What a client!
What a client! Funny stories about translation clients
My name is Gabriela Garcia Calderon and I’m a freelance translator. Today I want to share with you a funny -not so funny- story about one of my potential translation clients. I’m sure that many of you out there can relate to this, and at least we can all have a laugh together.
By mid-June this year, I got an email from a potential client. A friend of mine had recommended me to translate a document about ways to save energy in the hotel industry. The email said something like:
“I have a text in English about energy saving methods for the hotel industry I need to translate into Spanish. It’s a PDF file I can forward to you as soon as you instruct me to. Please, let me know your quote and estimate time of delivery, but have in mind it’s really urgent. I need to have it translated by late June tops”.
After reading the email, I started a reply, which went like this:
“No problem, please send me the document so I can take a look at it and calculate the fee for the translation”.
Less than 15 minutes later, I had the file on my inbox. After downloading it and converting it into a MS Word document, I had the total word count. There were over 10,000 words to be translated. I started to calculate a reasonable rate, considering a lot of things before deciding on a final amount.
Before I could send my fee and estimated time of delivery, I got another message from the client urging me to send my answer. “This is really quite urgent,” I said to myself.
After some more minutes, I finally sent the potential client a message mentioning my fee and telling them I’d do my best to have it ready by late June.
At the most, I could take the first week of July to have it translated and double checked. And then, I waited, and waited, and waited. No more e-mails, no more urging words demanding an answer from me.
Nothing. Just silence.
The next day, I got a new e-mail with a very brief message: “I’ll get back to you by June 30.” Apparently the translation wasn’t so urgent as this client thought.
I deal with this kind of people all the time: they contact me with desperate words, crying for help, more or less telling me that their lives depend on my work and how fast I can deliver it. And all that urgency, all the needs end up suddenly when they get a quote.
What are they thinking? That the translation was to be made for free? Why do they even ask for a quote on the first place? Why don’t they just say: “I can only pay this for the translation, so take it or leave it”?
Saddened for what I felt was a lost job opportunity, but encouraged with the feeling that I was getting rid of what will surely become a hassle or, worse, an unpaid job, and knowing the answer beforehand, I waited until June 30 before sending a new e-mail:
“This is just a reminder for you that today it’s June 30 and I’d wanted to ask you if you’ve made a decision about the translation”.
I got an answer the next day: “No, sorry, I don’t need the translation anymore.”