Should I list my client's clients in my resumé?
Thread poster: Toralf Mjelde

Toralf Mjelde  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
Member (2007)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Oct 1, 2009

Dear colleagues,

I was inspired after today's virtual conference to improve my profile, and part of that includes my resumé. I was wondering what your take is on listing the names of some of the big companies I have worked for. Even though they are not my direct clients, but rather "belong" to the translation companies I work for, should I list their names?

I'd appreciate some feedback!

Thanks,

Toralf

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-10-01 12:29 GMT]


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Alessandra Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:25
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
No mentioning if you didn't have direct contact with them Oct 1, 2009

Hi Toralf!

I understand that listing big names might capture potential customers' attention, but I think it would be unfair to list them if you didn't actually had a direct contact with them.

If I worked for a translation agency that deals with eg. Proz.com projects, then my end client is the translation agency, not Proz.com itself.

I think it would be better to ask agencies for WWA entries, or to ask them permission for including their names in a list of your customers.

My two cents... hope this helps
Cheers, Alessandra


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Jana Novomeska  Identity Verified
Malta
Local time: 15:25
Member
English to Slovak
+ ...
Do NOT mention them Oct 1, 2009

Hi Toralf,

A couple of weeks ago I was facing exactly the same dilemma while updating my CV - I translate texts for well known brands and institutions, however ALWAYS via agencies. I went as far as discussing the issue with a lawyer. She told me not do do it, under ANY circumstances. Besides not telling exactly the truth (as your client is the agency - your end user - not the company itself), you could also get into worse trouble directly with the company you put on your list and also with the agency (for breaching the contract - well, usually I have to sign an agreement where, among other things, I agree not to dislose any details of their clients/their projects).

Try to include "big names" of translation business in your CV - there are agencies which are really well known and that my help to attract the attention of a potential client.

Regards,
Jana

[Edited at 2009-10-01 05:46 GMT]


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Valérie Catanzaro  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:25
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
NDA Oct 1, 2009

I guess you have firmed some Non Disclosure Agreements with the agencies, that clearly express you should not mention the end clients.

If not, you can simply ask the agencies you work with if it would be possible to mention the end clients in your resume. But I'm not sure they'll say ok...


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Dan Marasescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 15:25
Member (2003)
English to Romanian
+ ...
About how you do it Oct 1, 2009

I'm thinking that, if your NDA allows it, you could say that you translated say Volvo service manuals. That doesn't imply that Volvo was your direct client. That's fairly safe and I can tell that the clients care for that kind of information. I've had clients coming to me and saying: I've seen in your CV that you have experience with translating Sony materials and I have somenthing of the same kind.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:25
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Is the material publicly available? Oct 1, 2009

Dan Marasescu wrote:
I'm thinking that, if your NDA allows it, you could say that you translated say Volvo service manuals. That doesn't imply that Volvo was your direct client. That's fairly safe and I can tell that the clients care for that kind of information. I've had clients coming to me and saying: I've seen in your CV that you have experience with translating Sony materials and I have somenthing of the same kind.


Dan's approach is the correct one, but a safe selection criterion is whether the material is publicly available or not.

For instance, if you translated - taking his example - Volvo/Sony's internal policies, manuals, business agreements etc. especially if via an agency, you are expected to never let out that you did it. As a matter of fact, this could be a deterrent for any competitor, say, BMW/Panasonic from hiring you, as they'll fear that something may 'leak' through you.

On the other hand, if you translated some of these companies' product user manuals, readily found in the respective glove conmpartments or packagings, you may be proud of it and say so boldly. It will be irrelevant if you did it for the company headquarters directly, or its local subsidiary, or via a translation agency, or for some reseller, or even for some overly wealthy and keen end-user.

For instance, I do a lot of training video translation work. If it's an internal company proprietary training video, I shouldn't mention it. Maybe the company would prefer that no competitor is made aware that such a video exists, to preclude the temptation to resort to industrial espionage. On the other hand, if it's a commercially sold video, the producer/distributor will be glad that I mentioned - even if it's only on my CV or web site - that a translated version of such video is already available.

Books may be tricky, though you shouldn't get paranoid about it. Let's say that you are a great translator. So you get hired to translate the first edition of a book. Your translation is so good that it gets sold out in no time. The author gets enthusiastic about the potential market for his/her work in your target language, so s/he makes a thoroughly revised, enhanced, improved, and/or expanded second edition. The eyes of the local publisher (your future ex-client) sparkle with dollar signs, and they hire a much cheaper - ergo probably less competent - translator for the second edition.

