Guest post: What to do when clients ask for an impossible deadline 1

Every once in a while, you get to encounter translation projects who want to tie you to impossible deadlines. They ask you to complete the project or a part of it within a timeline that is clearly unrealistic. Worse, there are those who ask you to expedite a project for earlier submission even when a deadline has already been agreed upon earlier. What do you do in these situations? How do you deal with the clients?

Consider the following pointers:

1. Be sure to clearly inform the client about the deadline problem, present the reasons, and state what you can realistically do.

Obviously, if you are made to work on a project that you reasonably cannot do, you have to make it clear that it is not doable. Never commit to doing something you are not capable of doing. Give your reasons and let the client know the realistic output you can offer. It’s very important to clarify this to avoid problems later on. You also need to cite concrete parts or aspects of the project that make it difficult to work within the given deadline.

2. Negotiate and try your best not to lose the project.

As you explain to the client that the deadline is just too difficult to meet, you also have to offer a compromise. Break down the different components of the project to carefully propose adjustments. More often than not, you will be able to convince the client that you can submit some considerable partial output within the “impossible deadline” instead of having to extend the deadline for the entire project. There could be tasks that can just be finished later on as long the core part of the project is completed. Moreover, don’t think that you should immediately drop the client because they are “impossible to work with.” Often, these clients just need some explaining for them to understand that their demands are impossible to meet.

3. Make sure there is a written agreement stating all the terms of the project.

After negotiating and coming up with a workable agreement, make sure that you have all of the terms in writing. Usually, clients who don’t seem to have a realistic sense of project completion times easily change their minds. You can’t afford to be whimsically dragged to a new deadline or be forced to submit some things earlier than the appointed date.

4. Take control and work efficiently.

Once a compromise is reached, proceed to completing the project mindfully and efficiently. Avoid acting like a victim or someone being made to work beyond your capabilities. Have the mindset of someone who is in control.

5. Be open to suggestions.

This is not a contradiction to being in control. Being receptive to ideas from others can help you tweak processes to do things more efficiently and quickly. “Sometimes other people have great suggestions that can help you see things more clearly. When you’re under pressure, it helps to have the backing of a supportive team,” says Sean Hopwood, President of Day Translations. “We’re often asked to complete projects earlier than agreed, and we often do. It helps that we have such a diverse team of talent to contribute and come up with creative ways to solve the problem.”

6. Learn from the experience.

Be sure to learn something from the experience. There’s always something the challenge imparts. These will help you deal with the next similar impossible client demands in the future. The experience will let you gauge your or your team’s actual capacity to handle demanding projects. A failure lets you see your mistakes (including the possibility that you may have underestimated the difficulty of the task) while a success gets you motivated and serves as a good credential useful for attracting more clients in the future.

When faced with an impossible deadline, it only makes sense refusing to work within such an impossibility. It’s, after all, impossible. You have to ask for compromises or adjustments and then work on the compromise as efficiently as you can. Also, don’t forget to learn from the challenge of working on a project with an “impossible deadline.”


Today’s guest blog post is by Bernadine Racoma – an experienced blogger, writer, and researcher who particularly loves working on topics involving the Internet, online solutions, app development, and translation services. She is also an advocate and mother to 7 successful children.

Meet the ProZ.com 2015 international conference organizer: Nigel Saych Reply

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Nigel Saych
ProZ.com member and conference organizer

This year’s ProZ.com international conference will take place on June 13-14 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, organized by Nigel Saych, a former teacher and professional copywriter, and now one of the most active professionals in Europe.

Nigel has been part of the ProZ.com community since 2006. With nine ProZ.com conferences attended –and impressive presentations in most of them– his first organized conference will certainly be, as he puts it: a great event!

“Conferences are the main face-to-face opportunities,” Nigel says. “Joining forces with other translators is the way I suggest to survive in a changing world.”

The conference will be a two-day meeting featuring nineteen speakers on the top floor of a great venue right by the waterside and overlooking the Erasmus Bridge and Rotterdam harbor. Four social events are also being organized for before, during and after the conference, including a gala dinner and a sightseeing tour.

Wanna know more about the conference? Click here to visit the official conference page or follow the event via social networks using the official event hashtag, #RotterdamConf.

And stay tuned for next week’s post on event topics and speakers.

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Summary of the 2013 ProZ.com international conference in Porto Reply

The 2013 ProZ.com international conference in Porto in over, but its spirit still seems to be in all and each of the attendees to this event. With hundreds of Tweets, Facebook posts, feedback comments, pictures, videos, reports and whatnot, this conference seems to have reminded professionals of the importance of networking and learning in professional development.

Careful planning and detailed organization were evidently the secret ingredients for the success of this event. The three session tracks offered led to a good variety of presentations to choose from and the different social options available –sightseeing tour, wine taste, powwows– helped attendees to make connections more quickly and easily.

In sum, this is what this event offered to attendees:

  • Thirty different sessions, divided in three tracks.
  • Two  powwows, one at Restaurante Commercial, one of the most iconic restaurants in Porto, and a second one at Restaurante BibóPorto, a restaurant that offers exquisite traditional Portuguese dishes.
  • A sight-seeing tour around the city.
  • A wine taste at Burmester Cellars, where we had the chance to taste the most famous port wine.
  • A gala dinner also with great food and wine.
  • A one-day workshop on “Negotiation”.
  • The chance to meet fellow translators and promote themselves among peers.

As a ProZ.com staff member, I must say that I’m not only proud of being part of this amazing community, but also honored to have had the chance of spending these amazing days with new friends. Thanks Paula Ribeiro, Maria Pereira and Rafaela Lemos for working tirelessly over the past year to bring this wonderful event to life. Also, thanks speakers for sharing your time, energy and expertise. And, above all, thank you attendees for making this event possible!

