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Poll: Is the client always right?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 17:56
SITE STAFF
Jun 6, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is the client always right?".

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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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Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:56
Member (2009)
English to French
Hurray, first to vote Jun 6, 2008

I voted Yes, since, no matter how horrible or wrong the expression or word he wants to use, he is still the one paying for the service and will have the last word.

Of course you can tell him he is wrong, try and convince him to choose a word that makes sense, but once you did, except for not telling people that the awful text is yours, there is not much that can be done.

Of course the question is open to interpretation, right and wrong being very vague terms that can be applied to a dozen of aspects between a translation and the client.


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Yamila Sosa  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 21:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Of course, the client is not always right. Jun 6, 2008

Lany Chabot-Laroche wrote:

I voted Yes, since, no matter how horrible or wrong the expression or word he wants to use, he is still the one paying for the service and will have the last word.


Naturally, the client is entitled to make suggestions because ultimately he/she is who pays, but this does not mean that he/she is always right. The thing is that perhaps it is pointless to defend one´s arguments when it is obvious that the client does not want to understand.
I imagine that none of us order our doctors what to do or not to do even if we think we may be right.


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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:56
Member (2007)
English to Italian
No Jun 6, 2008

.

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Joanna M Case  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:56
Italian to English
No, but he is entitled to his own view. Jun 6, 2008

If the word the client wants to put in place of mine is wrong, as Lany suggests, then surely the client is wrong.......I deliver what I believe to be an accurate and fair translation of the source text, which I am confident I can justify and explain if quizzed. The client is entitled to think what he wants. If he wants to change something and the result of that change is that the translation is no longer accurate and fair, then as long as I tell him that, my job is done (setting aside issues such as publishing a credit to the translator). You can take a horse to water............

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Andrei Yefimov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:56
English to Russian
+ ...
No Jun 6, 2008

Lany Chabot-Laroche wrote:

I voted Yes, since, no matter how horrible or wrong the expression or word he wants to use, he is still the one paying for the service and will have the last word.


Generally talking, this 'horrible or wrong expression' accompanied by certain circumstances may be considered as an insult or even a threat which is legally punishable act, all right.
Regards,
Andrei


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
One thing I do know... Jun 6, 2008

Whether they are or not, I don't know. One thing I do know, they always think they are.

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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 21:56
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
I follow the spirit of this saying Jun 6, 2008

I stick to the phrase "The customer is always right." Whether or not this is true in every case is a different story. When the client stops being right, the translator can always find another client or vice versa.

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:56
English to Arabic
+ ...
Not all clients are as pig-headed Jun 6, 2008

John Cutler wrote:
One thing I do know, they always think they are.


Reed D. James wrote:
I stick to the phrase "The customer is always right."


I've very often come across clients who are wise enough to listen to differing opinions, and when presented with sound arguments end up admitting that my suggestion is better than theirs.

So I don't think it's a good idea to follow the saying "the customer is always right" without at least trying to get your point of view across.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:56
German to English
+ ...
WHO - is ever right? Jun 6, 2008

Nesrin wrote:

I don't think it's a good idea to follow the saying "the customer is always right" without at least trying to get your point of view across.


Nice one Nesrin, and well reasoned.

We are, after all, providing our professional services, not selling used cars on commission.

Cheers
Chris


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Other Jun 6, 2008

Once in a blue moon I come across Japanese end client(s) who rewrite my translation, sometimes completely.
In many cases, I suspect they don't understand English, but at least they know their trade. So their rewritten translation is a product of their own (with my help).

Therefore (with slight bruise in my heart) I always say "Customer is always right", because I respect their view even they seem not to understand what the source material say.
Besides, if any problem arisen due to that behavior, that's not my responsibility. So with a peace in my mind I would repeat this mantra "Customer is always right", even I know they are not.
Usually agent understand this very well.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:56
English to French
+ ...
The idea that the customer's always right surfaces when they don't want to pay, funnily enough Jun 6, 2008

I find that situations where a client thinks he's right are, more often than not, situations where they are trying to cheat you out of part of your payment or squeeze some free work out of you.

One example: they don't like the wording you used, but they failed to mention their term preferences before you started the job. This is a situation where I believe the customer's not right.

However, when a client is wrong, it is a pretty unfortunate idea to tell them so. Of course you don't tell the client s/he is wrong. You instead explain to them all the factors that trick her/him into thinking s/he is right and you are wrong.

I think that the customer's not always right - but the key to such situations is tact. When I know I am right, I defend myself - but I don't let a client down for being mistaken or pushy.

On a closing note, I don't let clients manage my work. If I did, there would be a whole lot of situations where tact would be needed. And why would I let them manage my work? They are paying me because there are things I know that they don't - aren't they?


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Salam Alrawi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
English to Arabic
+ ...
Yes Jun 6, 2008

He is always right, we either accept his way or not.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Jun 6, 2008

Yes, the customer is always right. Even when the customer is wrong, the customer is always right.

Of course you also choose those customers you wish to work for, and if you are not compatible, you choose not to work for them any more.


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Gemma Monco Waters  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:56
English to Italian
+ ...
As always in life, some are, some are not Jun 6, 2008

The client who wants the best translation for the smallest rate;
The client who tells you, the translation is easy, so I am sure you will accept a low rate
The client who, first attracts you with a fair rate, then says: I am sure you will accept a reduction in your rate, because the text is long, so you will make up in quantity and get as much as you would have got with a higher rate.
The client who hesitates for six days then he tells you he needs the text (law, contracts) of 10.000 words for the day after tomorrow
Now, tell me, who can say that a client like that is ever right?
My cat is miowing, my dog is barking, my husband too, they all want something from me, but I have to break my back sitting on this hard chair, because He, who could have given me the job six days ago, gave it to me yesterday and wants it back tomorrow, because he pays me and has the right to make me work 16 hours a day.
But, of course, I have had my fair share of fair clients and I love them all
Back to work, now. It is the law.


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