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Poll: Do you ever agree to do a free translation for regular clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:26
SITE STAFF
Jun 22, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you ever agree to do a free translation for regular clients?".

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:26
Member (2006)
German to English
No Jun 22, 2014

If it is only a couple of words, okay, but a document, nope!

 

Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:26
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Only with internal translations Jun 22, 2014

I don't charge anything to my best client if the translation submitted is an internal text -theirs, not of a client of theirs- and a short one too.

 

Mike Sadler  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, but... Jun 22, 2014

But I'll sometimes offer one. If someone's giving me £10000 a year in business and they need a couple of lines doing they can have them on the house.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:26
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jun 22, 2014

I've never been asked, but, like Mike, I've offered a few lines here and there to a client who has been with me since the very beginning (1985)...

 

Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 17:26
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...
Other Jun 22, 2014

If it's just a few lines, then it's easier to do a favour rather then try to collect coins.

 

ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:26
Member
German to English
+ ...
A sentence or two Jun 22, 2014

I'd do a sentence or two for a good client who provides me with regular work.

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:26
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No Jun 22, 2014

Like all of you, a couple of lines or phrases - and never complete jobs - as 'goodwill' helps smooth the tracks.

Boy, am I feeling generous. Maybe it's the lovely bottle of white I'm knocking back that's making me feel all nice and fuzzy wuzzy today. icon_biggrin.gif


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jun 22, 2014

As I perceive the query, "agree" suggests some sort of pressure or request to provide a free translation. This never happens with my regular clients. I do occasionally decide to give them discounts or the odd freeby whenever I feel like it though...

 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Generosity is a voluntary act Jun 22, 2014

That's what I always felt. If I feel unusually generous, I may do a 100-word translation for free, or as a gesture to a client's project manager who gave me a generous deadline extension.

A better approach that I'm considering is to donate translation work to a good cause in exchange for a) visibility and b) the proverbial tax credit for charitable donation.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:26
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Sometimes I actually offer them Jun 22, 2014

Once a direct client (in fact, my #1 best client for some 20 consecutive years) sent me seven training videos on a tape (yes, in the VHS era), with instructions to translate all of them for dubbing, except the fourth. Of course, in those linear video days, I had to go through that fourth video, and really liked it!

So I translated it for free, and they had it dubbed. This was maybe 20 years ago. Well, history is my witness, that fourth video is the only "survivor" from that pack that is still on their current catalog.

The same client once called me, "Listen, someone here botched it up badly on a time/cost estimate for a video from an external client. Can you helps up out, translate it for free, and deliver tomorrow? I promise you we'll make it up on the next few jobs." I didn't stop to think, and replied, "Send it immediately! Don't worry about making it up; you've done it already in the last 300 videos or so."

A more recent one, actually last week (and this was not the first time), also a first class client, after an entire job was delivered and paid for, returned saying that "The end-client forgot to include 463 words in the source text to translate. Can you do them today before COB?". I certainly did.

The unintentional trick is that both are COD-paying clients. After a large job has been delivered and promptly paid, I think it would be a demonstration of greed to issue a petty invoice for something extra, to an amount that is probably comparable to PayPal fees on the main job. Meanwhile, if they are to pay the whole amount within a few weeks, it's just a matter of adding the extra to the total.

I equate that to a fancy restaurant. After a party has had a royal meal and paid for it, if someone asks for "just one more coffee", will they charge for it separately? I wouldn't!

I have several other similar cases, where I do it at no charge. I say it's "covered by warranty". Also, when a good, frequent client invites me to help in experimenting something new, whose potential they are trying to determine, I join them in the game. It's the basis of a solid partnership: neither of us knows yet whether we'll be making any money from it; if they aren't making any from finding out, why should I?

I translated a good client's (a translation agency) web site for free, because they didn't have it in my main target language. I didn't even ask them. Since it was relatively small, I simply did it and delivered the translation.

On the other hand, a somewhat 'bad' client (an agency - I dropped them immediately afterwards) hired me to translate a substantial part of their web site. In spite of their relatively long payment term, they paid me so late under the excuse of their accounting department being overloaded, that it was as if done for free. While I charged my full rate as usual, their intent was obviously to sell cheaper translation workmanship by exhibiting my quality standards.

Overall, I seldom get requests for freebies from my good and frequent clients; nevertheless, I walk the extra mile for them as often as I can. I think it's a far better use of my time than working for one-night-stands at grovelling rates, just because they promise me a ton of jobs in the future, if I can fulfill their immediate needs now.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:26
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Jun 22, 2014

If it's just a few words and if I feel like it, then I do it for free. If this would happen every day, well, then I wouldn't. In this case I would add it all to my invoice for this client and mark one or two "shorties" as "on the house". As we say, small favors keep a friendship alive. In this case, the business relationship.icon_wink.gif

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:26
French to English
Boils down to this Jun 22, 2014

Platon Danilov wrote:

If it's just a few lines, then it's easier to do a favour rather then try to collect coins.


 

Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 09:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
The same Jun 22, 2014

Michael Harris wrote:

If it is only a couple of words, okay, but a document, nope!



And only if I am the one to say I will not make a charge.
Occasionally a good client might ask for the translation of a sentence or a few words, and then I might translate it right away and say there is no charge.


 

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 16:26
French to English
+ ...
I have Jun 22, 2014

It was for a very good customer - a small "one person" agency and it was promotional materials for her own company. She offered to pay but, as I explained to her, what is good for her turnover is good for mine.

I also translated her nephew's CV as a freebie but I already owed her for that one as she had translated a eulogy that I had to deliver in French & English. I had already translated it and asked her if she wouldn't mind giving it a quick look-over. She re-translated the entire thing! Which nicely demonstrates why I don't offer EN->FR translationicon_smile.gif


 
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