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Poll: What would be the most important factor when working with clients?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 18:52
Dec 16, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What would be the most important factor when working with clients?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
Multiple Dec 16, 2013

For me, by far the most important factor is that they are direct clients, rather than agencies outsourcing work for third parties and taking their cut. I usually only work with agencies as a last resort.


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
The colour Dec 16, 2013

of their money


Yvonne Gallagher
Local time: 02:52
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
multiple factors Dec 16, 2013

rates/payment terms/communication and, hopefully, repeat steady business. I have very few direct clients, so efficient PMS and invoicing are important too...

I don't even apply for jobs in some countries as I figure it would be a waste of time since the rates are so low...


Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
multiple factors Dec 16, 2013

not the least of which would be interesting subjects


Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:52
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Multiple factors Dec 16, 2013

I agree with Marjolein - interesting subject matter makes me much more motivated to work hard. It's not the only factor I would take into consideration, but I would be much more inclined to accept a job if I find the subject matter interesting.


Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 04:52
English to Russian
+ ...
multiple factors Dec 16, 2013

Rates, types of texts offered (belonging to my sphere of expertise in convenient format, not what we call "rubbish" in our trade), workload, deadlines (not under heavy pressure), convenient method of payment (not webmoney or like), no payment delays (at least not frequently)...


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:52
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Consistency and large volumes Dec 16, 2013

As a technical translator, these are big factors.

Consistency -- The more frequently you get work, the more familiar you become with customers' products. And, the more familiar you are, the quicker you can translate and to a higher level of quality, too
Large volumes -- Once my engine is up and running, I start earning decent spondoolicks. Ultimately, it all boils down to how fast you can type.

Of course, the above factors would be meaningless without good rates and timely payment. icon_smile.gif


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:52
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Screening & ranking factors Dec 16, 2013

Some of these factors are screening, i.e. if requirements are not met on either side, the deal will be off.

The first screening criterion is the type of job itself, on different facets.

If it involves technical translation in an area that I don't serve, (five listed on this page), I might recommend a colleague that I know as a reliable specialist in that, however I won't take the job.

If for/without any reason they demand Trados absolutely, I'm out! Though I use WordFast, I am "old school": I assume they want a pristine translation, not the ability to say that a specific CAT tool was used to accomplish whatever they get.

If they need services using software I don't use, e.g. CAD, Flash, etc. I can't and won't take the job. DTP is flexible, though. I can either serve them either with PageMaker, or work on a PDF generated by any app, using Infix.

Though I see many translators doing otherwise, rates are a screening factor for me. I have set fair and reasonable market-based rates. If a client can't afford my rates, it's a no-deal.

Payment term may be a screening factor, however only if the client wants it to be longer than 30 days after delivery with invoice, since I'm not in the financial services business (until the day banks start offering translation services).

Once a prospect is through the screening process, they may become a client. The other factors may play to their advantage with me.

Efficient communication will get their job done faster and possibly better, if there are issues that should be solved together, instead of my trial-and-error. I'll provide them with all information they may need, including ways to cut costs if there are any, however for that I'll need to have a very clear idea of what they want.

Frequency of jobs will get them some breaks, when they need them most. A freebie now and then is not so farfetched when we are really frequent business partners.

Country is irrelevant, as long as they don't try to impose their country's cost of living standards on mine, and paymeht is feasible. However this would have been covered in the screening stage.

Payment method is an important factor to consider, however it affects mostly price. If the client can spare me from the hefty PayPal fees and its extended delays, they'll get a generous discount (at PayPal's expense - not mine), and extra priority, as explained next.

Apart from all criteria above, quick payment could be the most important factor, since it is a variable the client can control. Considering the comparatively outrageous 10%/month interest rate in my country, I got rid of rush surcharges (other than statutory for sworn translations) early this year, and have been prioritizing my work ever since on the shortest payment term getting served first. This has done wonders for developing a havoc-free work schedule, making my house policy of "no late deliveries, ever!" easier to accomplish.

So there isn't one most important factor, as long as the relevant factors are all organized into two equations (screening/working).


Teresa Borges
Local time: 02:52
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Multiple factors Dec 16, 2013

Marjolein Snippe wrote:

not the least of which would be interesting subjects

+ a client who willingly recommends my services to others...


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
Member (2008)
English to Italian
mutiple Dec 16, 2013

prompt payment, reliability, workflow, friendliness, sometimes rates are the least important thing


tilak raj  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:22
Member (2012)
English to Panjabi
+ ...
Multiple factors Dec 16, 2013

As a translator, you have to see multiple factors for accepting a work. Like is a client is good rate payer but he pays very late then rate will not be an important target. So I also watch multiple factors while accepting a project.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:52
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Work I enjoy doing Dec 16, 2013

I have been known to lower my rates for a job I'm interested in doing - and fortunately, a lot of topics interest me.


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Always multiple factors Dec 16, 2013

All factors will be considered in a business relationship.

Of what good will be, for example, a high rate when the client turns out to be a "notorious" late payer, the projects are boring, or the first project turns out to be the only one?

The dream collaboration includes good rates, fast payments, interesting projects, friendly PMs, effective communication and a constant work-flow. In an ideal world.icon_wink.gif


Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:52
German to English
Average quality of source material Dec 16, 2013

There is a world of difference between romping through a Word document with a CAT tool and painfully transcribing the many fonts, tables figures etc. in a dead PDF! In fact, the latter takes perhaps 2-3 times as long as the former, and is a waste of time and money.

Steve K.

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