It is urgent! How many times a translator hears this or reads it in an email? I can tell you, endless times. This is something I never really understood, in more than ten years of career. Maybe translators should open a “Emergency Translation Department”, and have colleagues working 24/7 like in a hospital. It feels like the customer thinks we’re lazy and the “it is urgent” is only to rush us up. Today I decided to talk about the way I work.
How I work
I cannot talk for all my colleagues, but I can certainly talk about myself and when I have a project I start immediately after approval and I don’t stop until it’s completed. For me it is always urgent.
When I receive an email from a client, I analyse the document so I can prepare a Quote. Usually, my clients tell me what they need. Some may need certified translation services, others proofreading or other services. So, I analyse the document and I prepare my Quote. I send my Quote to my clients together with my Terms & Conditions, so they know all about my services and can be assured I really care about them.
Once the Quote is approved, I start working on that project straight away, unless otherwise agreed with the client. Sometimes the Quote may be approved at the end of the day, so I will start the next day, or I may be working on a project and agree to start next day or another day.
Once I start, I will work tirelessly until the project is completed. To do that, I sometimes have to research for a term, or ask the client for clarification. It is important that my translation is accurate, passes exactly the same message and has exactly the same impact in the target audience.
Once I finish translating, I review my work and make sure there are no mistakes or typos. Once I’m satisfied it meets my high standards, I will send it to my client. When I quote, I take all these processes in consideration and my quote is done accordingly.
The cost of urgency
I’ve said this many times, and I even wrote an article about this last year. A rush work is not a good work, and here’s why:
If a translator is working for an unrealistic deadline, because the client insisted it’s urgent, it may have very negative results. Rushing may lead to “cut corners”, and that may be a research that is not done, or a review that is rushed because the work has to be delivered. This can be disastrous. There may be errors, the quality may be inferior and you will end up paying another translator to review it and correct it. So, your urgency will take you more time and cost more money.
In my Terms & Conditions I have a clause about urgent work. If a client requires urgent work, they will incur on a 10% surcharge. However, I would never accept an unrealistic deadline that I know would jeopardise the quality of my work. Because, for me, it is fundamental to keep high standards.
Ultimately, you win, because you get quality in a timely fashion.