Poll: Do you usually give references to potential clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:09
Aug 19, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you usually give references to potential clients?".

This poll was originally submitted by Silvia Barra. View the poll results »


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:09
Member (2008)
English to Italian
Other Aug 19, 2010

Usually no.
it happened when it was clearly asked by the potential client (in my life twice)


Interlangue (X)
Local time: 05:09
English to French
+ ...
I said no Aug 19, 2010

... but I did when answering EU calls for tenders - it is one of their requirements, even if they are no longer "potential" clients (meaning if they are already your client).

Standard procedure was (and still is, I think) that you have to prove somehow (letter of reference, copy of invoices or translated documents, list of customers with # of translated pages in the past year or so) that you have the experience you claim to have (in a specific field). A matter of quantity, actually.

[Modifié le 2010-08-19 11:44 GMT]


Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
If WWA counts... Aug 19, 2010

When the enquiry comes through Proz.com, I always suggest the potential client looks at my WWA feedback, which has some good comments.

I have a couple of written references I email if specifically asked.


Theo Bernards (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:09
English to Dutch
+ ...
Never Aug 19, 2010

Aren't references not more for employment purposes and aren't there more and more companies who don't give references for their former employees anymore for fear of being sued over giving a good reference when somebody with this good reference performs below par in a job he or she got as a result of that reference? I worked for one US company which gave that as a reason for not giving references when I left.

As a freelancer I don't see which added value references bring and I never disclose information about existing or previous clients. It is not important for clients to know what I have done in the past, but it is important for them to know what I can do for them. If there are any doubts about my qualities, a short test translation yields much more information than the fact I have translated a text for company ABC or private individual XYZ.

My "Non-Disclosure Principle" is a cast-iron confidentiality policy that can only be broken if and when legal requirements demand this of me to and even then I only provide only the bare minimum. The principle kicks in as soon as I have established contact with a prospective client and is virtually eternal.

I only abandon my non-disclosure principle on the very occasional non-payment, when I reserve the right to name and shame companies or clients on pretty much every blacklist I can think of, and discussing the unpaid invoice with a debt collector.


Karin.  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:09
Member (2008)
Spanish to German
+ ...
Other Aug 19, 2010

Usually I suggest the clients to have a look at my WWA feedback.


Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
same here... Aug 19, 2010

but if they specifically ask for a specific reason, then fine.


Rebekka Groß (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:09
English to German
No, instead... Aug 19, 2010

...I refer them to my WWA entries.


Richard Boulter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
I answered 'Yes' because... Aug 19, 2010

I answered 'Yes', because I have references arranged to be provided upon request, for particular types of materials. These include WWA's on ProZ, but also includes particular clients whom I have asked for permission to list them as references, and who are willing to take a moment to reply to a polite inquiry regarding my services. In each case, the previous client has provided a short letter of reference; that usually serves the purpose for my new prospective client, rather than live communication, as long as I also can provide the former client's contact information. Some clients are willing to (or can afford to) do this for me, while many cannot. I will note that very few prospects actually request references, even on very specific topics. As Theo mentions, a short test translation is more effective for agencies that have the resources to review my rendition. Direct clients do not enjoy this capability, as a rule.


wonita (X)
Local time: 00:09
Too shy, maybe too proud Aug 19, 2010

to ask for such a thing.

[Edited at 2010-08-19 17:13 GMT]


Сергей Лузан
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:09
German to Russian
+ ...
It depends and today is the day & case :) Aug 20, 2010

But usually I do it if required only due to confidentiality reasons.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:09
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Aug 21, 2010

I don't like to impose on my clients. They have better things to do. If it were for a very important long-term project, like a book to be published, that might be different.

Also, some clients don't want anything to threaten my availability to do their work.

I will not provide references for a "potential" job (i.e., database building). I only did that once and regretted the inconvenience I caused. One client found it "odd" and grumbled that she would do it just this once; another one was so effusive that I wouldn't have had the heart to ask her to it a second time.

[Edited at 2010-08-21 07:22 GMT]


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Poll: Do you usually give references to potential clients?

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