Bad arguments used in selling translation
Thread poster: Pablo Bouvier

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
German to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 22, 2009

Along my professional career I have read tons of translation publicity. Always with the same arguments, up to the point from which they turn out to be boring: Quality, quickness, native translators, large translators base around the world, competitive prices (excuse me, I would have said miserable prices, etc.)

But, I am still waiting to see only one argument based on the client's benefit. This is an invitation to a public reflection on in what (but NOT on how) we benefit our clients. Our clients are not interested in how we do it, but in how they obtain benefits from our work for his/her pocket.

¿What do you think about?

[Editado a las 2009-08-22 15:08 GMT]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-08-22 18:46 GMT]


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Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 01:09
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
What are the "correct" arguments? Aug 22, 2009

pbouvier wrote:
Our clients are not interested in how we do it, but in how they obtain benefits from our work for his/her pocket.


I would say giving arguments based on how we do it supports the credibility of claims relating to what they will get as a final product. That's a common strategy in marketing, isn't it?

And as for the "competitive prices" argument: Is that not a notorious argument targeted exactly at the benefits for the client's pocket?

I might have misunderstood your posting but what are some of the "correct" arguments?

D.

[Edited at 2009-08-22 18:59 GMT]


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Bad arguments used in selling translation Aug 22, 2009

Daniel Šebesta wrote:

And as for the "competitive prices" argument: Is that not a notorious argument targeted exactly at the benefits for the client's pocket?

I might have misunderstood your posting but what are some of the "correct" arguments?



Hi, Daniel

I have not explained myself quite well. More that in terms of benefits for his/her pocket, I should have spoken in terms of "utilities".

If I were a client, probably I would not expect a "competitive price" (understand low price), but for a high or at least a not "no-sense price". Low price = does quality go down? Probably...; Quickness = Has the agency (or the translator) has had time enough to do a job that does no need any modification or checking? Probably not... And so far. Obviously, this is my way of thinking and other people do not have to think alike.

What I was meaning to say is that I have never seen a publicity based on translation utility for the client. Perhaps I must re-formulate my question: What purpose does a translation have? To gain access to a bigger market? To get more prestige? What?


[Editado a las 2009-08-22 19:50 GMT]


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Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 01:09
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
Marketing strategy Aug 22, 2009

pbouvier wrote:
If I were a client, probably I would not expect a "competitive price" (understand low price), but for a high or at least a not "no-sense price". Low price = does quality go down? Probably...; Quickness = Has the agency (or the translator) has had time enough to do a job that does no need any modification or checking? Probably not... And so far. Obviously, this is my way of thinking and other people do not have to think alike.


Well, it depends on the client. From my experience, many clients do expect a competitive price and speed more than anything else because they take high quality for granted (i.e., do not realize that higher quality takes longer and costs more) or, similarly bad, do not really care about quality.

The clients' expectations, of course, depend on the purpose of the translation. The purposes vary greatly (from basic understanding of an incoming E-mail to high-profile advertising materials) and so do the clients and their expectations.

The decision between cheap, quick, and of average quality on the one hand and more expensive, slower, and of higher quality on the other hand also depends on each and every translator's marketing strategy. Some want to go this way, some want to go that way; it's their choice. I've made this decision for myself too and would not blame others for making a different decision (unless they advertise themselves inappropriately).

Daniel

[Edited at 2009-08-22 20:47 GMT]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:09
English to French
+ ...
Some arguments Aug 23, 2009

- Saving money on technical support services (good quality documentation combined with quality translation helps to divert unnecessary tech support calls)
- Avoiding litigation and other serious problems (no bad decisions are based on bad translations; disasters and accidents are thus avoided)
- Better impression on people when selling goods and services abroad (by ensuring that the translation reads as though it were the original, client confidence is improved, which may lead to more sales and a better company image)


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:09
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Difficult issue Aug 23, 2009

I agree with "pbouvier", that a client who understands our profession will not turn to those service providers who promise speed, low price and quality. And I believe most clients understand quite well our profession, they don't expect us to work round the clock for low rates and deliver optimal results without time to reflect about the message.

