Greater than 2 minutes
I was asked for a cost estimate of a big job, almost 60.000 words, about a technical document that some professionals needed for an investigation (I believe for their thesis). “We can’t afford your translation,” one of the professionals said in his email two days after receiving my cost estimate. I was about to ask him why and even try to rearrange the amount or the payment method. Then I said to myself, “It’s Friday, I have other customers who don’t hesitate to pay what I ask, and I’m sorry, but that’s the cost of a qualified translation.”
Then I did an opinion poll on Twitter where I asked my colleagues what they would prefer if their cost estimate were rejected because the client couldn’t afford it:
- Being cancelled.
- Being bargained.
- Arranging a long-term payment.
Most of the voters chose option ‘a’, which was my actual reaction to the situation too, and here is why I believe I did the best:
Time: When considering doing a big project alone or one that requires more creativity, as when transcreating, we must take into account the time it takes us to do the job, or the time we have until the deadline day. Also, consider some extra time for having it proofread or edited by someone other than you (which is a cost you should add to the estimate as well).
Research: Sometimes the job is about a specialized topic and when we don’t have much experience in a certain topic, we must consider research as an important task to do before translating. Besides, do we have a glossary or does our customer provide any thesaurus/TM? Either option will help us improve and speed up the translation process.
Life itself: If we have a family, we will think twice before accepting or arranging a job on a weekend. We have a life, whether we are parents or not, I personally try to spend time sharing with the ones I love and disconnect from work. I often take advantage of the weekend, which is when my husband doesn’t work. It all comes down to the way we manage our life.
I don’t know what’s your reality, or if you translate for a living. There’s a lot of people out there —who are not even professional translators— that accept lower payments or work around the clock. I do work under pressure, but I charge what it costs.
What option would you prefer if your cost estimate were rejected as mine? I’d love to know your opinion!