"Can you send us your client list/sample translations?"
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:51
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Apr 10, 2007

Hello,

A couple of days I have received a proposal for cooperation from one agency (it seems they are new in the business).

Well, got all the "usual pack": their registration form to fill in, the NDA, Cv form, etc.

The application form has one block where they ask me to provide some list of my clients and/or sample translations.

Fairly speaking, I do not quite understand what they want..."My client list?"? First of all, who is a client - someone for whom one translated 0.5 page of text some 6 years ago? Or a permanent client...Also I do not understand why do they ask this and what for? Client list is an expensive "property" of any service provider. Moreover, who knows, maybe it includes an agency which can be a competitor of the requesting agency...Maybe it can include some producers of competing brands? I really do not understand what do they want. Maybe I shall also ask them to send their own client list for me too?

Also "sample translations". OK, there are public websites that I have translated and which can be seen and read by anyone. But there are materials which I will never disclose to anyone just for the respect of my client confidentiality (even if it was a vacuum cleaner manual)...If I were a client myself, well, I would not be happy if someone distributes my material to the third parties (let alone the NDAs, copyrights to translation, etc.). In any case, I do not quite understand what these sample translations are for...

And, fairly speaking, such requests from an agency seem to be a little bit strange, even not ethical ("give me your client list, show us what you do for others")...

Or, maybe I am wrong. Anyone has an idea why agencies request these things and how these can be related to cooperation between a free-lancer and an agency?


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Wolf Kux  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:51
Member (2006)
German to Portuguese
+ ...
New free clients everyone wants Apr 10, 2007

Dear MariusV,

a serious company, like translator's agency, or companies from other industry has always their own clients. Such companies protect them very well and usually never show its clients list to others; only those customers with long-term agreements or with finished relationships / works are shown on a portfolio.

I mean, for example, a car tire provider shows on its site that he sells tires for, let's say GM, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, etc. since 10 - 20 years ago. Such a relationship would not be destroyed easily.

But even such lists, when displayed on Internet, may get noticed by competitors, who, in turn, go to knock on their clients doors. So, be very careful to show your clients to others.

Sometimes it may be useful to ask an old friend, (for whom you did not made any translation), to give his name / email to such an agency. Of course, if he receives a contact of this agency, it may be not a serious one.

If no friends agree to get exposed, another ideia is to "invent" a client and create an email on a free provider, and give this created address to your agency. You may combine its name based on 2 famous people, e .g. George Carter (as from Jimmy Carter & George Bush).

Wait some time, and you see the result. I think it is not a crime to catch clients from others, but not a fine task.

On the other hand, if you give a real client's name to such an agency, and your client say good bye to you, it may not be a good client for you.

Best Regards.




[Bearbeitet am 2007-04-10 01:45]

[Bearbeitet am 2007-04-10 01:49]


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Fernando Tognis  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 17:51
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
agencies and colleagues Apr 10, 2007

Hello.
When they ask me for references, I always give contact details of agencies or colleagues, but no clients!!! That way, you can provide real references without running the risk of losing clients.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Samples, yes, clients no Apr 10, 2007

You can provide them some samples out of those that are in the public domain such as on the Net, etc., no problem.

However, you don't want to share your client list. If they don't like it, maybe you do not want to work for them anyway.


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:51
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Another Variant Apr 10, 2007

Dear Ritu,
This year in 2007, we are looking to partner with you in an exciting new way. We are looking to make the interpreting business more profitable for you and for our company.

Let's strenghten our relationship!
Come join our staff at * and experience a better way to do business as a freelance interpreter. If you have already done business with us, we would like for us to become a stronger team by working more closely together.
Normally, we would obtain your services for our clients when they place a request with our company. This year we are looking to get you to work for us as we work for you.

THE PLAN
If you are offered an interpreting job that is not through our office, we would like to offer you a 10% bonus for that job if you submit it to our office. Meaning you will take all the information (Date, time, location, etc.) from the clients when they call you; you will advise them of your availability and then you will tell them that your agency will contact them with the rates and terms. You will then need to call our office and give us all the information and then we will contact and forward the necessary paperwork to the clients. We will bill them fo your services and here is the best benefit: You will not have to wait 30 days or more for payment even if the client is a government entity. We will guarantee your payment even before the client pays us and send you your check in about 10 days with your 10% (of the total assignment) bonus included.

Keep in mind that we are not going to have you sign an agreement for this mutually beneficial relationship. If you are not completely satisfied, you can revert back to just dealing with your clients directly. I hope that you are as eager to participate in this new process as I am in telling you about it.

Thank you for your consideration and we are looking forward to working with you real soon.

Sincerely,

*


I've been receiving this e-mail more or less regularly for past several days.

I've removed the name of the 'agency' to comply with proz rules.

But seriously, I'll never consider doing this. If I do this for my direct clients... I have a visible loss. And doing this to clients of the agencies I work for is really unethical and...

I just wanted to write back telling this person some things in very clear terms.

But well, I don't use the sort of words that I had in my mind so...

Anyways, what do you think?

Regards,

Ritu


[Edited at 2007-04-10 06:23]


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xxxhelentrans
English to Chinese
Mostly, you'll not be refused just by not providing them the client list Apr 10, 2007

You have the right to say no. I think most agencies want to learn about your capability and quality level by asking such questions.

It isn't fatal for not telling them the client names, as long as their purposes are to find professional translators.


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Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:51
Italian to English
+ ...
I usually politely refuse. Apr 10, 2007

If they want a reference, I give them the names of agencies.

