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Clients were happy with me... where is the repeat work?
Thread poster: Juliana Brown

Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 09:25
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 6, 2007

Here is a question I have had for several months. Several months ago I did a couple of jobs each for two clients who said they were very happy with my work. All the jobs were mid-length texts which were delivered on time, and I had no bad feedback from either; quite the contrary.
So- why have I not heard back from them? I keep reading about agencies who send regular work over long periods, and indeed have a couple of regular contracts myself, but I feel like maybe I'm missing something.
I wrote to my project managers and reminded them of my availability. They were both very nice, polite, and said "we'd love to work with you again", but...nothing so far.
Should I keep bothering them? If they were happy with my work, where are they?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-11-06 18:40]


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The Misha
Local time: 09:25
Russian to English
+ ...
They may just have nothing to offer you Nov 6, 2007

I recently did a job for a new agency and they were perfectly happy with the quality. However, there was a small, unintentional payment delay on their part (someone went on vacation and forgot to check - you got the idea). When I bumped the matter up to a manager on duty, the issue was resolved within a day, but I was perfectly sure I would never hear from them again. Six months later, they came back and gave me two fairly large jobs in quick succession.

The gist of the matter is that you clients may just have nothing for you at the moment. Don't fret over it.


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Yvette Neisser Moreno  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
similar experience Nov 6, 2007

I had a similar experience a couple of years ago with an agency for which I worked on several segments of a large project over a period of 2-3 weeks. First of all, they liked my work enough to continue sending me work on the same project (editing translations) and to ask for my feedback on which translators they should continue working with. Secondly, I received positive feedback all along both from the PM and from the language specialist. I worked my tail off for that project on tight deadlines, evenings, weekends, etc. They said they would call on me again in the future, and never have. Every couple of months I would call or send an email reminding of my availability, and get no response. I've always wondered why.

Yvette


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:25
Member
English to French
A one-off job? Nov 6, 2007

Getting a nice feedback doesn't imply that they adopted you as their default translator. There may be many reasons for which agencies don't call back:

-The PM you dealt with at the time left the company, you're somewhere in the database but every PM works with their own preferred translators.

-They got this one-off job from a new customer in a language pair they are not accustomed to. Once the service is rendered, they don't hear from the customer/language pair again.

-Their own usual translator in your language pair/specialisation came back from holiday/is again available, and they have no reason to dump him/her.

-They adopted another new translator who was cheaper for the same service.

-They are struggling and don't have much to offer anybody anyway.

It is a good idea to remind them that you're alive, but not too often.
If they told you there was no quality issue, there is nothing to be worried about, so you should move on and look for agencies that send you an actual stream of work, not a trickle.

It also happens that you forget totally about an agency, then they call you 2 years later with periodic massive amounts of works for years to come. In which case the agency may have secured a new customer whose requirements matches your offer.

Happy prospecting,
Philippe


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 09:25
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Agree with Philippe Nov 6, 2007

This has been my experience as well.

Nancy


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 09:25
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone. Nov 6, 2007

All of your comments make sense. Unfortunately, it's been a slow month, so I'm spending my time updating, improving ( I hope!)and marketing myself. I just needed to make sure there was no magic formula for return engagements which I was missing!

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Aline Canino  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:25
Member (2007)
Chinese to French
+ ...
A slow month for everybody ? Nov 6, 2007

Hi Juliana,
I have just finished to read your question and the answers given. I agree with what was said before but I was just wondering if this month hasn't been a slow period for a lot of translators. You say it's your case, I would say it's mine and I know colleagues who would tell you the same thing. I hope this will quickly change.
Aline


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 09:25
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Salut Aline! Nov 6, 2007

I can not tell you how relieved I was to read your response, as of course that is the bottom line- "Am I the ONLY one wondering what is going on this month?". Not that I wish it on my colleagues, but sometimes, even knowing the way this job works, it gets a bit stressful. It's nice to hear someone else in the same leaky boat.
Of course it does not help that here in Toronto the sun has now disappeared, and we don't expect it again until March...


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
Patience Nov 6, 2007

Patience is a virtue. Best thing to do is to move on, plus you know the sun will be back in due time.

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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 09:25
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Henry, Nov 7, 2007

I am trying my best to learn patience, and to this end have even taken up yoga again after many years. Of course you're right, moving on is the only realistic path. I just thought I'd double check I wasn't missing something crucial (besides patience!).

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Nadja Balogh  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:25
Member (2007)
Japanese to German
+ ...
Those ups and downs Nov 7, 2007

Hi Juliana,

I've always wondered about those ups and downs - sometimes I'm drowning in work and sometimes I'm just sitting around doing my jigsaw puzzle... but I haven't been able to detect a pattern yet. The only thing I've realized is that, in the end, there's nothing to worry about and that those downs never last.

Nadja


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CFK TRAD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:25
English to French
+ ...
Slow months, silent agencies Nov 7, 2007

Hi Everybody !

Juliana, I guess this has been a slow month for many translators... don't worry, you're not the only one to "chase" clients, and to wonder why you've got nothing today/yesterday/this week, etc.

I'm not complaining, but I just wanted to tell you that you're not the only one in this situation.

When you're a freelancer, you have ups and downs, all the time. Almost nothing a month, and the month after you get mad with all the work.

What's funny with this, it's that agencies finally tell you "oh, you know, we've got nothing this month, but we're about to have many projects". And be sure that, when ONE agency tells you so, it means that a couple of agencies are about to call you.

Now, about the agency which did not call back, what I have done (I have been in the same situation), is that I called them, and asked if there was something wrong. If you can reach the PM with whom you work, it's even better, you may try via Skype or messenger, you'll have an answer.
I wish you the answer will be something like "everything's fine, we don't have work in your pair of languages, that's all".
You can also try something else : ask them to post something on your BlueBoard. If they have been happy with your job, they are likely to accept, and then, you'll be sure there's nothing "against" you - and you'll have client references on your profile, that matters a lot when quoting here.

Cheers, and courage with all those months without sun (if this can comfort you, there's no sun above Paris either...)
Kindest Regards
Coralie


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Cecilia Falk  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:25
English to Swedish
Fiction Nov 8, 2007

I started out translating fiction 20 years ago, but then worked a lot with IT translation in the 90s, and then medical translation. Deadlines for literary translation are often quite long, sometimes up to a year. Always having a novel to translate is a great way to not ”waste any time” during slow periods and a VERY nice change from the other stuff.

Cecilia


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 09:25
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Cecilia, from your mouth to God's ears, Nov 8, 2007

as my grandmother would say. I have a Ph.D in Comparative Literature, and have found it EXTREMELY difficult, not to say almost impossible, to break into literary translation, which is my first love...If you know of any agents/editorials who are looking for someone with my profile, please send me an e-mail!

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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 09:25
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I must admit, Nov 8, 2007

FORMATION CFK wrote:

: ask them to post something on your BlueBoard. If they have been happy with your job, they are likely to accept, and then, you'll be sure there's nothing "against" you - and you'll have client references on your profile, that matters a lot when quoting here.



I have sorely neglected this bit of possible self-promotion. Thanks, Coralie, for the reminder!


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