Money back guarantee
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:34
Flemish to English
+ ...
Aug 31, 2006

A well-know American courier company offers its customers a money-back guarantee (under certain conditions) if the shipment is delivered late.
Who would dare to offer a money-back guarantee to their customers if:
a)the translation is late.
b)there are too many mistakes against semantics (meaning-choice of terminology) and syntax in the translation you delivered. In other words, no cure no pay within certain well-convened boundaries.

What is the general opinion about the idea to add this to your profile with an opt-out possibility, just like WWA was added.

After all, we are all professionals offering quality, so why don't we dare to offer "no cure, no pay".


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:34
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Offer your clients what they want, not what you can offer them Aug 31, 2006

My brother has been 'into business' since he left school. The most valuable lesson he taught me was to offer clients what they ask for and not all you can offer them.

It's hard sometimes, for instance when someone asks you to translate a Word document full of cut&paste HTML and you could just as well have translated the original HTML files etc.

On-time delivery of a good translation is part of our job but no client has ever asked me for a money-back guarantee so I have no reason to offer it. You're free to add it to your own profile, though.

Other suggestions: guaranteed e-mail response within 30 minutes, quotes delivered within an hour, quotes stay valid for a week, 24/24 cell phone availability

Kind regards,
Gerard


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Matt Baird
Germany
Local time: 17:34
German to English
Not a good comparison Aug 31, 2006

I don't think you can compare a freelancer to UPS or any other major courier. Are you delivering multiple translations per day that are only available at that price because of speed, efficiency and most importantly volume? The only reason a courier can do this is because of volume. They can afford to give you your $20 back because they ship millions per day. Plus they rely on a certain percentage of customers who either don't know about the policy or are two indifferent to follow up on it if their package arrives later than promised.

And such a policy could never work with quality. How could you definitively draw a line? The terminology a translator chooses is frequently a matter of style and a good translator will point out terms he/she is uncertain of and what sources he/she is drawing from and ask for feedback from the client. You would have to write complicated guidelines that would need to be negotiated with each client separately to try to define what constitutes a mistake and what is a style issue, etc. This simply would not work. And frankly, who has the time to go through all that trouble.

Offering a money back guarantee may sound like a great marketing tool but I think it doesn't make sense, even if you try to establish "boundaries" or set opt-out clauses. It seems to me that going down this road would only lead to disputes and agencies claiming they don' t have to pay because the quality was not high enough or perhaps they might claim not to have received the files and therefore the job was late, etc. etc. etc.

We can be professional and retain our clientele by offering quality, on-time translations and simply following up on that claim.


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ASE2
Canada
Local time: 11:34
English to French
+ ...
About 'not good enough quality= no pay' Aug 31, 2006

That point is particularly important, the client can claim poor quality and will not pay, which makes the
'money back guarantee' redundant. We depend already too much on the client's 'fairness'.
Bad idea!
Let's develop strategies to protect our own interests,
legally, fairly and adequately.
Selling oneself too short is not an option.


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Fan Gao
Australia
Local time: 01:34
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Too many terms and conditions Sep 1, 2006

During a little marketing exercise I did a couple of months ago, I came across an agency who offered a money back guarantee. I don't recall which one and it wasn't actually a money back guarantee it was more along the lines of..."if you find any errors then you don't have to pay us!"

It was something like we guarantee 99.5% accuracy but if you find any errors within that 0.5% then you don't need to pay. They then went on to say look at our terms and conditions for what constitutes an error.

Clicking on their terms and conditions revealed reams and reams of this, that and the other does not constitute an error.

At the time I thought to myself "what a clever marketing ploy", but then the more I thought about it the more I thought "what a headache!"

Doesn't offering that kind of service just open the door to the more unscrupulous of people who will go through the translation with a fine tooth comb to find the slightest error or discrepancy affording them the opportunity to take advantage of such a gracious offer?

We're all human and we're not infallible, we do make mistakes sometimes. We all work as hard as we can to deliver the best translation we can. Why would we even want to hint at the possibility that under certain circumstances our clients may not have to pay?

In my opinion spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, mistakes in punctuation and obvious mistranslations (names of countries etc) are unforgivable and deserve to go unpaid, especially with all of the resources at our fingertips these days. However, once we move into the realm of questioning stylistic usage, where do we draw the line? With the diversity of usage within any given language, who is to say what is categorically right or wrong?

We already offer a unique, talented, specialised service as it is, why give it away for free?

