Poll: As a freelancer, do you put in practice the saying that, "The customer is always right"?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 11:40
SITE STAFF
Jan 29, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "As a freelancer, do you put in practice the saying that, "The customer is always right"?".

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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 13:40
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 29, 2010

Yes, and I also like to get this from other companies:


- If I say that my burger is cold, then the restaurant HAS to change it for a warm one

- If I dislike the way my hairdresser combed my hair, then he HAS to redo it again

- If the carpenter painted my table in a shade I don't like, he HAS to repaint it



In the translation field, if my customer wants me to re-check things, perform a thorough proofreading, change some terms, change the tone in which the text is written, improve the format, etc., then he has all the right of the world to ask me to do that. And I will gladly do it. Then my customer is really happy, he remains as a customer for life, and will also recommend me to others.



As I see that barely 14% answer "Yes", then this means I am in the smallest group that likes to keep many customers for ourselves; to have a long-lasting relationship with them and increase our customer databaseicon_smile.gif


 

Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:40
English to Russian
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 29, 2010

The customer is always right except when he is not payingicon_smile.gif)
There have been a couple of incidents in my translation practice where customers demanded word-to-word translation. I hated doing that but I clenched my teeth and did. He who pays the band calls the tune.


 

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 29, 2010

I'm taking the 'customer' to be the end client and this relates to the translation. So, yes, the customer can do whatever they want with the translation. If they disagree with my translation, then I will make changes - I promise a free revision on request. If I think they are wrong, then I'll give my opinion - and it is good protection to do so - but they have to live with the consequences, so they have the final say.


Sometimes I find it helpful to give translator's notes explaining some of the decisions I've made and possible other options. Then the customer can decide whether to go with my recommendation or not.


 

Catherine Winzer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:40
German to English
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 29, 2010

I didn't interpret the question purely in terms of the translation itself but on any points of potential disagreement. I was also thinking primarily of my direct customer, rather than the end customer.


I answered "sometimes". I always try to give the customer the benefit of the doubt, treat them with respect, check to see if I have made a mistake before implying that they have. But I don't really like the phrase "always right" - the customer makes mistakes just like anyone else (myself included). I have had to chase up money that customers forgot to pay, or correct POs that were not accurate. To take the customer being always right literally would imply that I just ignore the mistakes and pretend there aren't any. Or am I being too literal?!


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 29, 2010

I answered no, although I do provide a free revision service as standard. I took it literally, not in the sense of them evaluating my work, but in the sense of the clients/authors sending me texts for translation that contain mistakes or what I deem sub-standard editing, inaccurate vocabulary or inappropriate tone.
Only on very few occasions have any clients complained about my work or suggested modifications. I have met some non-native speakers who think that because they can speak quite fluently, they are also able to write in good English, but I'm afraid those that actually can do so are few and far between. The same applies vice-versa, people who write well but can barely string together a coherent sentence.

Although come to think of it, I must admit that if the client chooses me, they are most definitely right!


 

Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:40
German to English
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 29, 2010

O.K.


The customer is always right? Certainly, If I am paying for a car or a hamburger.



However, professionally, if I think that one of my customers is <b>wrong</b>I will say so. It's called advice/consultation/discussion or whatever. Apart from anything else, it helps to build mutual relationships and respect.



If the customer has something to question, I'm happy to look into it. However, I think we all (should) know when we someone is trying to take advantage, and that's the the time to say goodbye.


 

svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:40
French to German
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 30, 2010

I voted "no", since I don't think that the customer is always right.


If a client tells me beforehand what they want (a translation suited to a certain target group or whatever), then that's fine and I can give them what they want. But if I don't get any instructions I assume that tone and register should correspond to the original text. If they want me to rewrite thousands of words afterwards, I certainly wouldn't think that they are right (same applies to the carpenter: if I tell the carpenter beforehand which shade I want I can only rightfully complain if he didn't adhere to what was agreed).



I'm happy to provide "after-sales service", but it has to be reasonable. But I don't like customers who take advantage and I agree with Textclick - that's the time to say goodbye.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:40
English to German
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 30, 2010

I voted No.


I also distinguish between "The customer is always right" and "Let them have their will.".



Example: A customer once insisted that I translate the street names on a US map into German. No further comment. I let them have their will, but it doesn't make them right.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:40
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 30, 2010

Surprising the small percentage of "yeses." I often struggle when it comes to accepting client choices/decisions that I don't agree with, so I put "sometimes."


If a customer is fussy about their terminology, I won't put up a fight, even if I don't agree. Once I get used to their terminology that I didn't like, it offends me less. I try to stay open-minded.



The older I get, and the longer I work in this business, the more I realize that there are no absolute answers and that there is always a lot to learn.


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:40
Member (2006)
German to English
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 30, 2010

I agree with Nicole


"I also distinguish between "The customer is always right" and "Let them have their will.". "



And I always inform the customer in a written form that it should be written in a different way. Then they cannot say that I had translated it incorrectly


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 20:40
English to Russian
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 30, 2010

Saw this one many moons ago in California:
"Customer is always right... but it's up to us to decide if you are a customer"


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:40
English to German
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 30, 2010

Beautiful!icon_smile.gif

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:40
Member (2006)
German to English
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 30, 2010

If you always say yes although it is wrong, I would have thought that would be more negative? If a customer is not informed that he is wrong, then that could have negative affects in other fields of their own?

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:40
Member (2006)
German to English
www.proz.com/polls/3319 comments Jan 30, 2010

Yep, me too. But if the terminology is based on years of background than I accept it and use it. I also have many cases of really strange terminology, have ask the customer and they have explained why they use the words they do and life goes on.

 


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Poll: As a freelancer, do you put in practice the saying that, "The customer is always right"?

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