What is the etiquette regarding providing samples of previous work?
Thread poster: Clare Swann

Clare Swann
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:21
Italian to English
+ ...
May 14, 2012

Hi everyone,

This is probably a really simple question but its the first time I've come across it so just wanted to get feedback on how to proceed..

An agency has contacted me asking for some samples of my previous work. I understand this is a fairly common request but just wanted to ask how I should go about it to avoid confidentiality issues, as normally agencies and clients don't like you to disclose details or documents to others. Should I just blank out names, numbers etc or should I forget using my previous work altogether and find a new sample I can translate from scratch?

Thanks!


 

Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:21
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ask your clients May 14, 2012

Hi Clare,

I would recommend that you ask the clients you've worked for already if they don't mind you using the jobs you've done for them as samples. Some may say yes, some may say no, but at least that way you won't be upsetting anyone.

Good luck!

Becky.


 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:21
German to English
+ ...
Only texts in the public domain May 14, 2012

I only use texts I translated for direct clients that have been published and are publicly available.

 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:21
English to German
+ ...
Here is what the owner of a large translation agency told me May 14, 2012

I had the same question when I started out and I simply asked my favorite agency client. Here is what the owner said:

"Of course you can put any of your work into your portfolio. Never forget, though: WE are your client, never the company that entrusted us with this project as their agency."


 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:21
German to English
+ ...
Alternative - translation "test" May 14, 2012

The intricacies of this situation is why I actually don't mind completing reasonable translation "tests" for reputable agencies. I know that's not a popular opinion here, but I feel they give the translator a chance to see what the client wants as well as an opportunity to showcase their work without the hassle of wondering if you are committing an indiscretion by providing a sample.

 

Clare Swann
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:21
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ask clients rather than agencies? May 14, 2012

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your comments. So am I right in thinking most of you recommend approaching the client directly to ask if you can include their material rather than going to the agency you got the job through, even if you have never dealt directly with the client, only the agency? Just trying to clarify

Thanks again!


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:21
English to German
+ ...
If you wrote for an agency, then the agency is the client. May 14, 2012

Clare_H wrote:
Thanks for your comments. So am I right in thinking most of you recommend approaching the client directly to ask if you can include their material rather than going to the agency you got the job through, even if you have never dealt directly with the client, only the agency? Just trying to clarify


Example: If you are hired by Agency XYZ to translate a website for Apple, then Agency XYZ is your client, never Apple, Inc.


 

Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:21
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Your client, not their one May 14, 2012

Clare_H wrote:

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your comments. So am I right in thinking most of you recommend approaching the client directly to ask if you can include their material rather than going to the agency you got the job through, even if you have never dealt directly with the client, only the agency? Just trying to clarify

Thanks again!


No, I meant your client, so if you worked for an agency then you should ask the agency. It's unlikely you'd be able to contact the end client anyway because a) you wouldn't have the contact details for the person dealing with translations and b) confidentiality agreements often specify that you shouldn't contact the end client.


 

Clare Swann
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:21
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for clarification May 14, 2012

Ahh thanks Nicole and Rebecca, I wasn't sure if I'd understood correctly since as you say I was under the impression I couldn't contact the client directly anyway, but it makes sense now!

 

gad
United States
Local time: 23:21
Member
French to English
Be sure to redact out all personal information May 14, 2012

Clare_H wrote:

Should I just blank out names, numbers etc or should I forget using my previous work altogether and find a new sample I can translate from scratch?


If you are going to use samples of previous work, be sure to redact out any and all personal information (names, numbers, addresses, etc.).


 

graceandcharm
Local time: 23:21
Ask for testimonials from clients. Write a white paper or report May 14, 2012

All of the advice is great, there is no cookie cutter answer since each client is different. Have you considered asking your clients for testimonials based on their experience with working with you. Also, I've found it very effective to use white papers or provide your potential client with a "Free" report that is a sample of your expertise.

 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 21:21
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
In my profile May 15, 2012

I have posted a few brief excerpts (all from direct clients) in my profile and I refer anyone who asks to my profile.

 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:21
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Posting in ProZ profile May 15, 2012

I once posted a brief excerpt from work for a client in my ProZ profile (after deleting names, addresses etc.) The client saw it there, recognized it and objected. I had to remove it. So it's probably better to ask the client's permission even if you have edited names etc. out.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:21
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Make up your own samples May 15, 2012

Clare_H wrote:
An agency has contacted me asking for some samples of my previous work. ... Should I just blank out names, numbers etc or should I forget using my previous work altogether and find a new sample I can translate from scratch?


Create new samples from scratch, for your portfolio. Choose the types of text you want in your portfolio (i.e. that you have translated before) and then hunt for similar files on the web. Translate those files and add them to your portfolio. Remember to credit the source of those texts.

If you do a lot of different work, you can create a portfolio paragraph each time you do a job, by googling for a similar text as your current job and then adding that to your portfolio (translated). Do not sort these paragraphs chronologically but rather thematically. In fact, this is a great way to expand your web site -- adding just a paragraph each time. Or, if you have a blog, you can have one sample per article, and write a bit of commentary on the text -- it will impress some clients.


 


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