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Poll: Would you agree to do a free translation for a client you've known for years?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 08:10
SITE STAFF
Oct 25, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you agree to do a free translation for a client you've known for years?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ruslan Polishchuk. View the poll results »



 

Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:10
Member
German to English
+ ...
Possibly Oct 25, 2012

It would depend on the circumstances. I occassionally offer long-standing clients the odd freebie as a goodwill gesture but have never actually been asked to do a free translation.

 

Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:10
German to English
+ ...
Probably not Oct 25, 2012

Would that hypothetical client agree to pay me double my rate on just one translation, just for a change? Probably not.

Why change the basis of a relationship when that relationship is working?

I have and I would go that extra mile for clients of long-standing though. This would include fitting a last-minute translation into my schedule - where a new client, or an agency for whom I have only done one or two jobs will get the "sorry, not available" message.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:10
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Precisely because it was a client I had known for years Oct 25, 2012

I have on a couple of occassions done a free translation for a long-standing client, though in both cases I can think of, it was not directly for the client, but for a non-profit organisation the client was supporting.

Otherwise, business is business, and I think my rates are quite competitive for the market I work in. Apart from tiny jobs where goodwill is more important than the money involved, I do not work for free.

I prefer to make a direct donation to the causes I support myself.


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Oct 25, 2012

Actually, I've been doing small free translations, corrections, queries, etc. for one client for years.

It should be mentioned though that they provide a substantial chunk of my income.

I see it as a "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" policy.


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, never Oct 25, 2012

I don't care how long-standing a client you are I will always charge. However, I must admit that an agent once sent me a sentence in an email to translate stating that his office would be closed between two dates and I translated it for free. Incredibly generous of me I know...

 

Sonia Hill
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:10
Italian to English
Possibly Oct 25, 2012

If it was a very good client and the job was just a few words long I would consider it. I have done this on the odd occasion, but it has been my own choice and only because the job only took a few minutes of my time. Obviously some jobs of just a few words long can be very time-consuming, so it really does depend on what is involved.
I also often provide good clients with a quick consultation free of charge.
I have a minimum fee which I usually apply for small jobs and I certainly wouldn't do a long translation for free.


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
BTW Oct 25, 2012

When I worked in an agency, we had two separate translations, one containing two words and the other containing five. The agent had not intended to charge the client, but I could not find a translator with the appropriate language combination to do them. They all charged a minimum, and refused to budge. You have got to hand it to them.

An agent of mine, not one that I know well, once asked me to translate a single word. It was a hard word. But I told him that I hadn't got time. "But it's just one word" he said. "Yes but I am going out exactly now..." I replied.


 

Andris Dinaburgskis  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 18:10
English to Latvian
+ ...
It depends... Oct 25, 2012

...on the topic of this translation. I would accept such free translation just on specific, non-commercial topics.

[Edited at 2012-10-25 08:55 GMT]


 

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Donation Oct 25, 2012

Allison Wright wrote:

Would that hypothetical client agree to pay me double my rate on just one translation, just for a change? Probably not.

Why change the basis of a relationship when that relationship is working?

I have and I would go that extra mile for clients of long-standing though. This would include fitting a last-minute translation into my schedule - where a new client, or an agency for whom I have only done one or two jobs will get the "sorry, not available" message.



It wouldn't just be a case of asking to be paid double, it would be a question of whether they would actually give you some money or hours of their time. That's what this adds up to.


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 18:10
Turkish to English
+ ...
Have done/will do again Oct 25, 2012

Yes, for example, if a client has sent me large amounts of good quality work over several years and then needs a brief paragraph translating, I will do the latter for free. It is all about preserving a good relationship.

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:10
Member (2006)
German to English
No, not really / depends Oct 25, 2012

I have said no, but only knowing that they would never ask me ...

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 00:10
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, but ... Oct 25, 2012

Rarely and only for regular customers. Like John, I'll respond to inquiries and do minor corrections for them that do not take up a lot of time for free. This does create goodwill and leaves some customers with a good impression and greases the tracks for future work and projects. I just hope that they do not take advantage of this and automatically assume that I do freebies on a regular basis.
Besides, just doing the extra paperwork for billing would be a pain and time-consuming in itself.

I do, however, draw the line at complete documents and manuals -- those are paid-for work.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:10
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not sure! Oct 25, 2012

I have never actually been asked! I occasionally decide to offer long-standing clients the odd freebie. My volunteer translation work goes to the United Nations and Translators Without Borders...



[Edited at 2012-10-25 10:23 GMT]


 

Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:10
German to English
Bits and bobs... Oct 25, 2012

I have often done very short, two or three line translations on a "free of charge" basis for regular clients. I look on it as oiling the wheels a little. Having said that, it has only been for long-standing clients who have provided me with a good deal of work in the past.

 
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