urgent job
Thread poster: Bernhard Sulzer

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:10
English to German
+ ...
Jul 10, 2013

Hi everybody,

Just want to gather your opinions on how you deal with this issue and how you think it arises.



An agency is contacting you with an urgent translation job.

Is this happening to you more often than in the past?

Within a few hours, you are supposed to provide excellent services, having all the required credentials (degrees, experience in the subject area, etc.) and accept the job for no more than an average low rate. Now, I have accepted jobs in the past, but only a few agencies will at least pay you immediately. Most will want you to wait for 30 or more days to get paid for something they needed turned around within a few hours.

Now, I am more interested in how the agency gets such jobs in the first place than whether or not one should accept such a job in the first place. It is mostly a bad idea to accept anything like that. Unforeseen circumstances can slow you down and you will have a major problem on your hands.

Do you think it is the end client who all of the sudden decides he/she must have a translation "right now" and no later than in a few hours, contacting an agency which in turn contacts you and many others to perform cheap miracles or what do you think is the reason for this urgency?

Thx
B

[Edited at 2013-07-10 18:24 GMT]


 

Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 04:10
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
There is a saying... Jul 10, 2013

... in Spanish: "tirar verde para recoger maduro", which means something like "throw it green and collect it ripe".

The attitude of these "language service proiders" is plain opportunism, that's it.


 

Theo Bernards (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:10
English to Dutch
+ ...
It depends who's asking Jul 10, 2013

When an existing translation agency client asks me, I have no problem - to a point: a few years ago I have had a few agencies beginning to rely on my doing the work quickly and whenever I feel that happening, I am all of a sudden very busy (some of them are still my clients).

An agency I have never worked with before contacting me out of the blue with a rush job: a non-refundable payment upfront. No PayPal, no Moneybookers, only a bank transfer into my business account will do. If not, please give my portion to the dogs, because I won't have it...


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 09:10
English to Polish
+ ...
My thoughts Jul 10, 2013

An agency is contacting you with an urgent translation job.

Is this happening to you more often than in the past?


About the same, which is basically close to, 'all the time.'

Within a few hours, you are supposed to provide excellent services, having all the required credentials (degrees, experience in the subject area, etc.) and accept the job for no more than an average low rate.


There's a general tendency to get rid of rush fees for translators (not necessarily rush fees for agencies from end clients). A rush job will generally still be understood as a rush job that's different from a slow, meticulous job, but this also is subject to change, especially when dealing with an unimaginative PM who doesn't understand translation and even the effect of haste and tiredness on human work, even though he works in the 'language industry'.

Personally, I sometimes let go of the surcharge, but I don't allow anybody who has pleaded for a lower rate to come up with high-maintenance expectations of being catered to. This is especially true in the case of rush jobs. Tell me that I made a typo when I had 2 hours to translate >10 K words and forget about getting anything else done by me. Or apologise. Whatever. But I'm obviously not impressed.

Now, I have accepted jobs in the past, but only a few agencies will at least pay you immediately. Most will want you to wait for 30 or more days to get paid for something they needed turned around within a few hours.


Yeah, there is a disproportion like that. I don't see the urgency of the service or delivery as being in direct proportion to the urgency of the payment for it, but I know some people do, and it's kinda hard to argue.

Now, I am more interested in how the agency gets such jobs in the first place than whether or not one should accept such a job in the first place. It is mostly a bad idea to accept anything like that.


Yes, it is. Don't take rush jobs from anybody who doesn't understand the idea of rush (and rush jobs). Preferably only take rush jobs from agencies who 1) understand rush jobs themselves, 2) make sure their clients do so as well.

Unforeseen circumstances can slow you down and you will have a major problem on your hands.


Yes, and those last minute jobs can be a last-ditch damage control effort or something else with high liability attached. It's another matter whether an agency or client would succeed in a court of law with a claim for special damages that you weren't specifically made aware of, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't try to refuse payment or something.

