The Case of the Odd Client

Case #1 – Danny (real name, as far as I know)
Shame I didn't save the actual email, but the gist of it was, that there's some guy out there called Danny (maybe), who needs something translated. Plus a mobile phone number, which I wouldn't dream of calling without a bit more information. What's his surname? Where did he find or get my name and email address, what is it all about – looks like it didn't occur to him all these are details worth mentioning.

My initial reaction in such cases are to educate the guy; send him an email explaining that in order to help him I need more information. And that it's common courtesy to at least sign with your full name. But he got to me on a day when I was busy and tired. I just deleted the message. I hope that whoever ended up helping him also took the trouble to enlighten the guy about better ways of approaching a service provider, or any other person, for that matter.

Case #2 -- Ms. Biostory (obviously a name I made up, but the story is real)
Ms. Biostory was referred to me by a colleague. Her line of business is writing people's autobiographies. I don't think it's ghostwriting – I think people either give her their written or recorded memoirs, or else tell her their life stories, which she then transforms into a book. She wanted a price quote for translating one such manuscript from Hebrew into English. Since the manuscript was 60 units (15000 words) long, I estimated that in English it would come to at least 80 units, and gave a price quote for 85 units tops, to be on the safe side.

The email I received in response was one of the shortest and rudest I ever got, something along the lines of "You must be crazy! I got far lower quotes." My daughter said I could either ignore her email, or just shrug it off with a "take it or leave it" reply. Instead, I told her I found her reply impolite, and proceeded to explain my calculation, the main point being: if the other – far lower – quotes were a result of lower per-unit rates, that's fine with me; every translator is free to charge whatever he/she sees fit. But if the lower quotes were based on the Hebrew word-count, then the client will be in for a nasty surprise when the final word count of the English translator ends up being 20,000 or more. I find it hard to believe that any serious translator would choose to ignore the expansion of the translated text; it would be more honest to take the expansion into account, then charge a low per-word or per-unit fee in an attempt to beat the competition.
Be that as it may, I hope the end-client, i.e. the subject of the autobiography, is getting her money's worth.

On that happy note: Shana Tova to all!