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Letter of reference
Thread poster: JennyC08

Local time: 09:23
German to French
+ ...
Feb 25, 2005

I am pretty new on the market as freelance translator and I was wondering, if I can ask to my best clients a letter of reference for the translation I made.
I know this is quite common here in North-America to ask for a such a letter, but I don't know about the freelance jobs...

Thanks to all!


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:23
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Why not? Feb 26, 2005

Hi Caroline

I think that your clients will understand your reasons (if you tell them that you need references because you're new).
It's not sure that they will all answer and write something, but there's nothing wrong in asking.

It happened to me, when I had been translating for six months, that I needed to build a whole file for an agency and I wrote back to all those for whom I had worked explaining why I needed their recommendations and I had very positive feedback.

Good luck


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Local time: 09:23
German to French
+ ...
Thanks! Feb 26, 2005

Hi Claudia,

Thank you very much for your advice.
I think I am going to ask some of my clients if they can write a letter for me.
I am now reassured!



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Jennifer Brinckmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:23
English to Spanish
Getting testimonials is important Feb 26, 2005

Hi Caroline,

When you are employed you call it letters of reference, when in business (as we freelancers) you call it "testimonials". But it basically boils down to the same.

The only way to get those testimonials is by asking for them. But don't just send them one open question were the customer can answer: "Your service is great". That won't do. It actually would hurt your business.

Make it easy for the customer to give you a testimonial.

After providing a service, give the customer an evaluation form to fill out.

Evaluation forms are wonderful... if your translation service is good, then evaluations are a real balm for the ego.

You will need to be specific when asking.

For example, in a copywriting evaluation form I would put in questions like these:
1) Please rank in order of importance WHY you used my professional copywriting services:
_____I don't have time to write advertising,
_____You make my job easy by doing all of the writing for me
_____I heard you were the very best, and I wanted only the best for this mailing
_____Other. Please specify: ____________________________________

You get the picture?

Later on in the evaluation you want to include this question for your customer to answer.

8) In question #1 you ranked the main reasons why you took advantage of my services. Please explain how I "delivered" on these benefits.

Then you leave a big blank space for them to tell you how great your are concerning each specific benefit.

On the evaluation you should always end with a question along the lines of this:

10) IMPORTANT: Please summarize your feelings about my 100% guaranteed copywriting services and give any additional comments, suggestions, or praise:

Then you leave another large blank space for them to write in their comments. This will sometimes be left blank. But more often than not, if you approach this correctly, This Is Where You'll Get Your Really Strong Testimonials. This Is Where Your
Customer Will Sing Your Praises!

After that question, have a place for them to sign the evaluation, and after they sign it, have two little tick boxes with a yes or no response along side them and ask "May I quote you?"

That's all there is to it, and if they check "yes", you can quote all day!

[Partial extract from "AdMagic" by Brian Keith Voiles]

I hopes this helps you!

Jennifer Brinckmann

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Local time: 09:23
German to French
+ ...
Great! Feb 26, 2005

Many thanks for your answer.
Guess I have to think about it a little bit more to create the form.

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United States
Local time: 09:23
French to English
You can always ask Mar 3, 2005

I have asked for references, most gladly agree to provide a reference should anyone call - meaning I can give out their name and number - but getting a letter sometimes is harder, for some reason people are not as enthusiastic to do it, no matter what field or purpose, I have found. But I've gotten a couple, so I've been there, too, in your position where I had to ask. I probably will ask again, when I know a client is very happy with me, and hang onto the letter for future reference, if needed.

Funny little story: about 7 years ago, I translated a website for a new "start up" company based in Geneva, and when I asked if the owner would be willing to provide me with a reference for the work I had done, he simply responded with two sentences in an email, stating that I had translated their site and it was quality work, and I guess he thought that would serve as my reference - when, of course, what I was really asking was whether or not I could use his name on an application to a translation agency. I thought his version of acting as a reference was cute, though.;)

Anyway, good luck to you.:)

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Local time: 09:23
German to French
+ ...
Thanks Mar 3, 2005

Thanks Gad for your answer.
For the moment, people tend to say yes to put their name in a file.
I haven't asked for the letter yet...
Wish me luck!

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