Transferring clients?
Thread poster: Claudia Alvis

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:33
+ ...
Dec 17, 2007


For years I've had a direct client that sends me several thousands of words throughout the year. It's usually things like letters, emails, advertising, etc. but also really long reports, manuals, guide-lines etc. But now this client is ready to localize his business, that means he's going to need many services that I can't provide like DTP, web-site localization, engineering, testing, etc.

We have a very good relationship, so I kind of explained to him how this works and that I can't provide all those services but he insists that he wants me to be part of the process. I told him that he should shop around for vendors and tell them that he wants me to be the translator but he insists that he wants me to do it that he'd pay me for that of course.

I don't want to get too involved because, first, it's not my job nor I have the time or skills to do it, but also because I like translating not managing. So I thought of giving him the names of a few vendors I've worked with, that I know provide a good service. But I don't know smart that would be, besides I couldn't guarantee the final product. I mean, I don't want to lose a client. And on the other hand, I don't know how to do it. Should I just give him some names and numbers? Should I negotiate? I have no idea how to approach this situation.

I really need some advice here.



ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:33
English to French
+ ...
Your client still needs education Dec 17, 2007

It seems to me that your client either doesn't understand your expalantions or they went in one ear and out the other. From what you wrote, I understand that your client doesn't just want you to translate but to manage projects or even more. Your client has unrealistic expectations - and I would take the time, since he seems to be an important client of yours, to help him adjust these expectations.

I think the best solution to your client's dilemma would be to keep you as translator and work with other people who provide the rest of the services, who you would be collaborating with - which is what I understand you proposed to him in the first place. Either that, or it's time to say good-bye.

Your client seems to think you "don't want to go there" and doesn't understand that you simply can't provide those services even if you wanted to. You need to educate him on project management and localization processes. He will be glad you did: along the way, he will also learn about how to deal with the other people, and he will probably be grateful for it - and hang onto you even more!


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Check your skills again Dec 18, 2007

Nobody should expect you to do it for free, but this client obviously trusts you in the destination language (which supposedly they don't understand). Another thing is that you can't take all these services they need.

For instance, DTP. If you can find a good, reliable bilingual DTP operator in your language pair, you may offer your client a much better and more complete service. Check my suggested setup at . It's absolutely fair for you to charge your client, say, some 20% on the DTP cost paid to your subcontractor for you to check that everything (done with your translaton) is okay, and get it re-done whenever it's not.

Likewise, you can get a web designer who will extract the text for you to translate, assemble and properly link the pages in the target language. Ditto.

Good clients simply love to have turn-key operations, especially when they are unable to check the final result for themselves.

Engineering and testing are further away from translation, it is justifiable that you don't know anyone in these fields, so you can tell them no.

Though it may seem that I'm trying to increase readership of my articles, this one might give you some ideas as well.

Good luck!


Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:33
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Why don't you go to a vendor Dec 18, 2007

And ask for a quote for all those services you can't provide? Your client seems to be unwilling to deal with vendors, why don't you go to a few, check how much all those services you cannot provide would cost, add a decent fee for you and do translation yourself? I understand that the client is trustworthy (many years of collaboration) so you would not be afraid of being left with a bill to pay. If it works you would have a happy client, happy vendor and hopefully you would be happy because you would not have to manage the project (you would just pass it to the chosen vendor), you would earn extra money for finding this vendor and work as a translator what you enjoy.

Kind Regards


Alexandra Davidson
Local time: 00:33
English to German
+ ...
Vendors are happy to take on longtime direct translators Dec 18, 2007


Just to ease your mind, in case your client does end up with a vendor that can provide the "whole package" - instead of you trying to organize it all or acquire the skills yourself:

From my experience, translation vendors are happy to take aboard translators that have been working for the client (direct) already.

I am a project manager at a translation company and had this situation happen three years ago. A company that is now a client of ours decided that they did not want to manage translation projects themselves anymore (and work with translators directly), but go to a vendor like us instead. The client wanted us to keep using his translators, and that was the best thing that could have happened.

These translators know the client inside and out, know the terminology, and are very aware of the deadlines (i.e. very disciplined). They were able to help me get to know the client and projects. They are a dream to work with, and I think they also enjoy working with me as their project manager.

We did have to negotiate new prices, since there is now a translation company sitting between the end client and the translator, but 99% of the translators were agreeable to the new prices and conditions. They don't have to worry about any of the project management anymore, including negotiating deadlines or analyzing files, and that fact makes up for the slightly reduced word price.

It would be nice, though, if your client made the decision as to what vendor to use himself (with recommendations from you), instead of you having to do all the legwork for him.


[Edited at 2007-12-18 14:05]


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