Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Agencies, Try Work With Some Realistic Deadlines!
Thread poster: Dinny

Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 11:40
Italian to Danish
+ ...
Jun 25, 2012

Hi all,

It is summer, and many translators are not available, because they are on holidays. Fine with me, summer is always a good time to link with some new outsourcers.

But whenever they find you, their deadlines are always totally unrealistic. Like, write me any morning and expect to have the delivery of two days work the next morning. Of course I have to turn down job offers like that, I am not a machine, and I try to convince all of my customers, that sufficient time is the best guarantee to receive a quality translation. Rush it, and you will get a rush translation! Not from me, I prefer to decline.

But if they are in such a desperate need of translators in the summer months (maybe just for certain languages?), then why do the agencies not convince their customers, that all work can be done, but it takes the necessary time, especially when you do not have 20 translators standing in line to get a job in that specific language combination.

It is not only summers, is it? Is it a generic disease that agencies are now fighting not only to deliver the cheapest translation but also the quickest turnaround?

Enjoy your holidays!

Dinny



[Edited at 2012-06-25 13:56 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Miranda Drew  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:40
Italian to English
I've found this to be general Jun 25, 2012

What sticks in my mind the most is last Christmas, I received an email from an agency that continued to ask me to work for them, but they had such low rates that I always refused. They sent out a mass email right before Christmas, asking translators to send in their "best rates" for a huge rush job to be done the week between Christmas and New Year's, and stated they would be choosing the translator who offered the lowest rate.
I still laugh at the idea of this "wonderful" offer to reduce my rates for the "privilege" of working on an urgent project during the holidays...
I do think that most of the problem is on the client side, where some agencies will propose a workable deadline, and the customer refuses, and goes to an agency that will agree to anything...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Werner Maurer  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hey how 'bout a little planning, Mr bizness dood? Jun 25, 2012

I always thought proper planning was part of sound business practice, and that they taught as much in decent business schools. Apparently not. Seems businesses routinely wait till the last minute to start thinking about getting their documents translated. They seem to think they can take days, weeks, or months to hammer out a long, detailed document, taking great pains to get the wording just right, have it proofread a dozen times and vetted for vital errors, probably consulting with their lawyers, etc, maybe even getting all their DTP done first, everything 100 % camera ready, and then get the dang thang translated in half a day. Sheesh.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Texte Style
Local time: 10:40
French to English
@ Werner Jun 25, 2012

Actually, I had a client on the phone a short while back. A new guy, replacing someone who had been sending me a steady supply of interesting work with decent deadlines. I had previously translated a little "hey take a look at our new website" message for him, and he was wondering whether there something wrong, because French people were reading the message then spending 10 or 15 min on his website, whereas people having received the English version of the message were not spending any more than 1 min. And we both clicked together on the link and hey! there's no English version!!! please you're gonna have to translate this right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Er excuse me, but you know you have to actually send me the files if you want me to translate them...

And in answer to the original question, during the holidays deadlines get shorter and shorter because it takes PMs that much longer to find somebody


Direct link Reply with quote
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:40
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
it is not that the end client gives the agency tight deadlines Jun 25, 2012

but that the agency wastes a lot of time.

I work with several end clients and they always allow sufficient time, and they are very flexible with deadlines. For example, they could give you 30 days to translate a 2000 word document. It often happens that the agency doesn't start working on it until after 28 days have passed.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 11:40
Italian to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So I should change my ways... Jun 25, 2012

... stating on my c.v. to "not ask me for anything unless I have seven days to do it, however little!"

I think I might just want to do that.
SOMEBODY has to educate the agencies, right`

Could you guys please give me a hand and back up?


Dinny


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
They have probably spent 28 days... Jun 25, 2012

... searching for a translator who would do it cheaper and/or accept their abusive payment term. When they see that the deadline is close enough to throw a stone and hit it, they desperately take whoever accepts doing it quickly enough without urgency surcharges. This is the entire deal.


jyuan_us wrote:

but that the agency wastes a lot of time.

I work with several end clients and they always allow sufficient time, and they are very flexible with deadlines. For example, they could give you 30 days to translate a 2000 word document. It often happens that the agency doesn't start working on it until after 28 days have passed.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 11:40
Italian to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Fine, José... so what do you suggest? Jun 25, 2012

It might be exactly as you line it up... so what can we do about it?

Is there no way to "join forces" and just demand/state that we do not accept that?
Or do each of us have to fight their little battle on the own?

I am just dreaming, I guess... of solidarity and a common approach!


Dinny


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
We can't force them to be smarter, can we? Jun 25, 2012

Dinny wrote:

It might be exactly as you line it up... so what can we do about it?

Is there no way to "join forces" and just demand/state that we do not accept that?
Or do each of us have to fight their little battle on the own?

I am just dreaming, I guess... of solidarity and a common approach!


I mean, adults don't learn as much from being told as they do from facing the consequences of their very acts.

If each translator acts consistently, PMs with potential to be smart will eventually get the message.

Simply saying NO - unless it's a rogue prospect, bad LWA on BB, etc. - is bad CRM. So I tell them what I can do.

Say they want me to translate 10,000 words in two days. I'll tell them I can do it in 3.5 days at no surcharge. If it's OK, it's a deal! If not, they really want it in two days, I can reschedule my other work, extend my working hours, and charge 50% extra, COD payment, for the rush. If they don't want it, they can look for someone else who will take it.

What we can do is to know what we can do, and act accordingly. Once a client needed 10,000 words translated within 24 hours. They accepted a 100% surcharge and COD payment. I did it, and they did it.