The responsible agencies I know promise individual service, selecting the most suitable translator for the client's needs etc. I for myself even promise to consult clients on how to streamline translation projects in order to help the translator save time and avoid unnecessary transactions. But so far nobody has requested such advice from me

There is nevertheless a market for those cheap and dirty agencies, but who cares?

Regards
Heinrich


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 01:09
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Depends on your target Aug 23, 2009

I mean, it depends on how you would like to market your services, doesn't it?

I for one wish to market my services based on the fact that I have vast experience in certain areas, and the client should pick me, because I know what I'm doing and hence can deliver an excellent quality translation, not because I have a lower rate or a quicker turn-around-time. But that's my choice.

I realise I might loose some clients on this account, because they want a quicker turn-around or a lower price, but that's their choice. I would rather promote myself as a serious quality oriented translator than as a cheap one.

Some translators might also be quite hungry and would therefore probably go for the unbeatable argument: low rates!
Or for the: I work 24/7 - no problem, no extra charge!
And that may be fine for them, it just doesn't work for me.

So you see how it would depend on how you wish to market yourself and what you want/need to obtain from this marketing strategy more than it would depend on how to find THE catchline to wheel in any and all clients.

That's my view on this anyway

[Edited at 2009-08-23 06:50 GMT]


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:09
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
What makes me special? Aug 23, 2009

pbouvier wrote:
Our clients are not interested in how we do it, but in how they obtain benefits from our work for his/her pocket.
Yes, we should put ourselves in the position of our clients (excluded nickel nursers).
A lot of them ask themselves, consciously or subconsciously
Why is the service of translator X better than others?
What will X do that is different and exceptional?
Our answers ought to be convincing.

We should think of at least 3 good reasons why the clients should hire us.
Therefore it's sometimes better not only to mention that you will thorougly check the text
but also to point out that the client will save extra costs caused by corrections of faulty texts.

[Edited at 2009-08-23 08:49 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:09
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Presumably... Aug 23, 2009

pbouvier wrote:
Our clients are not interested in how we do it, but in how they obtain benefits from our work for his/her pocket.


Presumably the client already knows how he wants to benefit from the translation -- that is why is has commissioned the translation.

However, if you want to use such a line when soliciting work from clients who have not yet decided that a translation is what they need, it would require from you a good knowledge of their industry and how translations can be used to benefit the client. Sure, one can use general arguments like improved communication, but unless the client is already aware of poor communication in his company, the general argument won't sway him. You'd have to explain exactly how your translation solution is a solution that benefits his company.


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xxxEric Hahn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:09
French to German
+ ...
Arguments Aug 23, 2009

pbouvier wrote:

Along my professional career I have read tons of translation publicity. Always with the same arguments, up to the point from which they turn out to be boring: Quality, quickness, native translators, large translators base around the world, competitive prices (excuse me, I would have said miserable prices, etc.)

But, I am still waiting to see only one argument based on the client's benefit. This is an invitation to a public reflection on in what (but NOT on how) we benefit our clients.


It's always the same arguments, and we all try to sell the same kind of services.

A freelancer could use the following arguments :

- Direct contact (no intermediary, higher reactivity, no overhead)
- Qualification/professional experience (no low cost translators + low cost proofreaders)
- Professional networking (no need to be an agency for this)

[Modifié le 2009-08-23 14:50 GMT]


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martplume
Local time: 02:09
English to Latvian
+ ...
Clients Aug 23, 2009

Not always they (clients) do understand the complexities that the work of the translator involves. And it is not their job either. That is one good reason why you should always try to provide the highest quality test translation you can.

We as translators must also understand that we need to balance the aspects of our work - speed, quality and price. If you want to survive and thrive in this business, you have to be flexible enough at times. And, of course speed + timely delivery is the most important variable here.

Enjoy!


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Carla Selyer  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
Portuguese to English
+ ...
It all depends on how new the translator is to the business Aug 23, 2009

pbouvier wrote:

Daniel Šebesta wrote:

And as for the "competitive prices" argument: Is that not a notorious argument targeted exactly at the benefits for the client's pocket?

