Who should I consider as the end client?
Thread poster: FrenyNLiska

FrenyNLiska  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:05
English to Portuguese
Sep 8, 2011

Someone asked me for a reference from the end client and I have the following situation: I was hired by the agency A, the agency A was hired by the agency B, and the agency B was hired by the manufacturer. So, who should I consider as the end client, the agency B or the manufacturer? Is the end client always the entity that is going to use the translation?

Thank you so much for your help!


Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:05
English to German
+ ...
They asked you specificially for the address of an end client? Sep 8, 2011

This is where my internal alarm bells will go off. It is possible that they are rather interested in generating new business than in any references. Don't do that.

References can be provided solely by the company that hired you and paid you.


Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:05
German to English
With Nicole Sep 8, 2011

In all likelihood, the end client has no idea who you are. Companies outsource their translations to agencies who tend to put their own imprimatur on delivered documents. The end clients of most of my agency work are multinationals, and in some instances, I can only guess who commissioned the translation -- the US affiliate of the company originating the document or a supplier? If asked about my work, these companies would have no idea who I was.

Nicole suggested that this was a scheme to get the names of potential new customers. I fully agree


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Your client... Sep 8, 2011

Your end client is the agency that hired you. End of the story.icon_smile.gif

Edited to add this: Agencies are sometimes cheeky and ask for references from all over the place. Basically your qualification, declared experience, and eventually a translation test are enough reassurance of your abilities to a new client. Furthermore, all serious translation agencies make you sign NDAs which in very many cases require you even not to reveal the fact that you work for them, so asking for references from a modern translator makes very little sense if you ask me.

When asked for references, I always report that I cannot reveal that information because of my NDAs (something that is true), and that does not keep me from being hired by new agencies... as long as they are willing to pay my rate, of course.icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2011-09-08 05:31 GMT]


kalap (X)
With Tomas Sep 8, 2011

In an agency situation, your client is the agency. The situation becomes more complicated if there are two agencies between you and the end customer (for instance, an advertising agency which hires a translation agency). You are bound to the NDAs, which for me means that I can never tell for which agencies I work for, neither for which end clients. I am a bit extreme in this respect.

The person who asked you this references, asks in fact for references of end clients you directly work for (no agency in between). In this case, it is indeed a cheap scheme for finding new customers. (I worked in an agency and you cannot imaging how interesting cv's of translators are in this respect, and in other respects too, they really tell you their whole life).

My suggestion: only mention published works you translated, if you are on the cover page, and the publisher. For the rest, you can state the fields in which you are specialized. Some translators don't see any problem in saying that they have been working for big company A, or big company B, but NEVER mention names or departments.


Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:05
German to English
+ ...
Also with Nicole Sep 8, 2011

One other aspect to consider: If you were to get a reference from the agency for whom you did the work, and who paid you, that "someone" will then have all the contact details of that agency, and may decide to use the agency's services instead of yours.
Alarm bells ring again.

Presumably this "someone" who wants a reference speaks either Portuguese or English - your working pair.

I would refer them to the sample translations on your ProZ profile and invite them to judge for themselves on the quality of texts you have produced. (Based on the principle that if I were a shoemaker, I would show a customer samples of shoes I had made. If the customer likes them, he or she can order a pair.)

You could also point out that you believe your ProZ profile provides all details relevant to your (12 years of) translation experience and specialist fields.

I do not provide references. Or copies of degree certificates. The latter are displayed on the wall in my office. And that is where they stay.


FrenyNLiska  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:05
English to Portuguese
Now I understand Sep 8, 2011

I`m so glad I decided to ask first! Eventhough I`ve been working a long time as a translator, I`m new in the freelance business - and to be honest, kind of clueless on how things work. Everything you said totally makes sense and I`ll certainly follow your valuable recommendations. Thank you all!!


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 10:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Alway refer to my profile Sep 8, 2011

I have translation samples and several WWA's in my profile - that's all the information I'm willing to share with anyone who asks for references.


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