Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Good Client, Bad Client

Last week, I received an e-mail from an agency I had not worked with before asking whether I'd be interested in a particular translation project. I do get such e-mails from time to time, but for the most part these notes emphasize that the agency is looking for "your absolutely best price" or some other way of saying "we're looking for cheap labor". This agency was different, not just in their initial e-mail. Here is why I like my interactions with them so far:

Even though their initial e-mail was clearly sent to many translators, it told me how they had found me, why they needed to contact a number of translators at once, and what exactly they knew about this project so far (including sample text). While they did bargain about the rate I quoted them, they proposed an only very slightly lower rate and apologized for having to do so on this particular project. They were also willing to work with me in terms of my availability and have kept me informed each step of the way about the status of the project. As it turns out, their client is late in sending the source flies. Rather than simply assuming the translators they had assembled would work on this project during a different time frame than originally agreed upon, they only asked to be informed about our availability later on.

This is quite a contrast from another agency with whom I sometimes work, who simply informed its translators that it was trying out a new system that would require all of us to perform additional editing, as well as quality assurance for its existing TMs (which we have to use remotely) without any additional compensation. In the past, the agency had asked about my availability before assigning work. On Monday, I received an e-mail about a project from one of their end clients for whom I had translated before. That e-mail simply assumed I would take the project and deliver the translation by the next morning. Since I receive e-mail on my smartphone, I was able decline even while I was baking a cake for my neighbor's Labor Day party.

Because of time constraints, I may not wind up working on that first agency's project, after all, but I do look forward to other projects with them. As for the second agency, I think I'll be too busy when their next project comes around ...


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