Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Getting feedback from clients and agencies
Thread poster: laure claesen

laure claesen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:50
Member (2005)
English to French
Nov 14, 2009

My poor lonesome co...lleagues,
I am writing in the middle of a long, tiresome, legal document translation in which, (you might experience this daily) lots of other thoughts interfere and prevent your brain from being fully effective.
The present inteferring thought is about feedback from clients.
My personal experience is that, apart from continuing business relationship, or rather conventionally formulated blueboard entries, very few agencies actually comment on a particular translation, discuss your choice of terms or any such thing.
I must say that this is a disappointment. Especially on long, difficult jobs where you sweated every step to produce a good translation. You deliver and then you hear nothing at all; at best, you receive your payment in time and the job is followed by another order.
Have you any similar experience to share? Or a different story ?
Have you ever clearly asked for feedback or, even better, introduced a business relationship asking as a preliminary that you do get feedback on your work?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:50
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I've asked Nov 14, 2009

laure claesen wrote:
Have you ever clearly asked for feedback or, even better, introduced a business relationship asking as a preliminary that you do get feedback on your work?


I have asked, particularly the first few times I did translations. The answer has always been "Yes, of course. We'll let you know"

I have never received any feedback, apart from direct clients querying certain words, more for their own interest and education than to help me.

Still, a "thank you" and on-time payment satisfy me nowadays.


 

Capesha  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:50
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Sometimes.... Nov 14, 2009

Dear Laure,

normally you can assume that your job had been done fine, if you don't get any feedback and payment comes in time.

I have some clients, who give a feedback.
Sometimes they really let me know that they were quite satisfied with my job (or they tell the agency and I get the feedback from my Project Manager). I have to say that this is a highlight and makes my dayicon_wink.gif
Also a constructive feedback is always welcome. Last time I did a translation of an IT text. The feedback wasn't positive and they asked me to contact their Sales Manager. We went through every single sentence and I had to learn that many (in my opinion too much) expressions should remain in English. The Sales Manager was very friendly and helpful and all in all I enjoyed this phone-meeting, as it really helped me to understand the concerns of the client. This way I can improve my style and can meet the client's expectations.

I am working for one agency in Italy and they have a page on their website which is especially for me. I can see my jobs etc. but there is also a diagram, showing 2 curves with the professionalism and the quality of my work. This is great, as I can see the changes after every job done.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:50
Member (2008)
French to English
WWA Nov 14, 2009

To my best clients, after a while I have sent them the WWA request from this site. Some have responded, sometimes with comments and sometimes no comments. This way I've got some feedback as well as a reference posting I can refer other clients to.

I can relate to wandering thoughts, such as posting this...


 

Capesha  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:50
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
WWA is fine Nov 14, 2009

Just forgot to mention before I read the comments of John.
WWA is a good opportunity for clients/agencies to give a feedback to the translator. I always make a Blue Board entry (after a certain period) for the agencies and some of them took the time and left a positive feedback on my WWA profile.
I think, that this is quite a useful tool.


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:50
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
The echoing void ... Nov 14, 2009

In my experience, feedback from clients is rare, although I do occasionally receive positive comments and even, sometimes, "Please can you fit this job in? Our client is eager to have the same translator as last time because you did such a good job". That is very gratifying, of course, but usually the work falls into an echoing void and nothing more is heard, apart from payment and further orders, which presumably means that the client is satisfied.
At first I used to find this crushing, but I've been in the translation game for decades now and I've got used to it.
Don't be downhearted. No news is good news, I guess ...
Jenny


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:50
French to German
+ ...
Returning clients are my best feedback Nov 14, 2009

Jenny Forbes wrote:
At first I used to find this crushing, but I've been in the translation game for decades now and I've got used to it.
Don't be downhearted. No news is good news, I guess ...
Jenny

I can relate to this, although I would like *more* WWA entries on my profile but can understand some clients prefer to refrain from giving WWA's altogether. Hence, returning clients are my best feedback.


 

laure claesen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:50
Member (2005)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
translator's page showing comments on last job Nov 14, 2009

Capesha wrote:

Dear Laure,

normally you can assume that your job had been done fine, if you don't get any feedback and payment comes in time.

I have some clients, who give a feedback.
Sometimes they really let me know that they were quite satisfied with my job (or they tell the agency and I get the feedback from my Project Manager). I have to say that this is a highlight and makes my dayicon_wink.gif
Also a constructive feedback is always welcome. Last time I did a translation of an IT text. The feedback wasn't positive and they asked me to contact their Sales Manager. We went through every single sentence and I had to learn that many (in my opinion too much) expressions should remain in English. The Sales Manager was very friendly and helpful and all in all I enjoyed this phone-meeting, as it really helped me to understand the concerns of the client. This way I can improve my style and can meet the client's expectations.

I am working for one agency in Italy and they have a page on their website which is especially for me. I can see my jobs etc. but there is also a diagram, showing 2 curves with the professionalism and the quality of my work. This is great, as I can see the changes after every job done.


 

laure claesen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:50
Member (2005)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
translator's page showing comments on last job Nov 14, 2009

This is exactly what I would like.
Of course, my ego too needs feeding with nice, laudatory comments! Although this is not exactly what I meant in my post. What you mention, remarks where you can see exactly what in your work was not up to the standards /expectations is essential and important for both ends, to be able to know where you are/stand. Or even more basically, terms favoured by the client or anything in direct connection with the assignment. So this idea of a translator's page showing a translation and how it was edited is really brilliant. I will try to suggest this to some agencies I know would be able to do that.
By the way, I would be interested to know what made your Italian agency feel that this would be a useful thing to do...


