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Informing lists of clients
Thread poster: Paul Dixon

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:02
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jan 20, 2007

I have just been contacted by a colleague who is setting up a kind of translation consultancy service on her website. For this, she has asked me to send a photo, a short summary of my life and achievements and (this is the problem) a list of clients and projects. However, I do not wish to let people know who my clients are, first and foremost because I do not want to lose business but also for respect for the clients and our business relationship.
If you were in my shoes, what would you do? Would you refuse altogether or would you inform only the minor clients?
Also, how can I refuse without making the person feel bad, as I have worked with her before?

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:02
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Do as you wish Jan 20, 2007

Nobody can force you to reveal you business relations. What you probably could do in such situations is send a list of your end-clients like big corporations for which you have previously translated material. But a would not reveal my direct clients or agencies.

I doubt this new venture of your colleague would have any advantage for you, so why bother at all?


[Bearbeitet am 2007-01-20 02:57]

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
Dutch to English
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Amigos, amigos. Negócios à parte Jan 20, 2007

Paul Dixon wrote:

If you were in my shoes, what would you do? Would you refuse altogether or would you inform only the minor clients?
Also, how can I refuse without making the person feel bad, as I have worked with her before?

Hi Paul,

Business is business, so neither if I were in your shoes - I'd simply tell her the truth.

There's no need to refuse altogether if you are otherwise interested.

You know this colleague and if you explain your reasons professionally and tactfully there is no reason for her to get offended. If you explain why, she may well agree it's a bad idea after all and change her overall strategy.

If you choose to only provide a list of minor clients, what happens if/when one of your more important clients happen to see the listing? What message is it giving them? They may think you don't deem them worthy of being included. You never know how they'll react.

In addition, if the clients you are willing to provide are really minor league players, what message is that giving out about you and your work?

Just call a spade a spade - it's better people know exactly where you stand. She'll probably (should) respect you for it, rather than feel bad/offended.


[Edited at 2007-01-20 04:14]

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Henrik Pipoyan  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:02
Member (2004)
English to Armenian
Hi Paul Jan 20, 2007

Like Heinrich said, I think you could list some major end-clients if you have translated for such agencies. For example if you have Microsoft, UNO or the United States Department of Defense on you list, this will hardly affect your business or your confidentiality obligations. As for projects, you could write something general, like seminar, report, etc., without going into details. But of course I wouldn’t list any translation agency there.

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Local time: 16:02
English to Spanish
Do it... Jan 21, 2007

I suggest you do it my way:

(My Clients)

Pretty attractive and shiny, isn't it?
Now, who are my business contacts? Ohh, that's confidential!

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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:02
Italian to English
If she is a professional Jan 21, 2007

then she should understand and respect the confidentiality of client-translator relationships. As Heinrich says, no-one can force you to reveal anything, and I think if you explain your misgivings politely I am sure she will understand.
Besides at the end of the day it is the quality of your work which counts - you could provide samples.
I was once asked by an agency to priovide the names of other agencies I worked for, supposedly to prove my quality as a translator, and I refused (politely of course!). I offered to send samples of my previous work, but told them I wasn't prepared to reveal the names of my clients as I considered this to be confidential information. I think it shows a professional attitude on your part. The agency had nothing to say after that

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