Knowing what we can do includes knowing what we can't. Once a prospect called me at 9 AM. He had a 60-min documentary he needed translated, subtitled, and burnt to a DVD by 5 PM on that same day. He was willing to pay any reasonable surcharge for the rush. I told him that was utterly impossible. Even if I did all my work at top efficiency, it wouldn't leave time enough for the computer to render the video. Covering the CPU with cash or even gold bars wouldn't make it run any faster.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Wolfgang Vogt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:40
English to German
+ ...
. Jun 25, 2012

José makes an important point there. It is important to communicate what your alternative would be. Sometimes people just try to make you run so they can walk easy afterwards - e.g. they want you to hand something in a day early just in case.
However I was asked to provide an estimated deadline for a medium size project one or two months ago and somehow my proposal didn't seem reasonable to the agency - they rejected saying they had found someone who would do it in half the time! Guess what, they asked me to do the proofreading afterwards and I found it was a total mess... (more than 250 mistakes every 10k words).

[Edited at 2012-06-25 19:55 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:40
English to German
Permanent issue Jun 25, 2012

You are so right, Dinny! I can only confirm what you are saying. It is also my experience with "normal" direct clients that they allow for more than enough time for a translation. What is most important for them is to receive a good quality.

I also do not understand why everything has to be completed within such short periods. There surely might be the one or other job which really is urgent due to unforeseeable circumstances. But as a rule, one should think that companies have to do their planning in all areas, although I'm sure the translation is not the most important part of their project.

I, for my part, am not able to translate 5,000 or 10,000 words a day (or night), and I wouldn't produce my regular quality when translating very large volumes within a very short period.

So, what can we do to change this? I really would appreciate and support some action of some kind of "translator union" or other (this also applies for very low, unreasonable rates by the way).

Let's do something about it! Where to start? I regularly refuse jobs at very low rates and/or too short delivery terms that I cannot keep or only at the cost of quality. But that's obviously not enough as long as there are too many translators around who take on such jobs.

What do you think?

Have a nice evening,

Annett


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Stefano Papaleo  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:40
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Act rationally Jun 25, 2012

Annett Hieber wrote:

...

So, what can we do to change this? I really would appreciate and support some action of some kind of "translator union" or other (this also applies for very low, unreasonable rates by the way).

Let's do something about it! Where to start? I regularly refuse jobs at very low rates and/or too short delivery terms that I cannot keep or only at the cost of quality. But that's obviously not enough as long as there are too many translators around who take on such jobs.

What do you think?

Have a nice evening,

Annett


Reasons for tight deadlines are many and the guilt never lies only on one side, agencies and clients are equally guilty. When it's urgent EVERY TIME then it is no longer urgent, it's silly. Companies – small or very big – aren't that well organized as we may think, not anymore at least so rush jobs are more common.

As for 'what to do?', it's very simple yet very effective. We don't need unions, associations or any other kind of group. We already know how to react to unrealistic requests and here some of you suggested a few things. The secret is simply use our brains and act accordingly... EVERYONE. We don't need to get together, get organised etc. if we all know where to draw the line and send a clear message. We all breathe in & out every single day without any need to meet or campaign for it, right? The same goes for this issue.

When all (well, almost of course) replies to low rates, impossible deadlines, unrealistic payment terms etc. are a sound 'NO, THANKS', people will realize the reality around them and hopefully change their attitude. It's what people do when they have to cope with reality.

Have a nice evening


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Texte Style
Local time: 10:40
French to English
even worse... Jun 25, 2012

jyuan_us wrote:

but that the agency wastes a lot of time.

I work with several end clients and they always allow sufficient time, and they are very flexible with deadlines. For example, they could give you 30 days to translate a 2000 word document. It often happens that the agency doesn't start working on it until after 28 days have passed.


That may well happen, there are lots of people who don't bother to do anything about anything until it's urgent.

However some agencies insist on delivery within a certain number of days (based on how much they think a translator can do) regardless of what the client actually needs.

I used to work at an agency which was bought by another. We used to always negotiate as much time as possible for the translators, and a lot of our regular clients were quite well used to it. Then when the new management took over, they made a rule as I described just above. PMs would assign work to whoever was available straight away rather than waiting for the best translator for that job to fit it in. And then a couple of days after delivery we would get a frantic call and I would have to clean up a poor job, which would be handed in just about at the time the best translator would have delivered.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
In the real world Jun 26, 2012

Werner Maurer wrote:

I always thought proper planning was part of sound business practice, ... They seem to think they can take days, weeks, or months to hammer out a long, detailed document, taking great pains to get the wording just right, have it proofread a dozen times and vetted for vital errors, probably consulting with their lawyers, etc, maybe even getting all their DTP done first, everything 100 % camera ready, and then get the dang thang translated in half a day. Sheesh.


I think you'll find that 90% of the time said "business practice" consists of LOOKING smart and TALKING the talk. Actually DOING anything proactive or planning thoroughly is left to only the few real professionals out there, especially when it comes to agencies.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anna Haxen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:40
Member (2005)
English to Danish
+ ...
Good strategy Jun 26, 2012

[quote]José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:



If each translator acts consistently, PMs with potential to be smart will eventually get the message.

Simply saying NO - unless it's a rogue prospect, bad LWA on BB, etc. - is bad CRM. So I tell them what I can do.

Exactly. And very often the client accepts my alternative deadline with thanks.

(What you should never do - believe me, I have stupidly ended up doing it more than once - is decline a totally unrealistic rush job and then agree to do the proofreading instead. That way you may find yourself doing half a translation job at a very low rate and with no one to blame but yourself.)


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Agencies, Try Work With Some Realistic Deadlines!

Advanced search







SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search