Do you think it is the end client who all of the sudden decides he/she must have a translation "right now" and no later than in a few hours,


People need to learn that choices have consequences. If they choose to take their time, they need to accept that it will cost more if you can only start later, that there will be some increased risk of error or at least unspectacular writing style, and more (including unforeseen circumstances).

contacting an agency which in turn contacts you and many others to perform cheap miracles or what do you think is the reason for this urgency?


I suspect that the reason for this urgency is that agencies need to sell. That's similar to the hype about formatting. Few people need an exacting replication of the formatting from the source, especially if the source is the PDF scan of a printed hard copy. But 'look, shiny!' is a factor in selling a product or service. They need to show something to the client to claim the price they want. So additional services, fast turnovers etc. And rebates just to get a client.

In the past ages, even decades, people weren't necessarily smarter, but I suspect they had more willingness to stop and think for a while. There was no me-culture. No consumerism, instant gratification etc. (or I'm deluding myself, after all there've always been salesmen flattering and pampering their customers). These days nobody wants to think about consequences or prepare for them. People think problems will get solved if they demand that they be. And others will promise just that.

(Also, people have ADHD, run in the rat race, have fast-paced jobs and fast-paced hobbies after that. They don't exactly want to wait.)

The translation industry has a lot of focus on selling things which aren't necessary and even things which are detrimental to the service (or product if you prefer).

***

Personally, I love rush jobs because I don't like the idea of meticulously perfecting my text like it's a raw diamond, which basically means spending many hours self-proofing and self-editing, without getting paid for it. Few people will pay extra for the trouble, while some people will take a job without that extra trouble – when it's a rush job. And that's why I like rush jobs. In addition to the extra fee.


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:10
German to English
Rush jobs Jul 10, 2013

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
(snip)
Now, I am more interested in how the agency gets such jobs in the first place than whether or not one should accept such a job in the first place. It is mostly a bad idea to accept anything like that. Unforeseen circumstances can slow you down and you will have a major problem on your hands.

Do you think it is the end client who all of the sudden decides he/she must have a translation "right now" and no later than in a few hours, contacting an agency which in turn contacts you and many others to perform cheap miracles or what do you think is the reason for this urgency?

Thx
B

[Edited at 2013-07-10 18:24 GMT]


Based on my own experience and explanations by project PMs, quite frequently the end client discovers that some document that's been sitting in the "In" box for some time (judging by the date stamp on the original file/fax) suddenly becomes relevant, due to a meeting or deadline. The rush is on to get a translation.

I recall a few instances several years ago (before online (e.g. Google) translation became common when a potential direct client would contact me for a translation. I'd quote a price and a delivery date (let's say Thursday -- three days hence). The prospective client would say the price was too high and that he'd try an agency. Two days later (let's say Wednesday), he'd call back, after shopping the translation and not getting a lower price. "You'll have this by Thursday -- tomorrow -- right? I have a meeting first thing in the morning!"
Needless to say, these things never turned out well.

I think most "rush" jobs result from poor planning or ignorance on the part of the client. These things get shopped from one agency to the next while the deadline draws closer. I occasionally take "rush" jobs from my regular agencies when they come from their regular end clients. Sometimes a piece of equipment will break down, and the repair solutions are available only in another language. These are genuine rush items and can't be anticipated.


 

Srini Venkataraman
United States
Local time: 02:10
Member (2012)
Tamil to English
+ ...
One more instance Jul 10, 2013

One agency said yesterday,since their translators are not available at the current time ( obviously located in India being night there), so he wanted whether I can do edit. I said yes. Then I received 3 docs: source, FT and BT. He wanted edit both ways ( FT and BT).
I asked him where is the PO? For this company normally provides PO well before the docs are sent. The person never replied later.
I wonder how he could think some one will work gratis for a 10K source doc- FT of 8k and BT of ~11k words.


 


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