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Poll: Apart from not being available, what's your most common reason for turning down a job?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 14:34
SITE STAFF
Sep 18

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Apart from not being available, what's your most common reason for turning down a job?".

This poll was originally submitted by Alexa Dubreuil. View the poll results »



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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Absurdly tight deadlines Sep 18

Followed by naff rates or dodgy (i.e. time-consuming, fiddly) formats.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 22:34
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other (two answers) Sep 18

My most common reasons to turn down a job from a client are:

1. The client has a poor record
2. It's not in my area of expertise
3. The deadline is too tight

The most common reason given by a client to turn down my proposal is:

My rate is too high


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:34
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Several reasons Sep 18

In addition to
1. Not being available
2. The rates offered are too low
3. The client has a poor record
4. It's not in my area of expertise
5. The deadline is too tight

There is also
6. The client sent me a poorly scanned PDF or a mobile picture of the document
7. The job is too small to go through all the red tape (new clients only)
8. Revision or post-editing job


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Most halfway decent rates are too high for those trolling through the Proz membership lists Sep 18

Teresa Borges wrote:

The most common reason given by a client to turn down my proposal is:

My rate is too high


Low rates are now a site feature or so it seems.

I miss the option to vote for 'all of the above'.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:34
French to English
Availability Sep 18

If I'm going to do a good job, I need the time to do a good job. I'm not slow, but I need to make sure I can supply the client with a good piece of work. Low rates and awkward formats come a close second in reason to refuse.

Low-rate jobs cannot be priority jobs. Even if a low-rate job is offered when I am not very busy, I hesitate to accept, particularly if it is a big low-rate job. A full-rate job could come along just afterwards and I'd find myself having to refuse a normal-rate job as I am stuck with a low-rate job. Once bitten, twice shy.

Awkward formats, dodgy unconvertible PDF's and lenghty handwritten documents are slow to work through. Profitability varies from one job to another, but there are limits!

As for being outside my fields of expertise, I am generally only contacted for jobs within my fields.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:34
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
For several of the reasons listed in this poll Sep 18

My most usual reasons for declining a job are:

1. Illegible source material - badly photocopied handwritten material or PDFs in faint and tiny print.
2. The subject is way outside my field, e.g. chemistry, engineering, medicine.
3. I couldn't meet the tight deadline due to existing commitments.
4. The company has a bad Blue Board record.
5. The rate offfered is too low and/or the terms of payment are too long (more than 30 days net).

I'd never decline a job because "I've already worked enough this week"!


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:34
Member
English to French
Jobs vs. jobs Sep 18

What's a job?

The mail I received as a "Proz.com Member" this morning from a UK agency that could only be smart enough to filter and tick the Directory, but not able to look at profiles ticked? An agency with more than 400 entries and nearing an average of 5 on the BB?
Yes, this job of nearly 400 words for tomorrow first thing, for which they're prepared to offer a generous compensation of less than $20 (not GBP, strangely)?
Shall I engage in a new business relationship on the prospect of receiving less than $20 in 30 days nett on Paypal (-4% fees)? Shall I learn a new CAT tool especially for that?

Is it a dream or is it real?

If this qualifies as a "job" and not a bottle at sea, then I don't turn them down, I ignore them.

When I am offered a job by my pool of qualified agency clients (most of which found me on proz.com), the rate is always the agreed-upon rate, the subject field always relevant, the files always well-prepared, the instructions and expectations always clear, the deadline always sensible, the communication always courteous, and the payment almost always on time (30-day month-end).

So when I turn down jobs from them, it's only when my schedule is full or I am on holiday, because I cannot do two translations at the same time.

Philippe


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Vuka  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 23:34
Member (2016)
English to Serbian
+ ...
Taxation Category Sep 18

The tax system in Serbia is set in a way that makes it easier for me to stick to the upper limit of earning per year in one category than to switch to the higher earning one.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A mix of them Sep 18

It's not in my area of expertise - I have a few specific areas of human knowledge which - if the text is intended for professional practitioners thereof - I've declared (boldly on my web site) off-limits for me. In such cases I refer the prospect to specific translators I know personally, and who specialize in the subject area involved.

The rate is too low - ... and/or the payment term is too long and/or the payment method is too expensive - I keep translation costs and financial costs separate. Therefore I evaluate a job offer in terms of the NET rate I'll receive. PayPal costs me 10% (6.5% in fees + 3.5% in lower-than-market exchange rate) of the total amount. Receiving a wire transfer costs me BRL 115 (~ USD 40) in bank fees, regardless of the amount involved. Payment 30 days after delivery with invoice "costs" me 20% of the total amount, my interest as a professional translator hence amateur money lender; financial institutions (professional money lenders) in my country charge about 15% per month.

The deadline is too tight - No deadline is too tight for me. I tell the prospect when is the earliest date *I* can deliver it, and I "pad" the turnaround with a safety factor, and I never miss MY deadlines. If that's not fast/good enough for them, THEY will turn me down.

The client has a poor record - Definitely! A poor record with me means full payment in advance being required, if they want me to do it. I read the Blue Board with a grain of salt. If there are too many entries, most from translators (or "tranzlaters") located in "cheap" countries, that's not good enough for me.

I've worked enough for the week/month - No, I'm not retired as a translator yet.


Other reasons not mentioned:

Overwhelming bureaucracy - If the agreements, NDAs, online database input will involve more work than the job itself, I'll give up.

MUST have Trados - In fact, this is my #1 reason for turning down jobs. Too many prospects demand Trados absolutely, translating skills and experience being merely 'desirable'. I have a WordFast Classic license, which I use for my own purposes. I have no objection to using a client-provided portable license of any CAT tool for the duration of the project; have used MemoQ, Memsource, and Passolo in this way. However if they want Trados - which I don't and won't have - they'll have to hire someone else.

