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Clients from Hell

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I have been working as a freelance transcriber and translator for eight years. I have my own...

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I have been working as a freelance transcriber and translator for eight years. I have my own client base which supplies me with a steady stream of work, so I don’t usually take on new clients. Nevertheless, a small firm contacted me through my website for a transcription job when I had a bit of an opening between contracts, so I took them on.  

Client: We need this interview transcribed.

He sends me a wma file in possibly the worst quality I have ever seen. It looked like it was filmed with a calculator. It was over 20 minutes of 240p footage of two guys essentially yelling at each other in a heavy dialect.

I’m very hesitant to take the job at this point but quote them my rate anyways.

Client: That is a lot of money. Can you do it by the end of the month?

Me: Yes, that shouldn’t be a problem.

We set up a contract and I went to work. It is, to this day, the worst job I have ever had - the screaming match was barely intelligible and there were some very obvious cuts in the footage where things had been cut out mid-sentence. I delivered my transcript of it three days before the deadline.

Client: What is this? Half of this doesn’t make sense. And why is it in Russian?

Me: Because the conversation was in Russian. You asked me for a transcription – that’s what I gave you.

Client: Oh, I think there must have been a misunderstanding. We want you to transcribe it into English.

Me: You didn’t mention this before. You mean you want me to transcribe it, and then translate it into English?

Client: Yes, I’m glad you understand. Now, can you translate it?

Me: Sure. Here is my rate for translation.

Client: Oh no, you will do it for free because you misunderstood.

Me: No, I’m sorry, that’s not how this works. You want two services here: transcription. You have to pay me for both.

The client then started to scream at me and cuss me out. To this day I get threatening emails from then every now and then, telling me how unprofessional I am.

I’ve been sticking to my client base since then.

Source: Clients from Hell

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