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What do you charge for a booking?
Thread poster: Oriol Vives

Oriol Vives  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:08
Member (2009)
English to Catalan
+ ...
Sep 9

I am experiencing this issue right now:

1. Agency 1 books me for a very specific timeline (for example, Fri the 11th from 10 AM to 12 AM) because they will receive a very urgent assignment and they need me at that time.

2. Agency 2, 3 and 4 offer me a similar deal, to which I reply "no" since I am already booked.

Now Agency 1 canceled the order, for which I am claiming a minimum compensation since I had to decline other job's offers for this b
... See more
I am experiencing this issue right now:

1. Agency 1 books me for a very specific timeline (for example, Fri the 11th from 10 AM to 12 AM) because they will receive a very urgent assignment and they need me at that time.

2. Agency 2, 3 and 4 offer me a similar deal, to which I reply "no" since I am already booked.

Now Agency 1 canceled the order, for which I am claiming a minimum compensation since I had to decline other job's offers for this booking. They have not answered yet, but I can see the conflict coming up.

What do you do with these situations? How would you approach them?



[Edited at 2020-09-09 12:31 GMT]
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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:08
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Oriol Sep 9

Did they cancel on the spot or several days before? How long was the translation?

writeaway
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Oriol Vives  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:08
Member (2009)
English to Catalan
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Teresa Sep 9

Teresa Borges wrote:

Did they cancel on the spot or several days before? How long was the translation?


I don't see how this is relevant. Care to explain why do you think these questions are important after making my case? Thanks!


 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
And...... Sep 9

Teresa Borges wrote:

Did they cancel on the spot or several days before? How long was the translation?


What do you mean by 'similar deal'
Sounds a bit like they were all going for the same job and the agency that booked you didn't get it. Simple as that.
And Teresa's questions are relevant imo.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:08
Member
English to French
What I do Sep 9

Of course, I never book anything for unknown agencies without job confirmation (PO) and project files, and "urgent" assignments even less. In my rule book, only trusted agencies with whom I've had a healthy and long-standing relationship are entitled to book time slots.

1. I contact Agencies 2, 3 and 4 that my plans have changed and that I am now available. Some find this attitude "unprofessional", while I don't.

Depending on the outcome of 1. and how I see life:
... See more
Of course, I never book anything for unknown agencies without job confirmation (PO) and project files, and "urgent" assignments even less. In my rule book, only trusted agencies with whom I've had a healthy and long-standing relationship are entitled to book time slots.

1. I contact Agencies 2, 3 and 4 that my plans have changed and that I am now available. Some find this attitude "unprofessional", while I don't.

Depending on the outcome of 1. and how I see life:
2. I express my discomfort and my loss to Agency 1, in such a way that it really hits home.
3. I spend these 2 free hours doing something I like. Which can be a lie-in.

An opportunity loss of 2 hours (if without any foreseeable consequences) is not something I feel is worthwhile enough to enter into a full-on octagon fight with biting allowed.

I am also booked in advance sometimes with incumbent agency clients, without PO or project files. I also always let them know that I don't do firm bookings without firm orders, and that firm orders take precedence over all non-firm bookings. If ever conflicts arise, I make sure to notify the first booking and make a decision from their reply: trust Agency 1 that their project will materialise, or take the new firm order.

If both offers are not firm bookings, I have the same reply as the first booking. Nothing definite without firm order.

In a nutshell: I leave risks contracted by agencies to agencies. Taking their risk on board is a paid service, that's what insurance companies do.

Philippe
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Oriol Vives  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:08
Member (2009)
English to Catalan
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's so evasive Sep 9

writeaway wrote:

Teresa Borges wrote:

Did they cancel on the spot or several days before? How long was the translation?


What do you mean by 'similar deal'
Sounds a bit like they were all going for the same job and the agency that booked you didn't get it. Simple as that.
And Teresa's questions are relevant imo.


But you don't know that. You're just guessing.

Anyway, it's still irrelevant to my original claim, so that wasn't much helpful for the translators, was it?


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:08
Member
English to French
No need to be defiant Sep 9

Oriol Vives wrote:
...But you don't know that. You're just guessing.

Anyway, it's still irrelevant to my original claim, so that wasn't much helpful for the translators, was it?

If they ask questions, it may also be because they want more details in order to reply more precisely to YOUR request. There are many ways to handle such a situation, depending on many factors.


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Oriol Vives  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:08
Member (2009)
English to Catalan
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That makes more sense Sep 9

Philippe Etienne wrote:

Of course, I never book anything for unknown agencies without job confirmation (PO) and project files, and "urgent" assignments even less. In my rule book, only trusted agencies with whom I've had a healthy and long-standing relationship are entitled to book time slots.

1. I contact Agencies 2, 3 and 4 that my plans have changed and that I am now available. Some find this attitude "unprofessional", while I don't.

Depending on the outcome of 1. and how I see life:
2. I express my discomfort and my loss to Agency 1, in such a way that it really hits home.
3. I spend these 2 free hours doing something I like. Which can be a lie-in.

An opportunity loss of 2 hours (if without any foreseeable consequences) is not something I feel is worthwhile enough to enter into a full-on octagon fight with biting allowed.

