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Overnight work proposal
Thread poster: Mireille BOULANGER

Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
Jul 20, 2016

Hi there,
Just want to share my story with colleagues and get their feelings about it..
Last Friday, I had dinner with some friends and around 11h30 pm I had a look at my smartphone and noticed a mail from an agency sent at 10 pm asking me if I could translate a 50 pages annual report in a week. I answered right away asking to see the file for a quick estimate. I got a mail on Saturday at 1 pm saying they refused the project as I did not answer by return of mail. The agency is not even among my customers, I just did a short test for them two months ago and was told it was ok and that I was registered in their database..
Do you answer such late business mails or do you have a rule to close business at a particular time?

Thanks for your comments.


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Ditte Duclert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:19
Member (2011)
English to Danish
+ ...
It depends Jul 20, 2016

It depends. Generally I might just send a quick response if I see the message, like you did, but I certainly don't feel obligated to do so.

I had a new client send me a message in the middle of the night just the other day, but she's on the other side of the planet. I saw it because I was out with friends, but I did not respond until the following day - which was fine. She also knows that we're in different time zones.

If a client expected me to be available day and night, I would probably stop working with that client.

[Edited at 2016-07-20 15:06 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, I answer Jul 20, 2016

Yes, I answer such late-hour requests from my usual customers, and they behave within reason, knowing that I always do my best to help them operate successfully.

If an agency who is not really a client asks me to accept a large job out of the blue without even seeing it first, that would not fall in my book as "within reason" and I am happy to see them go elsewhere.


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Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your comments Jul 20, 2016

I usually do answer late messages from some of my customers when I am available...but one has to go out sometimes and forget about work... but that agency was not even a client so I think I would rather not work with this type of PM...now or in the future.

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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 10:19
English to Croatian
+ ...
Hum... Jul 20, 2016

Mireille BOULANGER wrote:

...but one has to go out sometimes and forget about work...


Why taking your smartphone with you then?

If I am engaged in emailing a client when I am supposed to be enjoying my private time with family and/or friends, then that time will not be the same as if I were not engaged in such activity simultaneously.

I have one rule: if a client cannot wait up to 24 hrs for my response, then they are probably not a worthwhile client.


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Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
@Lingua Jul 20, 2016

Yes you are perfectly right and I should stop doing this..or at least try..

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Ilze Klotina
Latvia
Local time: 11:19
Japanese to Latvian
+ ...
Yes, if the client is located in a different time zone Jul 20, 2016

It really depends on the client. I do sometimes answer important e-mails from important clients late at night, but I also expect the client to respect the time difference.

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Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 05:19
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same here! Jul 20, 2016

Ilze Klotina wrote:

It really depends on the client. I do sometimes answer important e-mails from important clients late at night, but I also expect the client to respect the time difference.


You were in France, perhaps your client wrote you from US, and it was as normal business hour. I do reply all emails, if I manage to see them before going to bed. Once I had a client in China whose morning shift started exactly at my midnight. If I wanted to work with them, I had to confirm my availability for their projects befor switching off my PC.

Regards

Clarisa


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Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Clarisa, Jul 20, 2016

No it was a French agency..but anyway.
Thanks to all of you for your help and have a nice week-end


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Laura Kingdon  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:19
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
Up to you Jul 20, 2016

Others may have different experiences, but I've noticed that most of the better and better-paying agencies I work for keep pretty regular work hours. Companies that have inquired about projects late at night generally haven't been good to work with anyway.

Of course, whether or not you accept late-night projects is entirely up to you. In my case, most clients are in Korea or Europe, so they send things during their work day, which means a lot comes in to me from about 9 PM-2 AM because of the time difference, and I answer it then because it just makes sense for everyone for me to have part of my work day in the evening. I work better then anyway. But unless you're really desperate for work or have that kind of time zone issue, I don't see why you should work any hours you don't want to work.


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Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:19
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Overnight work proposal Jul 21, 2016

Project managers are notoriously antsy. I have frequently responded to an e-mail within 10 or 15 minutes and am told they have already placed the document. Of course they are sending mass e-mails. The only way of dealing with these agencies is not to expect too much from them. I also tell agencies: "You have a better chance of getting your document accepted if you include the document in your very first e-mail."

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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:19
Member (2014)
English to German
I get the same impression Jul 21, 2016

Laura Kingdon wrote:

Others may have different experiences, but I've noticed that most of the better and better-paying agencies I work for keep pretty regular work hours. Companies that have inquired about projects late at night generally haven't been good to work with anyway.



As you say, the agency is in the same country as you, so no time difference. What you did was exactly what I would have done, and expecting any more out of hours/weekends is rather rude and disrespectful in my opinion and just a taste of what's to come...


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Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
I entirely agree Jul 21, 2016

Most of the time those kind of agencies send projects to many translators and within minutes the job has gone..well this time, considering what the PM said, the job was not taken due to my late answer....Very surprising as I had not worked with them yet and I guess they had other freelancers in their database...they must all have been dining with friends....
Have a good day....


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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:19
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
"you'll get your estimate tomorrow" Jul 21, 2016

If I'm not swamped with work and it's a client I have a good relationship with, meaning they only ever send stuff I can handle for a reasonable deadline, I'll say OK in principle and you'll get your estimate tomorrow morning once I've checked the wordcount and my schedule.

Anyone else will get the same but without the OK in principle.

No way am I going to start trying to juggle deadlines after a glass or two.
I haven't even set up my phone to receive e-mails. I prefer to only reply to e-mails when actually working or at least in a fit state to work, sitting at my computer. Of course some might call me but the only clients who seem to do so, do so during the day. Most of my clients being in France of course. I have a running joke with one that she always calls when I'm at the swimming pool.


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James Hodges  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:19
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Make your own rules and stick to them Jul 21, 2016

Hi
I answer to your question, I would suggest that you try and achieve some form of work-life balance. These days, there is just too much going on. In my case, I have divided my clients into two groups. There are the high volume clients who I always work with. If they contact me at a crazy hour, I will try and help them because I know that down the track they might help me (with more work). On the other hand, there is the second group of clients with whom I work occasionally. For them I have set strict hours of contact. Indeed, not doing anything to structure your schedule is a recipe for disaster.


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