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Poll: Do your first impressions of a new client generally prove to be correct?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 15:11
Jan 11, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do your first impressions of a new client generally prove to be correct?".

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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:11
French to Spanish
+ ...
Dunno... Jan 11, 2008 it... whatever: "that guy is fake... lots of bla, bla, bla...", "that woman knows what she wants, let's work with her...", "the man is a clown, thumbs down...", "Gee, he's a pro, go for it..."

Rarely missed, in one way or another.

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Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
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first impression Jan 12, 2008

Usually it is first phone call, the voice, the way how the potential client requires something.
If I see him or her personally in the office, definitely: yes. If we find the way to each other in first 5 minutes, I can take the job - no fear.

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Mark Nathan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...
with exceptions Jan 12, 2008

This is easy for experienced translators to answer... but I remember my first big job was a total leap of faith. I had no idea if I would be paid or not - I had yet to join proz and benefit from the warnings of the Blue board. The good news is that I was paid, and seven years later am still working for that same agency...

Since then I have had one or two bad experiences, when my first impressions have indeed proved to be incorrect. The great advantage of building up a core of regular customers is that you need only ever work for people who you know will pay you.

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Sandro C  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:11
English to Georgian
+ ...
Things are changing Jan 12, 2008

Things are changing fast nowadays. Phone calls are being replaced with Skype chat and pages of signed contracts with electronic agreements.

Nowadays impressions are formed based on the nature of annoucements, terms of payment, the number of google entries and Blue Board comments, etc.

There are many things to consider and once you learn how to navigate through this myriad of indicators measuring reliability and crediblity of the new clients, it becomes relatively easier, though only for some time - there are so many of them appearing every day

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:11
English to French
+ ...
If the good vibe is missing, steer clear Jan 12, 2008

I am generally right in my first impression. I don't think it is hard to get a feel for who the propective client is and what they stand for.

But by looking at translation work from a quality viewpoint, it gets even better. I like to work with people who have another person edit/proofread my work, people who like to set up and use termbases or at least glossaries, people who have a complete quality management system in place and use it on every project - in general, people who work in teams (my favorite setup being main translator, secondary translators, editor, proofreader, DTP person and a responsive project manager actively collaborating together). When someone contacts me and, instead of putting the emphasis on rates, enquires about my general translation and quality check process, and is more interested in the way I work, I know I am dealing with someone serious who knows what they are dealing with. In general, serious people are also serious about business and realize that without their supplyers, they wouldn't have a business, so they also treat their supplyers well - and again, I don't mean that they treat them well by paying them superior rates.

I find that the first communication I send to potential clients reveals a lot about me, even if it may not contain very detailed information. The same way, the first contact with prospective clients is just as revealing. For one thing, when I get ProZ mail where the prospective client already quotes his own rates, that tells a LOT about them. These are mainly the ones I get a bad vibe about and simply delete their message without further action, especially when they want to pay 7 cents per word AND use a Trados rate scheme on top of that.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:11
Flemish to English
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Halo effect Jan 13, 2008

What about the "halo" effect? Isn't that misleading people.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:11
English to German
+ ...
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Jan 13, 2008

Same for prospective customers.

The first email says a lot about the company. Do they introduce themselves or do they approach you like you were a human translation-vending machine?

My pet-peeve: "We have lots of work! Regular work!" and such.

What do they think I am doing all day long? Doing my fingernails, besides starving?

This particular breed usually isn't worth a reply, so I can't tell if I ever got disappointed.

However, don't judge a book by the cover. It's all about gut-feeling. I have (excellent) clients whose PMs send photos of themselves as email attachments. Nice touch! I also have a client in France, their first correspondence just sucked. Weirdo English, the inquiry so brief that it was almost rude. The vibes, for whatever reason, were good though. The boss still hasn't improved his English and our phone calls are beyond hilarious with various accents clashing. Today they are one of my most favorite agencies.

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megane_wang  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mmmmm: When the impression is bad, yes Jan 13, 2008

Yes, I'm usually right when my first impression is bad.

... but unfortunately, from time to time I still may be deceived by some pleasant talk and professional appearance. Ayee !

Ruth @ MW

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