Here is a video summary of the event for you to watch and share:

Hope to see you all soon at the next ProZ.com event!

Lucía

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News from the 2013 ProZ.com conference in Porto 2

This year’s ProZ.com International Conference is being held in the World Heritage city of Porto, Portugal, and I am having the pleasure of being one of the attendees, together with staff members Maria Kopnitsky and Jared Tabor, and more than 200 members! With 28 speakers and 30 sessions scheduled, this conference is one of the largest ProZ.com events organized in the last 5 years.

Attendees, as they arrived, getting ready for the opening session.

As the conference goes by, the organizers, Certified PRO Paula Ribeiro and members Maria Pereira and Rafaela Lemos, are working together with other language professionals to find the answer to a question that appears to be a major concern within the translation profession: “What are the new demands of the translation industry?” To address this concern, presentations on personal branding, SEO, the state of the industry and translation technology were offered earlier today. Sessions on meeting and keeping clients, CAT tools and ethical practices are reserved for tomorrow, Sunday 9th.

The social side of this event included so far: a photo tour, the visit to a cellar, a pre-conference powwow and the presence of Alejandro Moreno-Ramos, author of the MOX series, who was kind enough to take a couple of hours to autograph his books (thanks Alejandro!).

Alejandro autographing his books, “Mox” and “Mox II”.

Just a few hours ago, there was a gala dinner at Burmester Cellars, a cellar located in one of the most beautiful places of Vila Nova de Gaia. The food was great; the wine, exquisite; and the company, the best! Now getting ready for Sunday sessions and a post-conference powwow at Restaurante BibóPorto.

Click here to see what’s going on in this event in real time.

Congratulations organizers and attendees for this outstanding event!

Lucía

Choosing the right client 35

In general, the criteria used by translation agencies and end clients for choosing the appropriate translator or interpreter for a given job are well-known: specialization in a given language pair and field of expertise, years of experience, rate range, availability, credentials and client feedback, among others. But outsourcers are not the only ones in a position to set the parameters for a given job and working relationship. Translators and interpreters too can –and actually should– have their own set of parameters to decide when to accept a job offer made by a new client or decline it.

More…

Guest blog post: “Meeting in the middle: How outsourcers and translators can work together” by Patrick Hayslett, LinguaLinx 1

Today’s post is a guest blog post by member Patrick Hayslett of LinguaLinx, Inc. Patrick provides some tips from the vendor management point of view on evaluating and dealing professionally with translation outsourcers.

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“Meeting in the middle: How outsourcers and translators can work together” by Patrick Hayslett, LinguaLinx

From outright scams mentioned in a post by Jared to project managers that leave you pounding your forehead on the keyboard, there are plenty of land mines planted in a translator’s inbox. Aside from these unscrupulous scenarios, conflict may even arise with legitimate translation companies.

This natural conflict is best summarized by Lucia Leszinsky’s article on risk management for both parties. “Regardless of the type of activity involved everyone either offering language services or looking for language service providers is exposed to several types of risk that should be acknowledged if a reliable and successful service provider-outsourcer relationship is desired.”

I’m Patrick Hayslett, Communications Coordinator with LinguaLinx, a leading translation company that utilizes outsourced professional translators. I’m here to share our Vendor Manager’s thoughts on how outsourcers and translators can cooperate in a fair manner that acknowledges and minimizes risk to both.

More…

Podcast: interview with Konstantin Kisin on his upcoming workshop series entitled “Improve Your Essential Business Skills” Reply

Here’s a new ProZ.com podcast (see announcement).

This month I interviewed Certified PRO and ProZ.com professional trainer Konstantin Kisin on his upcoming workshops on improving essential business skills. Konstantin’s background in the psychology of communication and human behavior, as well as his extensive experience in the language services industry, give him unique insight as to how freelance translators and interpreters can improve their negotiation skills, be more productive, and achieve a better balance between work and life. These workshops will be held on November 17th, February 16th, and March 30th in the London area: http://www.proz.com/conference/group/8

I begin this interview by asking Konstantin which characteristics make someone an effective negotiator. In his response, Konstantin dispels the notion that a good negotiator must necessarily be tough or confident – but focuses instead on the value of exhibiting what he refers to as “behavioral flexibility.” According to Konstantin, behavioral flexibility is “doing the right thing, at the right time, and for the right reasons.”

Konstantin continues by saying that negotiation skills are essential in allowing freelance translators to put themselves in control of their businesses. These skills are largely what help freelancers determine how much they are paid, when their deadlines will be, and what their working patterns will be like. In short, he explains that negotiation and communication skills are key in fostering successful and healthy relationships with clients.

Later in the interview I ask Konstantin what makes his workshops on productivity different from the rest. He explains that while most productivity courses or training sessions deal with this topic from a general business standpoint, his workshops focus specifically on what freelance translators can do to improve their productivity. As a successful freelance translator himself, Konstantin offers some unique advice focused on what language service providers can do to cut procrastination and be more productive.

Finally, I ask Konstantin to sum up what makes the content of his workshops so valuable for freelance translators and interpreters. He says that, simply put, the topics covered in this three part workshop series are aimed at helping language service providers be in control of their businesses, increase their productivity, and achieve more balance between work and life.

Think these workshops might be right for you? Be sure to check out what others have said about Konstantin’s training courses in the feedback section of the workshop pages:

Negotiation & Communication Skills – Saturday, 17 November 2012

Boost Your Productivity Now! – Saturday, 16 February 2013

Work | Life Balance – Saturday, 30 March 2013

You can listen to the interview here: https://blogproz.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/proz-com-podcast-2012-11-7.wav

I hope you enjoy the podcast. Feedback, comments and suggestions for future podcasts topics can be directed here or via Twitter @ProZcom

Maria