Poll: When working with an agency, have you ever contacted the end client directly?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 10:37
May 3, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When working with an agency, have you ever contacted the end client directly?".

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Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:37
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
A handful of times May 3, 2015

On some few occasions when it was simply to time-consuming to go through the agency (to sort out unclear points), I have been asked to contact the end client directly. Also one agency has provided me with contact information to the end client in case I have questions.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 08:42 GMT]


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:37
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Nope May 3, 2015

Not at all. Never in a month of Sundays!

It's the agency's job to do all the interfacing and running back and forth between the translator and the end client. That's one of the ways they should be earning their cut.
If you're asked to do it, then you're basically doing the agency's job. A big NO THANK YOU! to that - unless they agree to me keeping the end client after initial contact. icon_biggrin.gif


tilak raj  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:07
Member (2012)
English to Panjabi
+ ...
No May 3, 2015

no I did not get any chance like this. but a few times I came to know where an agency was getting work which that was assigning to me. But I preferred with agency that time. Because that was my regular client and profession does not allow to harm the agency/regular client.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 09:01 GMT]


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:37
Spanish to English
+ ...
No May 3, 2015

I usually take it for granted that working with agencies will preclude this.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 18:37
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes! May 3, 2015

As far as I can remember, only twice (same agency and end client) many years apart: the first one to clear out the meaning of an obscure sentence in a brochure and the second one to explain my choice of words… Both times, at the agency's request.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 12:59 GMT]


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:37
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Only once ... May 3, 2015

when the agency had not paid me and I discovered that the end client's website had published my translation. It didn't help me to get paid because the agency went bankrupt shortly afterwards.
All the NDAs I've signed prohibit contacting the end client and, as a rule, I couldn't contact them even if I wanted to, because I usually don't know who they are.


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:37
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No May 3, 2015

My agreement is with the agency which makes them my "end" client.icon_smile.gif This is all I normally know because the actual end client is usually unknown to me.icon_smile.gif


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:37
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
On several occasions, by agreement with the agency May 3, 2015

I started when I was working in-house, and there were clearly situations when it was much more effective to talk to the client directly than send messages back and forth through the PM.

When I started freelancing, that agency and others who have worked with it have asked me to contact the client directly once or twice, as it is often far quicker and more effective to sort out questions and follow up on the phone than relay them back and forth through the PM.

I always send the question to the agency first and give them the chance to deal with the problem. Sometimes they want to ask for comments from colleagues who are translating the same source into other languages, so they can sort those out at the same time.

Sometimes queries from the client are passed to me, and if I answer by mail, I always CC the PM when I answer, or I send a mail with a summary of the conversation if it went over the phone.

I am not really interested in taking over clients from agencies I work for. Many of them need translations into many different languages, or into more subject areas than I can cope with.

I definitely think direct dialogue with the client is useful at times - instead of guessing, I can ask precisely what they want, and where they would like me to make changes. It all helps to make the translator 'visible' as a person with a contribution to make.


Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:37
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
sad experience May 3, 2015

It was a huge scandal almost 10 years ago. The stamp was still wet on my company papers and I was totally happy when a huge agency asked me for collaboration in a very unusual pair, one language of them was Russian. They told what to translate, promised a huge TM, vocabulary and support... and, finally, they just threw an (let's be nice) ice bucket on my team's head, including me, none of these was received just the files to be translated. Hurry-hurry-hurry, send each page, phone calls after each 10-15 minutes, until they did not receive all. After completing all files, the era of total silence has begun. Even no a single thank you... After 10 days they told they will reduce the amount agreed, because a client had complaints and the client reduced the payment. But they refused to show or give any particular comment, refused to show even any corrections. I felt there is something wrong but I knew they are too big and I had no money to hire a lawyer.
I arranged a meeting with the PM and I arrived a quarter of an hour before my time, but I thought that would make no difference. There was a man in the meeting room so we had a chat with him. He told me he is a client, representing a lawyers office and he told me this is an excellent company, they can solve even complicated problems in rare language pairs as *** and Russian. And so I thought to myself, "Wow, he is the man who I want to talk to." I asked him about the project and within 15 minutes I got a clear picture. They took a job more than a week before we received it and they had a deposit and the invoice was already fully paid.
Let's say, I left the office with exact amount of cash agreed originally; I left there a man (the director) with widely open mouth, and I told to the PM if you lied just because it was told you by your boss to do it, it still does not mean you are not a liar. I told some other things but I would not like to be banned from ProZ.com. I think they still remember when I forgot my limits and had raised my voice in my rage, anger and disappointment. I fighted not for my own but for the payment for my 10 translators. Throw a stone on me.

[Edited at 2015-05-03 22:26 GMT]


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:37
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never ... May 3, 2015

... in 22 years of freelancing. I give the agency (when I work with them, which isn't regularly) a list of questions I have about the text. It's not for me to go bothering their client.


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