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Poll: What is the percentage of direct clients in your client base?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
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SITE STAFF
May 2, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What is the percentage of direct clients in your client base?".

This poll was originally submitted by Donglai Lou

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Hm... in number of customers or number of words? May 2, 2008



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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 02:54
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
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Good point, Tomás. May 2, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

Hm... in number of customers or number of words?


That could make a big difference, if one agency gives you 10,000 words per week and your five direct clients give you 500 words on occasion.

However, in my case, though I'll be forever grateful to the agency that gave me my start and taught me a lot about research and quality-control procedures, 95% of my work comes from direct clients, however you figure it.


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 02:54
English to Spanish
I answered based on number of words May 2, 2008

If it were in number of customers, I'd say it's 50/50.

In number of words, however, 80-85% comes from my direct clients.


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:54
Member (2007)
German to French
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Zero May 2, 2008



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Dusan Rabrenovic  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 08:54
Member (2008)
German to Slovenian
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A few direct clients.. rest through agencies May 2, 2008

Sadly most of my work comes through the dreaded chain of agencies, mostly outsorced through more than one step. Much like the Trados word count and the percentages, which were intended for the convenience of the translator, the service of the agencies now profits the outsorcing agencies more than it does the translators.

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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 02:54
Spanish to English
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It doesn't matter. May 2, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:
Hm... in number of customers or number of words?


Either way, it's 100% for me.

MediaMatrix


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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 02:54
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
A good agency can be a goldmine for the translator May 2, 2008

Dusan Rabrenovic wrote:

Sadly most of my work comes through the dreaded chain of agencies...



I read a lot of posts online where translators talk about how bad agencies are.

Sure, there are bad agencies and bad translators and bad experiences between both. However, I don't see this as a reason do condemn agencies as a whole. I for one would not like to spend my time drumming up new clients and the headaches of coordinating jobs.

With agencies, you may make less than you would with direct clients, but you know how much you are going to earn and that you will be earning your money through translating and not marketing.

Reed


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How much do you charge? May 2, 2008

What is more important to me is not the ratio.
"How much do you charge to direct client as oppose to your charge to agency who assigned the job to you?"

Do you charge the difference, namely agencies' overhead + profit, to your direct clients?

BTW, I am too lazy to market my skill to broader world in order to get jobs from direct clients. But I used to have few, and still do.
For this reason I acknowledge agency's reason of existence.


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Rocio Barrientos  Identity Verified
Bolivia
Local time: 02:54
Member
English to Spanish
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Direct clients May 2, 2008

Hello,

I usually get "direct clients" from the newspaper. I publish, on a daily basis, a small classified ad. Those clients many times are kind enough to give good references to others, and I get calls from new clients, it is kind of a "cycle".

I am wondering if some of you use this kind of strategy.

Greetings!

Rocío


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:54
English to Spanish
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Direct May 2, 2008

Practically all my work comes from direct clients and only occasionally from an agency, and mostly from just one agency that is local and we have known each other almost forever, so that is not even an "agency" as it is for most people here.

It is all through word of mouth, but after almost 37 years in the business the word gets around, and there is always enough work to keep me busy, yet not so much to keep me from goofing off now and then.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:54
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
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It's the proportion of work that counts May 3, 2008

I have a lot of agencies that call on me for my specialty, but 90% of the work is for direct clients.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:54
Member (2003)
Danish to English
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Good agencies do a big share of the work - and leave me free to tranlsate May 3, 2008

Reed D. James wrote:

Dusan Rabrenovic wrote:

Sadly most of my work comes through the dreaded chain of agencies...



...
With agencies, you may make less than you would with direct clients, but you know how much you are going to earn and that you will be earning your money through translating and not marketing.

Reed


Practically all my work comes from agencies, and the rest from other outsourcers. That suits me fine.

One of my favourite PMs once said how great it was always to have translators ready to take the hard grind when she had all the fun talking to the clients!

I told her my attitude was the exact opposite - how great I think it is to have PMs to take all the hassle with clients, so I can get on with translating!

That agency is definitely one of the best. They find clients, keep TMs up to date and send me any hints on terminology they may have. They ask clients if I have problems, or recommend a colleague who can help, or they tell me a contact person to call who can answer my questions.

They have people who "prep" files for Trados, sort out all the DTP, and can save the situation if I run into IT problems.

They explain to end-clients that translators need realistic deadlines and their beauty sleep if they are going to produce good quality translations. They find another translator when I'm too busy or need a holiday.

Of course, 'we' do rushed jobs for good clients when necessary, but we don't let every job turn into a panic job.

Maybe they don't pay quite as much per word as the direct clients. But I can spend a far higher percentage of time actually translating. I'm not good at sales and customer relations, so I am delighted to leave that side of the business to others who are.

Their direct clients come and go, but the agencies and I keep working together. It's a matter of taste, of course, but I never have to look for clients and would not know where to start!

Long live the good agencies, and happy translating!
- Or happy marketing, if you like doing that for a change!


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Sundar Gopalakrishnan
India
Local time: 12:24
English to Tamil
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Translators are creators May 4, 2008

Almost all my work comes from direct clients and occasionally from other outsourcers.
I agree with both Reed D. James ("... I for one would not like to spend my time drumming with new clients and the headaches of coordinating jobs.") and Christene Anderson ("... how great I think it is to have PMs to take all the hassle with clients, so I can get on with translating.").
Translation is a creative work. Translators are persons with a creative bent of mind. So they may find it difficult to deal with direct clients when it comes to money matters.


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framona
Local time: 09:54
English to Romanian
translating is my second job... May 4, 2008

translating is my second job, therefore I don't have "clients", my only client is the company I work for. They pay me monthly. I am happy with it.
occasionally, I translate for my former boss, but it does not happen very often...


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