Draconian NDAs - If their NDAs are written to the tune of (and I've seen more than a couple of these) "translator shall pay a fine of GBP 30,000 in case the translation is deemed 'bad' by the end-client, without any evidence being ever required to justify such assertion", I'll be happy to decline any job offer from them.

Obstreperous requests for references - I won't be working within their premises, so there will be no chance that I'll snatch their silverware or other valuables. I don't want them to pester my good clients with lengthy questionnaires, and especially, I don't want them peddling their services there, ro the tune of "Whatever this jerk does for you, we can do it faster, better and cheaper!"


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 18

Cold vol-au-vents really put me off

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good list Sep 18

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

It's not in my area of expertise - I have a few specific areas of human knowledge which - if the text is intended for professional practitioners thereof - I've declared (boldly on my web site) off-limits for me. In such cases I refer the prospect to specific translators I know personally, and who specialize in the subject area involved.

The rate is too low - ... and/or the payment term is too long and/or the payment method is too expensive - I keep translation costs and financial costs separate. Therefore I evaluate a job offer in terms of the NET rate I'll receive. PayPal costs me 10% (6.5% in fees + 3.5% in lower-than-market exchange rate) of the total amount. Receiving a wire transfer costs me BRL 115 (~ USD 40) in bank fees, regardless of the amount involved. Payment 30 days after delivery with invoice "costs" me 20% of the total amount, my interest as a professional translator hence amateur money lender; financial institutions (professional money lenders) in my country charge about 15% per month.

The deadline is too tight - No deadline is too tight for me. I tell the prospect when is the earliest date *I* can deliver it, and I "pad" the turnaround with a safety factor, and I never miss MY deadlines. If that's not fast/good enough for them, THEY will turn me down.

The client has a poor record - Definitely! A poor record with me means full payment in advance being required, if they want me to do it. I read the Blue Board with a grain of salt. If there are too many entries, most from translators (or "tranzlaters") located in "cheap" countries, that's not good enough for me.

I've worked enough for the week/month - No, I'm not retired as a translator yet.


Other reasons not mentioned:

Overwhelming bureaucracy - If the agreements, NDAs, online database input will involve more work than the job itself, I'll give up.

MUST have Trados - In fact, this is my #1 reason for turning down jobs. Too many prospects demand Trados absolutely, translating skills and experience being merely 'desirable'. I have a WordFast Classic license, which I use for my own purposes. I have no objection to using a client-provided portable license of any CAT tool for the duration of the project; have used MemoQ, Memsource, and Passolo in this way. However if they want Trados - which I don't and won't have - they'll have to hire someone else.

Draconian NDAs - If their NDAs are written to the tune of (and I've seen more than a couple of these) "translator shall pay a fine of GBP 30,000 in case the translation is deemed 'bad' by the end-client, without any evidence being ever required to justify such assertion", I'll be happy to decline any job offer from them.

Obstreperous requests for references - I won't be working within their premises, so there will be no chance that I'll snatch their silverware or other valuables. I don't want them to pester my good clients with lengthy questionnaires, and especially, I don't want them peddling their services there, ro the tune of "Whatever this jerk does for you, we can do it faster, better and cheaper!"


That's a good list, José. It deserves to be published elsewhere, like ATA Chronicle


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Many good reasons or combinations of reasons Sep 18

I've read through many good comments about this poll today, despite it being Monday and me not yet having had breakfast (or is it “not having breakfasted”?)



I'm surprised by the absence of a significant pet peeve we translators seem to share at the best of times: typos or poorly worded job requests.

One posting I found today illustrates the first point: Maxico* instead of Mexico, and Columbian* Spanish instead of Colombian Spanish.

I'll clarify what I mean by poorly worded. It's not the posting written in English that shows the quirks of someone not fully fluent in English but the carelessness in writing that gets my goat.

A valid point has been made earlier: I cannot turn down a job from someone who is not (yet) a client. Or so I see it. Blue Board points and other indicators don't seem to hold much water with some, and I wonder why.

Another pet peeve but this one is mine: guest posters. They don't seem to want or bother to open a Proz account, fill in the requisite fields so that we know who they are, become part of one of the Proz communities, etc. To me, that job poster looks more like some guy who saw my shingle from the street and thought it a good idea to knock on my living room window to obstreperously ask some impertinent question.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
For me it's part of the job Sep 18

Mario Chavez wrote:

I'm surprised by the absence of a significant pet peeve we translators seem to share at the best of times: typos or poorly worded job requests.

One posting I found today illustrates the first point: Maxico* instead of Mexico, and Columbian* Spanish instead of Colombian Spanish.

I'll clarify what I mean by poorly worded. It's not the posting written in English that shows the quirks of someone not fully fluent in English but the carelessness in writing that gets my goat.


After...
a) having been raised by foreign (Polish) immigrants,
b) having worked for many years in international companies with immigrant/expat colleagues and bosses,
c) having organized international events with participants from many places,
... i think that - as a linguist - I am the bridge connecting these people to my working languages, regardless of whether they are writing in their very own language or not.

Poor spelling only becomes a pet peeve for CAT tool fanatics whose master TM is getting close to a terabyte in size, and who want to translate faster than machine translation. I guess these are the preferred providers to the clients I described as demanding "MUST have Trados; skill & experience in translation could be a plus, though not required".


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:34
Member (2008)
English to Italian
combination Sep 18

not in my area of expertise
"funny deadlines"


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