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Impossible deadlines
Téma indítója: Emily Scott

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Franciaország
Local time: 20:42
Tag (2018 óta)
francia - angol
. Nov 7, 2019

Firstly, your rate is not at all high especially for something as specialised as medical.
Increasing your rate often means losing the client, so if you can't afford to lose clients, I would try selective increases. For example, your base rate stays the same, but if it's a pdf, you'll slap on another cent per word, or apply a €10/page OCR fee. And if the deadline requires you to work more than normal office hours, you slap on a 20% emergency fee. It's amazing how word files suddenly mat
... See more
Firstly, your rate is not at all high especially for something as specialised as medical.
Increasing your rate often means losing the client, so if you can't afford to lose clients, I would try selective increases. For example, your base rate stays the same, but if it's a pdf, you'll slap on another cent per word, or apply a €10/page OCR fee. And if the deadline requires you to work more than normal office hours, you slap on a 20% emergency fee. It's amazing how word files suddenly materialise when the client realises you charge extra for pdf, despite not having any idea of how to locate the word file ten minutes previously. And deadlines can sometimes fizzle out too.

Recently I was sent an urgent file that meant I needed to work late into the evening. Having already started very early that day (out of choice, because I didn't want to cancel a meet-up with my daughter the day before) I really didn't feel like it. So I slapped on a 25% emergency fee. The client tried to negotiate. I hate negotiating, like I'll leave my partner to it when we visit countries where it's standard practice in the bazaar. I was tired and the only thing that came to mind was the strict truth: that if I gave in to her, I would do the translation in a begrudging spirit, whereas this was a press release that needed to sparkle. I told her that to do my usual best, I would need to feel good about the payment. To my surprise, she agreed to pay extra. I explained (again) about my normal daily output and promised I wouldn't make her pay extra if she could get the files to me in time. The next time, she did just that, and all has gone very smoothly since then.
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Tom in London
Christine Andersen
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Olaszország
Local time: 20:42
olasz - angol
@Emily Nov 12, 2019

Emily Scott wrote:

I'm really unsure how to find best clients - do you have any advice?


I don't, unfortunately. I noticed a huge difference in the quality of agencies wanting to work with me and the rates I could command once I'd got my nursing degree, but of course this isn't a path that's open to everyone!

Based on the questions you post on KudoZ, you seem to be getting a steady stream of work. Keep going as you are, do CPD, and make sure you highlight any experience you gain on your profile. A lot of translators specialise by simply working in the field.

Also tell everyone that you work as a medical translator - a lot of jobs come via word of mouth.


 

Emily Scott  Identity Verified
Egyesült Királyság
Local time: 19:42
Tag (2018 óta)
francia - angol
+ ...
TÉMAINDÍTÓ
@Fiona Nov 13, 2019

Thank you for your advice Fiona, I really appreciate it. You're definitely a translator I look up to and you're always such a help with terms on KudoZ! I will persevere, thank you

 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Olaszország
Local time: 20:42
olasz - angol
Industry conferences Nov 14, 2019

I'm very lucky in that there are a couple of companies here in Bologna which organise medical conferences, the majority of which are free of charge.
I go to as many as I can, particularly in the field of cardiology, my speciality-within-a-speciality, since I think medicine is a very wide field and it's impossible to translate all medical topics that come up. I think going to these events shows clients that we're serious about what we do, and it's great CPD. I'm still trying to work out how
... See more
I'm very lucky in that there are a couple of companies here in Bologna which organise medical conferences, the majority of which are free of charge.
I go to as many as I can, particularly in the field of cardiology, my speciality-within-a-speciality, since I think medicine is a very wide field and it's impossible to translate all medical topics that come up. I think going to these events shows clients that we're serious about what we do, and it's great CPD. I'm still trying to work out how useful these events are for getting direct clients, but I repeat that it is good CPD, plus they normally offer lunch and coffee breaks!!!

Are there any similar companies where you live?
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Emily Scott  Identity Verified
Egyesült Királyság
Local time: 19:42
Tag (2018 óta)
francia - angol
+ ...
TÉMAINDÍTÓ
Not really Nov 15, 2019

How lucky to have these events available to you! I've done a bit of research and can't really find any events that are open to non-healthcare professionals in my area, at least not any events above a basic knowledge level. I spoke to a doctor friend of mine who said that I should be able to shadow doctors in hospitals/GP surgeries to gain some insight that way so I'm going to explore this option and see how it goes

Th
... See more
How lucky to have these events available to you! I've done a bit of research and can't really find any events that are open to non-healthcare professionals in my area, at least not any events above a basic knowledge level. I spoke to a doctor friend of mine who said that I should be able to shadow doctors in hospitals/GP surgeries to gain some insight that way so I'm going to explore this option and see how it goes

Thanks again Fiona!
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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spanyolország
Tag (2014 óta)
angol - spanyol
+ ...
Attitude and perseverance Nov 15, 2019

Tight deadlines are not really an option in a long run. Try saying “no”, but always give them an alternative deadline. Sometimes you will be surprised how well it works. Suddenly, the agency managed to buy you “some extra time”.

