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What makes a client a "good client"?
Thread poster: conejo

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Jun 19, 2009

Today in another post I made a brief list of what criteria I consider a "good client" to have, from a freelancer's point of view. This list is below.

1. Always pays
2. Pays in a short period of time
3. Pays a good rate
4. Keeps a steady workload coming your way
5. The work is not too difficult or annoying
6. They don't ask you to do parts of the work for free, or at least they pay enough to cover the 'extra' stuff like formatting
7. Organized
8. Communication is clear and timely, and all necessary information is communicated
9. Pleasant to deal with
10. Appreciates your work as a professional

I am curious what other things people would have to add to this.

[Edited at 2009-06-19 21:04 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Maybe I am too fastidious Jun 19, 2009

But I would add "11. Sends you sweets or chocolates for Christmas". Of course these times that is tricky, but we have had lots of goodies and chocolates in the past. It's always very nice to get a little token of appreciation from a customer.

 

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wow Jun 19, 2009

No business clients ever sent me chocolates... lol. I did get various Christmas cards though.

 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:22
English to German
+ ...
My list Jun 19, 2009

To me, timely payment and decent rates are no criteria that make an exceptionally GOOD client but are standard requirements to become a client of mine in the first place.

Here is my list:

1.) The clients consider themselves business partners and nothing else and respect my office just the same.

2.) They provide some personal information about themselves, so I always know who I am dealing with.

3.) They can admit errors and mistakes.

4.) They will never bad-mouth other translators or their own clients.

5.) They notify me about prospective projects well in advance and ask for my schedule.

6.) Scheduling and pricing is teamwork between client and vendor.

7.) They will forward compliments that they received from their clients to me and they ask if they may forward my compliments about brilliantly written source text or beautifully designed ads and websites to their clients.


 

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Feedback Jun 19, 2009

Nicole Schnell wrote:
7.) They will forward compliments that they received from their clients to me and they ask if they may forward my compliments about brilliantly written source text or beautifully designed ads and websites to their clients.


Yes, it's good (and rare in this business) to get feedback. I agree with that one.


 

Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:22
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
In addition to everything already said Jun 19, 2009

- If it's an agency, actively gets involved in client education where needed.

My worst experience has been with an agency run by wonderful people: polite, friendly, fun to work with etc., and they have excellent payment practices. I was one in a team of two localizing stuff for Turkey. An intern of the end client joined us. She was about 17 or something and her job was to facilitate communication with us and the end client. But instead she started meddling with the translated copies. This is annoying enough on its own. Add to this that this person was from Cyprus -another Turkish-speaking locale, where the localization was not intended for- and as far as her linguistic skills were concerned, you could fit a herd of elephants in her "room for improvement." Well, this was also true for the "translation awareness" of the end client. As for the agency, instead of standing up for the work we did and educating the client, they asked us to keep the intern happy.

The above is actually one of the two projects I quit for this reason, but it is the worse one.


- Provides reference, context, feedback... anything they could to help the translator. (This, too, would apply mostly to agencies, of course.)

One of my best clients: the agency owner goes through the source text with the eyes of the translator and inserts notes to add clarification, pastes links to articles that would help the translator get the subject, adds context etc. before sending the text to you. This is a blessing! What else could a translator need? I certainly wouldn't expect this from anyone outside this business, though (this agency owner is a translator himself).


 

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Resources Jun 19, 2009

Özden Arıkan wrote:

As for the agency, instead of standing up for the work we did and educating the client, they asked us to keep the intern happy.

- Provides reference, context, feedback... anything they could to help the translator. (This, too, would apply mostly to agencies, of course.)

One of my best clients: the agency owner goes through the source text with the eyes of the translator and inserts notes to add clarification, pastes links to articles that would help the translator get the subject, adds context etc. before sending the text to you. This is a blessing! What else could a translator need? I certainly wouldn't expect this from anyone outside this business, though (this agency owner is a translator himself).


Wow, that sounds like an amazing and unpleasant project (the localization one). I would have been frustrated too.

Yes it always helps when the client provides glossaries.

