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10 bad habits that are costing freelancers clients

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Rebekka Groß  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:11
English to German
a no brainer, really Jan 20, 2011

!

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A now brainer, but.... Jan 20, 2011

...still a lot of people don't remember these very basic things and wonder what is wrong with customers! I think the summary makes sense and could be useful for some people.

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RominaZ  Identity Verified
Argentina
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Interesting point about Social Networks Jan 20, 2011

I like the item about social networks in particular. Social networks are increasingly becoming a marketing tool and it is interesting to bear in mind that how one behaves in them can affect your relationship with clients.

Do you use Social Networks as a marketing tool?

Romina


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not in my case Jan 20, 2011

RominaZ wrote:
Do you use Social Networks as a marketing tool?

Not really. Honestly I don't have the time to do marketing in social networks. Specialised portals like Proz.com are proving to be far more effective than social networks in my case.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good, fundamentally sound advice, and.... Jan 20, 2011

...it would not be particularly difficult to construct a parallel list of "10 bad habits of outsourcers that drive away good freelancers"....

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claude
Thailand
Local time: 10:11
English to French
Number eleven Jan 21, 2011

The only way I lost a customer was by delivering a poor translation. Maybe we could add this one.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:11
English to German
+ ...
Number 12 Jan 21, 2011

Sprinkling the translated Word file with comments containing snide remarks about the author and the end client and then hiding them from view mode (I am not making this up).

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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 08:11
Japanese to English
Hilarious Jan 21, 2011

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Sprinkling the translated Word file with comments containing snide remarks about the author and the end client and then hiding them from view mode (I am not making this up).

Hahahaha! Details, please! Who did this, why, and how did they get caught? Was it you?


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Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Number 13: reading e-mails in a hurry Jan 21, 2011

It was certainly unlucky for me!

I once lost a nice job (and client) because I didn't read an e-mail carefully enough. It was a busy afternoon when I had to spend time on another project away from the computer. My too-hasty reading meant that I missed the client's reply deadline by half an hour. Realising what I'd done, I actually sat and cried. It taught me a very valuable lesson.

Nicole's number 12 is priceless!

Alison


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:11
English to German
+ ...
Re: Hilarious Jan 21, 2011

TransAfrique wrote:
Hahahaha! Details, please! Who did this, why, and how did they get caught? Was it you?


The editor found them during the editing process. She was my guardian angel. I have no idea what the translator was thinking...


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Hopefully obvious information for most of us.. Jan 24, 2011

..but unfortunately not for everybody. Just to be on the safe side, it's always a good idea to speak out even the most obvious facts. We even have a short list for that: http://www.hansson.de/download/special/te7dovr61pxn/driving_nuts.pdf

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:11
English to German
+ ...
Not quite Jan 24, 2011

Erik Hansson wrote:

..but unfortunately not for everybody. Just to be on the safe side, it's always a good idea to speak out even the most obvious facts. We even have a short list for that: http://www.hansson.de/download/special/te7dovr61pxn/driving_nuts.pdf


The first three items are highly interesting. Here is the reason why I might neglect them for professional reasons:


1. Try to be unavailable on the phone (landline and mobile) as long as possible. Don't answer.

My point of view: "Dear customer, please leave a message. I will call you back as soon as possible. And please learn about time zones. The United States do not consist of New York alone and our office happens to be at the other end of this continent. Your phone calls between 4 and 7 am are not appreciated because they indicate that you give a damn where your translator is located."


2. Ignore urgent text messages from your client.

My point of view: "I don't even allow instant text messaging in our office. Emails are updated every couple of minutes, and this should be sufficient. Do not snap your fingers at translators like you would do at a waiter in a restaurant. Both of which indicates that you were raised in a barn anyway. Your emails will be read, but will be answered at our discretion. If you are new to your job and you are insecure shall not be our problem. It would be highly unprofessional to drop everything amidst of a sophisticated and challenging text passage to fulfill your immediate information needs."


3. Just check your E-mail inbox once a day, and even then, wait for a couple of hours
before replying. After all, you don't check your physical mailbox for snail mail more often.

My point of view: "Only weak, insecure and mediocre managers turn themselves into slaves to contemporary communication frenzy and prefer to play call center. Good business owners are rarely twiddling their thumbs. They are busy. So, please learn how to communicate in a professional, lean and efficient manner and don't expect everyone to dance for every quarter you throw."


Sounds rude? It is not. Just try the availability game backwards and see what happens. Ask any PM of your choice.


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Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Well said, Nicole! Jan 24, 2011

I have over 25 years experience working freelance from home, which goes back way beyond ubiquitous personal computers, e-mails and instant messaging. I still remember the liberation when I got my first answering machine and could run a set of songs without fear of being interrupted or missing an important call! Back then, efficient communication and professional service were based on respect for one's own and other people's time, something that seems to be sadly lacking today.

Being instantly available at all times is just not efficient! My e-mail inbox and voicemail service are the equivalent of the reception desk in a bigger business. I prefer to give my undivided attention to one person or project at a time. Speaking of which... (to work!)

Alison

[Edited at 2011-01-24 09:11 GMT]


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Disagree Jan 24, 2011

Nicole Schnell wrote:

1. Try to be unavailable on the phone (landline and mobile) as long as possible. Don't answer.

My point of view: "Dear customer, please leave a message. I will call you back as soon as possible. And please learn about time zones. The United States do not consist of New York alone and our office happens to be at the other end of this continent. Your phone calls between 4 and 7 am are not appreciated because they indicate that you give a damn where your translator is located."



Well, not all translators have an answering machine (device) or know how to use this feature in the mobiles. Of course we don't assume that a translator is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But there are those colleagues who simply don't call back even if a message was left. I wouldn't call that professional. And beside that, I didn't say that I agree with clients who don't have a clue about the different time zones. It's up to you to "educate" your clients.



2. Ignore urgent text messages from your client.

My point of view: "I don't even allow instant text messaging in our office. Emails are updated every couple of minutes, and this should be sufficient. Do not snap your fingers at translators like you would do at a waiter in a restaurant. Both of which indicates that you were raised in a barn anyway. Your emails will be read, but will be answered at our discretion. If you are new to your job and you are insecure shall not be our problem. It would be highly unprofessional to drop everything amidst of a sophisticated and challenging text passage to fulfill your immediate information needs."



For urgent matters, and if we can't reach the translator at his/her office, we sometimes send out a short SMS with a summary of our enquiry, just to be able to give a quick reply to our client. I can't call it unprofessional to react quickly on clients' enquiries.



3. Just check your E-mail inbox once a day, and even then, wait for a couple of hours
before replying. After all, you don't check your physical mailbox for snail mail more often.

My point of view: "Only weak, insecure and mediocre managers turn themselves into slaves to contemporary communication frenzy and prefer to play call center. Good business owners are rarely twiddling their thumbs. They are busy. So, please learn how to communicate in a professional, lean and efficient manner and don't expect everyone to dance for every quarter you throw."



So checking your e-mail box once a day is OK for you? I don't know any agencies who are willing to wait a whole day for a short reply. We are not talking about instant replies in the very next second!

To be honest, just as there good and bad agencies around, we have to face it that there are translators around who would be better off doing something else. Some are really good translators, but don't perceive themselves as businesspeople. Others are good at marketing themselves, but over-estimate their abilities in translating.


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