Query logs when working with direct clients
Thread poster: Andrea Riffo

Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:25
English to Spanish
Nov 22, 2006

I have been wondering about this ever since I worked as a team member on a big project some time ago. There was a query log making rounds among the team and it was sent back to the client a reasonable time before deadline in order to clear doubts that we were unable to solve.

Afterwards, the story has repeated itself, but only through agencies and not direct clients, so I was left wondering, how frequent is this practise among translators-direct clients?

Personally, I do this with one (regular) direct client with whom I have established a trusting relationship, so they know that if I'm asking it is because the term/phrase is in itself really specific or simply unreadable in English. Also, I make sure to send it no later than when I still have 1/2 of the time before deadline (e.g., if I have 7 days, I send it no later than the 3rd day)

What are the pros and cons of doing this? Do you consider professional/unprofessional to do so? How do you suggest this system to a new client without coming off as unfit to take the assignment?

Oops lots of questions there! I couldn't help myself.

Greetings all, and thanks


[Edited at 2006-11-22 04:07]

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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:25
English to German
+ ...
Reasonable questions are a proof of expertise Nov 22, 2006

I worked with several clients, agencies and direct ones, and I have come to love query logs.

I use them for questions and for comments, e.g. pointing out obvious mistakes in the source text, if the client is interested in such comments.

With new clients I usually have quite a number of questions in the beginning and I explain to them why and that the questions will become fewer once the basics are clear.

From professional clients who are used to working with translators, I repeatedly received the answer that they would be worried, if I did not have questions. I prefer asking a client to making assumptions and it normally works out very well.

I think these logs are an excellent tool for teams, if they are answered by the client, and they are a good proof of your willingness to cooperate and create good quality, even if they are not answered.

If they are not answered I can still deliver my translation in time and let the client have the open questions we still have to take care of.

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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
It varies Nov 22, 2006

It depends on the client and his/her circumstances. It may depend, among other factors, on their personality, their available time, and their level of knowledge about the source language, target language and text.

At one extreme, the client may be very knowledgable about the subject and both languages, and may be able to give you good guidance for any problems you encounter.

At the other extreme, the client may require the translation in order to understand a text in a language completelly unknown to her/him, and so can give you no help whatsoever.

In terms of personality and time, some clients will "join your team" and revel in working out difficult problems together with you, others might have wished to do so, but are too busy, and others expect the translator to solve problems without client involvement.

With a new client, when you don't know their situation, the best approach is to contact them as soon as a few questions have arisen. This will give you the chance to find out in advance of the deadline how they react to queries and how they expect you to handle them.

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Query logs when working with direct clients

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