I am also booked in advance sometimes with incumbent agency clients, without PO or project files. I also always let them know that I don't do firm bookings without firm orders, and that firm orders take precedence over all non-firm bookings. If ever conflicts arise, I make sure to notify the first booking and make a decision from their reply: trust Agency 1 that their project will materialise, or take the new firm order.

If both offers are not firm bookings, I have the same reply as the first booking. Nothing definite without firm order.

In a nutshell: I leave risks contracted by agencies to agencies. Taking their risk on board is a paid service, that's what insurance companies do.

Philippe


Thank you for your comments, I appreciate them. Needless to say, all agencies are regular clients -meaning they are not "new contacts", so we know each other, we have been working for years together, and hence I find the need to set ground rules in case this becomes the new way to handle jobs.

Obviously, I have performed your points 1. (but the jobs were no longer available, as you can imagine) and 2. (I am still waiting for an answer). I don't think flying companies or hotels, for that matter, refund their cancellations, do they? Maybe this was what Teresa meant, that we should go for the full length of the project?

I think the best way would be to do the booking from the start with a minimum cost (or a full cost; what do you think?) to cover "unknown inconveniences and unexpected cancelations", in a way we make sure that in such event we got some coverage.


 

Oriol Vives  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:08
Member (2009)
English to Catalan
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You misunderstood. Sep 9

Philippe Etienne wrote:

Oriol Vives wrote:
...But you don't know that. You're just guessing.

Anyway, it's still irrelevant to my original claim, so that wasn't much helpful for the translators, was it?

If they ask questions, it may also be because they want more details in order to reply more precisely to YOUR request. There are many ways to handle such a situation, depending on many factors.


I wasn't being defiant. I said I didn't understand the relevance of the questions posted, but I never got an answer. That's not being defiant; don't be confused.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Too late Sep 9

You need to tell them when they make the booking that they will have to pay you for your time even if the job doesn’t materialise.

At which point they may well decide to use someone else. Few agencies are willing to work like that in my experience. Direct clients are, but not agencies. They’re too used to translators bending over backwards to please no matter how unreasonably they are treated.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You could always try Sep 9

Oriol Vives wrote:
I think the best way would be to do the booking from the start with a minimum cost (or a full cost; what do you think?) to cover "unknown inconveniences and unexpected cancelations", in a way we make sure that in such event we got some coverage.

You could see how that goes down with your clients. I dare say I'd go that way if I was busy enough (in Covid times? ), the length of time was long enough (1 day minimum), and the cancellation was late enough (same day). I used to have a cancellation clause when I was teaching English to businesses, but even then I'd allow students to cancel the day before, unless they started to make a habit of it. I think we have to accept that B2B transactions must include an element of flexibility.

If we're talking of this Friday, I wouldn't expect a client to pay for cancelling Wednesday morning. It's only two hours and you have two days left to fill them, or do some admin, or take Philippe's good suggestion of some downtime. Alternatively, in the past, I've worked on books with very relaxed deadlines that were perfect for just such an eventuality. They paid less than my usual rate, but less is always better than zero.


Oriol Vives
Teresa Borges
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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:08
Member (2004)
English to Italian
cancellation fee Sep 9

you did inform them of your cancellation fee before confirming the booking?

[Edited at 2020-09-09 11:14 GMT]


Teresa Borges
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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:08
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Oriol Sep 9

What can I say if you don’t understand the difference between a job cancelled on the spot and a few days before? Anyway, I have never been in your position as my long-standing customers only book me for longish projects. Very occasionally these have suffered small delays but I’ve been informed in due time. I must say that I hate urgent assignments and I avoid them as much as I can.

 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:08
Member (2004)
English to Italian
I agee with this... Sep 9

Chris S wrote:

You need to tell them when they make the booking that they will have to pay you for your time even if the job doesn’t materialise.

At which point they may well decide to use someone else. Few agencies are willing to work like that in my experience. Direct clients are, but not agencies. They’re too used to translators bending over backwards to please no matter how unreasonably they are treated.



The obvious and professional thing to do is to have some kind of cancellation fee... in my experience, agencies will find an alternative if informed of such a clause. Because, as Chris says, some colleagues just accept anything...


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 15:08
German to Swedish
+ ...
Try and see Sep 9

Oriol Vives wrote:

I am experiencing this issue right now:

1. Agency 1 books me for a very specific timeline (for example, Fri the 11th from 10 AM to 12 AM) because they will receive a very urgent assignment and they need me at that time.

2. Agency 2, 3 and 4 offer me a similar deal, to which I reply "no" since I am already booked.

Now Agency 1 canceled the order, for which I am claiming a minimum compensation since I had to decline other job's offers for this booking. They have not answered yet, but I can see the conflict coming up.

What do you do with these situations? How would you approach them?



This must be worked out before accepting the booking.

You could do this once "on spec" and see what comes out of it. If the agency doesn't have a reasonable attitude to compensating you for the time you've spent not making any money, then you won't be available for bookings.

I would not do bookings for new customers, definitely not for more than a day or so. It takes a bit of trust and experience of how the other party will generally behave.

But bookings are a risk, and you won't be paid in full just for standing by. If the job is cancelled you will lose some money if you could have taken on other work. So even if you do get your minimum compensation, there's a limit to how much of that you'll take.


Teresa Borges
 
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