Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
How to deal with a potential client you know in your personal life? (Husband's friend)
Thread poster: Evelyne Targe

Evelyne Targe  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:26
Member (2016)
English to French
Jun 14

Hello,

For the first time, I have to deal with a potential client I know in my personal life. Not a close friend of mine, but of my husband.

At first, he proposed me a technical translation job for a business he owns. I sent him a price quote which took into account the fact that he already translated a quarter of the document. He only answered after 10 days to say that it was quite an amount of money for him and he had to ask the help of his business partner. (It is actually a standard price for a translation, nothing crazy.)

I considered he was politely telling me that it would actually never happen but now he asks me to attend a meeting to discuss how I'm going to work on this text. I asked him if he was wondering about the translation method, the search for technical terms, the CAT tool, or whatever but he didn't answered my questions.

In the mean time, my price quote expires on the 1st of July and I have no answer about the funding of the translation. He didn't asked for my credentials or translation samples or anything. And I'm afraid that this meeting will come to nothing. I know from my husband that he can be a big mouth. I suspects he will ask me to lower my price, and I don't want to.

I feel kind of trapped in this situation, like if I was treated like an employee, not like in a client / service provider relationship. The thing is I don't want to argue with him since I know him out of this context.

What do you think? Would you accept the meeting if a potential client didn't accept the price quote at first ?

I'm looking forward to read your opinion about this issue.

Evelyne


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:26
Romanian to English
+ ...
Personal relationship goes both ways Jun 14

1. Why would you be more interested in his translation need than he is? There are two weeks left. If there is no answer by that time, politely remind him (by e-mail, if possible) a few days before your offer expires that your offer expires soon, because you have other clients to attend to.

2. Remember that being personally acquainted goes both ways. You too are his personal acquaintance and if he doesn't respect you as a friend, why would you pay any attention to the personal aspect?

This is what I dislike about businesspeople who rely on their personal relationships to have costly translation done at almost no cost. If he has a business and he needs the translation for business purposes (i.e. profit), treat him like any other business client. You can't sacrifice your livelihood for his profit.


kmtext
Niina Lahokoski
Michel Virasolvy
 

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 14:26
French to English
+ ...
Charge him! Jun 14

If the customer wants your time, he must pay for it. Your time is your only asset and you should not be giving it away for free to disagreeable people. Your normal hourly rate plus travelling expenses should do it. I'm quite sure that, if you explain this to him up-front, you will never hear from him again.

kmtext
Anna Augustin
 

Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:26
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Stay professional, friendly and firm Jun 14

I think you are right and this meeting will be (mostly) about the price. He is not a translator, so he will probably not be interested in how you produce the translation. If you translate into a language he does not speak very well, sample translations are not much use either.

I had something similar not long ago.
Someone I know from my rowing club asked me to do a translation for him (he runs his own small company).
Not a close friend, but we meet regularly on and off the water.

He first called to ask me what my price would be. When I struggled, he realised it was perhaps tricky to ask me like this, on the spot, and sent me the text by email, so that I could have a look and let him know. He did say that the price I initially told him was my usual rate for commercial clients would be too high and he would not be able to afford this.
I had a little time to decide on a price then, and decided to quote a lower rate than my normal rate - after all, this was someone I knew and I could afford doing him a favour. Plus, it was a quiet time, I would not have to reject other jobs because he could afford long deadlines, and I quite like the texts.
He agreed to these rates, sent me a few texts after the first one and we were both happy.

If you can afford a modest discount, and would like to accept his translation job, I would think of the lowest rate you would be willing to do this for, taking into account that this is a personal friend of your husband's, but also that you do not want to loose other jobs that will earn you more money, or end up annoyed with yourself or with him.
Then go to the meeting, keeping this lowest rate firmly in mind. If he tries to negotiate an even lower rate, explain that this is too far below your usual rate and you are not willing to work for less than X. If that is too high for him, perhaps he can find another translator who is willing to work for less. Neither of you will need to argue or get emotional - tell him you are sorry you can't help, wish him luck finding someone else and that's it.


kmtext
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 20:26
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Nothing going on Jun 14

At this point, you're dealing with a non-issue. Every business gets hundreds of inquiries for quotes and expects to never hear anything again. I don't know what you have to lose by meeting with him. He's a family friend, he can pay you a visit or buy you lunch or coffee at a nearby cafe, and I don't see anything unusual about wanting to discuss matters with a potential supplier in person. Turn him down if you don't like the terms.

Slow responses are common for people who don't do business with emails (or that particular email). You do need to loosen certain policies - including payment terms - when you deal with a client that isn't in the business of regularly engaging freelancers, and please don't assume your client knows anything about industry practices. Right now, from the perspective of the client, you're presenting yourself as someone who's very difficult to work with for someone who is unfamiliar with the industry. Sticking rigidly to the letter of professional practices can actually make you less professional.

