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Poll: How many clients do you have (i.e. worked with over the past 12 months)?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:05
SITE STAFF
Jun 2, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many clients do you have (i.e. worked with over the past 12 months)?".

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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:05
Member
French to English
+ ...
Wrong categories? Jun 2, 2013

Shouldn't it be 16-20 and >20 rather than 16-30 and >20? I was torn between the latter two, as I've worked for 23 clients over the past 12 months!

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:05
Member (2006)
German to English
Around about Jun 2, 2013

20. A few new customers, but mostly for my 8 main customers.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:05
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
26 Jun 2, 2013

38% direct customers
62% translation agencies

A few new customers these last months...


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Neil Cross
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
11 Jun 2, 2013

I thought that was an interesting question, so I went back and counted 'em. Turns out to have been 11 over the past 12 months, although I would say that three of those probably account for the vast majority of my work.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Er... about 18? Jun 2, 2013

I don't enjoy things (like tax returns, or billing, or this poll) that make me have to do calculations or count stuff.

However, I realised I didn't know, so I checked my "WORK" folder. I have apparently worked with approximately 10 clients in the past year, if you count "universities" as one client. Inside my "UNIVERSITIES" folder there are 7 unis that I've worked with, so that would take it up to 16 or 17, depending on how you look at it. And I also did a one-off freeby, translating a website for a deserving cause (spinal injury), so roughly 18 if you count that too.

[Edited at 2013-06-02 10:04 GMT]

PS: Am currently beating them off with a stick (like buses, they always seem to come at once). Funnily enough, the less interest I express in a job, the harder some of them try to convince me to accept them...

[Edited at 2013-06-02 10:08 GMT]


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
French to English
+ ...
21 Jun 2, 2013

I didn't even notice the discrepancy between the answers, so I suppose I fall in two camps! I'd actually put 16-30 as a general guess, but have just checked and the figure was actually 21 since the beginning of June 2012. 44% of my work was from direct clients, and about three were one-off jobs, where I haven't heard from that particular client again, or haven't been able to accept work from them if I have!

Interesting question. I do think it's important to have a good range of clients to ensure a steady workflow.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
At least 40+ Jun 2, 2013

Of course, I have that small group of translation agencies that send me work every 1-2 weeks, or more often, six of them.

Other agencies have infrequent demand for my language pair, so they contact me with erratic frequency, the interval varying from three months to three years.

The larger quantity of different clients is in sworn translations. Job size spans from a birth certificate once in a lifetime to amazingly long business agreements every now and then.

Some clients in this area are not expected to come back: how many divorce decrees would you expect any one individual to need translated? Even if a family law firm is fond of my work, my client will be the divorcee, not the lawyer.

However I keep my level of service unchanged. One gentleman had me translate his daughter's school records, as she'd be taking her postgraduate studies overseas. Later he had me do the same for his younger daughter. And then he had several business agreements his company needed translated. Now and then he comes back; maybe he ran out of daughters, but his firm still has plenty of international business.

For 20+ years in a row, some 50-75% of my income came from one local client, who always paid within 48 hours from delivery. A paradigm shift about a decade ago caused their business to change drastically, so now I do at most 2-3 small jobs for them in a whole year. While I managed to replace the royal income I earned with them, I haven't yet adjusted myself t longer payment terms; won't take any beyond 30 days, usually two weeks or less.

It was a lesson to avoid putting most of my eggs in one or just a few baskets, no matter how sturdy they are.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:05
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
20 this year Jun 2, 2013

So far this year I have worked for at least 20 clients.
That is 20 who have returned, including some who return several times a month and some who turn up a couple of times a year.

There were a couple of new ones too.

Going back even further, there were some last year who may or may not turn up again, and some who send a batch of jobs and are never heard of again.

It goes with the language pair - some agencies tend to specialise in Scandinavian languages and send a fair amount of work, and others are far more erratic.

I made out invoices for thirteen different clients in May alone!


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:05
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
16 +1 Jun 2, 2013

Some clients are regulars, others send jobs sporadically.

And still others have sent only one job...thus far.


[Edited at 2013-06-03 06:58 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
NUNYA Jun 2, 2013

That's an American English acronym meaning: none of your business

Sounds like this is another pissing-contest poll question to me, closely related to “How much did you make last year?”

Maybe we can start polls on the following topics:

1) How many specialized monolingual dictionaries do you own?
2) How many specialized bilingual (or multilingual) dictionaries do you own?
3) Are you a subscriber of trade or industry magazines for the specializations you translate?
4) What specialized bilingual dictionaries in [place your specialization here] would you recommend in this language pair? [name your language pair]
5) Have you worked with VPNs, LogMeIn or some other secure virtual network technology for a client?
6) If you work with more than 1 computer at home, do you link them in a home network? How?


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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:05
German to English
Nail on the head Jun 2, 2013

Mario Chavez wrote:

That's an American English acronym meaning: none of your business

Sounds like this is another pissing-contest poll question to me, closely related to “How much did you make last year?”



A little forcibly expressed perhaps, but I agree with Mario entirely! Interesting to note that the highest poll percentage is 4 - 6...

Steve K.


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Jon Hedemann  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:05
English to Danish
+ ...
Doesn't make sense... Jun 2, 2013

Good question, but your last two options don't make sense. Should read:

16 - 20
> 20


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:05
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
11 Jun 3, 2013

I've averaged around the same number for several years now, even though the clients aren't the same. Three of them account for the bulk of the work, but as a percentage of assignments, their representation is lower. In other words, I tend to get smaller jobs from the other clients.

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
???? Jun 3, 2013

Mario Chavez wrote:

That's an American English acronym meaning: none of your business

Sounds like this is another pissing-contest poll question to me, closely related to “How much did you make last year?”

Maybe we can start polls on the following topics:

1) How many specialized monolingual dictionaries do you own?
2) How many specialized bilingual (or multilingual) dictionaries do you own?
3) Are you a subscriber of trade or industry magazines for the specializations you translate?
4) What specialized bilingual dictionaries in [place your specialization here] would you recommend in this language pair? [name your language pair]
5) Have you worked with VPNs, LogMeIn or some other secure virtual network technology for a client?
6) If you work with more than 1 computer at home, do you link them in a home network? How?



A bit strong I feel

It's not exactly a trade secret as the answer doesn't really give anything away

I actually think it's interesting, as I expected more people to have more clients

Me? About a dozen, four of them biggies


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