Cost, Time or Quality - I need your opinion
Thread poster: Vu Nguyen

Vu Nguyen
Local time: 09:53
Japanese to Vietnamese
+ ...
Jul 16

Dear all,

My name is Vu. I was an in-house translator for 7 years and now I am doing an MBA at the University of Sheffield. My dissertation is about the manager-employee dynamic in the translation business using the cost, time, and quality triangle. Which factor do professionals in this industry think is more important in translation projects? I want to identify the difference, if any, in the perception of this iron triangle between project managers, in-house translators, and freelancers. I also want to find out whether professionals are rewarded at all by LSPs and whether reward could be a factor that influences the perception.

I would really appreciate it if you could help me. If you are interested in this research, or the discussion about this triangle, please fill in the following questionnaire. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.
The detailed information sheet and the consent form are provided on the first two pages of the questionnaire.

Here is the link:
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MD53Z803

Thank you for your help.
Vu Nguyen


 

Anthony Teixeira
Japan
Local time: 18:53
Member (2011)
English to French
+ ...
Done Jul 16

I completed the questionnaire. As to "whether professionals are rewarded at all by LSPs", the answer is a resounding no, besides the rare word of gratitude. The answer might be slightly different with direct clients and in-house employees.

 

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 10:53
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
The conventional answer Jul 17

a) I can provide a fast translation
b) I can provide a polished translation
c) I can provide a cheap translation

Choose 2.

Because all 3 aren't going to happen.


Chris S
José Henrique Lamensdorf
Robin Levey
neilmac
 

Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:53
German to English
Your final question in each category Jul 17

I took it as a freelancer (even though I am part-time freelance and part-time in-house), and your final question on each of the translation categories (rewarded by) doesn't really make sense. I didn't understand how to even answer the question, so I left it blank on all of them. You might want to consider re-wording it.

 

Vu Nguyen
Local time: 09:53
Japanese to Vietnamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
about "reward" Jul 17

Thank you for your feedback.
Just to clarify, rewards might be financial or nonfinancial incentives (reputation, long-term relationships with clients, etc.). I will revise to make it clearer.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Done Jul 17

The survey didn't quite work for me somehow.

Partly as I don't do the first three types of translation.

For what I do, high quality and punctual delivery are crucial. The importance of price depends on the customer.

As for separating "evaluate" and "reward", again it depends. For each individual job, you just get paid what you quoted regardless of value. In the long term, your reward will directly reflect perceived value.

But isn't all of that just common sense?


Matthias Eng
Teresa Borges
Ester Vidal
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:53
French to English
Difficulties Jul 17

Good morning,

I have difficulty understanding quite what you meant with the questions about "how much you are evaluated" or "how much you are rewarded". I was unable to complete the questionnaire and stopped about halfway through.

You may also like to make some corrections to some of the introductory text. The first couple of pages have a number of grammatical errors. It is always helpful to have someone else proofread materials being used in a dissertation. In an ideal world, the final text of a dissertation should also be proofread. Assessors are critical about this type of thing generally and very much so in a language field.

Edit: a note to add that I recently used a questionnaire myself in a master's dissertation (in psychology) and I had the questionnaire read, re-read and re-read again. I know how difficult it is! My native tongue is UK English and my dissertation was in French. I then tried the questionnaire on a dozen or so individuals matching the qualities of the target population. What is obvious to the one who compiles the questionnaire is not necessarily obvious to a potential participant. My daughter also submitted her master's thesis in political science this year. Incorrect/inconsistent punctuation lost her a mark or two as it was simply more complicated to read in places.

[Edited at 2018-07-17 09:08 GMT]


neilmac
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:53
French to English
Quality, cost, time Jul 17

For the record, I found it awkward to score each of these items as there were 10 points available. A Likert-type scale might have been a little easier to answer.

 

Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:53
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Re: Rewards Jul 17

Anthony Teixeira wrote:

As to "whether professionals are rewarded at all by LSPs", the answer is a resounding no, besides the rare word of gratitude.


I agree that rewards from agency clients are very rare, but I can report that I have received a few (both monetary and non-monetary) over the years when clients have felt that I provided an exceptional level of service. I only know the exact reason for one of these occasions which may provide a valuable insight for the author of the survey: I once got paid 2.5 x my rate for turning around a translation project ahead of schedule for a particularly time pressed agency client who wanted delivery as soon as possible.


