Wangling 3-5+ steady customers
Thread poster: Rebecca Lyne

Rebecca Lyne
France
French to English
+ ...
Aug 1, 2008

Hi all,

My question for you is:

Can you provide advice on the best method for acquiring several steady stream customers?
Let's asssume that providing quality work is a given.

What else do you all do to keep customers coming back for more?

Thanks,
Rebecca


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-08-02 08:58]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:15
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Well.... Aug 1, 2008

I send them boxes of chocolates and long-stemmed roses every week...just kidding!

I really don't see what else you CAN do, except good work and have a good attitude.

Amy


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:15
English to French
+ ...
Be professional Aug 1, 2008

I don't think there is a miracle recipe. Just be professional - that is what they ultimately pay you for.

Here's the catch: providing quality translations is not enough on its own. That is only one component of professionalism. To get an idea of the other components, it may be an interesting exercise to browse BlueBoard comments. The things I see most often go something like these:


Viktoria is a very reliable translator. Our translation projects are between good hands with her - I am never worried.



Viktoria communicates clearly and promptly on each project. We always know where it's at when we work with her.



Viktoria's attention to detail makes every project a success.


Viktoria has never missed a deadline.


Okay, I just made these up, but you probably catch my drift.

Being professional is basically about making sure your client gets exactly what s/he wants, on time, possibly with a smile and that there is a relationship based on trust (no divulging confidential info, no disappearing into thin air at the last minute, no delays in replying to e-mail). As long as you provide this, your client will be happy and will come back for more.

You would be amazed at the proportion of translators who don't even have a clue about professionalism (this was discussed at length in a recent thread). So, as long as you are professional, I dare say you have a nice advantage over other people who can provide translations that match the quality of yours.

Why do they come back to me? Because they like working with me. They do need the quality, but above all, of all translators they've dealt with who can match my quality (and there are lots), I probably offered them a better experience.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Terry Gilman  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:15
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
From Fire Ant + Worker Bee Aug 1, 2008

Here are some suggestions from a column in Translation Journal (January 1999, vol. 3, no. 1) - in the answer to the second question. Some of the points may not strike you as the "best" way, (e.g., critiquing a translation is controversial), but they might give you further ideas in your specific constellation.

http://accurapid.com/journal/07xlation.htm

All the best,
Terry


Direct link Reply with quote
 

texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:15
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
my simple recipe Aug 1, 2008


Let's asssume that providing quality work is a given.

What else do you all do to keep customers coming back for more?


- timely delivery (always)
- politeness (always)
- a pinch of humor (when appropriate)


Thanks


You're welcome


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:15
English to German
+ ...
There's more Aug 1, 2008

Working with you should be a pleasure at all times.

Be proactive.
The tiniest effort that might take you less than a minute might save the PM hours of work, they will remember that. Example: You are translating a website. Some lines on a particular page were not included in the source text sent. Add those lines in your email when you deliver your translation. Takes a few seconds. You would have to take care of it later on anyway, right?

Simplify processes.
When you have a question regarding the clarification of a term / error in the source text / weird abbreviation, send a screenshot that can be forwarded by the PM to their client as is instead of writing a novel. This saves time.

Go the extra mile.
When working off a series of related texts, I include an updated schedule with each correspondence. This way my client will always be up to date regarding the status of the project, and can rest assured that the project management on my side is flawless.

Bundle your correspondence.
Don't send an individual email for each and every tiny request. High-maintenance vendors cost too much time and therefore are not appreciated.

Present yourself as a team worker rather than a diva.
Compliment your editor on good suggestions and edits. This way the editor who I was teamed up with at a wonderful client of mine and I have acquired the official nickname: "The Dream Team".

Show some wit and humor in your correspondence.
This way your client can be sure that your translations won't be of any lesser quality. Or boring. Use your spellcheck, too, do I have to mention it?

Provide hints about your expertise in other fields whenever appropriate.
After all, we are running a business and we have to market ourselves over and over again.

Those are some tiny things that can make a huge difference.



