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Loyalty versus money (potential jobs via multiple agencies)
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:13
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
May 28, 2008

G'day everyone

Here's my situation. I get a test translation from a new potential client. They offer me X, which is about half of my usual rate for people from their country, but the job looks interesting and I do the test etc. A week later, a very active existing client (a prompt payer) sends me the same test translation. The problem is that the rate I usually work for him, is half of X.

Should I do the test translation for my existing client also, knowing that if he lands the contract, I'll be paid half as much as the new potential client would have paid me? The new client has no BB record and there's no way of telling whether they'll be prompt or slow payers, or professional or amateurish in their dealings, etc. But... the old client pays a low rate.

Don't ask why my rate for the old client is a quarter of the rate I usually charge for clients from the country of the new client -- the old client is in a different country, sends me lots of interesting stuff regularly, and... well... that's just the way things are.

What would you do?


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xxxJon O  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:13
Dutch to English
+ ...
no-brainer May 28, 2008

I'd go for the job which lands you the most money, particularly when it's a question of earning 50% less. Is so-called 'loyalty' really worth it?

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Elena Robles Sanjuan  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:13
English to Spanish
Go for the new client May 28, 2008

Good morning, Samuel,

Loyalty pays off in many situations, but you are considering being loyal to an agency that pays low rates. Yes, the potential customer could pose a risk, but we can´t reject a potential client purely because we don´t know about them. Otherwise, I don´t think it´d be possible to build a client portfolio.

On the other hand, both are offering the same project, which you´re interested in, so that is out of the equation as a basis for choosing.

I would base the choice on rates. If the new customer has decent business practices, you´ll be laughing.

Good luck !


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:13
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
Personally I would not take either May 28, 2008

You are about to agree to work for half, maybe even a quarter of your usual rate. I do hope the work is very interesting!

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:13
English to Dutch
+ ...
Your control? May 28, 2008

Since you obviously have your reasons for the low rate you're willing to accept for this client, you should take these reasons into account. If they're valid in general, they should be valid in this case too.

But are you sure this is all in your control? I'd say, do the test translation again and let the end client decide. They may have their own set of criteria as well, you never know. It's not like the 'poor' agency would *certainly* land the job if *you* decide not to do the test translation for the 'rich' agency.


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Stuart Dowell  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:13
Member (2007)
Polish to English
+ ...
Take a risk! May 28, 2008

Probably the old client with the quarter rate won't go out of business due to this one job

Therefore, I suggest that you take a risk, build a new relationship, meet new people - it might be a lot of fun!!

Stuart


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:13
French to English
Do both, wait and see May 28, 2008

If you have the time and won't loose money as a result, then I would do the 2nd test translation.

Let's face it, there are many variables here.
The ultimate end client might not pick either of your clients for the job.
If either of your clients DOES get the gig, there is no guarantee they will pick you to do the full job anyway.
So there at least two levels of decision outside your control before the job gets offered to you, at which point of course you can take it or leave it too.

Ergo, in order to maximise the chances of getting this work, assuming you want/need it and assuming that the big variance in rates is not an issue, then you should do as many tests for it as you get offered


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:13
Member
English to French
Why not tell your active customer the dilemma you face? May 28, 2008

Of course if you feel your relationship with them with "allows" such move. and providing that the potential project is worth its while. I would ask questions and explain my situation. Customers usually understand such business issues. Then you can move forward openly with them.

Your existing customer might reply to you that they're better positioned to secure the deal because their translation costs are much lower (obviously), or their potential customer and yours were Uni pals back in Cairo. You then have more data to decide whether the whole thing is worth the trouble and discounted rate.

My point is the more you know about the offer and your customer, the better you can channel your efforts towards potentially rewarding work (as we say, he who never risks anything never gets anything).

It would be good if you posted later the grounds for your decision.
Regards,
Philippe


[Edited at 2008-05-28 11:49]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:13
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My old client already knows... May 28, 2008

Philippe Etienne wrote:
Why not tell your active customer the dilemma you face?


Oh, I would have done that anyway. I would have to give a reason for refusing, and if I didn't refuse, I would have to warn him that his text will be very, very, very similar to one that the client already has.


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:13
English to Polish
+ ...
As I see it May 28, 2008

Of the two agencies contending for the job, only one is able to win it, so whatever happens, you will not be in a position of working for both simultaneously, right? No loyalty conflict.
Then, your regular customer will have the edge of being aware that the (quality of) test translation submitted by the contender will be identical and therefore they have to pool in other factors as well. Good to know, isn't it? And their submission will not be of inferior quality, just identical. Therefore they are likely to win the job on the price basis. Where's the pain?


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:13
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
The old client will get the job May 28, 2008

If you work cheaper for the old client, they will probably get the job.
I in such cases cite the same charge to both (my normal rates) and sit and wait.
Heinrich


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:13
Dutch to English
+ ...
Hello? May 28, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

I would have to give a reason for refusing, ....


You'd have to or you'd feel obliged to?


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 21:13
French to Dutch
+ ...
I don't understand neither May 28, 2008

Ivana Friis Wilson wrote:

You are about to agree to work for half, maybe even a quarter of your usual rate. I do hope the work is very interesting!

I don't understand neither. Where's the conflict? I really don't see why someone would work for half of a quarter of his normal rates!!! Or there ain't "normal rates" anymore and you are ready to be eaten up. Or I don't understand English. But maybe this was a pure hypothetical question?

I once had a loyalty conflict between an old, direct client and a good agency. I told both what was happening, and asked the agency to be relieved of their non-competition clause for this particular client. I continue to work for both, but the price difference is only slight.

Next time tell these agencies that you will subcontract your normal work to them, for half of your price.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Confidentiality May 28, 2008

Philippe Etienne wrote:
Why not tell your active customer the dilemma you face?


I just wanted to say that in my opinion this would not honour one of our main obligations as translators: absolute confidentiality. I don't think we should be discussing our jobs from one client with another client...


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Breach of confidentiality May 28, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
Philippe Etienne wrote:
Why not tell your active customer the dilemma you face?


Oh, I would have done that anyway. I would have to give a reason for refusing, and if I didn't refuse, I would have to warn him that his text will be very, very, very similar to one that the client already has.


Sorry Samuel, but I think that we should not discuss jobs from one customer (even if it is a test) with another customer. By discussing the matter with the second customer coming to you with the same test, you are offering information of the moves of one company to a competitor, which is wrong in my opinion.

If, for whatever the reasons, you decide not to take the test from one or the other, it's fine that you just tell the customer that you are not interested in doing the test because you are already too busy (or any adequate personal excuse) that does not compromise the confidential information entrusted to you by each of them.


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