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:50
Member
English to French
3% feedback from agencies/relayed by agencies Nov 14, 2009

I may get 10-20 feel-good comments a year from one-off/incumbent agencies themselves or end customers who forwarded their own comments to the agency. It is not a lot compared to the 300+ jobs I deliver each year.
I also get unhappy comments once or twice (perceived, maybe it's 5 times) a year.

I suppose some agencies monitor customer satisfaction (maybe with questionnaires) on a translator basis and anything that arises is forwarded to him/her.
Also agency sales people who visit their clients may come back with first-hand comments about the latest translation.

But I think not many agencies bother to follow up on their deliveries and behave just as we do: no news is good news. No wonder agency feedback is scarce.

As for end customers, my experience with them is very limited, but I suppose it is common practice to ask at the next order what they think about the translation from the first order. If there is a next order, hearing their opinion about the previous delivery shouldn't be too unpleasant.

Have a good weekend,
Philippe


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:50
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
In other jobs requests Nov 14, 2009

When I get requests from agencies I do sometimes get comments along the lines of "I know you would be perfect for this job" or "I want to offer this to you as you are one of our best translators", this always makes my day and brings a big smile to my face.

It is the only type of comment I get (apart from continues business and good relationships, which after all are the best possible comment) but I maybe get three or four a month and I always feel really good.

One things I do always do is thank whoever it was and tell them they made my day, letting people know there feedback is appreciated is a way to encourage it. I do this even when the feed back is negative, which I am happy to say is rare but does happen and whenever I get negative feedback I always follow it up with a thank you.


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:50
German to English
I'm in it for money, not love Nov 14, 2009

laure claesen wrote:

My personal experience is that, apart from continuing business relationship, or rather conventionally formulated blueboard entries, very few agencies actually comment on a particular translation, discuss your choice of terms or any such thing.
[snip]
You deliver and then you hear nothing at all; at best, you receive your payment in time and the job is followed by another order.



As others have pointed out, the best feedback is getting another job from the client. You can't take praise to the bank.


 

Suzanne Deliscar  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:50
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same Experience - No News means Good News Nov 14, 2009

I have had the same experience. A while ago, I put out a general question on LinkedIn asking if no news = good news (http://www.linkedin.com/answers/administration/customer-service/ADM_CSV/543777-42912420?browseIdx=6&sik=1258220202997&goback=.mml_inbox_none_DATE_1.ahp.amq). Overwhelmingly, most of the people who responded seemed to feel that not receiving a response was a bad thing. A few did note that it depends on your industry, and I think that translation is so fast-paced at times that unless there is a problem, the translator will not hear anything back. I am also a lawyer and I find that to be true often in the legal field as well. Along the same lines, I have noticed that many people nowadays do not even acknowledge receipt of e-mails, as long as everything is okay on their end. What is disappointing is the human condition: we make time to complain, but do not have time to compliment. Due to these experiences, I make it a policy to respond back with a thank you and/or specific comments whenever I am on the receiving end.

 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:50
English to French
+ ...
No feedback is usually good feedback Nov 14, 2009

I entirely agree that comments, whether positive or negative, should be given in an ideal world. Sadly, we don't live in an ideal world.

The problem is that even the most well-intentioned client rarely has the time to comment. When they do, it is usually because something is not to their liking. Therefore, I have come to conclude that if there is no feedback, that means everything is to the client's satisfaction (although this is not always the case).

There are also ways to ask for feedback. Simply saying that you would like the client to get back to you with any comments they may have is often construed as standard business language, a form of politeness. People usually don't pay much attention to this kind of request. However, if you tell the client how much you would appreciate that they let you know, in all honesty, what they like and what they don't like so that you can learn to better serve them often goes a much longer way. If you craft a message that comes off as trying to be helpful to them, and not one that says that they would help you through their feedback, that is usually viewed differently. It's all about being helpful, really. In short, the message should be "help me help you", and not just "help me".

Laurent is also right: when clients call upon you regularly, sometimes even mentioning that they prefer working with you as you are already familiar with the subject matter or with work methods, that means the client trusts you. There is no feedback more glowing than knowing that your client trusts you.

I tend to disagree, however, with comments that suggest that money should be the motivating factor. Of course, money is good and important and all, but many of us have chosen to work in this field because we like it. I think it is important to feel appreciated once in a while--how else would you get satisfaction from the single activity that takes up the most room in your life (time-wise, at least)? I am straying a bit off topic here, but I find that life is not worth living if we don't enjoy living it. And since work makes up most of our waking hours, it is crucial that we feel good about our work. Nothing helps achieve that goal better than some form of feedback, even if it is only returning clients.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:50
Member (2008)
French to English
10 to 1 ratio Nov 14, 2009

There's a rule of thumb in the marketing industry that there's a 10:1 ratio of complaints to praise. People tend to complain 10 times more than praise. Its just something about human nature, that we tend to keep praise to ourselves, while we tend let people know just what we think when we have something to complain about. So from this point of view, 1 positive feedback is worth 10 negative feedbacks.

Of course, if you can get a positive comment without any negative comments, then you're even further ahead.


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Getting feedback from clients and agencies

Advanced search






Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search