Advice and ressources for a newbie on how to deal with clients and avoid being scammed
Thread poster: gregnicvert (X)

gregnicvert (X)
Local time: 05:22
English to French
+ ...
Feb 6, 2015

Hello everybody,
I'm Grégoire from France and I'm just starting in the translation industry. I didn't graduate in that field and I don't have any working experience either so I'm a little confused sometimes on how to appear as professional as I can and avoid being used and scammed.
I've created my business plan, my service offer (thanks Alain Marsol!), cover letter (any feedback is welcome) and I've signed up on freelance job websites.
My main concern now is when contacting the clients, negotiating with them, and if they are interested in hiring you for the job, how to find a mutual agreement on the terms and the payment that will be profitable for both parties.
I'm gonna give an example, I've just got accepted on the Wikihow team to translate articles from English to French. But during the process I had no clue how to ask the proper questions about the contract and the payment and negotiate. I just agreed on their terms and didn't make any objections, being afraid that they would choose someone else if I ask too many questions.
I don't want to do that again, that's why I'm asking experienced translators how you deal with clients during the negotiation phase, what kind of agreement you make (contract or not?) and how to make sure that you're gonna get paid for your work?
If you have any advice and online ressources that explain everything on how to deal with clients and agencies and appear as professional as possible, I'll be really thankful.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:22
Member (2007)
+ ...
Mainly a question of age/experience, maybe? Feb 7, 2015

You haven't given much background, Grégoire, but I'm wondering how old you are and how much work experience you have overall. Freelancing means running your very own, (very) small business. That calls for a certain amount of maturity and self-confidence. Everyone has to start as a beginner as a freelancer, but it helps if you know a bit about working relations etc. It can be extra hard for someone who hasn't had much experience of the working world.

Of course, you have to ask the client about the job, but you shouldn't be asking about terms: rates, volumes deliverabe per day, currency, payment method, payment period... all these are your reponsibility. You should be proposing your terms and then negotiating, but only as far as you see fit e.g. faster delivery against higher rates; different payment method against faster payment.

Many clients, especially the bigger agencies, try to dictate everything. It's up to us to take control. We can't be forced to work for terms we aren't happy with. We can say "No" to clients. And it's often the best way if we aren't totally happy. Being pressured into poor deals is damaging in the long run as self-respect diminishes. And working without being 100% sure of the terms involved can lead to big problems further down the line. (We've heard some real horrors on this forum, including working for days then delivering to an email address when that's absolutely all that is known of the client. If that isn't a road to disaster, I don't know what is.)

In short, you WILL have to learn some things the hard way. But aim to keep control of your business 99% of the time.


gregnicvert (X)
Local time: 05:22
English to French
+ ...
Thanks Feb 7, 2015

Thank you for the message Sheila.
So I'm 25, I've graduated in International Trades and worked mainly in customer services and as a commercial assistant. I know how to deal with the questions and requests of clients but less when dealing with them during the negotiation process.
Also as an entrepreneur, the dynamic with clients is different than when you're an emloyee in a company. You don't see and might not even speak to them directly. A lot is done through emails so when starting it can be confusing and you wonder if you can trust them.
So as you say, I'm gonna set my terms and then negotiate, and no being afraid of saying "no".
And yes I'll learn through trial and error as everyone before!
Thanks for the advice again, have a good day,


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