Should I charge for a training programme that a prospective client wants me to attend?
Thread poster: Balasubramaniam L.

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 18:15
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Mar 9, 2006

A potential client has asked to me to attend a training which he thinks would be useful for the type of work he wants me to take up for him. It has nothing to do with techniques of translations, but is more in the nature of an orientation to a special internet-based system he wants translators to use.

The question is, I am based in Ahmedabad, and the training is in Mumbai, some 500 km away. The client is not paying for the travel expense.

To attend this training, I would have to set aside at least three days of my time, and I would forego any translation earning that I could make in these three days.

Under these circumstances, should I charge for attending the training?

If you were in my shoes, would you attend the training, or forget it?

[Edited at 2006-03-09 15:25]


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Ingo Dierkschnieder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:45
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Charge the client Mar 9, 2006

I would definitely charge the client the equivalent of three days earnings from translation work or even a bit more, especially as he doesn't pay any travel expenses although he knows that you will have to travel quite a distance and pay for accommodation as well.
As regards attending the training or not, ask your client if it is certain that you will get some translation work out of it that will at least pay for travel or accommodation costs. If not, forget about it. It surely always pays to learn new skills but not if you will not make any use of them later on and also earn some money due to your new skills.
If your client pays the charge for three days lost that you could have earned some money and can guarantee you that this will result in some translation work (which I doubt he will and can), it's still your decision if you are going or not, if it's worth the hassle or not.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:45
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not without pay Mar 9, 2006

I don't think it is reasonable to expect you to attend this course unless you are paid for your time and travel expenses. You say this is a 'potential' client, so there is not even a guarantee that substantial work will be forthcoming. I would let the client know that you are quite willing to make the effort but not at your own expense.

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Rebecca Lowery  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:45
French to English
At least ask for travel expenses Mar 9, 2006

I had a similar request from a client (but they were an existing client) asking me to travel to London for a training day. I didn't get paid for the actual training day (only 1 day though!) but all expenses were refunded.
Personally I'd be a bit dubious about your prospective client's offer as there is no guarantee that you will get any work. At least if this client pays your expenses it's not costing you anything apart from loss of potential earnings - but then there has to be a bit of give and take from both parties.


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Lakshmi Iyer  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:45
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree with Rebecca Lowery: Mar 9, 2006

I'd ask them to pay at least the travel expenses, especially if this is a system only this particular client uses. Telling them you're willing to forgo the income you might otherwise have earned in those three days is a gesture of goodwill that could work in your favour if they do have upcoming jobs for you. If they're a truly professional set-up they should have no problem agreeing to do their share by paying for your trip.

Regards,

Kaveri

[Edited at 2006-03-09 16:28]


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:45
Member
English to French
Offer an alternative Mar 9, 2006

Hi Bala,

I would by no means lose 3 days of work + expenses to comply with a prospective client's training requirements.
To show your good will, you could suggest an alternative, such as asking them to provide you with training support materials and committing to study them, or to stream the session on the Internet if they have the facilities.

I received a similar request from an incumbent customer (it was required by a customer of my customer in fact) a while ago. I had to use all my negociating skills to have them accept to pay the expenses, which included a plane ticket overseas and 4 nights in a hotel in Paris! I didn't ask a fee for lost working days as my laptop was loaded with pending work and the meeting was "only" 1 day long. To cut a long story short, in the end I was no longer requested to attend the meeting...

If they really need you, they should be prepared to invest in you a bit, that is at least refund all your expenses. If not, then I would just turn down the offer if I were you. They didn't ask you to pay for the training, so they can probably make further efforts!

Good luck,
Philippe


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KathyT  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:45
Japanese to English
Another alternative Mar 10, 2006

I would definitely ask the client to at least fund your travel expenses.
As others have mentioned, it doesn't sound like there is any gurantee of future work, so you it seems unreasonable that you should have to finance your own transport / accommodation in addition to losing 3 days worth of potential income.

That said, you will possibly be acquiring new, specialized knowledge and/or skills that may pay off several times over in the future, whether with this client or possibly others.

If the client seems unwilling to pay your expenses, perhaps you could make the whole idea seem more attractive to them by, at your discretion, offering to subtract some portion (part or even all of these costs, perhaps 50:50?) on a pro-rata basis in the form of discounts on future work. For example, 10% off each of the next 5 (or 10?) projects, or 5% per x'000 words, etc. until the agreed balance is nil. (These percentages relate to the travel expenses, not a flat 10%, etc. off whatever amount you are invoicing, of course!)

In this way, the client foots the bill up front, but you also get some form of committment from them with regard to future work.
Also, depending on the training content, this kind of outlay *in some cases* may be equated to purchasing a CAT tool, or subtitling equipment, etc. It's an [i]investment[i] that returns its worth soon enough.

HTH a little....


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 18:15
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much Mar 10, 2006

I am glad I raised this question here. You have given me some wonderful suggestions. It has made it very easy for me to take a decision. I see it clearly now. I will write to the client to the effect that while I am not against attending a training, I would wait till a sufficient amount of work is generated between us to justify such a large investment on my part. I will also put forward the suggestion of adjusting a part of the investment against future payment, so that a vested interest is created in the client to give me sufficient amount of work in future.

In the meantime, I will ask him to send me any available manuals or training material on the new system and offer to do any online training that may be available.

Thank you all once again.


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