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References to clients on website
Thread poster: Silvy Codde

Silvy Codde  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:57
Member (2004)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Apr 23, 2004

Hi everyone,

I have noticed that some translators (and agencies) display a list of previous clients (only the names) on their website, as proof of their experience. I would like to do this too, but I wonder if I should have their permission to use their names? And what if I did some work for a particular company through a translation agency?

Does anyone have some experience with this?

Thanks & have a nice day
Silvy.


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:57
German to English
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Be careful Apr 23, 2004

The short answer is:

Yes, you should ask the client's permission, and NO, you can't use the name of a client you worked for through an agency. You can only use the agency's name IF you have their permission.

Trudy


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 16:57
German
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Etiquette Apr 23, 2004

I'd say it's good style to ask for permission first. I know some companies, like Rolls-Royce for instance, which explicitly forbid their suppliers from putting them on reference lists unless they agree to that (in writing!)
Also, you should be aware that there are some mean persons out there who like to find clients by looking at other translators' reference lists.


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Joeri Van Liefferinge  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 16:57
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Be careful Apr 23, 2004

I ask my clients permission to mention their names on my website.

I consider it lying if you mention names of companies you have worked for through an agency, because the real client for you is the agency, not the agency's client. Moreover, what would you do if you mentioned a company that is not a direct client and another potential client asked you for a person at that company he can contact to ask for a reference about your work...? Or if someone from the agency was to visit your website and noticed that you take credit for their clients? I don't think they'd be happy...

FWIW

Joeri


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:57
German to English
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References to clients on website Apr 23, 2004

It may or may not be illegal to say "I have sold my services to Company XYZ", but I think it's good business practice to respect a certain level of customer confidentiality. My favourite Chinese restaurant doesn't display a sign saying "Marc Prior eats here - usually chicken in peanut sauce", or my dentist "We filled Marc Prior's cavities", or my regular supermarket "Marc Prior stocks up on Mars bars(TM) here".

It's good customer relations to ask. Better still is to negotiate for your name to appear beneath your translation on any publication, whether printed or electronic. Then you can refer to it without question.

Marc


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:57
German to English
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References to clients on website Apr 23, 2004

Tayfun Torunoglu wrote:

So if you give Caterpillar, IBM, Microsoft or other famous names, you do not mean or you not need to show they are YOUR CLIENTS.


If you are not saying that these companies are your clients, what is the point of mentioning them by name? Why not simply say "Among my customers are blue-chip multinationals in the IT sector", for instance? You can also offer to provide names upon request, which I think is much more acceptable.

There is no point saying "I have translated an IBM manual, but not for IBM". Anyone can obtain an IBM manual and translate it for fun, if they want to - it doesn't prove anything.

A better solution is to translate the latest version of the OmegaT manual. Then I will post both your translation, and your name alongside that of your illustrious colleagues, on the OmegaT web site at www.omegat.org/omegat/omegat.html. Get your free advertising now!

Marc


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:57
German to English
Direct clients only Apr 23, 2004

Silvy,

To keep it short: it's extremely bad business practice to claim clients that are not your own, so if you get work through a third party, their client is not your client. Untruthful claims are bad news all round, and particularly for the person making them.

Similarly, always get your direct clients' permission to name them. In most cases, if you ask politely, they'll not only give you the OK, you may even get a favourable quote that you can then post on your website - and at the same time you'll reinforce your client relationship.

Robin


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:57
German to English
Mr. Eichel's website Apr 23, 2004

Marc,

Dunno about you, but a certain Mr. Eichel seems to do a lot of work for me. At last count, he certainly took over 40% of my gross income, though I don't seem to have received very much at all in return. I think it would be an excellent idea if Mr. Eichel would name me and all the other people who pay him on his organisation's website.

Robin


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 16:57
Member
English to Dutch
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Mr. Hans Eichel Apr 23, 2004

RobinB wrote:

Marc,

Dunno about you, but a certain Mr. Eichel seems to do a lot of work for me. At last count, he certainly took over 40% of my gross income, though I don't seem to have received very much at all in return. I think it would be an excellent idea if Mr. Eichel would name me and all the other people who pay him on his organisation's website.

Robin


is Germany's Minister of Finance, for those of you who didn't get the message straight.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 10:57
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
It took me a Google click to find him Apr 23, 2004

Evert DELOOF-SYS wrote:
is Germany's Minister of Finance, for those of you who didn't get the message straight.



but it all makes sense now...;-)
N.


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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:57
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
What one should do, and what one should never do Apr 23, 2004

It would be nice if, for once, we could manage to come to a clear conclusion on this subject.

In my opinion there are various different cases:

- If one signs a non disclosure agreement, he should strictly follow the stipulated agreement.
- The same applies in case of a verbal NDA
- As a matter of good practice, one should always refrain from disclosing or discussing in public the content of translated documents, unless they are public or available to the public.
- One should never pretend to have worked for a client he did not worked for, even if he translated a text originated by that Company.

BUT

- If one has been employed by a Company he should mention it in his CV.
- If one has translated a book for a publisher, he should mention it, whether his names appears on it or not.
- If one has translated a particular piece of information which is public, he can mention it and sometimes even quote it.
- If one has translated a private piece of information, he can make a broad reference to it.
- If one wants to make a specific reference to a specific piece of info, he should make sure that its owner does not object to it - if possible.

AFAIK all this remains obvious and true whether there are third parties (agencies) involved or not. Please correct me if I am wrong. In particular, if I am wrong, please make reference to your sources: laws, written rules, industry rules... and tell us where we can retrace them.


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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:57
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
Put in perspective Apr 23, 2004

MarcPrior wrote:
My favourite Chinese restaurant doesn't display a sign saying "Marc Prior eats


May be you are not famous enough, yet...?

I mean: contless restaurants show photos of famous people eating there, and nobody objects... Just think about all the music clubs!


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Henk Peelen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:57
Member (2002)
German to Dutch
+ ...
distinguish between clients and end clients Apr 24, 2004

When I two years ago asked some agencies whether it would be right or wrong to mention the names of end clients on a CV or website, they told me it would be ridiculous to ask an end client permission (I didn't ask them what they would do in case they should want to mention the name of their clients). To their opinion it was very normal to mention the names of clients, unless agreed otherwise. So I put the heading "some of my (end) clients" above my list of (end) clients, to indicate that it's a mix of direct and indirect clients.

I think it's not necessary to ask a client for permission. Instead the (end) client should indicate if s/he shouldn't allow you to mention them.


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 17:57
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Sorry, Henk, Apr 24, 2004

Cannot agree with you here. For us even the client's we work for is nondisclosable information, except if we have received clients explicit permission to mention him.

Just an idea- the client may not want to advertise who made so good (or bad) translation for him, not to mention specific projects- client's competitors may become quite interested if you'd mention on your site "I just completed Broadhorn localization project for Bill..."

Uldis


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Refugio
Local time: 07:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
The point is not whether there is a middleman Apr 25, 2004

It is perfectly acceptable to list the names of both direct and indirect clients, not as references but for marketing context. This in no way breaches confidentiality of content, and is only for the purpose of showing the translator's level of expertise. A typical website heading (of a ProZ moderator) reads:

"This is an alphabetical list of some of our clients (direct or through other agents):"

The true client is the end client who uses your material, not the agent who hooks you up with that client and serves as a middleman. And I agree that it would be silly to bother a large indirect client with a request for permission to use their name. If they didn't want you to, they would so stipulate to the agency and it would be in your contract.


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