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Translation Project Management

(March 01-27)


Well, I see your predicament and I'm willing to wait some more time. I am sending you my Excel file with my records and you can see from it, that after job 6025, I spent 9 hours working on the start of the Panasonic project 11.13-16.2006 (you perhaps remember this - all those letters and fuss around them). So, added to the amount left from your latest payment (118 Euro), this makes my total standing at 145 EURO. Wish, you get soon on your feet.

I wish I will too. Checked recently and now I'm in the top ten again for "translating resources" and about 25th for "translation agency", which is the search Panasonic used. In the next few weeks I hope to add a lot of pages and I will keep plugging away at it. I never actively looked for customers this aggressively, but will continue to do so, since I am finally ready for expansion, so hopefully in time it will be okay. Lets get the accounting sorted so that we can agree on a final figure. From the last payment I sent you, the receipt I received from iKobo was:

Payment Method Visa ...7100
Transfer Amount $250.00 (442.75 BGL)
Transaction Fee $12.50 (22.14 BGL)
Conversion Rate 1 USD = 1.7710 BGL

Live mid-market rates as of 2006.11.18 13:03:26 UTC.
250.00 USD
United States Dollars = 194.963 EUR Euro
1 USD = 0.779850 EUR 1 EUR = 1.28230 USD

I also remember I sent you 250$, so I don't know where you got this 118 Euro from. Anyway, lets finalise and agree on something, and then I can agree to pay you some interest on that if it takes me too long to pay you. Also, one person in Rumania says she can receive payment by Moneybookers, so I'd like you to take a second look if you can do the same in Bulgaria. She says she also has a credit card and can withdraw the money. If this is the case, I'm thinking of getting one for myself, for future purposes. Anyway, in the past I've sent several hundreds of dollars and it cost me about 50 cents. As you can see, my charges for iKobo are quite high, so please look into it again. Another good thing about Moneybookers is I can make easy mass payments to many people at a time, so I'd like to shift everyone to this direction. But obviously it would be more attractive if I actually had a lot of work I could offer, but working on it.

No problem about the payment. I just sent you the e-mail because I didn't see my accounting information filled in. And I also wanted to know the development of the project, in case you needed my services :)

okay, just updated the account with your last letter:

Proofreading (job 6028 - Portuguese-European) - 671 words - 13,42 Assessment - 6 hours - 60

but I do not upload this information to the net regularly, unless I have regular work, so do not expect this to show in your account on the web any time soon.

For 6028, I have a comment that you went ahead and did the proofread without receiving a confirmation from me, although I expressed in the original that you should not commence without such confirmation. I also noticed that you hardly made any changes. And the customer cancelled the translation management project. But it cancelled too late and I managed to squeeze out of it some modest payment to cover my costs, so I can accept your charge for this project.

However, for the assessments part, my records show that you assessed 59 samples, but that 6 of them were "no sample" and 19 of them were "Brazilian", meaning that you would not have actually read and assessed those samples, leaving only 34 samples remaining. I know the website is a bit slow, but at 90 words a sample I find 6 hours quite exorbitant. At some point I updated the instructions, so I do not know if you received those, but they stated that you can use the Back Space at a certain point to speed up navigation to the next translator, and that you can combine this translation project management work with some other work, while waiting for the pages to fully appear (since you remain logged in even with longer breaks). But even if you were staring at the computer waiting for the website to navigate, I still find 6 hours exorbitant. Your assessment charges are significantly higher than any other translator. Considering that nothing has yet come out of this tender for me and not sure it will, and the fact that this entire bid has turned out to be quite costly (the translation samples that I paid for and sent to the customer were much larger), I hope you will reconsider your charges for the assessment part.

Greetings!...It is so unfortunate that I was just able to read your mail today. I was out of the city for more than a month and had to stay in the provinces of the Philippines to do some developmental works. We had to stay on an island where there's only a generator for power supply and of course, no permanent telephone lines. Internet connections still belong to the community's dreams. I just don't know if the document to be test translated is still actual. There were already English translations at the site. I do hope that I would again be given the chance to show my abilities. I hope your good office could give me another chance. I would now be in the city for a longer time. I would then have the time to do some translations, if your good office permits. Here's hoping for your kind consideration.

what were you doing in the Phillippinnes? Sounds exciting. I actually look for employees there as external project managers and have found one good one so far. I also like to be involved in charitable works. Anyway, if you like, you can still submit the sample translation so that I can assess your quality and consider you for the next round of work, whenever it comes.

