Translation agencies usually focus on meeting objectives. When an agency needs a translation, there are certain factors (objectives) that must be met. The type of text, language (or languages) to translate, the layout of the text to reproduce, and so on. All of these objectives are factors that give life to a translation that, once achieved, gives life to a professional end product of the highest quality. However, the more important goal has not been met yet. This most important objective is the determining factor in whether a client accepts a job or not: the deadline. This refers to delivering the project on time stipulated in advance by the customer and agreed by the agency.
While in some cases the terms can be negotiated so that the delivery date can be extended if the translation requires additional work, the general rule says that the “deadline” is usually set in stone. Normally, customer requirements are high, and varied. For example, a translation of a manual may be urgent because the client needs the text before the release of a product. In such cases, the deadline must be respected at all costs. There are other cases where the customer is not at all pressed for time, and it makes little difference if a translation is delivered in a week or in ten or twelve days (although such cases are rare, they can be common with certain clients or certain situations).
Respecting a deadline is essential for consolidating the image of a translation agency as a serious company. Resources that work for this agency (translators, editors, proofreaders, designers) should be aware of this rule and consider it a fundamental axiom. In a translation agency, everyone collaborates with this goal on their mind. Whether from managers and project leaders who are planning a translation to the resources that must assume the responsibilities and meet deadlines. There is no deadline that is set unilaterally. A Project Manager cannot decide the deadline on his or her own if the customer is pressed for time; along the same lines, a translator or editor cannot take liberties with the deadline simply because a translation has some drawbacks.
The deadline, then, is not determined by a single person, but is determined in close consultation by respecting a set of guidelines, requirements and directions that come from both sides. This guideline is so important that no matter how well a text is translated, if it is delivered two days later than requested by the client, the job may be rejected. This does not mean that quality is not important. Quite the contrary: the premise is to deliver quality work on time. Instead, the ideal medium is clear and timely communication between agency and client to address any issues that may affect the agreed deadline.