In the mean time, my price quote expires on the 1st of July

Which is...more than two weeks away? You might very well have completed the translation by then.

He didn't asked for my credentials or translation samples or anything.

He is not in a position to do that at all, being 1) a private individual or small business, and 2) personally acquainted with you. He will not dare to ask.


 

Evelyne Targe  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:26
Member (2016)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
controling the situation Jun 14

Annamaria Amik wrote:

1. Why would you be more interested in his translation need than he is? There are two weeks left. If there is no answer by that time, politely remind him (by e-mail, if possible) a few days before your offer expires that your offer expires soon, because you have other clients to attend to.


You're right Annamaria, I've never worked as a freelancer with someone I know personally and I realise that I find it difficult to stay on a professional level. And I feel like I'm not controling the situation properly. Besides, there's this meeting proposal, at his office, during business day. He doesn't answer my questions neither, which I find so frustrating.


 

Evelyne Targe  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:26
Member (2016)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
I agreed on a discount already Jun 14

Marjolein Snippe wrote:

If you can afford a modest discount, and would like to accept his translation job, I would think of the lowest rate you would be willing to do this for, taking into account that this is a personal friend of your husband's, but also that you do not want to loose other jobs that will earn you more money, or end up annoyed with yourself or with him.
Then go to the meeting, keeping this lowest rate firmly in mind. If he tries to negotiate an even lower rate, explain that this is too far below your usual rate and you are not willing to work for less than X. If that is too high for him, perhaps he can find another translator who is willing to work for less. Neither of you will need to argue or get emotional - tell him you are sorry you can't help, wish him luck finding someone else and that's it.


Thank you for your input Marjolein. I will have to think about the possibility to lower my price but the issue is also that I already agreed to discount the total of words he already translated on his own. Even if he's not a professional English > French translator, he tried to translate by himself the document. I will have to edit his translation though, since there are a lot of word-for-word translations.

I think that he persuaded he can do without me, in a way...


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:26
Romanian to English
+ ...
Meeting Jun 14

Evelyne_T wrote:

Annamaria Amik wrote:

1. Why would you be more interested in his translation need than he is? There are two weeks left. If there is no answer by that time, politely remind him (by e-mail, if possible) a few days before your offer expires that your offer expires soon, because you have other clients to attend to.


You're right Annamaria, I've never worked as a freelancer with someone I know personally and I realise that I find it difficult to stay on a professional level. And I feel like I'm not controling the situation properly. Besides, there's this meeting proposal, at his office, during business day. He doesn't answer my questions neither, which I find so frustrating.


I agree with the others that you should stay friendly and understand that he might not be familiar with working with freelancers. But I'm also a bit skeptical about this particular aspect. For the purposes of this transaction, you are a business partner, and he surely must know how to treat business partners! Does he forget to answer questions even when a client of his sends him questions about his product/service? ...

Is this a large volume we are talking about? If it's a smaller text, say, anything smaller than 10-15 pages, I personally wouldn't find the effort of visiting him (=time) in his office reasonable, especially if it's a discount he wants to ask. For uncomplicated projects, prices can be discussed over phone or e-mail. You also have to take into account that his translation might not be up to standard and there could be inconsistencies in the text unless you proofread his part.

I say don't put more effort into the communication with him than he does...


kmtext
 

Evelyne Targe  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:26
Member (2016)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Difficulties on both side apparently Jun 14

Lincoln Hui wrote:

At this point, you're dealing with a non-issue. Every business gets hundreds of inquiries for quotes and expects to never hear anything again. I don't know what you have to lose by meeting with him. He's a family friend, he can pay you a visit or buy you lunch or coffee at a nearby cafe, and I don't see anything unusual about wanting to discuss matters with a potential supplier in person. Turn him down if you don't like the terms.


Thanks for your input Lincoln. He actually wants me to pay him a visit during the business day at his office, not the other way around. And he's actually more a school friend of my husband than a friend of mine actually. But I understand what you mean, he could have the feeling that I'm difficult to work with.

The thing is I delivered a price quote within 24 hours after reception of the document to translate with a discount for the pages he translated (badly) already and that I will have to edit. I explained my rates because I know he's never worked with a professional translater before. With my price quote, I propose him to call me on my mobile phone anytime he wants to discuss about it but he didn't call.

He answered 10 days after he received the price quote only to say that he will ask for help to finance it.

And then he asks for a meeting. When I ask questions about the purpose of the meeting to come I have zero answers. That's why I'm frustrated. I'm not agains't the idea of a meeting but I don't feel confortable with the e-mail communication so far and I'm wondering if i'm biaised. that's why i'm asking your opinion !