Chances are that some prospect will buy that book, second edition - the first one sold out, remember? - and tell you, Hey, you said you translated that book XXX. I read it. Either you used a pen name or someone else translated it. Either way, that translation is so disgustingly bad, that I don't want any of that @#$%. Thank you very much!

The lesson here is to mention which edition(s) you translated.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:25
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
You do not know whether your translation was sent, as it was, to the end client Oct 1, 2009

Hi Toralf,

I would like to point out that there is no evidence that your translation was simply passed on by the agency to the end client, without alteration.

When you deliver a translation to your client, the agency, if they are a good agency they should proofread or even edit it. Depending on its intended purpose, they may make quite a few changes, even if your translation was fine. I am thinking, for example, of marketing texts.

Therefore it is not a reference for you, either, to put the end clients' names, because no-one even knows for sure whether what you delivered to the agency and what the agency delivered to the end client were even remotely similar.

This is just to look at the topic from another angle.

Astrid


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:25
German to English
Prestigious names are irrelevant Oct 1, 2009

The point of a CV or résumé is to indicate the range and depth of your experience; it shouldn't be a list of big-name downstream readers of your work.

A potential client is interested in your fields of expertise, not the prestige of the end users of your translations. The service manual for a Fiat, for example, isn't really much different from one for a Mercedes; there are just more systems to repair. If you think a potential client might be impressed, you could write "Translated service manuals for (fill in the blank for nationality) super-luxury automotive brand," rather than state Maybach, Maserati, etc.

Long ago I listed a well-known direct client on my web page. Unfortunately the company went out of business. I thought it might be useful to keep the listing, as it indicated expertise in robotics. After a while, however, I was contacted by users of the machinery for which I had written some of the manuals. They wanted to know where they could get additional manuals, spare parts etc. When it became apparent that people would continue to contact me regarding this company, I removed it from my web page.


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Toralf Mjelde  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
Member (2007)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the feedback Oct 1, 2009

Dear everyone,

Thanks for all your feedback. You all pretty much confirmed what I suspected, so I will keep my resumé as is. I have listed experience in my areas of expertise, and rather indicated that I work for "well-known US translation agency" etc.

Have a great day!

Best,

Toralf


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:25
English to Slovak
+ ...
Disagree here. Oct 1, 2009

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
I would like to point out that there is no evidence that your translation was simply passed on by the agency to the end client, without alteration.

When you deliver a translation to your client, the agency, if they are a good agency they should proofread or even edit it. Depending on its intended purpose, they may make quite a few changes, even if your translation was fine. I am thinking, for example, of marketing texts.

Therefore it is not a reference for you, either, to put the end clients' names, because no-one even knows for sure whether what you delivered to the agency and what the agency delivered to the end client were even remotely similar.

This is just to look at the topic from another angle.

Astrid


If it is a good agency, they send the translation (after proofreading etc.) back to me to agree or disagree with any changes. If I disagree with them, and can justify it, I can't see any reason why I couldn't quote the end client on my CV or elsewhere.

Doesn't "End Client" indicate that there is a "middle man", anyway?

[Edited at 2009-10-01 19:55 GMT]


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:25
Swedish to English
+ ...
But then what happens to your translation? Oct 1, 2009

Rad Graban wrote:

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
I would like to point out that there is no evidence that your translation was simply passed on by the agency to the end client, without alteration.

When you deliver a translation to your client, the agency, if they are a good agency they should proofread or even edit it. Depending on its intended purpose, they may make quite a few changes, even if your translation was fine. I am thinking, for example, of marketing texts.

Therefore it is not a reference for you, either, to put the end clients' names, because no-one even knows for sure whether what you delivered to the agency and what the agency delivered to the end client were even remotely similar.

This is just to look at the topic from another angle.

Astrid


If it is a good agency, they send the translation (after proofreading etc.) back to me to agree or disagree with any changes. If I disagree with them, and can justify it, I can't see any reason why I couldn't quote the end client on my CV or elsewere.


Some years ago my I/in-house company outsourced a lengthy customer agreement (CA). I selected a very professional agency with in-house staff who are all legally trained. I proofed the result and it was excellent apart from the odd typo. Two years later this CA was revised and new sections added. This was outsourced to one of the UK's largest general agencies without my involvement and what came back was serious c..p, including invented words for terms that already exist and a total ignorance of basic Swedish grammar (i.e. you do NOT separate compounds). After proofing two pages I sent the so called translation back to the agency and their freelancer happily implemented these changes whilst totally ignored the fact that this was only as sample. So all the other pages still contained split compounds, 'and' translated as 'or', etc.

Would you really want your name connected to a document which has undergone numerous, potentially disastrous, changes after your delivery? Remember, I can't always be there acting as gatekeeper.


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