If they insist on an unrealistic deadline, so much the better for you. Just walk away. I recall cases where agencies gave work to some other “translator” who accepted to do 5000 words in 6 hours and delivered a complete disaster. Then the agency
... See more
Tight deadlines are not really an option in a long run. Try saying “no”, but always give them an alternative deadline. Sometimes you will be surprised how well it works. Suddenly, the agency managed to buy you “some extra time”.

If they insist on an unrealistic deadline, so much the better for you. Just walk away. I recall cases where agencies gave work to some other “translator” who accepted to do 5000 words in 6 hours and delivered a complete disaster. Then the agency came back to me (because they already knew the quality of my work) and asked me to edit the text. I refused and offered them retranslation in two days. They accepted.

I am not saying it always works this way, but when it doesn’t, you do yourself a huge favour declining projects with unrealistic deadlines.

Keep positive attitude and persevere. There is no other way around it, as far as I know. And more importantly, keep healthy. Your health is the most valuable of all the assets you might have, and working under stress isn't really contributing to it.


[Edited at 2019-11-15 10:46 GMT]
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Dan Lucas
Gareth Callagy
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
Josephine Cassar
MollyRose
 

Emily Scott  Identity Verified
Egyesült Királyság
Local time: 19:42
Tag (2018 óta)
francia - angol
+ ...
TÉMAINDÍTÓ
@Merab Nov 15, 2019

Thank you very much, very reassuring advice

 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
Egyesült Államok
Local time: 14:42
Tag (2003 óta)
japán - angol
+ ...
Unrealistic deadlines Nov 17, 2019

I recently received a request for 20 pages of Chinese in four hours. I had no intention of taking it but I asked the agency how much of a rush premium they were willing to pay for fast turnaround. Of course, I didn't hear back from them.

"Sorry, your deadline is wildly unrealistic" is a favorite repartee of mine.


Emily Scott
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Olaszország
Local time: 20:42
olasz - angol
Are you sure? Nov 17, 2019

Emily Scott wrote:

I spoke to a doctor friend of mine who said that I should be able to shadow doctors in hospitals/GP surgeries to gain some insight that way so I'm going to explore this option and see how it goes


That seems rather unlikely given confidentiality issues - I'm puzzled as to why your friend would suggest such a possibility.


 

Emily Scott  Identity Verified
Egyesült Királyság
Local time: 19:42
Tag (2018 óta)
francia - angol
+ ...
TÉMAINDÍTÓ
@Fiona Nov 18, 2019

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

Emily Scott wrote:

I spoke to a doctor friend of mine who said that I should be able to shadow doctors in hospitals/GP surgeries to gain some insight that way so I'm going to explore this option and see how it goes


That seems rather unlikely given confidentiality issues - I'm puzzled as to why your friend would suggest such a possibility.


I imagine that I'd have to sign a confidentiality agreement of some sort but I've done something similar in the past. Anyway, I've asked the question, I guess I'll just have to wait and see what they say.


 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:42
Tag (2012 óta)
olasz - angol
+ ...
Conferences and exhibitions... Nov 18, 2019

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

I'm very lucky in that there are a couple of companies here in Bologna which organise medical conferences, the majority of which are free of charge.
I go to as many as I can, particularly in the field of cardiology, my speciality-within-a-speciality, since I think medicine is a very wide field and it's impossible to translate all medical topics that come up. I think going to these events shows clients that we're serious about what we do, and it's great CPD. I'm still trying to work out how useful these events are for getting direct clients, but I repeat that it is good CPD, plus they normally offer lunch and coffee breaks!!!

Are there any similar companies where you live?


There are plenty of conferences here going on all the time; some of them are free and some are against payment. There are also exhibitions which I can attend and meet people in the industry. I attended a conference organised by the French Chamber of Commerce and can attend conferences organised by the Business Bureau or for SMEs. I have not had any direct clients but still intend to go and give out some personal cards and form relationships so people remember me besides getting to know what's available in my area - you'd be surprised too how much commerce goes on and how much it can affect me/us in the translation industry as the possibilities are endless because there's so much trade being carried out where translation is needed for FR < EN and FR < MT, the latter without there being too many translators either so I am exploring avenues in the sense of fields as I do not translate medical, pharmaceutical, technological where there are most obvious translation opportunities; other fields do exist though and it is only by attending such events that one finds these fields and opportunities.

[Edited at 2019-11-19 06:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-11-19 19:17 GMT]


 
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