[Edited at 2018-06-14 08:49 GMT]


 

Evelyne Targe  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:26
Member (2016)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
word count : 12,000 total Jun 14

Annamaria, it is a user manual for a computing device of 12,000 words total. He translated around 3,000 words so I will have to translate around 9,000 and edit the 3,000 words already translated.
I think it will take at least 5 days to complete this job.
But you're right, since it's a big job, I should for sure pay him a visit at his office to discuss it properly.

[Edited at 2018-06-14 08:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-06-14 08:52 GMT]


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 20:26
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Considerations Jun 14

Evelyne_T wrote:
Thanks for your input Lincoln. He actually wants me to pay him a visit during the business day at his office, not the other way around. And he's actually more a school friend of my husband than a friend of mine actually. But I understand what you mean, he could have the feeling that I'm difficult to work with.

Considerations:
1. How much effort would take to visit him? For me, a bona fide potential 10k project is worth the trouble of visiting someone in town, though it may not work for everybody, especially if they are more than an hour away.
2. Is there upside? If there is the potential of getting future work from this client, even occasionally, it may be worth putting in some extra effort now.
3. It's not unusual for contractors and consultants to visit a business location without charge. But if you don't feel comfortable about this, it's also not unreasonable for you to suggest a meeting at a neutral location during his lunch break or after hours. He's the one seeking your help, after all.

The thing is I delivered a price quote within 24 hours after reception of the document to translate with a discount for the pages he translated (badly) already and that I will have to edit. i explained my rates because I now he's never worked with a professional translater before. With my price quote, I propose him to call me on my mobile phone anytime he wants to discuss about it but he didn't call.

He answered 10 days after he received the price quote only to say that he will ask for help to finance it.

And then he asks for a meeting. When I ask questions about the purpose of the meeting to come I have zero answers. That's why I'm frustrated. I'm not agains't the idea of a meeting but I don't feel confortable with the e-mail communication so far and I'm wondering if i'm biaised. that's why i'm asking your opinion !

Get too used to email communications in the translation world, and you'll be surprised how bad most people are at replying to emails or non-priority communications in general. This likely isn't on the top of the list of things that he needs to get done immediately. Full disclosure: I'm guilty too.

On the whole, I think it's actually a good sign that he wants to set up a meeting, because he's unlikely to do so if he wasn't serious about wanting to have the translation. Your downside is wasting a couple of hours.


 

Evelyne Targe  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:26
Member (2016)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
The meeting as a proof of his interest Jun 14

Lincoln Hui wrote:

On the whole, I think it's actually a good sign that he wants to set up a meeting, because he's unlikely to do so if he wasn't serious about wanting to have the translation. Your downside is wasting a couple of hours.


You've got a point there Lincoln!

Except that the behavior in business in a small provincial town in France like mine can be pretty erratic, you know, compared to what you're used to in Hong Kong. I never worked in HK but one of my friend do and I understand that it's a completely different world. So I don't think this meeting means much actually. But I can pay him a visit, of course.

But you're right about one thing : I rely too much on e-mail communication.


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 14:26
Member (2016)
English to German
Be open about your doubts Jun 14

Evelyne, apart from the good advice you have received already, I would suggest to be open with the person about your efforts to keep the personal relationship and the business relationship separated. Talk to him as a friend first, telling him that you already offered a special price for friendship's sake and that you are willing to go the extra mile for him here and there, but then make it clear that you are talking business now, and that you are doing everything in a fully professional way when you are in working mode. This is not only for your benefit but also for his. For example, tell him that when it is about editing the stuff he already did, you cannot do this by other standards than for other people, and he will have to accept your changes without taking it personally. All for the sake of a perfect output, which is for his own good. It will not do any harm to him if he needs to learn a little respect for you and your professional attitude.

 

sailingshoes
Local time: 14:26
Spanish to English
For what it's worth... Jun 14

I work in a small town in elsewhere in Europe and almost never work for locals and make a point of never working for people who are known to my family. It would just be too much hassle if anything went wrong. I have plenty of work online and stick with that.

It's impossible to know what your situation is like exactly, but here small business owners can have a sort of feudal mentality: once they pay you, you become their property and a lot of interaction is designed to underline their own importance.


 

Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:26
Polish to English
+ ...
My point of view Jun 14

"I suspects he will ask me to lower my price, and I don't want to."
You do not need to accept his wish and nobody can force you, even your husband - as simple as that.

"I've never worked as a freelancer with someone I know personally and I realise that I find it difficult to stay on a professional level."
I can imagine staying on a friendly level while translating e.g. a wine bottle label or a joke during a reception or another leisure time acitivity. But when it comes to translating a 12,000-word technical text (requirements, description or manual), I suggest you should stay on a professional level no matter who your client is, whether your husband's best friend or not. A 12,000-word text means a hard work for as many as five or six days and you'd like to be paid respectively.

As people say: Wonders can be made in a blink of an eye, but it takes time to do a serious work.


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

How to deal with a potential client you know in your personal life? (Husband's friend)

Advanced search







SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search