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Poll: Do you think your name influences clients in choosing your services?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 09:10
SITE STAFF
May 26, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think your name influences clients in choosing your services?".

This poll was originally submitted by Anne-Sophie Cardinal. View the poll results »



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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:10
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Ma-what? May 26, 2016

I suspect most clients don't know how to pronounce my name - I tend to have trouble recognising my name when pronounced by anyone who does not speak Dutch. It might of course put some clients off, but I still get contacted by enough clients to keep me in business.

I do find it a disadvantage when running races. In a marathon, my friend Nina got the crowds shouting Neeee-naaah, ambulance-fashion, on several points. It really spurred her along! Whereas I got one instance of 'Go Mah-Moh-what?' and generally noticed the crowd choosing to cheer on 'Jane', Tom' or whoever else was next to me with an easier-to-pronounce name.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Possible solution May 26, 2016

Marjolein Snippe wrote:

I suspect most clients don't know how to pronounce my name - I tend to have trouble recognising my name when pronounced by anyone who does not speak Dutch. It might of course put some clients off, but I still get contacted by enough clients to keep me in business.

I do find it a disadvantage when running races. In a marathon, my friend Nina got the crowds shouting Neeee-naaah, ambulance-fashion, on several points. It really spurred her along! Whereas I got one instance of 'Go Mah-Moh-what?' and generally noticed the crowd choosing to cheer on 'Jane', Tom' or whoever else was next to me with an easier-to-pronounce name.


You could always shorten it to a nickname - Jolein - and your supporters could chant along to the song 'Jolene': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGEubdH8m0s

As regards the poll query, I'm not sure how to respond. Most of my clients came to me by word-of-mouth recommendation, so I suppose you could say yes, because someone gave them my details. My surname apparently sounds rather rude in my source language (Spanish: 'me cagüen'), but that may be positive rather than negative, as they say any publicity is better than none at all

[Edited at 2016-05-26 08:28 GMT]

PS: I also tell Spanish people my first name is "Nilo" (like the river Nile in Spanish), otherwise they tend to pronounce it "nail"...

[Edited at 2016-05-26 19:35 GMT]


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:10
Member
English to French
No May 26, 2016

My surname is only an asset in bars: A la tienne, Etienne.

Philippe


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Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Not really May 26, 2016

I don't think my name makes a great deal of difference. However it does sound quite English, especially my initials (HRH), so it might appeal to someone looking for a native English speaker.

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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:10
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Next time! May 26, 2016

neilmac wrote:


You could always shorten it to a nickname - Jolein - and your supporters could chant along to the song 'Jolene': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGEubdH8m0s



I like that suggestion! I have tried 'Lein' but people still don't know what to make of that and 'Mary' is too generic - I wouldn't recognise it as being meant for me. I'll try 'Jolene' next time!


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Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:10
Member (2015)
German to English
Difficult to say May 26, 2016

but I think it does give me an edge to some degree as, living in Germany, it immediately stands out as not being a German name, therefore a greater likelihood of being a native speaker of English, which, of course, I am.

I also find the Garfield part tends to stick in people's memory more.


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:10
German to English
interesting question May 26, 2016

I would guess that any German looking at my name would automatically initially assume that I'm German, so it might have some effect, although I don't know if it it is likely to be positive or negative or to balance itself out. I could imagine that translators working into English and having foreign-sounding names might generally be at a slight disadvantage.

I also share my name with a German scholar who is a professor in a related field and has done a significant amount of work in the field of art. I don't know if that has ever produced any confusion or not.


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Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 03:10
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
I hope not:) May 26, 2016

My name does not sound Russian at all so it could be confusing for someone who is looking for a native Russian speaker.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:10
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other May 26, 2016

I just don't know.
However, if I ran a detective agency...


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Catherine De Crignis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:10
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
It might do May 26, 2016

... since all details have their importance, but how would I know?


Vanda Nissen wrote:

My name does not sound Russian at all so it could be confusing for someone who is looking for a native Russian speaker.


Good point!
I heard a translator say she was considering reverting back to her maiden name, so she would sound native again!


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Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 19:10
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...
I guess no May 26, 2016

My name is rare both in Ukraine and in Russia, and - I was surprised - even in Greece! This fact may be thought of as an advantage for standing out from the crowd. Unlike my surname, however.

Moreover, my surname is transliterated differently from Ukrainian and from my native Russian. Here on Proz and on Linkedin and everywhere on the web I used transliteration from Russian, but when it comes to signing an SLA, NDA and invoicing, I have to use my official Ukrainian passport typing, i.e. Danylov. Some of the customers are confused with the difference and wonder, if they are dealing with the same person Sometimes I even reflect over rebranding my name on the web, but I think it actually doesn't worth while.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:10
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other - no idea, probably not May 26, 2016

Occasionally, people assume I am Danish because I use my married name, and slightly more expect me to translate into Danish because of my name.

I have once or twice been reprimanded about some of my formulations ' No native would ever say that' ... I remember occasions when amateur proofreaders have assumed I was Danish, but I had carefully researched expressions used in English versions of Danish law but not necessarily English law, AND had them approved by my qualified English-native mentor!

I make enough noise in Danish circles for many clients to know who I am and choose me for other reasons. If others drop me because of my name, there are still plenty who find me.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:10
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, unfortunately to my disadvantage. May 26, 2016

I have quite a complex name, my full legal name, of mixed national origin—not fully corresponding to the languages I translate into, or language rather. So, I get all those stupid questions, or comments, sometimes, especially when communicating with some administrative personal. "So, where were you born? Where in Russia? Where did you go to school?" Sometimes they speak Spanish to me based on my legal first name, automatically.

Really weird situations, if I use my full legal name. How did you learn Polish??? All the symptoms of stereotypical thinking, and profiling.

[Edited at 2016-05-26 09:56 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:10
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other May 26, 2016

I use indifferently my commercial name (Bureau Portugais de Traduction, in short BPT) and my personal name (Teresa Borges). When I lived in Belgium I had to shorten my full name (otherwise I would be spelling it out 100% of the time): Portuguese tend to to have very long names - the first two being first names, the third and fourth names from the mother side of the family and the last two names from the father side, plus the husband’s name. In Belgium, maybe a Portuguese sounding name - commercial or personal - could make a difference when looking for Portuguese translations, but most of my clients came to me by word-of-mouth. This being said, now that I’m living in Portugal I don't think my name makes a great deal of difference.

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