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Poll: What is the main factor you take into account when an existing client offers you a project?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Local time: 22:14
SITE STAFF
Dec 23, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What is the main factor you take into account when an existing client offers you a project?".

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:14
Member (2008)
English to Italian
not sure about this question Dec 23, 2014

If we talk about an existing client, which I suppose is one of my regular clients, or a client I have already worked with, I assume that:
- rates are already set
- he/she knows my specialties
- relationship with a client is an optional, I mean I have know some clients for 10 years, others for 5, others for 3... no difference.

So the only thing I take into account is the deadline, and if can complete the job when requested.


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 07:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Dec 23, 2014

Whether I am going to be able to do a good translation for them (and this will depend on subject matter and deadline).

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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:14
English to German
+ ...
All of it Dec 23, 2014

Subject field, deadline, rate...

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 08:14
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Dec 23, 2014

Surely you need to take all of these factors into account. To take an extreme example, just to illustrate the point, if somebody offered to pay me a million euro in advance to translate 10,000 words, this would be an excellent offer and I would jump at it, but if the deadline were one hour later, then I simply could not do it and would have to decline the offer, however lucrative.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:14
Member (2006)
German to English
Size of project Dec 23, 2014

and deadline, the rest is already a clear factor. Why would I discus the rates / terms of payment again with a regular customer?

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 06:14
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ditto! Dec 23, 2014

Gianluca Marras wrote:

If we talk about an existing client, which I suppose is one of my regular clients, or a client I have already worked with, I assume that:
- rates are already set
- he/she knows my specialties
- relationship with a client is an optional, I mean I have know some clients for 10 years, others for 5, others for 3... no difference.

So the only thing I take into account is the deadline, and if can complete the job when requested.


I must add that a very dear client of mine quite often when he sends a translation request adds a note saying: “no deadline set, whenever you’re available”. The flip side of the coin is that from time to time he has an urgent situation…

[Edited at 2014-12-23 10:14 GMT]


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:14
English to Polish
Other Dec 23, 2014

My availability? If it's an existing client, all other options are either agreed upon a long time ago, or don't need enquiries (like the speciality field - they already know what I do and send me work accordingly). The only obstacle that could be is my already being too busy to take their project.

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Leon Ivanihin  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:14
Member (2011)
English to Russian
Improper question Dec 23, 2014

I agree with you all, that is very strange question.
It could make sense, when asking about NEW client instead. In that case we actually make decision depending on sum of listed factors. For existing client I always do my best, if only I am available.


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 08:14
Turkish to English
+ ...
Not necessarily Dec 23, 2014

Leon Ivanihin wrote:

I agree with you all, that is very strange question.
It could make sense, when asking about NEW client instead. In that case we actually make decision depending on sum of listed factors. For existing client I always do my best, if only I am available.


An existing client may well approach you with a job that is outside your areas of specialisation (this happened to me yesterday) or with a deadline that you cannot meet, so you have to reject the offer.


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Emin Arı  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 09:14
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
Existing client means regular job Dec 23, 2014

Most of the existing clients are regular clients who know me and my capabilities (specialities and translation capacity).

For this reason, I and my client are just alike a couple who knows each other and what to expect.

So, this is an idle question.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:14
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other: The client's needs Dec 23, 2014

I approach any project with two questions:
- What do you have?
- What do you need?

Quite often the road from one to the other is far away from the client's core business, the farthest one being video translation, I mean, dubbing or subtitling. So I think it's up to me to discover the shortest route, often avoiding places where we shouldn't go.

I chose the video translation example, because it is one area very few translation agencies (yes, this would be part of their core business) know squat about. Those that have learned to trust me often tell me to contact their end-client directly, because I ask "too many 'difficult' questions".

Fortunately, I haven't yet had to call the same end-client and introduce myself as being from two different agencies. Anyway, I've developed cleverness in parrying questions involving both money and direct work.

Once the most cost-effective solution has been mutually agreed, all the options offered in this poll will have been automatically covered:

Rate offered - My store has price tags on everything. In the unlikely event that they offer me more than I charge, they may donate the surplus to charity, if they wish. If there is a chance of them saving any money otherwise wasted on expensive payment methods, I'll tell them all about it.

Terms of payment - For almost two years already I have got rid of urgency surcharges, and have been prioritizing jobs on shorter payment terms being served first. As 97% of my clients are paying me COD, they don't stand a chance of being served soon if they give my financial services higher priority than my translation services. On the other hand, if they are desperately in a hurry, they can prepay for the job, and get first priority. Nobody will be able to time-travel to prepay earlier, once they have done so. (For the record, I only get 2~4 prepaid jobs per year.)

Deadline - I tell them what I can do. If that's not good enough, they are welcome to try finding someone else. If they try to twist my arm on the deadline, I'll often say things like, e.g. on a Monday: "Okay, you want it for Wednesday, and I'll try my best to deliver it to you by then, however I'll only promise/commit to delivery on Friday. That's how I've been able to keep a record of NO late deliveries since 1973. I wouldn't like to break it with you."

Specialty field of project - Either I can do it, or I'll come clean up-front than I can't. In the latter case, I'll try to refer them to someone I know as reliable to do it, wish them all good luck, and step out.

Relationship with the client - Either it's excellent, or there isn't any. Either we have a solid, quake-proof, two-way bridge connecting us, or I'll have torched that treacherous plank already.

Size of project - It's like eating an elephant, one bite at a time.

The goal is to fulfill the client's needs in the most economical way and, if possible, exceed their expectations. Anything else will be consequential.


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 00:14
German to English
+ ...
answering Dec 23, 2014

The factors I take into account when a client (existing or new) requests a translation are:
- Do I have time for the project - can I fit it in?
- Is it in my area of expertise, so that I am capable of doing it at a professional level?

That's it, basically.

The factors in the questionnaire were:

rates offered
- I quote my fee to my clients, so this is not applicable.

terms of payment
- freelancers have their own terms of conditions. Sometimes they get negotiated for a mutual agreement. However, with an existing client these are already fixed. Not a factor.

deadline
- The translator establishes when he/she can complete a project and deadline can be established mutually. This goes with "Do I have time for the project - Can I fit it in?" So in that sense, yes. But here it's also the client who will ask "Can I accept the deadline that the translator is offering me?"

specialty
- This goes with "Is it in my area of expertise?" so, yes.

relationship with client
- I don't understand the question.

size of project
- This goes with "Do I have time for the project - Can I fit it in?"


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 15:14
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, a few strange options for a straightforward question Dec 23, 2014

With an existing customer/client, one would presume that there is no need for any kind of contractual haggling and negotiation - all of the key factors are already in place. So, basically the only things to think about are:

- content
- volume
- deadline
- other job-specific requirements that are different from previous jobs

Once again, a 'Combination of the above' could have been included since acceptance of a job in a lot of cases is decided not based on just one condition but by juggling several variables at once.

With regular customers/clients, the element of trust is already in place. So, decisions can be made quickly and efficiently. Niiice win-win situation. High fives all around!


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:14
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Terms of payment the last? Dec 23, 2014

Wow, I wonder if my colleagues are rich people.

Would you then accept to be paid at 90 or even 120 days?

Surprised and worried for the future of our profession!

[Edited at 2014-12-23 12:35 GMT]


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