https://www.proz.com/forum/translation_project_vendor_management/339571-dont_you_just_hate_it.html

Don't you just hate it?
Thread poster: Robert Rietvelt

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:52
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Dec 18, 2019

End of the day, or worse, end of Friday afternoon, just before the weekend starts, you get a job offer from an agency, deadline next morning or Monday, early.

You accept the job, have a quick look, something is not clear, or the package won't open, or there is no source text at all (forgotten?), or whatever. So you mail directly (or phone) back. In the best case: "Sorry John has gone home, but I can't help you, right now, because I have to leave", in the worst case no answer at all,
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End of the day, or worse, end of Friday afternoon, just before the weekend starts, you get a job offer from an agency, deadline next morning or Monday, early.

You accept the job, have a quick look, something is not clear, or the package won't open, or there is no source text at all (forgotten?), or whatever. So you mail directly (or phone) back. In the best case: "Sorry John has gone home, but I can't help you, right now, because I have to leave", in the worst case no answer at all, especially frustating during a weekend. You always get an answer though, AFTERWARDS! "Sorry, I was out of office". AT 4.30 PM?.

I would say, wait for an answer, or don't send the mail at all!

In a nutcase, this is my experience. Don't they have a Smartphone? Mayby I am getting too old, but what ever happened with the good old working ethics I grew up with?

What is your experience and opinion?

[Edited at 2019-12-18 20:56 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-12-18 20:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-12-18 20:59 GMT]
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William Tierney  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:52
Member (2002)
Arabic to English
Teach Respect Dec 18, 2019

Hi Robert,

I went through a stint of Friday afternoon assignments a few years ago. I could picture the paralegal/admin assistant going through their to-do list and realizing they had forgotten to send out the document for translation, or some ambitious worker wanting to show his boss he could have something done for 0900 on Monday.

I would impose a significant weekend rate. This will train the client to send it on Monday or Tuesday. If it truly becomes available on
... See more
Hi Robert,

I went through a stint of Friday afternoon assignments a few years ago. I could picture the paralegal/admin assistant going through their to-do list and realizing they had forgotten to send out the document for translation, or some ambitious worker wanting to show his boss he could have something done for 0900 on Monday.

I would impose a significant weekend rate. This will train the client to send it on Monday or Tuesday. If it truly becomes available on Friday and absolutely must be translated for Monday morning, then fine, you are there for your clients, at a weekend cost.

Translators have lives too.
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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:52
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
I've never had that experience Dec 18, 2019

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've never had that experience in almost 15 years.

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

You accept the job, have a quick look (...)


Try it the other way round next time

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Seriously though, you shouldn't accept a job before at least having seen the source text. That doesn't mean that something can't happen during the weekend, but at least nothing of the kind you describe (no source text at all, for instance).

Also, remember that most agency employees are exactly that: employees (as opposed to freelancers). I'd say that leaving the office at 4:30 on a Friday is not all too unusual. An employee can't be expected to be available via smartphone outside office hours.





[Edited at 2019-12-18 21:18 GMT]


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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:52
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Jawohl Dec 18, 2019

William Tierney wrote:

Hi Robert,

I went through a stint of Friday afternoon assignments a few years ago. I could picture the paralegal/admin assistant going through their to-do list and realizing they had forgotten to send out the document for translation, or some ambitious worker wanting to show his boss he could have something done for 0900 on Monday.

I would impose a significant weekend rate. This will train the client to send it on Monday or Tuesday. If it truly becomes available on Friday and absolutely must be translated for Monday morning, then fine, you are there for your clients, at a weekend cost.

Translators have lives too.


But the problem is I can't reach them anymore until next morning or Monday. Received a job today around 6pm, reacted within 1 minute, still waiting for an answer.

[Edited at 2019-12-18 21:24 GMT]


mareug
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:52
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Jawohl 2 Dec 18, 2019

Erik Freitag wrote:

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've never had that experience in almost 15 years.

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

You accept the job, have a quick look (...)


Try it the other way round next time

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Seriously though, you shouldn't accept a job before at least having seen the source text. That doesn't mean that something can't happen during the weekend, but at least nothing of the kind you describe (no source text at all, for instance).

Also, remember that most agency employees are exactly that: employees (as opposed to freelancers). I'd say that leaving the office at 4:30 on a Friday is not all too unusual. An employee can't be expected to be available via smartphone outside office hours.





[Edited at 2019-12-18 21:18 GMT]


Working ethics? "Can't be expected to be available via Smartphone outside office hours". Why not? When I was working for a travel agency an odd 23-24 years ago, I had a cellphone from the office to help clients who had problems getting on their flight. So, what changed? Once again: Working ethics?

[Edited at 2019-12-18 21:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-12-18 21:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-12-18 21:33 GMT]


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:52
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Work ethics Dec 18, 2019

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

Working ethics? "Can't be expected to be available via Smartphone outside office hours". Why not? When I was working for a travel agency an odd 23-24 years ago, I had a cellphone from the office to help clients who had problems getting on their flight. So, what changed? Once again: Working ethics?


First of all, providing a contact outside office hours for a client in case they have stranded at the airport may indeed be reasonable, while I think that weekend availability should rarely be necessary for a translation agency.

Changing work ethics may indeed be an issue as well: Some big companies have started to actively discourage the kind of work ethics you're missing - for example, Volkswagen and BMW have forbidden to contact staff outside office hours. Daimler automatically deletes emails sent out of office hours.

After all, I dare say that a lot of these situations can be avoided by having a look at the job first, then accept it, not the other way round.


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Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:52
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Check first Dec 19, 2019

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

End of the day, or worse, end of Friday afternoon, just before the weekend starts, you get a job offer from an agency, deadline next morning or Monday, early.

