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Dealing with time zone differences October 21, 2008

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

I had an “urgent job inquiry” in my e-mail in box yesterday morning from an agency in Germany. The time stamp was 4 a.m. I had woken up earlier than I normally do and was already at my computer drinking my first cup of coffee. I responded saying I would be happy to translate it but wouldn’t be able to start it until Tuesday – and that I would understand if they decided this time frame wasn’t acceptable and found someone else. They responded saying they had already found someone. I got the impression that they had found someone within an hour of sending the e-mail.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves: agencies who ignore time zone differences. Did they expect me to be at my computer at 4 a.m. just waiting to respond to their e-mail? I love working with European agencies, because with the exchange rate the pay is good and I can translate the text and have it in their in box in the morning when they get into the office. But the time zone thing can really be annoying. I wish some agencies would institute a policy where they will contact Translator Group Europe if they need a response right away and Translator Group U.S. if they have a few hours to wait for a response.

I suppose I should consider myself lucky though. At least they didn’t call me on the phone…


1. Ryan Ginstrom - October 21, 2008

I would back up a step, here. When I get a job offer, I assume it’s for me, not shotgunned to every translator in this PM’s address book. If it was an urgent job and they passed it to someone else, I expect another email saying to disregard the offer.

If I had the situation you describe happen to me more than once, that particular PM would be relegated to the spam folder.

2. jillsommer - October 21, 2008

Hi Ryan, actually the message didn’t seem like it was shotgunned to every translator. That was what irritated me enough to write about it. I generally don’t work for agencies that do that. I am the go-to translator for several agencies and very much appreciate it. This was an agency that I rarely work for, and I will most likely take your advice and discount their e-mails from now on.

I had a friend get one once and assume it was personalized to her when it wasn’t and there was an open PO so she didn’t get confirmation from the PM before translating the job… Well, you can see where this is going. That’s a post for another day though…

3. Ryan Ginstrom - October 21, 2008

Yep, it’s worst when the email looks like it’s sent to you personally — the PM just fails to mention that they’ve sent the same email out to 20 other translators. Not only does that sort of practice waste my time, I also don’t want to be involved with such a high-pressure work environment. Ideally, I want my work scheduled out weeks if not months in advance; I’ll leave the respond-in-five-minutes for a three-hour job due in four hours to the scrubs and the desperate. 🙂

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