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End of day? June 5, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Translation Sites.

There’s an interesting discussion on the PT listserv at the moment about “end of day” (EOD) delivery deadlines. The translator who started the discussion took it to mean the end of her day (midnight), while her client meant 5 or 6 p.m. (close of business) This is a really interesting discussion, because “end of day” is so nebulous. Some translators agreed with her, saying that for them “end of day” means the customer wants it in their e-mail in box when they get to work the next morning so that they can immediately start working on it (although in this case the client would have most likely stipulated SOB – start of business – or “first thing tomorrow morning”). The majority of the members, however, felt that “end of day” meant the end of normal business hours.

Those of us (like me) who prefer to start work late in the morning and do our best work in the late afternoon or evening hours should never assume that the end of our day is the end of everyone else’s day. One member pointed out that we should not assume that our clients take note of our work habits. Nor should they.

This discussion also makes it clear that we should never assume things and should always clarify our terms at the beginning of the job – not the end. We are service providers, and it is our job to ensure that we meet our client’s stipulated deadline.

So in the future if your client tells you “2000 words EOD” be sure to ask exactly what time they consider to be end of day. You may be surprised at the response.


1. An interesting post on “end of day” « Thoughts On Translation - June 5, 2008

[…] McKay Jill Sommer’s blog “Musings from an overworked translator” has a great post on the definition of “end of day.” This is a subject that’s a frequent subject of […]

2. Ryan Ginstrom - June 5, 2008

Good topic. I got burned on this one early in my career. A client wanted the translation by “tomorrow morning”; I took that to mean “am,” and was planning on sending it in at 11:00am. The next morning, they called me in a panic at 9:05 asking where their translation was… oops!

What I’ve learned since then is: specify the exact time of delivery, including time zone if yours and your client’s are different. This is especially true when working with new clients.

3. Riccardo - June 5, 2008

“End of day” is really too vague. Much better to indicate an actual hour together with a time zone (5 PM EST, or 17:00 GMT -5).

Beware in particular of translation companies who have project managers working in places other than their corporate HQ. If the New York-based project manager of a San Diego translation company asks for delivery by EOB, does it mean 5 PM in San Diego or New York?

4. yndigo - June 5, 2008

In my PO’s to translator, I’ve learned to say 5:00 PM (my time — New York) or (your time — Seattle) just so there’s no confusion. I’ll only use “COB” if late evening is still acceptable. On the other hand, when clients tell us “COB” we take it to mean by 6:00 pm but we ask to make sure.

Great topic Jill!

5. transubstantiation - June 9, 2008

Oh how true! ALWAYS give (or get) an exact time!#


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