An editing project workflow

In the previous post, I listed the usual workflow for translation projects. But what if you receive a quote for editing only?

First of all, let’s set a golden rule – NEVER accept a project without checking the files. EVER. Your client may promise you an “easy” project, and when the file comes, you’re stuck with a quantum physics discovery to translate (sorry about the example, but this is a subject that I just can’t grasp).

When something like this happens, you have all the right to say no, because this is not what you agreed. The problem is that you probably rejected other one or two projects that would conflict with this one, and you probably need the money to cover this loss.

Now, back to the editing request. You need to know what is the length and subject of the project. You also need to know if you should do a bilingual editing or just check the translation alone. These three items will give you a good idea of how long this project should take. The key is to know yourself – how many words can you usually edit in one hour? Once you have these numbers, everything gets easier.

But what if the translation has very poor quality? Well, first of all, SEE THE FILE FIRST. Don’t take chances by accepting a project that might have been translated by someone that is not a professional translator, or even by Google Translate. The problem here is that many times the agency needs to assign this step before the translation is completed. I worked as Project Manager in the past, and I understand the need to schedule everything before anything is actuallya ready. So, if this happens, let your client know that since you have no idea if quality is reasonable, the time you agreed may change, and so may the deadline.

Once or twice I had problems with taking editing projects without seeing the translation first (I know, I don’t follow my own advice!). I started reading the translation and saw that I would take twice as long as we first assumed, so I warned the client and requested a revised Purchase Order. That’s my agreement with this one client – if there are quality problems, the PO is revised to reflect that, and deadline is always flexible.

However, with another client that had a strict budget, I had to refuse. I have very few rules in my life and one of them is – I do charity only for those that are in need. If a company can’t add two hours for the work, I’ll not be held responsible for the entire quality of half of something.

Neither should you! You are a professional, so you should be paid for everything you do. What if you receive an editing project for 5h and it lasts 8h? Would you rather check everything but not be paid for the extra hours, or work for the 5h and leave the rest as it is?

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