Making names of end clients public
Thread poster: Αlban SHPΑTΑ

Αlban SHPΑTΑ  Identity Verified
Member (2008)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Nov 6, 2008

Considering that it’s not a very smart move to publish a list with the names of translation agencies I work for, I was wondering if it would be ethically correct to publish the names of end clients then (companies and brands) on my page or website. I must point out these end clients are the ones I have translated projects for through the translation agencies.

Any suggestions or opinions...?

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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 11:46
English to Russian
+ ...
Get their permission first Nov 6, 2008

I have attended ATA business seminar in May, and this is what they told us: never, ever use the client's name without his permission.

This would be a good reason to contact you clients (and remind them about yourself!), and maybe even ask for a nice reference letter.

Good luck!

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:46
English to French
+ ...
Don't do it if not authorized by the client Nov 6, 2008

Even though your translation is used by the end client, you worked for your client, i.e., the agency. You have no dealings with the end client.

I agree that it doesn't help much to publish your clients' names (having worked with such and such agency doesn't have nearly as much impact as displaying names such as IBM, Kodak and Whirlpool). But you need to seek your client's permission to display their clients' names. The basic principle is that you shall not name people you haven't had dealings with (the end users of your translations).

What I've been doing is to help my agency clients impress their clients by going the extra mile, and in exchange for this, I ask to be allowed to display the end users' names and/or logos. This works well in some cases, because when the agency asks permission from their client, the client is so happy with the goods delivered that they respond immediately "Sure, go ahead. It's my pleasure!." However, some agencies are a bit shy and they'd rather not even ask for such a permission. So, don't be surprised if the answer is no.

Above all, make sure you only ask for end user references to publish if you can honestly say that you helped your client to help their client make a good impression and further their business activities. That is, if you are not entirely confident with your performance, don't ask for a reference. Only ask for it if you are proud of the goods you delivered.

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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 14:46
German to English
Direct clients only Nov 6, 2008

Ethically you can't suggest that end clients are your clients if you've done the work for an agency. You can, however describe the products/services offered by the end client, as long as you don't reveal information covered by a non-disclosure agreement.

For example, if you've translated the owner's manual for the Lamborghini Murciélago, you can state that you've translated material relating to "exotic Italian sports cars" even though your customer may be Cheapo translations dot com. To be honest, only your friends will be impressed by the name of the end client. Your potential customers want to know the types of documents you've translated and what your expertise is. The repair manual for a mass-market vehicle, for example, doesn't differ much from the manual for an exclusive luxury car.

Listing direct customers on your web site can also be tricky. Some companies have strict policies about this, and queries are often referred to the legal department; in other cases, you may not find someone who knows what the company policy is. On the other hand, small companies may look upon it as free advertising.

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