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Poll: Who are your main customers?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:55
SITE STAFF
Oct 21, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Who are your main customers?".

This poll was originally submitted by Marina Lara Petersen

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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swisstell
Italy
Local time: 08:55
German to English
+ ...
questionnaire leaves room for improvements. Oct 21, 2006

I am sure that there are many of us who have a COMBINATION of big and small clients or agencies and individuals. Unless one uses "others", there is no fitting slot and "others" really does not give any useful information.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Others Oct 22, 2006

Very few "agencies". Direct clients: big corporations, small corporations, law offices, professionals, government agencies, non-profits, individuals, and of course colleagues...

Very few "agencies", only once in a while, and only the best.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:55
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
What about the option "lawyers"? Oct 22, 2006

Indirectly, I work mostly for large corporations, but it is always through lawyers. Similarly, the latter are "direct clients", but there is no option here for direct clients of this kind.

Astrid


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:55
French to English
Unfair criticism? Oct 22, 2006

SwissTell wrote:

I am sure that there are many of us who have a COMBINATION of big and small clients or agencies and individuals. Unless one uses "others", there is no fitting slot and "others" really does not give any useful information.


The Q does say "main", to be fair. Which here I would say is perfectly reasonable short way of saying "largest proportion" (which is not to be confused with >50%). So unless you have exactly equal proportions of big companies and small companies and agencies and individuals, I would think one of the answers ought to be applicable to most people


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 03:55
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
A great opportunity to get together Oct 22, 2006

Hi everybody

Well, ProZ.com has given me the much-needed opportunity of working for translators and translation agencies. From that point of view, I am very thankful to all the people who have made this possible.
Apart from this, and perhaps somehow going away from the main topic: I realize that most of the jobs on offer at ProZ.com are ALWAYS for translation agencies or individual translators. Just 5% to 10% are DIRECT clients.
On the one hand, this is good: if we are all here members of a community, we are all supposed to behave well; final clients taking part of ProZ.com "just for a while" could eventually "appear and go away".
Oh the other hand, it is real that other translation portals (read my lips: I don't mean BETTER portals, I mean just DIFFERENT) are more efficient as a means of getting direct clients.

Perhaps this could be the topic of a new poll...


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
public sector is excluded Oct 22, 2006

...also universities, my major clients:-)

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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 08:55
Italian to English
+ ...
The Question Seems Clear Oct 22, 2006

"Main" clearly means accounting for the highest proportion of total revenues, as Charlie has already mentioned. At least that's how I interpreted it on first reading.

Perhaps some professional translators do not keep such statistics on their own work.

Any category that is not agency, or through another translator, is, generally speaking, a direct client for which several more specific categories are already listed.

If a lawyer, or other professional, is part of a firm, then small company (unless one of the big five accounting firms, for example - are there any law firms with more than 500 staff members?*), if acting alone, than an individual. If on the staff of a big company, then big company.

*The question of small business/big business may also be relevant. Sometimes it goes by number of employees, like 500, sometimes by annual revenues, say $6.5 million (sample US SBA standards), plus other criteria (the EU has analogous criteria).

The category of "government agency" certainly needs to be included (or "public sector" in UK/European English).

I suppose also "not-profit", but I imagine that this is a tiny percentage for a small proportion of translators, so an "other" category would be useful as well.
But I could be wrong. So perhaps an interesting niche question is what percentage of non-profits comprises your work, what do they pay, and how does it compare to pay rates in other categories? Does anyone make a living translating for non-profits, i.e. are they anyone's "main" paying customer (accounting for the highest proportion of total revenues)?

I've done some work for non-profits and not been paid for it, so I don't count it.

In any case, judging from the poll results, clearly for the "majority" of translators who answered (>50% or 73.5% to be exact so far), agencies account for the highest proportion of their total revenues (but exactly what percentage of revenues is not specified).


[Edited at 2006-10-22 13:11]


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sliding off topic here ... Oct 22, 2006

Lia Fail wrote:

...also universities, my major clients:-)


Ditto here. I answered "other" because most of my clients, professors, contact me directly, but I'm paid by their universities on grants the professors hold. But I also work for other entities, ranging from non-profits to presses.

I do wish that ProZ would market itself to INDIVIDUALS just as strongly as it markets to agencies. I'm know good agencies play an important role in facilitating translation work, but there are also people out there who are no better than vultures--mere middlemen who don't care about language, writing quality, and certainly not building a relationship with a translator.

I have to wonder how many people who go to agencies realize that an option would be to post a job here and hire a translator directly?


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 03:55
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Yeah! Oct 22, 2006

Patricia Rosas wrote:
I have to wonder how many people who go to agencies realize that an option would be to post a job here and hire a translator directly?


I have just suggested a poll on the matter...


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Mohamed Gaafar  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 08:55
Member (2005)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Just to be fair Oct 22, 2006

Patricia Rosas wrote:

[I'm know good agencies play an important role in facilitating translation work, but there are also people out there who are no better than vultures--mere middlemen who don't care about language, writing quality, and certainly not building a relationship with a translator.

I have to wonder how many people who go to agencies realize that an option would be to post a job here and hire a translator directly?

Most good agencies worth their money they save you time for advertisement and collecting your fees if they are really good I do prefer agencies.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:55
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Also international organizations Oct 23, 2006

Lia Fail wrote:

...also universities, my major clients:-)


Ninety percent of my work is for international organizations. NGOs are another category that provide translation work.

Many, many years ago. when there were fewer translation agencies, I did a survey of sources of translation work, and the results showed a vast variety of sources, difficult to categorize.

Nowadays the first cut is the distinction between working for a go-between (an agency) or directly with the client. For the latter, the possibilities are almost as rich as one's imagination.


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susi_svf  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:55
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It depends of the month Oct 23, 2006

because I work for translation agencies, for individuals, other translators and also for universities and institutions.

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Chantal Kamgne  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:55
Member (2006)
English to French
Agencies and outsourcers Oct 23, 2006

To be honest, 90 % of my costumers are agencies and colleagues. 9% are direct local (national) clients, but then the work is not much interesting because it sometimes has nothing to do with my speciality fields. Only 2 direct clients from abroad so far...

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:55
Italian to English
+ ...
agencies Oct 23, 2006

I have a few direct clients - one big corporation, a couple of universities and a couple of state institutes - but the vast majority of my work (at least 80%) comes from agencies.

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