the money transfer arrived safely. Thank you for the very sensible decision to add up the different invoices. Let's hope the best for the Panasonic job.

that is one reason I tell people not to bother with invoices, because I have my own accounting system, where I can just choose your name and I see all that I owe you, and all that I've paid you. Fumbling around with a billion invoices would really slow me down. I'm also crossing my fingers with Panasonic, although they may not like how long it took me to deliver the samples. But at least I've tested a lot of people in different translation language combinations, and developed some experience with some of them, so I am better prepared when work does come in. For a long time I've been busy trying to improve my web rankings, and last I checked I'm at 9th for "translating resources" and 25th for "translating agency", the last of which is how Panasonic found me. It is a long and slow process, but I enjoy the work, and will hopefully be able to send you regular work at some point.

I am not sure whether I have the time to help you, but I can give you some short advices after viewing your attached documents. 1) While counting quality into consideration, the price of your service is competitive. The price of Chinese to other languages (except for English) in China is about 1/2 of yours, but the quality of their project management work translation is not encouraging. However, that's not enough. 2) Many Chinese vendors in the field of manufacturing have their own website, some in Chinese, some both in Chinese and very poor English. The prevailing very poor English versions in this field shows the majority of the leaders in this field do not speak English or speak bad English, or they can't stand the very bad English version on their web sites. Based on this situation, you can understand the owners of Chinese factories think in a way you may not expect, so it's a hard job to persuade them to change their mind and accept your service at your price. 3) You may need web site and documents in Chinese, price in RMB, office in China and Chinese-speaking staff if you want to start this uncertain venture of making business with them. 4) Your expected customers may speak Chinese, not English, with your representatives, and provide Chinese, not English, originals to you for possible deals.

thank you for your great tips and I will store them. So far I've collected about 1400 email address, so I will just send them an email and see what happens, I guess stopping after that for a while. I just wanted the letter and things to be as good as they can before I send out these emails.

The total number of words of my proofreading was 2426 x 0,02EUR = 48,52EUR plus taxes. I will wait for the moment that you consider apropiate to send to me your personal details in order to complete the bill. I will need the payment for the translation work for the next 2 months.

just updated your accounting. You do not need to charge taxes/VAT because my business is located outside Europe. Payment can be in several ways, details of which you should find below. I will try my best for timely payment, and feel free to remind me as the time approaches, but these translation samples for Panasonic were much larger than I expected when I first glanced at them, so this has turned out to be a very expensive exercise for me. I have not had much work for a long time, and this is probably the longest dryish spell I've ever had. Crossing my fingers with the Panasonic project, otherwise I'm constantly busy looking for customers elsewhere.

Currently there is a check that did not clear the bank: Check # 13326 for $265.99 dated 01/11/2006. We've made attempts for the last couple of years to take care of our financial obligation to you. My apologies for our failure. I would be more than happy to take care of this issue today or tomorrow.

We do not use Paypal. If you could complete the attached document we could send you a wire transfer. If you prefer a check please give me your mailing address. Thank you and best regards,

thank you for the response. I wrote about a month ago and did not get a response, so I was getting more frantic. When we used to cooperate I kept stating that receiving such cheques in Europe is not good, but the accounting department kept forgetting and sent them anyway. It simply takes too long to process them and they would expire before the funds could be released. Anyway, since then Ive opened up an account at Bank of America, so you can send a cheque there (they will process it for me), or a wire transfer. The details for both are below and you can decide which is the best for you. Since I have this new option for payment now, if you like, we can resume our cooperation. Ive found and tested a lot more translators since then and my markup is low. For example, I have quality translators between Dutch and English (both ways), for which I charge 0.08 USD per word.