Direct link Reply with quote
 

Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 08:15
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Humour, absolutely. Aug 2, 2008

Naturally, professional behaviour is no.1, with everything else (except quality) a far off second. Be there, do your absolute best job, don't take any details for granted.

Having said that, try to develop a (professional) relationship with the PM in a way that helps you stand out a bit. Humour is key, and there are many ways to use it. I had an editing job in which a term was translated not only atrociously but in a very funny way (accidentally). There is an expression "superlibro" in Latin which refers to book plates one puts in one's books to identify them, you know, "ex-libris so and so". The clueless translator had put "super book" and in my comment to the PM I told her to "look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's SUPERBOOK". Point is, I made her laugh, she remembers me. This does not mean she will flood me with work, but if I do a great job (and I did) and she has to choose next time between a few of us, she'll remember me.

BTW- this does not mean one should send random jokes and waste valuable time.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:15
German to English
I'm with Nicole Aug 2, 2008

There are lots of little things you can do to endear yourself to a client.

Sometimes it takes more effort to fill out a PO or invoice a job than to actually do the job. If a regular client sends an additional file / or change with 100 words to be translated, why bother to charge? You'll make it up in goodwill. A few years ago I estimated that I gave away about US $250 in free services, but reaped about US $10K in repeat business; a worthwhile investment, I think.

As Nicole said, don't be a diva, clients want to work with people who aren't high maintenance. The translators with the value-added services that get the repeat business.

On the other hand, don't be a doormat. If the client makes unreasonable demands, give them what they want and nothing more. There are a lot of good clients out there, and you don't have to work for peanuts or for idiots.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:15
French to English
Assume no such thing Aug 2, 2008

rebeccalyne wrote:
Let's asssume that providing quality work is a given.


I'd love to take your word for it, but you appear to have confused wrangle (dispute) and wangle (obtain by fair means or foul).

Still, no-one else appears to have noticed....


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:15
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
That's some great advice! Aug 2, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Working with you should be a pleasure at all times.

(...)



Thanks for all the tips, Nicole! And I thought I knew just about everything I need to know about the business of translation.

Maciek


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:15
French to English
!! Aug 3, 2008

Charlie Bavington wrote:
I'd love to take your word for it, but you appear to have confused wrangle (dispute) and wangle (obtain by fair means or foul).

This looks a bit odd now, doesn't it


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:15
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes Aug 3, 2008

Charlie Bavington wrote:

This looks a bit odd now, doesn't it


But don't despair ... those in the know are aware it was you who pointed out the initial error


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rebecca Lyne
France
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No, Charles, the American version ;-) Aug 3, 2008

Charlie Bavington wrote:

rebeccalyne wrote:
Let's asssume that providing quality work is a given.


I'd love to take your word for it, but you appear to have confused wrangle (dispute) and wangle (obtain by fair means or foul).

Still, no-one else appears to have noticed....




Charles,

I was using the word wrangle as in "to tend or round up (such as cattle, horses, or other livestock)...or in my use...customers.

You have to have the heart of a cowboy or cowgirl to understand.)

Rebecca


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:15
French to English
Like the jeans? Aug 3, 2008

rebeccalyne wrote:
You have to have the heart of a cowboy or cowgirl to understand.)
Rebecca


In which case, apologies (*). Sounds a slightly odd way to refer to customers to my ears, but it seems as though the word certainly exists with that meaning. You live and learn.

I guess that is where the name of the brand of jeans comes from?


(Only my mother calls me Charles, and even then only when she's really annoyed. If I hear the word "Charles", I know I'll be having to apologise for something at some point)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:15
French to English
In support of Rebecca Aug 3, 2008

rebeccalyne wrote:

I was using the word wrangle as in "to tend or round up (such as cattle, horses, or other livestock)...or in my use...customers.



Absolutely, the first title didn't strike me as odd at all. I was picturing Rebecca lassoing clients, armed with her laptop, slippers and bilingual dictionaries


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Wangling 3-5+ steady customers

Advanced search







memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search