I might have misunderstood your posting but what are some of the "correct" arguments?



Hi, Daniel

I have not explained myself quite well. More that in terms of benefits for his/her pocket, I should have spoken in terms of "utilities".

If I were a client, probably I would not expect a "competitive price" (understand low price), but for a high or at least a not "no-sense price". Low price = does quality go down? Probably...; Quickness = Has the agency (or the translator) has had time enough to do a job that does no need any modification or checking? Probably not... And so far. Obviously, this is my way of thinking and other people do not have to think alike.

What I was meaning to say is that I have never seen a publicity based on translation utility for the client. Perhaps I must re-formulate my question: What purpose does a translation have? To gain access to a bigger market? To get more prestige? What?


[Editado a las 2009-08-22 19:50 GMT]


I think it all depends on how new the translator is to the business. When translators start out in the business, for instance, there is a tendency to accept lower prices according to crazy deadlines. Take only what you know you can handle and do well in the timeframe provided, and of course when you know what you want, it is also easier to negotiate with clients and get reasonable, fair prices (not low prices).


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Bad arguments used in selling translation Aug 24, 2009

Well, may be I have a very strange thinking behaviour about all this:

1) It is not a question on how to market my services, but about to know the points of view from the client perspetive. After more than 30 years in this business area, I know quite well how I should and want to market my services: I use what is called a pyramidal marketing system , but an honest one... When I get a satisfied client, I ask him/her to recommend me another two or three persons that may be interested in my services and this way every time. Word of mouth allows me to get an interested clients base at very low or just at no cost.


2) I does not want to be choosen by clients . I want to choose my own clients and his profile myself! According to the rule of 20/80, 20 % of my clients generates 80 % of the income. Therefore, it would be quite silly to lose my time with the rest of clients.

[Editado a las 2009-08-24 18:18 GMT]


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José Carlos Ribeiro  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:09
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What are we fighting, really? Sep 30, 2009

If a client wants a translator, he'll procure one. He knows what he wants. He wants his text in another language. He also wants it for the smallest possible amount of money taken from his budget, ASAP, and so good that his boss will recommend him for a promotion.
We, translators, have to deal with that and with the fact that translation (at least the freelance side of it) is a no-rules rat race.
In order to make a living you spend half your awakened time sending quotes, proposals and test translations, networking to widen your market presence and doing homework, in financial, linguistic, software, computer, memories maintenance chores and, never forget... paying bills.
Not many people (at least not me) can take this kind of activity without feeling the pressure.
I once told a client who complained that I had not used a specific jargon from his trade that "if I knew your business as well as you do I'd be your competitor". If he was so worried about quality, he should proofread the translation to make sure it was 101%, not "just" 99,9%.
Bad arguments are usually used when we are fighting OUR own competitors, all our colleagues who want to work and make a living, just like us.
When we know just enough of the client's business and market standing and forget about our own competition, we usually do not use "bad arguments".
Too many times I have received original texts to translate that seemed to have been written by a teenager, not by a professional. I really believe that, in those cases, my translation was far better than the source material. Some clients have even machine-translated the text and asked me to proofread it! (these never returned).
Just my two pence, and sorry for my randomic mind movement...
All the other posts were very enlightening.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:09
Italian to English
This is quite right Sep 30, 2009

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

It is not a question on how to market my services, but about to know the points of view from the client perspetive



The quality of the translation, on-time delivery, rates and payment conditions are important but they are only part of the picture. With many direct clients, for example, what is important in creating customer loyalty is not really the utility of our translation to the company as a whole but the utility of the our services to the person or department commissioning the job.

For example, a marketing manager may lay down unnecessarily complex file format or delivery conditions because s/he has insufficient information about the translation workflow. A quiet word with the company's IT department or DTP staff - with the marketing department's blessing, of course - can often sort out a quicker, cleaner workflow which will save everyone's time, create value and build up client loyalty.

Giles


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