after you proofread the second file, please give me your opinion overall of the project translation, if there is anything new to add to what you already sent me (and I saved). But this time you can give the report in Czech, and don't hold any reigns, because I would be forwarding it to Presto. To explain, I recently did a large translation for Presto from Czech into English. I used Transit, and they could not find any translator to work in a translation memory tool, since much of it was repeating text. It was horrible construction text, there were a lot of technical issues concerning manipulation of the program, it was a large project and rather rushed, then I had to control everything after export to Word, but overall I think I did a rather good job. But then they sent it to some typically snob Englishman who convinced them it was not of sufficient quality to send to the customer, and proceeded to make not so many changes to my translation, joining-certain words in his oh-so-important British way, Changing Titles to All Capitals, and other non-important work (hardly important for an extremely technical German translation document about the construction of a new drive- through Burger King "restaurant" in Germany), and then sent them a hefty bill of 11,000 Kc, from which they wanted to deduct 5,000 Kc from my end, because of the apparent shoddy quality of my translation. Well, you can imagine I blew up, and fortunately convinced them to pay me in full, preparing for them a Word file showing the exact changes, explaining the piddly unimportant nature of the changes, and explaining to them it should logically not be within their interest to lose a capable translator like myself, able to accomplish such technical text using such software, just because of the piddly changes by some British snob! And now I got this translation, none of my translators were available, I asked Presto if they had or generally used quality Czech translators, I was assured that they do, and now the tables have reversed so wonderfully that one could think that such justice would only be found in a movie! Yet I want to remain true to justice and not necessarily subject them to a discount, although I'm thinking about it, and hence, if the situation warrants it, you can prepare a firey letter for me to forward to Presto, or I will translate what you have already written in English. I have to say that I now consider Czech one of my weakest languages. But I'd rather not get too deeply into my disappointment about services in the Czech Republic in general, and the 14 years while living in Prague that I've had to suffer the aloof and smug service of waiters, and service staff in many stores. Anyway, guess I'll have to advertise and test a lot of people if I want to offer a regular service in this language. It is a bit appaulling how agencies can operate in that country, but perhaps they simply do not have much to work with.

so far it seems that this project is hardly as large as I hoped. It turns out I got the deadline wrong, which I almost never do, and it was all due today and not Wednesday. I even hoped they could extend the deadline a bit so that I could translate all of it. But the customer ended up farming out about half of it, so my profits will not be so great. But at least something to send you some payment, but we need to work out a means. I think I should be able to scrape around 50$ for you, not including transfer costs. I know, not much, but I'm trying. Would you like me to go ahead and send you that or wait till I can pay more at once? Do you remember what the ikobo costs are with such a transfer? I am given a report before pressing the Send button, so I can eventually find out that way, but if it will be more than a bank transfer (about 8$), I might consider that instead. Did you say there was some problem with bank transfers for you? Another potential problem is that intermediary banks sometimes charge something, meaning the amount would get deducted before getting to you. It is too bad you cannot accept Moneybookers. The Rumanian girl said they sent her a credit card which she can use at any machine. I wonder if it requires that she have a bank account in Rumania, or if it is independent of that, like ikobo. Oh, and I wanted to ask you about further project management work. The work you were already doing before. If some larger projects come in like this one, I can pay you for your time plus always pay a bit extra, to whittle away the debt every time. You would only be working when I have actual and larger projects. It's just too bad the banks have to charge so much for our honest work.

here are the files I've managed so far. All of them except 22 and 37 have been vetted.

I am gravely sorry, but Tom has let me down. Up until now he has had a spotless record, but he said he understimated the time required to punch in the numbers (I just asked him if I should OCR the documents for him). I told him this is no excuse and put a black mark next to his name. Nevertheless, he said he will have "problems" delivering


on time. But frankly, the two files he has left (18 and 20) are larger in kb than anything he has delivered so far, so I rather question he will deliver those two by the deadline. Perhaps he is through much of it already, but I just wanted to let you know the situation.

Jochen is fast, but he will not be able to start until later in the afternoon your time.

I'm very sorry about this, but I have always had good experience with Tom up to now.

here is the completed proofread, with a comment from the proofreader. I'm more confident of the quality now, and once again, sorry for the delay. What budget do you have for this? I am trying to talk the agency down in price, because of these quality problems, and I will be rather pensive to use them again. I think my lower quality translators, who I did not approach, could handle this sort of quality. Anyway, a lot of Czechs have responded and I will begin to test them (and still post more ads), so hopefully I will be better prepared next time. Concerning payment, were we talking about some other form than PayPal last time? I think I had to pay fairly high costs. I have an account at the Bank of America in Seattle, to which you can send a cheque or a wire transfer. What do you think?

what I meant by "do" was OCR it for you. Please let me know if you want that, as I will not be able to do that once I leave this cafe. I do not translate from Dutch. After you finish 20, please start on 38, but inform me first so I can tell the customer. The other translator can start on 39 in the afternoon US time. Perhaps the customer will find someone to help with these two files as well, and some coordination will be required. We'll see how it works out.

one of the translators says punching in the numbers in the tables really slows him down. What is the policy with that? Do they need to be meticulously duplicated? Or perhaps the translator could take a screen shot of the tables and graphics and paste them into the document, with the translation of the few words on the side or something? This would speed these things up I would guess. How does your customer generate these forms? If they print it out on paper and you scan that, I think it could speed things up if they instead send the electronic format.

