries that I trained to work in, back in the 1970s. So we may save a few hours checking facts. On the other hand, with all this data at our fingertips via the Internet, we can check and look up far more than anyone did 50 years ago.
Accuracy improves dramatically, but the amount of time saved is probably limited.

However, the situation has been roughly the same for the last 20 years or so, more or less since I started translating professionally. I can sometimes rustle up 300 words inside an hour, but that is because I take the necessary time the rest of the week to do things properly.

I rarely produce my best work under pressure. The process of understanding the source, then formulating it in the target language can apparently be done instantly by interpreters. I am NOT an interpreter, and have to spend time typing, polishing and checking.

In practice, interpreters prepare, and ideally work with a partner in the booth. They train and use a lot of other techniques to produce their miraculous instant results. There is no way translation can be done well without spending time somewhere.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:13
Member
Italian to English
If... Aug 4

If accepting the job means sacrificing quality, I refuse the job. Simple.

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:13
Member (2008)
English to Italian
Other Aug 4

I accept jobs according to my own availability, so there is no pressure. And if a client needs something urgent I ask to change the deadline for another of his/her jobs

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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:13
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Deadline pressure vs. intrinsic pressure Aug 4

I agree with Nikki's and Muriel's points that the pressure of working against a deadline is - within limits - not necessarily a bad thing.

Yet, all things considered, I prefer to work under conditions that allow some time for needed research of terms. The highest-pressure situations simply don't allow this (but, on the other hand, also typically don't involve such an expectation, at least in my experience).

Fundamentally, I see the question here as missing an important point given that, when it comes right down to it, "time is money." It is therefore always in my interest to work as quickly and efficiently as possible, even in the absence of a looming deadline.

This reality places certain limits on how much time I can or want to spend on any given project. The fees that I can command simply don't allow for exhaustive research and obsessive polishing as standard practice. That said, there are instances where I will "go the extra mile," but this is always "on my own dime."

I have to imagine that at least some of those reading this understand very well the point that I am making here.

[Edited at 2017-08-04 16:09 GMT]


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:13
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
No Aug 4

I work better under (reasonable) pressure

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:13
Member (2008)
French to English
No - a little pressure increases quality and I don't allow excess pressure Aug 4

A little pressure, say a full schedule, keeps me focused and helps me concentrate. But if turnaround time demanded is too tight, I just turn the job down.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:13
Member (2006)
German to English
Same here Aug 4

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

If accepting the job means sacrificing quality, I refuse the job. Simple.


We are freelancers, we can turn down work and if you have good customer then they appreciate honesty.


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Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:13
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...
No increasing pressure Aug 4

I just turn down the job if I cannot meet the deadline. However, sometimes for whatever reason it may occur you need more time to complete the job. In this case I'd rather sacrifice timeline rather than quality by asking for an extention asap.

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:13
French to English
Urgent Aug 4

Gianluca Marras wrote:

I accept jobs according to my own availability, so there is no pressure. And if a client needs something urgent I ask to change the deadline for another of his/her jobs


I have found that "urgent" is a subjective term.
If a client's deadline X is too tight, I will explain that I cannot to it to that deadline, but that I can do it to deadline Y.
It often turns out to be possible. If it's not, then I refuse the job.


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