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Poll: Approximately what percentage of serious job offers do you turn down, for whatever reason?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:00
SITE STAFF
May 21, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Approximately what percentage of serious job offers do you turn down, for whatever reason?".

This poll was originally submitted by Marion Lurf

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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Nicholas Ferreira  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
All part of the growth curve May 21, 2007

Very interested poll question. I find in my case that it is related to the question of business growth, or growth of the client base.

At the beginning (first 6 months), I was fighting to find new clients and retain those I did work with, so there was absolutely no job I didn't accept. Later jobs would come in at the same time with similar deadlines, so I had to turn some down. Then I was lucky enough to be able to form a team with 2 other top-class translators in my same pairs (SP>EN and FR>EN), so virtually no job slips through the cracks.

This has been so helpful for the business, since clients learn they can depend on me at any time, and they come to expect that I will be there for them.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:00
Dutch to English
+ ...
A good 30% and more a week ... May 21, 2007

... purely because I don't have time.

The only real "stress" I experience in this job - compared to mainstream legal practice - is trying to juggle things so I don't turn down an established client twice in a row.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
Very few May 21, 2007

Now and then because I am on the road, etc., I have to turn something down, normally due to urgency on thir part and lack of time on mine. However it often happens with regular clients who have already been warned that my availability could be limited at certain times.

Most of my clients are good at asking first about my availability because they know I work alone.


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 08:00
11-30% May 21, 2007

The kind of jobs I get usually take me 1-2 weeks to do. This means I'm often not available for other assignments with a shorter lead time. I'm currently on study leave at the moment, so I had to cut back my hours in order to get some study done and just do enough translation to keep me going financially until the exams are over.

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:00
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jobs not appropriate for me May 21, 2007

When I turn down a job, it is usually because the job is highly technical or completely outside my areas of expertise.

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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 08:00
expertise May 21, 2007

Tina Vonhof wrote:

When I turn down a job, it is usually because the job is highly technical or completely outside my areas of expertise.


Absolutely. If I were a legal translator for English to Irish Gaelic, I could name a ridiculously high price and get it too.


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Claudia Aguero  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 01:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mainly interpreting-related jobs May 21, 2007

Most of the translation I turn down are asked to be delivered the same day. They call me while I am teaching at the University, and supposedly can't wait until the next day.

As an interpreter, I always recommend a colleague for seminars, and so on. When it is for one of my clients and like three or four people, I accept it.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:00
English to French
+ ...
31-65% May 21, 2007

And from the looks of it, I am part of the 8.7% who gave the same answer. I am surprised - I didn't think we all had too much work, but I would have imagined about a third of us turns down jobs regularly for lack of time. So many of us complain so often of having too much work. Or maybe this is because, unlike the above 8.7%, others don't turn the jobs down even when they have too much work, and work day and night? Hmmm... I'll ponder that...

Sometimes, I turn down serious jobs simply because they don't pay well - I am not sure if these would then be considered to be serious jobs for the purpose of this poll...


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:00
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I accept most jobs, but ... May 21, 2007

I accept everything I can fit it. I only turn jobs down if:

a) They are outside my field, such as medical or chemical stuff.
b) I'm already up to my neck in work and the deadline can't be postponed, in which case I suggest a colleague.
c) I'm away.

As work arrives so erratically - all at once or not at all - I'm reluctant to turn it down when it's offered. You all know the problem ...
Regards,
Jenny.


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Maria Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
1-10% May 21, 2007

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I accept everything I can fit it. I only turn jobs down if:

a) They are outside my field, such as medical or chemical stuff.
b) I'm already up to my neck in work and the deadline can't be postponed, in which case I suggest a colleague.
c) I'm away.

As work arrives so erratically - all at once or not at all - I'm reluctant to turn it down when it's offered. You all know the problem ...
Regards,
Jenny.



Can't agree more...


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Marion Lurf  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:00
English to German
+ ...
Reason for the poll May 21, 2007

First of all, thanks for your interesting answers. I suggested this poll for a variety of reasons (among them pure curiosity, of course). The thing is that over the past few weeks, while reading the ProZ.com forums, I got the impression that people in general don't turn down many jobs, and if they do so, they would recommend a colleague instead - but on the other hand, there seem to be many translators out there who are constantly busy, so they certainly do turn down a considerable amount of jobs offered to them. It will be nice to see the final results of the poll.

As far as my personal experience is concerned, I very much agree with Nicholas. In the beginning, when jobs were scarce, I would translate all sorts of texts (for instance birth certificates), but after about 6 months I started to be so busy that I simply couldn't take on every single job offered to me - even though some looked really interesting - and had to start turning them down selectively. Thus, my main reason for rejecting work is lack of time. However, just last week I also turned one down just because I felt the text was too specialised - even though I wasn't extremely busy at that time. Anyway, it's good to see that most people have a similar experience. It's always hard to "juggle" different projects, even though I usually try to reserve a bit of my daily capacity for urgent and small jobs from existing clients.

@ Viktoria: No, for the purpose of this poll, job offers well below your usual rate should not be considered serious jobs. Actually, when suggesting the poll, I remembered an email I recently got from a Chinese agency, offering 0.03 USD per word for English into German...so no, not this kind of jobs.

Thanks again everyone for your replies, keep them coming!

Marion

PS: I voted 11-30 %, but it always depends – every week is different, so to say.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:00
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I often have to turn down "instant translations" May 21, 2007

I try to fit in same day jobs, provided there are not too many of them. However, where I have to draw the line is with "instant jobs". Certain clients phone me up and want me to drop whatever I am doing and start their job that very second and do it as fast as I can... Occasionally I do, if it is very short, or if what I am working on can actually wait a couple of hours, but otherwise I have to politely explain that there is a queue, and that I am presently working on a job that I promised somebody else for a particular time. They have to learn, I am afraid, that I am not sitting around waiting for work. I usually always have a bit more than I want, or sometimes I have to do an unprofitable job for a regular customer (in terms of difficulty), which holds up the queue.

Astrid


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Сергей Лузан
Russian Federation
Local time: 10:00
German to Russian
+ ...
Under 10 % May 21, 2007

I set the following priorities
1) conference interpreting
2) negotiation & talks interpreting
3) language tutoring
4) written translations.
So I usually turn down some low-paid written translations. Sometimes it comes to turning down of negotiation & talks interpreting, but it's when I'm already busy just in 3 - 4 coming days. And "instant translations', of course.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Totally agree with Astrid... May 21, 2007

... that clients have to be reminded to "factor in" translation when planning their activities. I don't like to turn down anything I consider myself capable of, but sometimes there is no option. For example, later today I am moving house and have already told one regular client that they would need to wait a couple of days... although in fact I have just finished the draft of their job (it was short, just 2000 words) and am now sitting here at 2 am surrounded by half-filled boxes of accumulated chattels wondering whether to go to bed or get back to packing....

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