This came in the other day on 23:30 Japan time. The company is located in New York and I would have to check the time difference:
"I have a potentially crazy question to ask you...would you be able to turn around 2 Japanese patent applications, one of 4597 words and the other of 2255 words, by 7:45AM tomorrow? More feasibly, would you be able to turn around at least the larger patent application by 7:45AM tomorrow?"
My first response:
Good morning (3 am!) from Japan
Thank you for your job offer, but ...
with all due respect - the requested due date is very unrealistic!
Having a short look showed approximately 23 + 12 pages of translation.
Together that would be 35 pages of PATENT SPECIFICATION, which is a lot more difficult than ordinary text.
In a few hours???
Maybe even asking for a discount rate?
I am not capable of working that fast (being busy with other work anyway).
I would like to meet the person who actually CAN do that.
Even if somebody says s/he CAN produce that much patent translation in such a short time ... I would not trust that person/translation.
Please ask ANYBODY working in ANY patent office about the feasibility, and more importantly the trustworthiness of the produced translation.
Sorry, but I cannot help you, even if I wanted to.
And my professional pride demands that I DO NOT accept work, when I cannot take responsibility for the results.
When the other party agreed, I added a little metaphor:
No problem and no harm done.
It is simply amazing how little the people who are asking for this kind of work actually KNOW about what is involved in translation -- or else CARE about it.
To put it in a little (distorted, sorry) perspective:
Let's say someone asks a construction firm to something like the Empire State Building - in two weeks with a budget of 8.75 USD.
I can see the exhilarated president of the construction company ...
And naturally everybody would agree that this absolutely normal ....
One of my grandfather's favorite sayings was“Use the right tool for the job”
―common-sense advice that applies to a wide range of situations.
Unfortunately, as Mark Twain observed, common sense isn't very common!