When is “Urgent”?

Need it for yesterday? Sure. Please join the queue.

Almost everyone wants their translation as soon as possible. Although never ideal, “urgent” is not necessarily an issue, but if you want us to be super nice and meet your deadline, you’ll need to be super nice and help us too.


Remember: no document, no definite quote. So send your document and tell us your exact deadline (Tuesday: is that 9 a.m. or 5 p.m.?) in your first email. Don’t wait for us to ask; it only increases the number of emails and takes more of your and our precious time. So let’s keep the exchange to a minimum, shall we? Tell us everything up front.

Expect to pay more

While we may be happy to accommodate your tight demand, the sacrifice of an evening or a leisurely lunch, and the stress of urgent deadlines are not free. Since we are busy enough with clients who pay our rate without time pressure, why would we put up with more stress for the same – let alone less – money? Now is not the time to haggle: your deadline, our rate.

No delays

If your document is not ready at the point of enquiry, be sure to send it when you said you would. Not only because we may not be available later, but because it also puts your credibility at stake: was the work really that urgent in the first place? How reliable are you? No one likes to be under unnecessary pressure, and bluffers / chaotic clients will not be granted priority again in future. It also goes without saying that if there is a genuine delay, you should notify us as soon as possible with a new deadline – and an apology goes a long way to keep us happy!

Additionally, need I say that, if your request is urgent and we reply within minutes, you should respond pretty quickly yourself? Unless we hear back from you promptly, we’ll assume you didn’t like our quote, and another client may come along in the meantime.

Be available

You send us the original copy and we send you the translation back later. In a nutshell, yes, that’s how it works. But what if we have a question and we get an unexpected out-of-office reply from you, saying you’ll be back tomorrow morning, just when the translation is due? I wouldn’t rely on telepathy, if I were you. Tell us beforehand who we should contact in your absence.

While translators strive to be as flexible as humanly possible, to fit all our clients in, we need to manage our workload and prioritise carefully. We can only do so if we know what to expect and when. Anything outside of our tightly planned schedule is a favour. So tell us when you need the work for and stick to the plan. Your appreciation of our efforts will make all the difference and will keep us working hard for you.

2 thoughts on “When is “Urgent”?

Add yours

  1. I have a client who often sends me a job telling me it’s urgent: usually a 1,000 word translation to be delivered in 5 days 😅. It’s my favorite client, for a number of reasons… Naturally, I don’t charge more in cases like this.

    Great article, Karine, you mentioned very important aspects.

    Liked by 1 person

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