You accept the job ...


No, I don't. Not until I've verified that I can do the job within the stated time frame, and that I want to do it. If that involves querying the client, and the client does not respond, then at that point it becomes their problem, not mine.

I never accept jobs with a deadline that's less than 24 hours away, anyway. Too many things can go wrong.


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Eva Stoppa  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:52
Member
English to German
+ ...
Yes, but.. Dec 20, 2019

there also those -- mainly agencies -- who just ASSUME you are available like one of their employees.

I once had a Client who used to send me assignments way past 8PM. They would sent a request to several translators saying: "Antonia, take section 1.3, Eva. section 7 and 8", etc. Not even asking if you were available. I saw their assignments the next morning and realised that they weren't even within my range of specialist fields.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:52
Member (2018)
French to English
. Dec 20, 2019

With that kind of offer, I take a quick look first, then negotiate the surcharge, and only after that do I accept the job.

I have had the slightly less annoying case of clients not being around to answer questions in a timely manner because of taking the day off (and then making a snarky remark about please this time ask your questions in a timely manner for the next project).


 

Björn Vrooman
Local time: 14:52
German to English
+ ...
Fair-minded? Dec 20, 2019

Erik Freitag wrote:

Also, remember that most agency employees are exactly that: employees (as opposed to freelancers). I'd say that leaving the office at 4:30 on a Friday is not all too unusual. An employee can't be expected to be available via smartphone outside office hours.



It's definitely not unusal, but whether this is acceptable is an entirely different matter. I don't believe Robert expects customers to be online 24/7 to answer his questions. The point is, though, that if the job needs to be finished by Monday because you want to, I don't know, show people what an organizational genius you are, it is in your own interest to make sure everything goes as planned.

For example. you could tell the translator you'll be checking your emails once on Saturday or Sunday.

In my experience, the issue sometimes is that employees (working for any company, not just agencies) who don't know jack about translation believe it's as easy as having the intern fill out tables for half an hour (or the document comes from another department etc.), so they don't expect (or want) you to ask questions.

[Edited at 2019-12-20 12:44 GMT]


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Robert Rietvelt
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:52
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Problems turn up, even AFTER you have looked the job through Dec 21, 2019

I have often been in a situation where a text is easy enough to understand, but fiendish to translate properly.

This may be partly due to living in the country and culture of the source language. I had a text recently about the health services, packed with institutions and terminology that I immediately recognised, but it took me ages to find the official English names of the institutions and their preferred English terms for their special social system field.

It was
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I have often been in a situation where a text is easy enough to understand, but fiendish to translate properly.

This may be partly due to living in the country and culture of the source language. I had a text recently about the health services, packed with institutions and terminology that I immediately recognised, but it took me ages to find the official English names of the institutions and their preferred English terms for their special social system field.

It was mid-week and that particular client is always helpful, but at a weekend it would have been very different.
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Robert Rietvelt
 

Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:52
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I hear you!!!!! Dec 23, 2019

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

End of the day, or worse, end of Friday afternoon, just before the weekend starts, you get a job offer from an agency, deadline next morning or Monday, early.



Ugh, hate this. And as you say, you can imagine the scenario on a Friday afternoon in the office: "Yay, I've completed this project before the weekend, ready to submit to my boss on Monday. Oh **** - I'm supposed to get it translated???"

I try to never accept a deadline earlier for 9am on a Monday morning (try to push it to 10 or 11), giving the very clear reason that "in case there is an issue". Sometimes it works. If it doesn't, then I just give a disclaimer (which they can choose to ignore, and normally do) that if there is a technical issue and no response is received to my query, then I cannot be held responsible.


 

Laura Kingdon  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:52
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
It's their problem if it doesn't get done. Dec 27, 2019

In cases like this, I'll take any reasonable steps to try to solve the problem (Googling why the package won't open, for example). If that fails and no one answers my emails, I will simply return whatever I can by Monday morning and explain that I couldn't do the rest/any of the project because there was this issue and I couldn't reach anyone to solve it. I don't expect clients to be available on weekends since they do also have lives after all, but if they leave the handoff until the very last ... See more
In cases like this, I'll take any reasonable steps to try to solve the problem (Googling why the package won't open, for example). If that fails and no one answers my emails, I will simply return whatever I can by Monday morning and explain that I couldn't do the rest/any of the project because there was this issue and I couldn't reach anyone to solve it. I don't expect clients to be available on weekends since they do also have lives after all, but if they leave the handoff until the very last minute on Friday expecting it back by Monday morning and there's something wrong with the files, then the blame for the delay is entirely on their shoulders, and I don't let it bother me.Collapse


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:52
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Fell for it again Dec 28, 2019

Accepted a proof job on Friday. Should get the translation on Monday, but for some reason received it on Saturday (= today). Just started, but the Dutch translation is a literal copy from the English source, and with literal I mean LITERAL, complete with English sentence constructions. In short: rubbish!

I even asked the agency about the quality (if bad, I would need more time). 'No not necessary, because it was translated by their best translator, who already did about 20 translati
... See more
Accepted a proof job on Friday. Should get the translation on Monday, but for some reason received it on Saturday (= today). Just started, but the Dutch translation is a literal copy from the English source, and with literal I mean LITERAL, complete with English sentence constructions. In short: rubbish!

I even asked the agency about the quality (if bad, I would need more time). 'No not necessary, because it was translated by their best translator, who already did about 20 translations for this client.' (where did I hear that song before).

So, a translator who doesn't master his/her native language (cheap translator?), a client who receives a rubbish text (but hey, he doesn't know), and a translation agency which is closed for the weekend.

Don't you just hate it?
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