This is not bad - 8 out of 10... it must be proofread, though...

Dear Jiri

> (40CZK - my charge)

okay, how about 100Kc total charge for your participation in this project, including the quick quality control check you did at the end? I always like to offer some minimum charge per project and don't feel anyone should do anything for free. It's all just business and part of the profit computation - nothing really out of my own pocket. For your information, things have changed a bit with me. Now the accounting is viewable online when you log into your account with me, although I do not always quickly update the online accounting when I do not have a lot of work. And I moved my company overseas, so I no longer need an invoice from you. Meaning you do not have to concern yourself with that anymore, you will be able to see the accounting and balance online, and I can pay you to a personal bank account or some other means, like

> Hello Karel, I will then take the three remaining files:

> DOC019
> DOC021
> DOC040

> that is, if they are still available.

> And have them ready by wednesday noon.

I have not received a response from you and therefore put a comment in the database that I should be wary of sending you any work. I guess next time it will have to be a longer term project, so I can test out your capacity and reliability, for I'd rather not depend on you when the deadline is tight. If you want to work with me, you need to learn to respond quickly to my emails and always pull through for me. Otherwise I cannot build a sustainable business on that type of service.

based on all the Dutch to English translations I've given you in the past, can you select a 100 word representative sample I can test translators in? Nothing too difficult but I just want to test the quality of their English. If a particular project will be more technical and complicated, I can test them separately while they translate. Also, can you login to your account with me through the Login link at and update your translator information? For your convenience your username is KX and your password k. Please clean up your language combination, put in your proper email addresses (I guess include the Yahoo one we used recently, as the Verizon one doesn't always seem so reliable) and any other info you deem necessary. No need to go overboard, but if you copy in something from your CV, I can use it occasionally to wow potential customers, instead of always asking you for it. Just curious, I sent out the original emails for the last job on Saturday, but you did not respond until Monday morning your time. I guess you weren't checking your emails over the weekend?

since I've moved on the road I've had very little work, so I've been busy looking for new customers. If you can spare any work for me it would be muchly appreciated. One of the ways I'm looking for work is to add a testimonial page on my website for some of the larger and more important projects I've done in the past, your 5 million word project for Dupont being the best one so far. I think if I didn't go with Transit I could have pulled that project off on time. Of 5 million words and the nature of the text, I assumed that much of the text would have been repetitious, and my intention of using the program was to speed things up and get it done faster (and unify the style and terminology used). But the company who sold me the software failed to warn me of the poor results from the bad scans, and it was my first time using the program. In hindsight, if I had used the program only on the better scanned text-only parts and farmed out in the usual process the tables and the poorly scanned text parts, it would have been a successful strategy. But one has to learn some way, and sorry that it was such a rush and that I made this mistake, or didn't have time to test things properly. But you said I ended up handling about 75% of the project, I accepted the 50% deduction, and considering I suffered an additional roughly 50% deduction due to the fall in value of the US dollar while I waited patiently about a year for you to pay me, I think I could deserve at least some recommendation. I am particularly interested in organising large projects like this. I have set up my system much better since then, and things should generally improve over time if I start to get work and have the opportunity to hire external project managers. For my testimonial website, if you like, I can put a link directly to your agency. One of my ways of looking for customers is search engine optimization, and so far I have managed to score in the top ten to twenty on google in such keywords as "translating agency", "translation agencies" and "translating resources" ( is also mine). I intend to continue working on this, so my improved rankings and the link to your agency should improve your rankings as well. But I will leave this point up to you, including the posting of your contact information. Another option is that I would reveal your contact information only to potential customers who specifically ask for this, so as not to post your email address and subject you to potentially more spam. If the customer contacts you it could also be an opportunity for a new customer for yourself. My main intention is to add some legitimacy to my website, and your project is only one of two large and prestigious projects I have accomplished so far. If you could mention Dupont it would add to the prestigious element, but I will leave it all up to you. Otherwise, over the years I think I have done good work for you. Although you might believe your staff that it is difficult to communicate with me, I disagree. My translators say Im one of the best project managers out there and that my communication skills are excellent, and I think the problem is that your staff occasionally does not understand the more difficult concepts I try to explain to them. Nevertheless, these should be only isolated incidents and I feel Ive served you well over the years.


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