A client phoned me at 4pm the other day (Tuesday 4 October) asking if I could translate 2800 words (12 “translation pages”) on The International Monetary System and Financial Stability: The implications for Latin America. For 8am the following day.
Another client asked me that same afternoon for a translation of 6170 words (4 pages). Apologising for the urgency, they told me they needed it “as soon as possible… Monday [10 October] would be great”.
I suppose urgent means different things to different people.
By Marian Dougan
Published by Marian Dougan
Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster.
From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group.
She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options.
Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland.
She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.
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One of my favorite sayings is “Your lack of planning is not my emergency.” I relate this to countless experiences of panicked emails from students who are frantic about how they are going to finish their papers because their printers broke, they lost their folder, the internet is down and they can’t find the guide…yadda yadda. I give my students ample time and resources, and if they can choose to write the paper at the last minute, I can choose to not drop everything to spend time giving them the instructions or feedback again. I’m super happy to have a boss who also includes the above saying as one of his favorites 🙂
I’m last-minute and deadline-driven by nature and have to discipline myself to be professional about delivery times. So I have some sympathy with your students. But I do agree — it’s their problem, and one that they need to get to grips with, not least for their future careers.
I didn’t realise you taught, by the way. Which subject?
I have sympathy as well, being a life-long last-minute kind of a girl myself (as evidenced by how long it took to reply to your question! 😉 ). And I’ve asked for the extension or two, but if it was refused, I just dealt with it and didn’t expect them to bend over backwards to accommodate me. I always try to be fair and give them opportunities to do something, anything but I don’t accept anything if they just saunter in and expect me to just suddenly break all of my policies just because their internet went down (well, allegedly anyway…)
I taught ESL for many years, and now I am teaching writing and English literature at a community college.
I’ve just committed the sin that I try to correct my students of: unclear pronoun reference! I’ve asked professors for extensions…I try to be fair and give students opportunities…
Yup, I’m an English teacher! 🙂
Urgency is never the problem of the recipient of the task. However, and provided the task is doable within the urgent time frame set, there is an opportunity to escalate the price significantly. Generally when the price increases, urgency decreases or the problem is taken away!
The other thing is Rowland’s Law of Inversely Shortening Deadlines-
Chief Exec to Sec -‘Tell, Jack I need this for the end of Nov’
Sec. to Jack (playing cautious) ‘He needs it for the third week in Nov’
Minion level 37 to RJ (i.e.me!) ‘…. we’re already behind on this, so I need it this afternoon.’
So what do we do?
Reply ‘No problem’ whilst typing e-mail to cancel-
a) front row seat at New York Met
b) Flight to Monte Carlo for romantic weekend
c) your 30/40/50/60th birthday party
d) your own funeral
Reply ‘How does the end of November sound’
Which route you take depends on
1. The security of your Client relationship
2. The importance of above
3. The size of your bank balance/overdraft
it’s tricky stuff . . ..
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