Advice on providing references
Thread poster: Anabel Martínez

Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:59
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 4, 2005

Dear colleagues,

Lately I'm being asked for references, and I don't know how to deal exactly with this. I have no problem in providing e-mails of agencies who I work for, and I guess I should ask such agencies if I could use them as references.

In case I have to ask the agencies, how would you approach it? I mean, of course they can imagine I not only work for them, but I wouldn't want to have any surprises!

Apart from this, is there any other thing I need to know about this matter?

Thanks everyone for your help and have a nice summer!


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Marisa Schiavi  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ask your most regular Project Managers Aug 4, 2005

I've asked for references to my most regular project managers a couple of times and they were very happy to write them down for me. In fact, they wrote all sorts of wonderful things and I was very pleased with them. These days, I try to use the same references with every new client that may request them but I make sure my Project Managers are aware of that first. It's always a good idea to have at least three different referees in case they do get an e-mail or a phone call so that you are not asking the same person each time.
Hope this helps and enjoy your summer! It's the middle of winter in Australia!


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Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:59
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Then "references" are e-mail addies, written notes, both? Aug 4, 2005

Hi Marisa, thanks for your reply!

Now I have a couple more doubts. You said that your PM wrote references. I thought that providing references was giving some e-mail or phone number so that the new client asking for references could get in touch with the "happy PM", so to say. Am I totally wrong in this?

Thanks so much again!

[Edited at 2005-08-04 08:24]


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Marisa Schiavi  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
You are right! Aug 4, 2005

No, you're right. You can ask for written references where all the "happy PM's" details will be showing and it always looks quite formal that way or you can opt to go the quick way and just let them know that you are giving potential new clients their contact details. It's entirely up to you and what the PM's think. The most important thing is to discuss it with your PM first and make sure they are happy to be your referee. I personally prefer to ask them for a written reference since most potential clients wouldn't bother to contact them anyway and just by reading the letter they might get quite a nice impression of you and your work.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:59
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Well, erm, well... just ask! Aug 4, 2005

Anabel Martínez wrote:
Lately I'm being asked for references, and I don't know how to deal exactly with this. I have no problem in providing e-mails of agencies who I work for, and I guess I should ask such agencies if I could use them as references.


In my opinion, a "reference" is not a testimonial. It is simply the contact details of a person who is prepared to say something about you. But it's good manners to ask permission to use someone as a reference, if it's a personal reference or a previous employer.

However, it not only good manners but IMO manditory if you'd like to use a former *client* (including agencies) as a reference, because of client confidentiality. A client's identity is confidential, remember. You can only say "I worked for client X" if client X gave you permission to say so.

Simply write your old clients a letter asking them if you can add them to your portfolio, and tell them exactly what details you'd like to provide about them to potential clients.


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
How I do it Aug 4, 2005

Hola Anabel, I agree that you absolutely must check with clients or agencies before you use them as a reference. When a prospective client asks for references, I already have a sheet with my letterhead prepared, with three names, addresses and phone numbers, with the name of a contact person. Many clients indeed call your references, who need to be forewarned that they may get calls asking about the quality of your work. Most colleagues I know think a list of three is sufficient. Sometimes people don't call, they just want to know who you've worked for before (whether they are important clients or no names). Some people always use the same references, others custom make the list according to the client (i.e. references of clinics or hospitals if you are doing a medical translation). Hope this is helpful.

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Jason Willis-Lee  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
don't do it Sep 6, 2005

Anabel:

Client names are confidential and should remain so. Why should a supplier have to reveal a list of clients to a "potential client". You are interested in establishing a working relationship with a potential client, not in placing clients in contact with one another. Who's to say that your potential client won't just start working with your refences. You lose twofold, no potential client and possibly less business from your reference client.

Personally, after having verifed being burned on more than one occasion I don't take the risk. I politely offer to do a test piece. If they insist on taking up references after offering a test piece and more than enough background information from my website its probably not a client I would wish to work for. Maybe its extra cautious but hey, freelancers have to protect their position in the market. That's just the nature of this business.

Good luck
Jason.

teju wrote:

Hola Anabel, I agree that you absolutely must check with clients or agencies before you use them as a reference. When a prospective client asks for references, I already have a sheet with my letterhead prepared, with three names, addresses and phone numbers, with the name of a contact person. Many clients indeed call your references, who need to be forewarned that they may get calls asking about the quality of your work. Most colleagues I know think a list of three is sufficient. Sometimes people don't call, they just want to know who you've worked for before (whether they are important clients or no names). Some people always use the same references, others custom make the list according to the client (i.e. references of clinics or hospitals if you are doing a medical translation). Hope this is helpful.


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