Poll: What percentage of work proposed to you seems to have an unrealistic deadline?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 17:10
SITE STAFF
Jan 18, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What percentage of work proposed to you seems to have an unrealistic deadline?".

This poll was originally submitted by ViktoriaG

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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chopra_2002  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 06:40
Member (2008)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Urgency, thy name is translation! Jan 18, 2006

Most of the translation jobs are required to be accomplished on urgent basis. Sometimes, the oursourcers perhaps forget that the man is not machine. Further, one may already be having translation assignments from others as well. Thus, sometimes, I have to toil hard to meet the deadlines, otherwise there is every possibility that I won't be assigned any work by them.

[Edited at 2006-01-18 16:21]


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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:10
French to English
+ ...
proposed, but not accepted Jan 18, 2006

I put in the 20-30% range. I have one agency in particular that often states ridiculous deadlines when they first call. But I do not accept them and most of the time when I state MY proposed deadline in return, they agree to them. Funny that
But a proposal I received the other day really took the cake: I received a call at 6 p.m. asking for 3000 words in heavy-duty marketing jargon for 11 a.m. the following morning.
I couldn't help but burst out laughing and the PM didn't seem to find it amusing. I don't think she'll be calling me for any more of these "rush" jobs (to my mind, this is more than a rush job, it is pure lunacy), and I'm quite fine with that


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:10
Flemish to English
+ ...
Deadline of agency is not always deadline of end-customer. Jan 18, 2006

Experience has learnt that agencies are always a bit nervous about deadlines. Their deadline does not necessarily concur with the deadline of the customer or the business agenda of the day of the end-customer.
Usually, they will ask as customer for a deadline date. Unaware of the translation process/business, this customer quotes a date which becomes a sacrosanct deadline.
I have known cases where I delivered on time to an agency, whose end customer left the translation lingering around for a week.
On the other hand sometimes translations are urgent. Deadline: yesterday.

[Edited at 2006-01-18 15:42]


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Dusica Cook
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:10
English to Bosnian
+ ...
can it be done yesterday! Jan 18, 2006

almost all of the translations jobs i receive are with the title sentence... please, we actually needed it yesterday, can you do something about it!

well... if i can do it in a day i take it, but i make sure the client understands that i will have no time to go through the document again and check all the mistakes made!


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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 03:10
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
"Make sure the agency understands ..." Jan 18, 2006

I could understand situations in which the time available is very tight, AND the agency/client understands that the price of rush jobs is more errors. However, however how often do they want a nicely formatted, perfectly clean translation on a rush job, at regular prices? Then, they ask you to lower your price because of the time they had to spend to edit your translation. I now refuse those jobs in order to avoid lose/lose situations. I lose my weekends and get criticized! No, thank you.

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Robert Zawadzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:10
English to Polish
+ ...
Companies I cooperate with for some time are serious Jan 18, 2006

And they want something crazy only exeptionally (and usually for a good reason). I try to educate some others and frequently have to turn a job down.

[Edited at 2006-01-18 16:16]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 02:10
English to German
+ ...
good and bad seasons Jan 18, 2006

in good it is about 60% in bad or slumpy season it is about 5-8%. I guess most of the outsourcers are eager to see their work done fast proving performance. But the real experienced outsourcer ( I know a few) knows fast work is not always the best result.Brandis

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Maria Rosich Andreu  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:10
Member (2003)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
record! Jan 18, 2006

I chose 1-10%, because although some deadlines are unrealistic, in my experience they are by far a minority.

However I have a record hopefully nobody will break: once I got a call at around 3PM, from another freelancer (you'd expect he'd know better) asking whether I could do 7000 words for that same night, 12 PM!!! (no repetitions, a long list of loose keywords for a search engine).


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 02:10
English to German
+ ...
That is a record indeed Jan 18, 2006

Maria Rosich Andreu wrote:

I chose 1-10%, because although some deadlines are unrealistic, in my experience they are by far a minority.

However I have a record hopefully nobody will break: once I got a call at around 3PM, from another freelancer (you'd expect he'd know better) asking whether I could do 7000 words for that same night, 12 PM!!! (no repetitions, a long list of loose keywords for a search engine).
I know that kind a few years back. But like all types of performances this has it´s own price. Hope you know that Brandis


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Ikram Mahyuddin  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:10
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Man or machine? Jan 19, 2006

Yes, sometimes clients think translators are machines, but I always try to finish my jobs before the deadlines. So far, I make it.

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 01:10
Dutch to English
+ ...
One of the reasons tight deadlines are sometimes proposed .... Jan 19, 2006

As a lawyer, I work almost exclusively in the legal field when translating.

Practising on both sides of the fence, I'm aware of the actual legal procedures, time limits etc and so can't easily be bluffed when it comes to timing and urgency.

On the other hand, I can really identify when urgent means urgent and I know what the potential legal implications will be if the deadline isn't met (and what I would do as a lawyer if I was let down by a translator/agency in such a case).

If a deadline is proposed that I fear I can't meet in terms of existing workload and quality/time considerations, I suggest my own deadline when I KNOW there is some leeway in terms of the overall procedure. I also make it clear how I know there is leeway, which is easy if you're translating pleadings and have a good grasp of civil procedure.

The agencies I deal with are able to revert to the end-client with this bit of extra ammunition (practical insight) and everyone scores. The client is educated and knows the job is in the hands of someone who knows the procedures and the agency and I both have the time needed to do a proper job in terms of research, translation and quality control.

Yes, it is sometimes necessary to push through and do an all-nighter but it should be left for those times when there is a genuine urgency and not because of a "deadline" which is the impatient figment of someone's imagination or overloading/bad planning from our side.

Although most of us do comply strictly with deadlines, when set, there are however some translators who badly let down the name of the profession in this way. This is ONE of the reasons agencies tend to give shorter-than-necessary deadlines. They need to have some leeway to move to Plan B if the translator lets them down.

One of the better legal translators I know was recently offended by my honest response to a question she asked. Work had not been coming in and she couldn't understand why, given the quality of her legal translating. Having worked with her before... [once and never again, despite being a good translation, it arrived 10 hours after the deadline we had agreed upon, with flagrant disregard for the fact I would need to revise for consistency with my portion in the early hours as a result]... and from previous conversations, it was clear she thought she could ride on the quality of her work alone. I made it clear the main reason she wasn't getting work was her attitude to deadlines. She clearly didn't appreciate it. Needless to say our conversations stopped right there and then

She (and the minority of others with the same approach) in fact spoil it for the rest of us. Ever noticed that deadlines generally become more realistic the longer you work with an agency? One of the reasons new agencies set them tight is because they've been let down so badly in the past and need to test us.

These days if my regular clients set a tight deadline, it's not a mindgame they are playing - it's a genuine emergency. Then I'm happy to pull out all the stops and work crazy hours, if I know I can still deliver a quality translation in time.

Bottom line: Don't agree to a deadline unless you can meet in terms of both timing and quality. Once you've agreed to it, STICK TO IT (barring force majeure, etc.) but don't be bullied into one and whine afterwards.

Remember: You're only as good as your last translation - that includes being on time with it!

[Edited at 2006-01-19 11:16]


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:10
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Other record Jan 19, 2006

LOL

On january 16 at 6pm a client of mine called me for a 63.000 words translation deadline : January 19 at 10 a.m.
LOL is this a record or not? 32.500 words per day ............

bye bye Angio


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