Perhaps another item would be, the client is able to answer questions (or ask the end client and get answers) about unclear parts of text. This is a blessing but is pretty rare, usually.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:22
English to German
+ ...
Yessss!! Jun 19, 2009

Özden Arıkan wrote:

One of my best clients: the agency owner goes through the source text with the eyes of the translator and inserts notes to add clarification, pastes links to articles that would help the translator get the subject, adds context etc. before sending the text to you. This is a blessing! What else could a translator need? I certainly wouldn't expect this from anyone outside this business, though (this agency owner is a translator himself).


icon_smile.gif


 

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:22
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
The list Jun 19, 2009

Well, what makes a good client is all of the points on your list plus:

They know their business and understand that a translator needs some additional information to do his/her work: If they need the translation of a list of words or sentence fragments they provide me with the necessary reference material. They send me reference translations, a TM or even glossaries (if there are any).
I have one client that keeps sending me text fragments, for example parts of error messages that all start the same way but then end differently (I supposse). When I aks him for reference material (in German you need to know how a sentence starts or ends in order to get the grammar right) he tells me he doesn't understand why it is so difficult for me, the Spanish (or Italien or Portuguese) translator didn't have any problem with it...

They provide me with texts that are easy to work with (i.e. Word, Excel, TagEditor formats etc.) and not PDF files or scanned images. And if they do so they understand that working with these kinds of texts is more time consuming and honour my work accordingly.

They act as an agent between me and their clients, i.e. they are not afraid to forward my questions/comments to their clients and vice versa.

They keep in mind how much work they already sent me and don't ask me to keep impossible deadlines. If possible they make "reservations" and notify my about future projects.

They have professional translators edit my translations and give me feedback or even provide me with the validated corrections. They don't use non-native speakers who keep asking me about terms or expressions their automatic spell checkers don't knowicon_wink.gif They read/edit their proofreaders comments before they forward them to me.

[Bearbeitet am 2009-06-19 21:53 GMT]


 

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Having knowledge of the languages involved Jun 19, 2009

I think another one would be, that the client is knowledgeable about the languages involved.

I have few clients who either they themselves know Japanese or they at least can ask someone in the company who knows Japanese, so if I say there is a problem in the source text, they can say yes, we see what you mean, we'll try to get it fixed.

But a lot of agencies don't have a clue about Japanese, and certainly don't have any ability to answer any questions about anything in the source document. Sometimes the end clients don't know either... That can be problematic when no one but me has any clue about the source language.

[Edited at 2009-06-19 22:03 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:22
English to German
+ ...
One more Jun 19, 2009

They will pair up translators and editors and provide contact data and allow them to work as a team instead of keeping them anonymous.

 

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Keeping them anonymous Jun 19, 2009

Nicole Schnell wrote:
They will pair up translators and editors and provide contact data and allow them to work as a team instead of keeping them anonymous.


Yeah... this would help.


 

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:22
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Not only Japanese Jun 19, 2009

conejo wrote:
But a lot of agencies don't have a clue about Japanese, and certainly don't have any ability to answer any questions about anything in the source document. Sometimes the end clients don't know either... That can be problematic when no one but me has any clue about the source language.


That doesn't only apply to Japanese. I have the same problem with Dutch, French or English texts. Sometimes they even pretend that there is no problems.

For me I made my best experience with Dutch translation agencies. I have several Dutch clients who provide me with loads of reference material and even give me hints on how to translate a certain part of the text... The worst and most complicated to work with are in France. Their employees usually don't know the languages I work with (except French, of course) and find it difficult to understand my problems.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:22
English to German
+ ...
Yes, unfortunately. Jun 20, 2009

conejo wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:
7.) They will forward compliments that they received from their clients to me and they ask if they may forward my compliments about brilliantly written source text or beautifully designed ads and websites to their clients.


Yes, it's good (and rare in this business) to get feedback. I agree with that one.


But you can move a lot by setting the tone first. PMs like compliments just as much as we do. The beginning of a long friendship.

icon_smile.gif


 
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