In the world of productivity, where people only know their starting times, hardly have a lunch break and are supposed to be on 24/7, it is important to understand what really is productivity and what is simple exploitation.
Quality and productivity
According to Collins Dictionary, productivity is the rate at which good are produced. But if the goods produced are defective or of no quality, we can’t really say the company is productive. A company may produce 5000 products in 10 minutes, but if 3000 of those are rejected because they are defective, it will affect the company’s productivity and, of course, its bottom line.
The same happens with services. If the service is not provided with quality, we can’t really say it’s productive. This happens a lot in the translation industry. Sometimes a Quote that takes 2 days to be approved, becomes an urgent job because the translator informs the client they don’t work on weekends.
Deadlines are very important. In every industry, it is important that a service or product is delivered on time and the time it takes to be completed is acceptable considering the work needed to produce it. I am very strict with my deadlines and I’m proud of always delivering my work on time. But for me to consider it a productive day, the work produced has to have quality, otherwise it would be a waste of time for me and a waste of money for the client.
The cost of fast low-quality work
I usually say that if a document took more than half an hour to be written, it can’t be translated in less than that. But sometimes translators are required to work with very unrealistic deadlines. Some, afraid of not getting clients accept it, others refuse and explain that it is impossible to produce a quality translation in such tiny deadline.
The result of this could be a low-quality translation, produced in a rush to meet an unrealistic deadline. For the client, that may mean, paying a proofreader to review that translation and correct possible issues. So, in reality, what they may see as productivity was not productive at all, it was a defective work that ended up having more costs and taking more time.
How to fix this problem
This is a problem not only for translators, but for all industries. We really need to understand what’s productivity, and most importantly, that productivity is only achieved when results in a quality product.
A stressed and overworked person, won’t be able to be as productive as if they were in a balanced environment. If errors are made, it will affect the client or employer’s bottom line, because it will take time and money to fix those errors. There needs to be a balance and we all need to look at the bigger picture and focus on the end result. We all want a quality product, in a timely fashion and with a fair price.