A smart, original, modest and astounding...business present
Thread poster: laure claesen

laure claesen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:09
Member (2005)
English to French
Jan 3, 2013

I am facing the following situation and have been cracking my skull to try and find the best conduct:

In the last three months, I received a very (very) large amount of work from a very good client for something that is proving to be an excellent business relationship.

I would like to send them a present to thank them for all the work they entrusted me and their very fast payment (and also as a New Year gift).

I am wondering if this is appropriate or if I could just go on receiving the work, doing it to the best of my abilities and nothing more.

Also, the choice of the gift is very important.
As this is a client in the cultural / education sector, I am looking for something really smart.

My ideas so far are:
-a voucher for a theatre play/show (for 2 people)
-a voucher for a gourmet restaurant (for 2 people)

or should I stick to very conventional objects (basically, chocolates, champagne and flowers)?

Have you ever been in a similar situation? Have you experiences to share?

I fear that if I send a present it will be interpreted as "please carry on" or sound rude in a way - and in no way it must appear as a bribery (I have translated tons of Codes of Business Conduct so I know exactly what the general ethos is in that respect).

What is your own opinion?

Thank you in advance for your feedback and/or ideas...


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's the thought that counts Jan 3, 2013

I think in most cases a modest yet sincere greeting card would suffice, although if you want to include a gourmet meal voucher I'd be pleased to receive one myself!

They are obviously content with your relationship, so I wouldn't worry about it - although perhaps business in France is done along stricter lines. I have a great relationship my most of my Spanish clients an can usually be as familiar or cheeky with them as I like. When I'm happy I just tell them, and the same goes for when I'm not! I've never sent them anything other than an e-greeting, and only started doing that this year.


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Anne Pinaglia
Netherlands
Local time: 00:09
Member (2011)
Italian to English
+ ...
I'd stay "professional" Jan 3, 2013

I've only gone as far as to send thank-you notes, which were much appreciated.

I don't know the nature of your relationship with this client but IMO it's best to keep things on more of a professional level when giving gifts/thank-yous. Theater and restaurant tickets feel a little too personal, but of course that's just me.

Why not send a nice Mariage Frères gift box with some nice tea in it? Or a coffee mug with some nice coffee that they can enjoy at work? You can send a little note saying thank you and that you look forward to a continued relationship with them.

Either way I'm sure it will be unexpected and they'll be very happy to receive it, even if it's just a very nice thank you card.

Hope that helps!

Anne


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laure claesen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:09
Member (2005)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Helpful reply Jan 3, 2013

Thank you Anne, it really helps.

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Katie Van Keijenberg  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 00:09
English to Dutch
+ ...
A box of chocolates Jan 3, 2013

should do the trick

Something they can share with guests and other business relationships while mentioning "Oh, I got these from a very reliable translator I am working with".

Kind regards,
Katie


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:09
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Hi Laure Jan 3, 2013

As you have translated tons of Codes of Business Conduct, you know what is it about... Your possible actions depend greatly on who is your customer: a corporate client or a private person. In case it is a corporation, the most appropriate thing would be sending them a nice greeting card. In case it is a private person, you have more options to choose from.

Natalia


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Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:09
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
I would give it a little time... Jan 3, 2013

After all, it has been only three months...

If you feel that you have to "give back" to your client, you may support a cause or an event that is important to it/her/him. I bought and sold tickets for annual fundraising gourmet dinners, golf tournaments, cycling challenges, cocktails, hot-dog or spaghetti parties, etc., sponsored such events or gift certificates to the volunteers and even volunteered at the organization. I let you see the advantages of such activities for yourself and for your business.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:09
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I'd be careful, if I were you Jan 3, 2013

Although I freelanced there for many years, I don't actually know what the French authorities think of these "gifts", but I suspect the company could feel awkward if you send such tangible things as theatre tickets.

If you really want to give something more than "thanks!", I'd suggest sticking to something for the office: chocolates, flowers, a plant, or some sort of office tidy or executive toy. Online gift shops are full of ideas! You can even get an aquarium now that's specially designed for office desks!


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:09
Danish to English
+ ...
Maybe it's a cultural thing, but Jan 3, 2013

... I worked for a Danish translation agency for seven years, and we did once in a while receive gifts from suppliers, always chocolates or flowers, which were very welcome. And if a freelancer happened to visit us at the office, they might bring cake to be shared with us over a cup of coffee. Anything more than that would have been considered extremely awkward, and in my view, utterly unnecessary.

Another thing to remember is that if the client is an agency, they are already making a lot of money on your work, i.e. THEY should be thanking you for doing all the hard (translation) work, for which they take a fair share of the payment from the end client. It's a mutual relationship, so there's no need to reward them further.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:09
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Something modest and share-able Jan 3, 2013

I agree with the others that a high-value, personal gift might create an uncomfortable situation. This is a business relationship, not a friendship, and they aren't doing you a favor - they're presumably benefiting financially from putting your valued translations to use. Here in the US, too, many companies - especially government contractors - have strict rules prohibiting any kind of gratuity. Many cannot even allow a supplier to pay for their modest restaurant meal, even if they are visiting the supplier and the supplier is taking them out for a business lunch.

Still, all this talk is making me nostalgic for the yummy cookies and other goodies our vendors used to generously shower us with over the holidays, back when I was a technical writer for an industrial equipment manufacturer!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:09
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Something tasty with a nominal value Jan 3, 2013

Not more than 30 euros, I would say.

Experience proves that it is best to offer something the customer and their team can enjoy at a coffee break or as a desert in the company's kitchen or coffee room. Ideally some regional product you only find in the part of the country you come from, or maybe a special something made by a boutique bakery near your working place. Something that's hard to find, small, and tasty and they can enjoy and link to your name.

I would completely refrain from sending tickets for events, restaurant vouchers, etc. They might not like the play or the venue at all, and you would be forcing them to lie to you about "how good it was" or spend time doing something they dislike. Too risky.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:09
Italian to English
If you are invoicing regularly... Jan 3, 2013

... couldn't you just send your contact a signed greetings card by snail mail - so few people do this nowadays that it is an excellent investment - and perhaps do the next short translation "à titre gracieux"?

After all, it's the thought that counts


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:09
French to English
chocolates or sweets Jan 4, 2013

I second those who suggest keeping it traditional. Also, for France, you might be interested in reading this article that covers fiscal issues for business gifts.

http://www.net-iris.fr/veille-juridique/actualite/28794/quel-est-interet-un-cadeau-entreprise.php


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:09
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I agree with Sheila Jan 4, 2013

I think gifts are breaking the bounds of correct professional behaviour. Just keep calm and carry on delivering first-class translations. That's the only thing you need to do.

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laure claesen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:09
Member (2005)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
blunder avoided Jan 8, 2013

Thanks to all for your input.
I can see I might have done a blunder.


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