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 10:53
Member (2016)
English to German
Rewards or sanctions? Jul 17

I am not aware of any kind of reward system in place anywhere. I think that in most cases, you rather have to expect sanctions if you do not meet cost, time, or quality expectations of the client (and the cost factor is not an issue normally because the fee for the project is agreed on beforehand). Sanctions could be that your payment is reduced or withheld or that you simply will not be asked to do other jobs for this client.

Also, I believe that many translations are not evaluated in any way, so that quality issues will only be recognized if an end user complains (which may never happen). This is reality, and this is not reflected in your survey.

Edit: Nikki, I believe that the usage of the ten point distribution is actually very smart here, because it forces the respondent to decide, you cannot simply rate all three categories the same.

[Edited at 2018-07-17 09:37 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-07-17 09:37 GMT]


Ester Vidal
Angus Stewart
 

Vu Nguyen
Local time: 09:53
Japanese to Vietnamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
answering question Jul 17

Thank you all for your discussion.

Nikki: I guess for a freelance translator, the works you produce are assessed and rewarded by your clients. But under different circumstances, they value things differently. As Angus said above, sometimes they might highly appreciate your early delivery and reward you for it. It is true that freelancers aren't normally rewarded, and it is fine to give a score that reflects your point of view.
But for in-house translators and project managers, the top management and other stakeholders within the organization (who set goals and appraise their performance) could influence their priority. At least from my own experience.

About the introduction pages, these pages were provided by my university during the ethical application process. I am aware of some mistakes, but not sure if I could change the wording of the approved materials. I will raise this problem to the person in charge. Thank you for your advice.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:53
French to English
Reward Jul 17

Clients read the work through. Agencies always proofread work in-house before forwarding it to the client. The ability of clients to assess the quality of the work varies a lot. When clients ask questions, I am pleased; it means they are taking the trouble to read the work they are paying for. They are interested in quality and so am I. Very occasionally, clients "correct" work they have assessed wrongly; they introduce mistakes, false friends, alter tenses and "correct" the syntax in such a way that no native speaker would ever do. I am aware that some clients go ahead and make alterations to the work I have done and that in doing so, they will make the text seem quite unnatural. My point is that some clients think they are able to assess work they receive but are not able to do so.

The term "reward" seems out of place here. When I accept a translation job, the deadline and the payment terms are agreed before I start the job. I actually wondered if you meant "compensation", a term some people use for "payment". A reward is a voluntary payment, a sort of bonus or some special favour or treatment. In more 24 years of translation work, never have I received a reward. I have received thanks, recognition, etc. which I appreciate. What I really appreciate is working with a client who is communicative, who expects work of high quality, is pleased when he/she gets it, thanks me for it and most of all pays me on time. A matter of mutual respect.

@Kay-Viktor, I take your point. The */10 scoring does force at least one option to be scored higher than the other two. The point was that I consider all three to be interlinked and of equal value. Remove one and you compromise the others. I gave a 4/3/3.


Vu Nguyen
 

Vu Nguyen
Local time: 09:53
Japanese to Vietnamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
reward/incentivize Jul 17

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

The term "reward" seems out of place here. When I accept a translation job, the deadline and the payment terms are agreed before I start the job. I actually wondered if you meant "compensation", a term some people use for "payment". A reward is a voluntary payment, a sort of bonus or some special favour or treatment. In more 24 years of translation work, never have I received a reward. I have received thanks, recognition, etc. which I appreciate. What I really appreciate is working with a client who is communicative, who expects work of high quality, is pleased when he/she gets it, thanks me for it and most of all pays me on time. A matter of mutual respect.

What I mean by "reward" is also about what you're saying: non-monetary rewards in the form of recognition, mutually respected long-term relationship.
If you think your quality work (or punctual delivery) is why you received all those recognitions and thanks, then even though those are not the "payment" type of reward, you are rewarded by, or incentivized by, your high-quality work, I would say.


[Edited at 2018-07-17 13:05 GMT]


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:53
German to English
Reward Jul 17

The only reward I can reasonably expect is another job from the client, although one agency sent me a box of candy at Christmas many years ago.

Tecton
 

Vu Nguyen
Local time: 09:53
Japanese to Vietnamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
reminder Jul 24

Just want to ask everybody to take a look at my questionnaire if you have not done it.
I really appreciate your participation.


 


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