Best wishes,
Mark


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Refugio
Local time: 08:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Many years ago, Sep 1, 2006

when I first started doing translations for schools as direct clients, I used to state "satisfaction guaranteed." As I gained more experience, I found it wasn't necessary to make that offer, since we all would gladly make revisions if requested, and also I didn't take jobs outside my area of expertise, so I could be sure to deliver a satisfactory product. As it happened, I never had a single client complain or request a revision, so I realized that it was a rather meaningless marketing device.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:34
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The prime directive of translation??? Sep 1, 2006

I am not very fond of the "prime directive of translation":
You shall only translate into your mother-tongue.
Because the proof of the pudding is in the eating, I was thinking about using this condition within certain well-defined limits as a marketing tool for languages,which are not my mother-tongue. If the translation is ok, the customer pays. Otherwise, no cure, no pay.


[Edited at 2006-09-01 14:40]


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lucysebastian
Local time: 17:34
English to Arabic
Advice Sep 1, 2006

Hello

If you take my advice then I would say one should ignore similar companies who do not rely on translators and this gives aware clients an idea of such a company that does not consider the the good translator.
This topic is issued in proz under various topics but at the end we discuss the idea of whether to rely on the translator or not.

The company would have a strong position if it tell clients that we have good translators but think of money as the only option and would say"money back guarantee" in order to gain more clients.

Thanks
Sebastian


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:34
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What do you mean? Sep 2, 2006

Sorry, but the structure of your sentences does not make any sense to me. Tried to grasp the meaning several times, but I don't understand what your English means and I don't understand Arabic??? A good translator should at least have a sense of his/her source language and target language.
In my opinion translation is the result of teamwork of a translator, a professional of the subject matter and another linguist to review the translation.
So far, nobody on these forums has given a clear-cut definition of a "professional translator".


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 17:34
French to Dutch
+ ...
Ruinous to your reputation Sep 4, 2006

Without going into the "mother tongue" discussion (I also translate in my second langage, because I am able to do so), we all send translations that we cannot do by ourselves to our colleagues and they do the same for us. Doing everything in several languages gives the impression that you grasp everything that you can get. If if it is accompanied by a "not good - money back" option this means that you are not sure about the quality of your own work. As Gerard says, you have to give what the client wants - a good translation. Moreover, clients are often anxious, they want to be sure that you are the right person in the right place, that you are able to do this particular translation and that everything is going well. How can the client trust you if you are not sure of what you are delivering?

By the way, a the quality of a translation is not quantifiable, as is parcel post (a parcel is on time or it is not), legal cases (a lawyer wins his case or he looses it), or trains (time lost = money back). So this will give endless yes-no-yes-no discussions, which create a bad climate for future cooperation.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:34
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
People Service Profit... Sep 6, 2006

Translation is teamwork. No the right person on the right place, but the right team: -linguist-specialist-linguist/QA-er on the right place. Only that way you can deliver translations in several language combinations dealing with several subjects. Unfortunately, most translators sell I Service Profit. To "I" there is a limit...

By the way "a the" (?), you mean the quality of a translation IS quantifiable. Browne Brussels (ex-Mendez) did so. Every mistake (spelling, misinterpretation, not following customer's instructions, ...) received a weighed mark and in the end an avarage of those mistakes was made. If you fell below a certain average, you went down on the ranking of preferred translators.

It can be that giving a money-back guarantee is a sign that you are sure to deliver the required quality and thus a marketing tool.


[Edited at 2006-09-06 12:45]


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 17:34
French to Dutch
+ ...
... Sep 6, 2006

Williamson wrote:
By the way "a the" (?), you mean the quality of a translation IS quantifiable. Browne Brussels (ex-Mendez) did so. Every mistake (spelling, misinterpretation, not following customer's instructions, ...) received a weighed mark and in the end an avarage of those mistakes was made. If you fell below a certain average, you went down on the ranking of preferred translators.

And are you still on on the list of preferred translators? I worked for a while for a client who had such a tool. I had to rate other translators, and I hated it. There were good translations with mistakes and bad translations without an error. You can't get style into such a scheme. And who am I to rate my peers? This is the work of the end client. If the translation is good, he will come back and ask for the same translator.

It can be that giving a money-back guarantee is a sign that you are sure to deliver the required quality and thus a marketing tool.

Are we talking about specialized services for demanding clients or about cheap consumer goods? Last week I was in a discounter who sold Korean television sets, etc. The slogan was: "Not satisfied: money back". I wouldn't like buy my electronic material there, but there is of course a market for it. If your translations fit to their purposes, continue in doing so, but it doesn't seem a good marketing tool to me. And besides, "we deliver quality" or "specialized in medical translations" sounds much better than the negative "not good money back".

[Edited at 2006-09-06 16:24]


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