I never give names of direct clients, for all the reasons described above, end of story.

I usually agree to do a sample tranlation of up to
words or so if they want.

Most of the work I translate is for private use and so I am not free to give them samples. I politely explain this and if they're not happy, then I don't want to work for them, after all they can have a test translation if they want to check work quality.

However, the comments from some of the previous postings are also very valid. Serious companies don't usuallu deal in this way.

Happy belated Easter to all.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:51
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Sample translations Apr 10, 2007

Alexander Chisholm wrote:

If they want a reference, I give them the names of agencies.

I never give names of direct clients, for all the reasons described above, end of story.

I usually agree to do a sample tranlation of up to
words or so if they want.

Most of the work I translate is for private use and so I am not free to give them samples. I politely explain this and if they're not happy, then I don't want to work for them, after all they can have a test translation if they want to check work quality.

However, the comments from some of the previous postings are also very valid. Serious companies don't usuallu deal in this way.

Happy belated Easter to all.


I agree, Alexander. I certainly wouldn't give the names of private clients, but I'd quote my regular agencies as references after asking their permission.
As regards sending samples of past work, I suppose you could send a sample after deleting all identifying names, addresses, etc., explaining that, of course, the work you do for others is confidential. This should surely be a plus point, showing that you take the confidentiality undertaking seriously.
Regards,
Jenny.


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 17:51
English to Spanish
... Apr 10, 2007

Ritu Bhanot wrote:

Anyways, what do you think?

Regards,

Ritu



Here's what some of us think : http://www.proz.com/topic/69842



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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:51
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
really agree Apr 10, 2007

Alexander Chisholm wrote:

If they want a reference, I give them the names of agencies.

I never give names of direct clients, for all the reasons described above, end of story.

I usually agree to do a sample tranlation of up to
words or so if they want.

Most of the work I translate is for private use and so I am not free to give them samples. I politely explain this and if they're not happy, then I don't want to work for them, after all they can have a test translation if they want to check work quality.

However, the comments from some of the previous postings are also very valid. Serious companies don't usuallu deal in this way.

Happy belated Easter to all.


Alexander, I agree with your thoughts. But what about a diplomatic solution I have just considered, like "Thank you very much for your proposal for cooperation. However, I have a very high respect for the confidentiality of my clients with whom I work for many years as well as the material I translate for them. Sorry, but I would not like to send you the list of my clients nor samples from their materials. Anyway, I am attaching you (say) 3 letters of reference ( sound and really serious letters of reference, e.g. I have one from a high governmental official, and similar), here are some samples of my translations, see www. and www. where such material is publicly available (e.g. have translated a website for a bank). Should you need any other information or have any additional questions, please let me know"...

I think it should work. What do you think? If the agency is "fresh" (i.e. new in the business), maybe they will understand that they have asked not quite ethical/logical questions and that should do for them. And if they still insist on receiving a client list, maybe it is better not to have anything to do with them at all?

I think such an answer can really be diplomatic + you show that you are a professional and that you do care for your other clients + letters of reference - there you already do not need to ask for permission from the clients to give their "references" as the letter of reference is already a kind of confirmation that they have already agreed to tell good words about you + you protect against a risk of losing the clients (well, if the agency is not serious)...

Regards,
Marius


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 22:51
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
nonsense Apr 10, 2007

[quote]Ritu Bhanot wrote:

Dear Ritu,
This year in 2007, we are looking to partner with you in an exciting new way. We are looking to make the interpreting business more profitable for you and for our company.

Let's strenghten our relationship!
Come join our staff at * and experience a better way to do business as a freelance interpreter. If you have already done business with us, we would like for us to become a stronger team by working more closely together.
Normally, we would obtain your services for our clients when they place a request with our company. This year we are looking to get you to work for us as we work for you.

THE PLAN
If you are offered an interpreting job that is not through our office, we would like to offer you a 10% bonus for that job if you submit it to our office. Meaning you will take all the information (Date, time, location, etc.) from the clients when they call you; you will advise them of your availability and then you will tell them that your agency will contact them with the rates and terms. You will then need to call our office and give us all the information and then we will contact and forward the necessary paperwork to the clients. We will bill them fo your services and here is the best benefit: You will not have to wait 30 days or more for payment even if the client is a government entity. We will guarantee your payment even before the client pays us and send you your check in about 10 days with your 10% (of the total assignment) bonus included.

Keep in mind that we are not going to have you sign an agreement for this mutually beneficial relationship. If you are not completely satisfied, you can revert back to just dealing with your clients directly. I hope that you are as eager to participate in this new process as I am in telling you about it.

Thank you for your consideration and we are looking forward to working with you real soon.

Sincerely,

*


I think it is a total nonsense. First of all, these people want to exploit you suggesting to send them clients. OK, you give your client their contacts. The client orders a job at them (say, 10 pages). OK, MAYBE you will get these 10 per cent from the 1st job. But what about next jobs? How will you know what jobs and how much of the volume that client orderd with them for the 2nd time, 3rd time, 4th time etc.? You do not have the right to check that nor demand this information. Moreover, they, "between the lines" already told that "we are not going to have you sign an agreement for this mutually beneficial relationship" and I think they just meant "we are not under any obligation for you" and "If you are not completely satisfied, you can revert back to just dealing with your clients directly." they probably mean that "if you will feel cheated by us, well, do not send us the clients any more - we lose nothing, but the clients you already sent for us will be ours and neither formally, nor morally you will not be able to do anything for us"...


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