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Giving My References to Clients
Thread poster: Ehab Tantawy

Ehab Tantawy  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:35
Member (2006)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Sep 20, 2006

Dear Peers

I would like to know what is the most appropriate action for any freelance translator if requested to give references for clients he worked with them before:

1-Is it an acceptable request?

2-What do you see, accept or reject?

3-Whatever the answer for point (2), how it could be managed to not loss the client?

4-Have you any other suggestion for this issue?

Thanks for any help can support my query.

Regards,
Ehab


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:35
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
It's a legitimate request Sep 21, 2006

Hi Ehab!

I've supplied references to a few new clients, but the most important point is to ask your references beforehand if it's ok to give their names and e-mail addresses to third parties, and what it's for. They usually don't object. I don't provide the phone numbers, and e-mail is a quick and painless way to contact someone's references. I haven't heard if anyone has contacted any of them yet, though, so it might just be a meaningless formality.

Maybe other colleagues have had other experiences regarding whether their references have been contacted.


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Ehab Tantawy  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:35
Member (2006)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sep 21, 2006

Dear Woodstock

Thanks for your support

Yours,
Ehab


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Cintia Pecellin  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:35
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
Legitimate daily occurrence Sep 21, 2006

Hi Ehab!

I believe new clients are not only entitled, but somehow obliged, to ask for references. It's the only way they have to 'prove' our credentials, apart from a translation test, of course, but those are not always accurate.

I've always sent a list of names, e-mails and phone numbers (after warning my clients first, of course!) and that has worked just fine over the years. However, lately I have been directing new/potential clients to WWA comments entered in my profile by other clients. So far two of them have contacted 3 of my clients (I know this for a fact, my clients have told me!) and one even joined ProZ as a result.

BTW, I now have 2 new clients, so the WWA is the best way for me to offer references these days!

Best of lucks,
Cintia.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Reasonable, but rare Sep 21, 2006

Ehab Tantawy wrote:
I would like to know what is the most appropriate action for any freelance translator if requested to give references for clients he worked with them before.


It is not an unreasonable request. I would accept. But I have never had such a request, nor have I ever asked a potential client for such references.

But now that you mention it, it may be a good thing to ask new clients for references from their previous translators.

[Edited at 2006-09-21 08:17]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I think you or I misinterpret the OP's question Sep 21, 2006

Woodstock wrote:
I've supplied references to a few new clients, but the most important point is to ask your references beforehand if it's ok to give their names and e-mail addresses to third parties, and what it's for. ... Maybe other colleagues have had other experiences regarding whether their references have been contacted.


Either you or I misinterpret the original poster's question. The way I read his question, the client is not asking for the names of the translator's previous clients. The say I read it, the client is asking permission to give the translator's name to other translators, so that they can contact him to confirm that the client is a good client. What say you?


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 21:35
French to Dutch
+ ...
Not me Sep 21, 2006

Ehab Tantawy wrote:

Dear Peers

I would like to know what is the most appropriate action for any freelance translator if requested to give references for clients he worked with them before:

1-Is it an acceptable request?

2-What do you see, accept or reject?

3-Whatever the answer for point (2), how it could be managed to not loss the client?

4-Have you any other suggestion for this issue?

Thanks for any help can support my query.

Regards,
Ehab

1. It is a reasonable request, in most cases (clients have reasons to do so).
2. I don't give references anymore, since I discovered that they had been prospected (comments of the - direct - client: "it seems to me that the translation of your colleague is not so good as usual" - which colleague? I didn't know this man!!). Nor cv's, because I don't want them to be used in a tender.
3. Tell them in three lines who you are and which are your specialties. Don't forget to send your rates in the same e-mail. Make it look professional. If there are questions, say that all your client information is confidential (incl. the clients' names), that your cv is in your old computer, and propose them to do a test if they want to see if you are qualified for the job.
4. Look for other clients, those who give you a small translation and then a bigger one, etc., which leads often to mutual confidence and a long-term relationship.


[Edited at 2006-09-21 13:08]


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:35
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
I may have misread Sep 21, 2006

Samuel,

I had a very long night (working til 4 am), so I wouldn't be surprised if I misunderstood the question. You are probably right, but Ehad now has the answers to two questions: one he asked and one he didn't ask, right?

So everything's fine.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:35
English to French
+ ...
If you have several clients Sep 22, 2006

...then there must be a few you wouldn't mind referring the new client to. I have a few clients I already referred potential clients to because I know that there is no interest for client stealing.

But DO be careful who you refer to whom - it could easily cost you clients. I think two references in our industry should be enough, especially if they are references for work similar to the work proposed by the potential client. I would not always use the same two references - I would match them with the potential client, for every aspect.

Good luck!


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 21:35
French to Dutch
+ ...
In addition Sep 22, 2006

I wouldn't mind giving my references and/or cv to a government body or a direct client. But they never ask for them, which is normal - do you ever ask for the cv or references of your hairdresser or garagist? In the long run, your only reference is the quality of your work. And it takes some time to "test" it, as for us it takes some time to "test" a new agency.

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Melina Kajander
English to Finnish
References... Sep 22, 2006

Samuel Murray wrote:
Either you or I misinterpret the original poster's question. The way I read his question, the client is not asking for the names of the translator's previous clients. The say I read it, the client is asking permission to give the translator's name to other translators, so that they can contact him to confirm that the client is a good client.

I'm afraid you have misinterpreted it... "References" usually does mean the translator's previous clients (agencies or direct), or the contact details of such. How could other translators (unless agencies/outsourcers) know how good he is..?

I dislike the request for references very much, even though it's understandable, to an extent... But IMHO it's a bit out of place in freelancer world, unlike when applying for a job, for instance. I hate having to bother my other clients, as it's really not their job at all to answer queries from my potential clients (who are checking references)! It may even compromise client confidentiality...


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algtranslator
United States
Arabic to English
+ ...
It depends on the client Sep 23, 2006

Dear Ehab,

From my personal experience, there are cases where it is very helpful to give references to your clients with the full contact information.

First case: If the client is a translation agency, I wouldn't give them any references but affiliations (membership in ATA and other associations...). It happened to me twice that two agencies sollicited my best clients and offered them their services...

Second case: When your client is an individual/ a company offering different services rather than languages/translation services, there are no worries and you can provide them with any evidence that proves your reliability.

I hope this helps you a little...

Regards,
Mus


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xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 21:35
French to English
+ ...
Negotiate and retaliate Sep 25, 2006

1. Yes.

2. Don't understand: is that supposed to be say and not see?

3. Rely on past client confidentiality, as mentioned by others.

4. Ask the prospective clients, if a trans. agency, for refs. - for themselves - from at least 2 verifiable translators or interpreters who have worked for them before to check out the agency's bona fides and payment track record.


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