"Delivery Monday"
Thread poster: Sabine Winter

Sabine Winter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:48
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
May 16, 2008

Not necessarily an entirely new issue but the question crossed my mind again when I saw this job posting today (Friday) for legal documents - 14000 words - due Monday with Quoting deadline: 5:00pm May 18, 2008 (Sunday) Delivery deadline: 5:00pm May 19, 2008 (Monday) - CDT, given the outsourcers location. If a 14000 words job is urgent, why do Outsourcers not shorten the quoting deadline in favor of the actual translation/editing/proof-reading/making-sure-it's-near-perfect time? And who knows how long it takes for the outsourcer to decide on/inform the translator that he/she got the job? How much time would there be left to get a 14000 words job done? Is this realistic? TIA for any input/sharing of opinions ...

[Edited at 2008-05-16 21:27]


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:48
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
We're desperate and/or want to subcontract May 16, 2008

Hi Sabine,

Job postings like that stifle me. In my opinion the only realistic approach would be getting the OK for 2K words from 7 translators on Friday, demanding that the translation of all 7 translators will be delivered Saturday night, performing QC all Sunday.

Any other timeline or workflow is asking for problems and I'll never help out a new agency with such problems, but this can happen to the best of them.

Regards,
Gerard


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Sabine Winter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:48
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... and spreading the desperation ... May 16, 2008

Thanks, Gerard! So, postings like this in a way encourage us, the translators, to a) submit quotes for part of the job, and b) the outsourcer does not necessarily wait until the quoting deadline/closing of the job posting to contact the translators?

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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:48
English to Arabic
+ ...
Re "urgent scheduled production & delivery" - a related business question May 16, 2008

Greetings.

With regards and respect to all, I take this opportunity to comment on such postings which require "urgent scheduled production & delivery."

A related business question which helps to determine the seriousness of such an "posted job offer" is to ask the requester for (1) the firm's clarification of the allocated budget and (2) the firm's method of payment for such expedited / late-hour / over-weekend production and delivery. Often, the requester re-thinks the urgency of paying a premium for such service or drops out of sight.

"Good, cheap, and quick - you can only get any two at one time."

Practitioners in other professional fields -- such as lawyers, doctors, engineers and plumbers -- do not work late or unusual hours or weekends without a binding contract / work order with commensurate renumeration.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Stephen H. Franke
English - Arabic, Persian, and Kurdish
San Pedro, California, USA







[Edited at 2008-05-16 23:56]


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vera123  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 19:48
Chinese to English
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Quoting as a team May 17, 2008

I think it is better to organize a team to quote a job.Such as legal document, we can find some one who works in a law firm , or has strong legal background to make sure the team has strong competence to finish the task on time.That will be a good idea,Otherwise, it will delay so much time and waste energy.

[Edited at 2008-05-17 00:59]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:48
Member (2002)
German to English
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Such a job posting simply means that the agency is in severe financial difficulties May 17, 2008

... otherwise why would they ask a translator with whom they have never worked before to lend them such a huge amount of money?

The chances of being paid are therefore fairly slim. They simply cannot afford to pay. There is also the danger, if they do not normally work in that language pair, that they will never need a translator for that particular language pair again, or at least not in the foreseeable future. My experience to date proves to me that clients only have an interest in paying me if they are likely to need my services again. I have seldom been paid, or paid in full, by an agency that did not need my language pair again in a hurry.

Anyhow, I do not think that a job posting of the kind you mention has very much to do with delivery times.

Astrid


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Sabine Winter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:48
Member (2007)
English to German
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TOPIC STARTER
A financial twist? May 17, 2008

Thanks, Astrid. Interesting take but I doubt that the posted rush job (did you see it?) necessarily indicates financial difficulties of that agency. Plus, their BB record looks pretty good. I once got contacted by a new client (agency) to help with a huge project (according to them totaling about 3 million words) that they were spreading out all over the place in order to get it done, and got paid in time. I think, Gerard had a good point in them being desperate to get this fairly huge project done within the timeline they were given, thus will try to spread it out among several translators.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:48
Member (2002)
German to English
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Yes, I have seen it now May 17, 2008

However, the same agency re-advertised the job, later on Friday, giving a new deadline of next Friday and asking for agencies, rather than translators, to assist. This would indicate that they expect the work to be split up amongst various different translators.

Whichever employee of the agency originally asked for a single translator to do 14,000 words over the weekend would appear to have little clue about the translation process. I have had similar requests from the secretaries of some of my clients. They appear not to know, or bother to think about, what is involved.

To deliberately ask a new translator to take on 14,000 words as a first job would be very bad business practice and exceedingly unprofessional, however many 5's the agency may have on the Blue Board, and regardless of the deadline. It is also very difficult for agencies to pay translators on time for these large projects, unless they have enough capital in their business, because, the higher an invoice is, the longer the end client takes to pay. A lot of end clients would have no concern about allowing themselves at least 60 days to pay such a large invoice, and, if the agency needs the money in order to pay the translators, that would mean the translators waiting for up to 90 days for payment, after having done a "rush job", often at a discount rather than with a surcharge.

Astrid

P.S. As for the quoting deadlines given in job postings: have you ever tried posting a job on ProZ.com? The system forces you to give a generous quoting deadline, however that does not deter you from starting to dish out the work as soon as you hear from a suitably qualified translator. People who answer later can always be kept in mind for future collaboration.


[Edited at 2008-05-17 18:26]


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Sabine Winter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:48
Member (2007)
English to German
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TOPIC STARTER
That is just wrong ... May 17, 2008

... creating an absolute unrealistic timeframe when - as obvious now - the real deadline is an entire week away (or maybe even longer, who other than the end-client, really knows) ... however, the entire process does make more sense to me now. Thanks for your response, Astrid, and the info on ProZ's job listing requirement.

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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 14:48
English to Lithuanian
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a simple rule May 22, 2008

An agency that accepts a job from the client with such unrealistic deadlines is not worth time and desperation. Anyone who knows "abc" of the translation business also knows the real capacity of a translator. And agencies that give such deadlines, well...Simply not woth even to bother about. Let alone - an extreeme deadline and splitting a LEGAL document for several translators. That can have serious consequences is something is translated incorrectly (and the risk for the "human factor errors" can be multiplied by x 10 or even x 100).

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Sabine Winter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:48
Member (2007)
English to German
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Definitely a good point May 22, 2008

Thanks for adding this, Marius! I've been wondering about the quality and implications issue myself - unless, of course, the agency provides everyone involved with indications as to terminology to use and everyone is connected via some system e.g. Trados, across, etc. as in "one the same page" so to speak.

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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 14:48
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
we are not firemen Jun 13, 2008

All those "burning deadlines" show that the agency makes one major mistake - professional people SHALL KNOW the realistic time schedules/capacities of a human being + many clients are NOT linguists and they think "ah, 18 pages, best if I order these today and have them tomorrow morning" - if the agency is unable to explain "Dear Sir, doing this for tomorrow can be a little bit extreeme or can cost an urgency rate", let it be the problem of the agency. Some of them just take ANY conditions from the clients and then sit on the neck of translators who work overnights...Yes, there CAN be some "force majeure" things, but 9 of 10 of such jobs are just the management mistake of the agency...

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