Poll: How many of your clients have you met face to face?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:36
SITE STAFF
Jun 6, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many of your clients have you met face to face?".

This poll was originally submitted by tilakahuja. View the poll results »



 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 15:36
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Jun 6, 2014

Every time this question is asked, I have to reply that almost all of my clients are juristic persons, so it is physically impossible to meet them. I do not think that I have ever met any of the tiny number of natural persons who have been my clients, either. Ditto this time.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:36
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
2 (.05) :) Jun 6, 2014

Thus far I've met 2 of my clients in person, and 2 others via Skype.

The 0.5 (with all due respect) is an almost have met since he was in my city... Perhaps next time.icon_wink.gif


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Most Jun 6, 2014

We make a point of meeting all important customers.

Even discounting my blindingly good looks and irresistible charm I think it would always improve the working relationship.

Having met you in person, a direct customer is less likely to try someone else, and an agency is more likely to remember you. People simply relate better to faces than names.

I always had a difficult working relationship with one contact at my biggest customer. When we met we had nothing in common and disagreed on everything, but after that our working relationship was fine...

As our customers are all abroad it can be an expensive business getting there, but at least most of them take us out to dinner.

And one customer flies over every year to meet us...


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 13:36
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
1-3 Jun 6, 2014

I worked for many years as a sworn translator and those translations were normally delivered in person. Since then, I haven’t seen most of my clients, the exception being a Japanese client who came to my office for a visit once and some time ago I had 2 meetings with a client regarding a large project to discuss how to meet their needs…

 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:36
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
None Jun 6, 2014

...so far, but since this is actually quite important to me, I have extended this summers Germany trip and made arrangements to meet several clients and collaborators and work a couple of in-house shifts. (Even though I can't compete with Chris' "blindingly good looks and irresistible charm"...)

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:36
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Almost all Jun 6, 2014

Chris S wrote:

Even discounting my blindingly good looks and irresistible charm ...



I know the feeling. I'm blushing already. icon_biggrin.gif

It's a cultural thing. This is how things are done over here in Japan. It's always good to see who are dealing with and I make a point of having a beer afterwards, if possible. And, it's always a good excuse for a trek up to Tokyo or elsewhere and spread my wings.

Edited title

[Edited at 2014-06-07 10:44 GMT]


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:36
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
More, but Jun 6, 2014

I do also some interpreting, and I have been in the business for 25 years - years ago, it was normal practice to meet them. To Tim: in the case of corporate persons, by having met them, I mean I met their staff, of course.

 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 15:36
Turkish to English
+ ...
Sorry to split hairs Jun 6, 2014

EvaVer wrote:

I do also some interpreting, and I have been in the business for 25 years - years ago, it was normal practice to meet them. To Tim: in the case of corporate persons, by having met them, I mean I met their staff, of course.


Sorry to split hairs - and I am a legal translator - but if meeting employees/proprietors/representatives of your clients is what is meant, then it should say so.


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 07:36
German to English
+ ...
end client vs. agency = diff. Jun 6, 2014

The number of end clients I meet in person is proportionally high, since many of them choose to pick up their translations in person (hard copy, because of being certified). I've lost count. Among agencies, I think I've met 3 people in person over a course of several decades. For one, it was when her favorite local choir sang with mine. It was lovely to meet the face behind the voice on all three occasions.

For agencies I don't see any advantage. With end clients, often there is more to explain, and I like asking them to recommend me to other potential clients if they like my work. Often they do.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:36
French to English
Almost all Jun 6, 2014

My clients are people who come to me through word of mouth in a field where people know one another. If I start working for them without having met, we generally meet sooner or later either by chance at a professional events or when I or they hear I'm around, an effort is made to at laest fit a face to voice on the phone.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other / NA Jun 6, 2014

Most of my clients are direct, not agencies. Of the handful of agencies I've worked for, I'v only ever met the boss and staff of one small local agency face to face. The rest of my contact with agencies is usually only by phone or email.

As for my "regulars", i.e. direct clients, it varies. There is one company I've worked with for years, but I only recall meeting the head of sales, who was attending a "Business English" TEFLA course I was teaching on. He asked me if I knew the teacher from the equivalent German course, who happened to also be the company's French, Dutch and German translator, and the conversation led to me doing a couple of translations for them... and I'm still with them over a decade later! The people who contact me nowadays are from their marketing/branding dept and I've never really met them in person.

The story with another of my regulars, a family business and possibly my best client, is similar. A colleague recommended me as a business English teacher when she was unable to continue working with them and I started giving class there a couple of times a week to small groups. Eventually they started asking me to translate some of their texts ... and nowadays I only do translation for them, while a couple of friend/colleagues (husband and wife) continue to do the classes. So I have met a lot of the people in the company, including the owners.

I also work with about half a dozen universities in Spain, but have only met my clients from the two in my geographical area (UV and UPV). I did some translations for another "virtual" University (VIU) when it was starting up a few years ago, but they must be using someone else now, as I haven't heard from them in ages.

I have met most of the people at one magazine I translate for - there's only about a dozen staff in total - and have attended conferences with them too. In fact, I worked as the Conference Secretary for them one year, which involved liaising with speakers and attendees and dealing with registration and queries in the period leading up to the Congress. That was amusing and interesting - a couple of the conference goers also gave me little presents (a fancy propelling pencil and a paperknife)which seems to be customary in their business cultures (Japan and Denmark, respectively). These items are still sitting on my worktop right now, although I use the knife the most.

This magazine shares an office building with another of my clients - a market research company working in the same general area (agriculture) - and I've met most of them too. A few years ago I went on a trip to the north of Spain for a few days with one of their teams to carry out some interviews with farmers and vets. The interviews were recorded on video and during recording I had to sit behind a one-way mirror and translate and explain the answers to the people from the company who had contracted the survey - German execs with very fluent English.

So, to cut a long story short (I could happily reminisce all day...) I have met someone in person from most of my non-agency clients, although the people who contact me for my services nowadays in the companies may not be my original contacts, or people who I've met in the flesh.


[Edited at 2014-06-06 17:10 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's the thought that counts Jun 6, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:

Chris S wrote:

Even discounting my blindingly good looks and irresistible charm ...



I know the feeling. I'm blushing already. icon_biggrin.gif

It's a cultural thing. This is how things are done over here in Japan. It's always good to see who are dealing with and I make a point of having a beer afterwards, if possible. And, it's always a good excuse for a trek up to Tokyo or elsewhere and spread my wings.

Edited title

[Edited at 2014-06-06 13:40 GMT]


I wonder if you've had many gifts from your clients in Japan? I've heard it's common practice to give your business contacts presents there.


 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:36
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Negative experience Jun 7, 2014

I have only met two. The first one came to my home to deliver something urgent (long before computrs & the Internet). She was very arrogant. Eventually she failed to pay me for the last part of the translation, and after that she wanted me to help another translator she was using. I actually did so, but also told this woman what I thought of her.
The other one was the head of an agency which had been sending me small jobs regularly, three or four a week. He was the speaker at a Translators' Guild event in London. I mentioned to him that I was working for his agency, and he invited me to visit it. I did so, and never got any more work whatsoever from that agency, nor any reply to queries.
So I'm inclined to doubt if meeting clients is a good idea!


 


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