Time limit for quotes
Thread poster: Pablo Grosschmid

Pablo Grosschmid  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 12, 2009

It would be useful for translators and outsourcers to have a box in que page for quoting to set a time limit for the validity of quotes, something like:

"Quote binding till:"

TIA for your opinions.


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hongrara
China
Chinese to French
+ ...
agree Sep 12, 2009

Yes, I agree, it's really not a pleasant thing when you applied a job post with high expectation that you will get the job, without knowing it actually is already invalid.

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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:45
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Such option exists Sep 12, 2009

Hi Pablo

Such option exists: while posting a job, an outsourcer has to indicate the "Quoting deadline" and the "Delivery deadline". The quoting deadline is exactly the option you are talking about.

HTH,
Natalia


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Pablo Grosschmid  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not the same as quoting deadline Sep 12, 2009

Natalie

I understand that the quoting deadline is selected by the outsourcer (until when translators can submit their quotes)

What I mean would be an option for translators to set a validity timeframe for their quote.


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:45
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
agree Sep 12, 2009

Dear Pablo,

I absolutely agree with your suggestion!

Kind regards,
Erik


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:45
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It doesn't work that way Sep 12, 2009

Decent outsourcers will contact the chosen translator to assign the job within the qouting period or immediately afterwards. The best ones will bother to advise runners-up that someone else has been hired, others won't.

Bear in mind that finding an adequate translator - or a certain number thereof - is like selling real estate. Once the property is sold, there is no use in showing it to more prospects. The quoting period is an automatic expiration device so that outsourcers too busy to close the job they've posted on Proz and half a dozen alikes won't go on being flooded with applications.

Some jobs are just "potential", the indecisive one is the end-client, or the agency is competing with its peers for it. It night take a while before the job is assigned to the agency. Then they'll contact their candidates in order of selection asking if their bid is still valid, and if they can still meet that deadline.

IMHO the problem is - at least in my language pair - that most job posters in Proz have been preferring to use the e-mail bid option instead of the "through Proz system" one. No idea why, just an observation, as this is none of my business.

In the e-mail (or Proz system bid) you may state whatever you want, this time limit included. There is no way to program your bid to self-destruct in their computer after a certain time has elapsed.


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Pablo Grosschmid  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It should be a two-way street Sep 12, 2009

A quote is always binding as to rate and deadline. Outsourcers assume that this is so, and never ask you if the quote is still valid, even when they contact you several days later. In the meantime, you may have accepted other commitments.

Often a translator only can commit himself/herself to respect a deadline for period of a few days, since it is not possible to "reserve capacity" during the whole period between quoting date and delivery date minus turnaround time. After all, this is a first-come-first-served business.

I always indicate the period of validity of my quote in the explanations box, but I suggest that such an option should be in a box of its own. This would be useful for both parties.


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RichardDeegan
Local time: 21:45
Spanish to English
Is it so hard...? Sep 12, 2009

Is it so hard to include a phrase like, "Delivery timeframe indicated contingent upon receipt of MS Word original (adapt as necessary) by....(date and time) within a bid? This is usually obviously necessary because many RFP posted have quoting deadlines that go beyond their delivery deadlines.
You would certainly put the payment details (payment by XX within YY days of virtual invoice) within your bid.


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Vitals  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 05:45
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Agree with Pablo Sep 12, 2009

It would be very useful to have such a box.

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VoiceTex
Germany
Local time: 04:45
English to German
+ ...
It helps people finding the information they need Sep 12, 2009

@Richard:
Of course it's not hard to include that phrase.
Yet it's also normal to indicate your pricing in the quote and still, there is a separate box for placing your bid - several even.

So why not make a translator's and outsourcer's life easier by including such a box in the quote form?
This way, all people concerned know where to look for certain information and don't have to read through two pages of writing only to realise that the translator has not thought to include that bit of information.
And yes, I have had to read through two pages of (irrelevant and sometimes poorly written) letters/messages when I posted jobs on ProZ.

Thanks Pablo for pointing out this possibility.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:45
English to Portuguese
+ ...
How about digging a bit deeper? Sep 12, 2009

Imagine this...

You bid for a sizeable job, and the client selects you. So they send you a PO, advising that the files will be sent tomorrow. Fine! As the timing is just enough for you to get it done by the deadline if you start tomorrow and work on nothing else in the meantime, you take the rest of the day to clear all pending affairs you have, both professional and personal.

The next day goes by, you spend it futzing on the web, playing games, whatever, awaiting those files any time. When it's time to shut off for the day, you write them an e-mail. They reply late on the next (third) day, saying that their client decided to make some changes in the originals, so you'll get them next week.

In this meantime you might have chosen not to bid for some other jobs of all sizes, and the most useful activity in sight may be defragging your hard disk, unless you translate books without a fixed deadline too, i.e. low rates for these free time fillers.

Though this may seem farfetched, I once received a very formal PO from one of the largest and most highly regarded translation agencies in the world, for a 120K words proofreading job. Deadly urgent, of course. They held me hanging from a cliff for four months until the PM, after one of my weekly follow-up e-mails, wrote me: That job was cancelled day before yesterday. I've been giving them a hard time to hire me ever since, as apparently they like my work but just can't get organized to secure it.

So my strategy ever since, when asked about my delivery time, has been to say that I can confirm price and turnaround when I get a firm order and the job itself. Clients seem to appreciate it. Last week, after I explained this to a client (local, over the phone), she asked me, If I gave you the order and the material now, what would be your price and delivery time? I made a quick check of my pending jobs and answered. She felt relieved, and said it was okay; she'd contact me as soon as she had all the stuff ready to order.

If a client accepts your bid, and comes back to you three weeks - or months - later, they are not in a position to consider it binding any more, as their own bidding period has expired (unless they stated that the job would come so much later). It's like buying off-season fruit. You may uphold your offer... or not.

Therefore while adding a field for bid validity may enhance Proz job offers, most outsourcers are so careless upon filling these online forms, that I don't think it would make any difference.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
Commitment When Authorized Sep 12, 2009

To eliminate any doubt, I simply do not make any firm commitment at all on delivery until I have the entire source text in hand and it is authorized. At that moment it gets priority and I tell the client, "OK, I can have this to you by... (date)".

If they ask for an estimate, I tell them "under normal circumstances about 3-4 days, etc., but that mostly depends on what else I have on my plate at the time, it could be longer". That figure is usually padded a bit as well.

They can leave me hanging if they wish, and do so at their own peril. I will always take any other jobs that arrive in the meantime. However, it seldom works out that I have to make anyone wait an undue amount of time.

I also want to add that I think Pablo's suggestion is a good one.

[Editado a las 2009-09-12 15:39 GMT]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:45
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
It's not necessary to program everything Sep 12, 2009

Simply write it in the text of your offer in whatever way you think expresses your intent best. In this way you have complete flexibility. The time of the ProZ programmer can be better spent on other matters I think.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Quote vs bid Sep 12, 2009

Pablo Grosschmid wrote:
A quote is always binding as to rate and deadline...


Exactly. That is why the system isn't a quoting system -- it's a bidding system. But someone at ProZ.com thought that "bid" had a bad ring to it, so they called it a quoting system.


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