Does this usually means stopped cooperation?
Thread poster: TECHNICAL-Jenny

TECHNICAL-Jenny  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:02
English to Chinese
Jul 13, 2016

Does this usually means stopped cooperation if your customer didn't send you any projects more than 4 months? I have send several emails to inquiry whether or not there is quality problem or my rate is higher than their standard, but they reply me that my quality is top and the rate is ok, only they really don't have projects for my language pair, however, it is really difficult to believe there are no projects a certain language pair more than 4 month. How do you think about this? thank you!


Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:02
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
It's perfectly normal. Time to find more clients! Jul 13, 2016

Sometimes a client will stay silent for several years before dropping a 50,000-word project on me. I stay patient and never bother my clients with unnecessary inquiries, be they agencies or end customers. I'm sure there are plenty of things you can do with your time while waiting for new orders. It sounds like your customer base could use expanding, so try marketing yourself and/or investing in learning or training. Good luck!


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:02
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
It's not unusual Jul 13, 2016

I agree with Mikhail, really good clients can sometimes "fall silent" for months or even years and then start offering work again. I guess clients are just as subject to the fluctuations of the market as we translators are. It doesn't necessarily imply that they are dissatisfied with our work or our prices.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:02
Member (2007)
+ ...
Don't write them off but look elsewhere Jul 13, 2016

In all probability, they've found someone else who's cheaper. But maybe that collaboration won't last. Perhaps there will be quality complaints at some time, or a row over a misunderstanding, or the new translator will simply go on holiday and you'll get a spate of work and they'll then decide they prefer working with you and can afford you. Or maybe you'll never get work from them again. It's one of several reasons for ensuring you have a wide client base.

Don't harrass them about work - they have no obligation towards you aside of payment for work done. As already advised, use the free time wisely (which may mean booking a holiday!) and sort out alternative work as soon as possible. I personally have had many clients disappear and then come back, even years later. In the same way, contacting a potential client today may bring silence tomorrow...and floods of work in 2017.


Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nothing unusual Jul 13, 2016

Best advice I could give is:

- Don't disturb them with your emails; it will only add stress on their side.
- Market your services elsewhere.

it's not unusual that clients disappear and reappear every now and then. The very essence of our business model is to not depend on a small number of customers. Persevere to expand your client base.

Good luck!


TECHNICAL-Jenny  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:02
English to Chinese
Thank all the people who replied to my post. Jul 13, 2016

Thank all the people who replied to my post. In fact, I am trying to find more new customers these days, however, it is very difficult than before, maybe because more people join into the workforce for English to Chinese translation. Under this situation, I got more pressure and confused, and send some emails to these old customers to inquiry. No matter how, I will stop sending them any more emails to inquiry from now on, and try my best to find more new customers.


Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
It is normal Jul 18, 2016

My current top paying client is an agency which had made me jump elaborate recruitment hoops several years ago and didn't send a penny-worth of jobs for years. Suddenly, it received a very large project in my language pair (English to Hindi) for which it it is using me as its main translator and reviewer, and it is my main earner this year.

So consider this as an investment that may or may not yield any dividend in the future.


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:02
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Normal, but... Jul 18, 2016

...if the agency had frequent work in the language pair in the past, it could mean that they have found someone else who is cheaper (potentially not only in rates, but also in quality) and are trying their luck with the other person.

Agencies often prefer to hide such situations from you, as to not discourage you from taking jobs when they have more work. By not being open on their choices, they also keep you from spending time looking for other agency clients, thus preventing you from working for their competitors.

As others have advised, it is time to look for more customers!


Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:02
Member (2005)
English to Swedish
+ ...
It's normal Sep 23, 2016

It's perfectly normal. Clients can be silent for years and then suddenly send you a big project.

Don't bother them, search for more clients. For instance, I have worked as a translator for 12 years and currently have 151 clients in my list, which guarantees me quite a lot of work (more than I can handle).

However, in the beginning, the first 2 years, it was difficult. I had only very few clients and was very dependent on them for projects. It took about 2 years to build up a sufficiently broad client base. Some of the companies that received my CV would sometimes wait years before they contacted me. So it can take time.

A few good things that help:
- maintain prices that are competitive (but still not too low),
- always deliver excellent quality,
- add extra value whenever you can (show that you care about the translation, your client's business, the end client, the people who will read the translation, everything...),
- communicate well (answer quickly, provide efficient replies, be to the point).


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Does this usually means stopped cooperation?

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