Jost Zetzsche Tool Kit

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My 2 cents about dealing with the clients - 1

I have been practising the profession of translation from 1975 onwards. I guess I can say a few words on the ways and means of attracting clients. One thing is certain. One should know what one wants and should have clear ideas as to how one goes about getting it. Once this is achieved, half the battle is won. The rest is just doing things as per plan.

1. The most important thing is identifying and capturing new clients. This is an ongoing process. A separate post is required to talk about the ways of reaching up to a potential client. The aspiring translator has to write to him. What to write and whom to write and so on form the subject matter of the second part of this post.

2. Know thyself. Be clear about your capabilities and non-capabilities. If you promise impossible things and fail to deliver, your credibility will be the casualty. For example, if the client mentions a deadline for a given job, you should agree only if it is possible for you to meet it. Nine times out of ten the client will just be bluffing about the urgency of the job. If you are browbeaten into accepting the deadline and are unable to meet the deadline, you have only yourself to blame. So, this aspect will form the subject matter of a separate post.

3. Be clear about the rates. Many translators lose out on this aspect. It may be true that the job is easy for them and they love this work. But there is no need to tell this to the client. If you do so, he will start behaving as if he is doing you a favor. So another post for this aspect.

4. Do not for God's sake accept at face value whatever the client says. Some clients are in the habit of saying that they have thousands of jobs in the pipeline and expecting to get some reduced rates from you. This too will just be a bluff. Most probably the job in hand will just be a one-time job. No further work can be expected in the near future. Their stake is in lowering the price. I will tell you how I deal with just ploys in one of my future posts.

5. Do not give unnecessary details. For example, you are working full-time in a company. This freelance translation is just a side-business for you. In such a scenario, you cannot be too careful. You should keep the two activities in water-tight compartments. You should never tell the translation clients as to where you are working full-time and the full-time employer should not know that you are working freelance elsewhere. This is an extreme example and I will elaborate on it in a later post.

6. Be always accessible. Keep your communication channels open. In the present-day setup it is easy to execute. We will deal with this at the appropriate time.

7. Always try to make the best of your situation, whatever it might be. Till 2002, I had no computer. Now I do. I converted both the situations to my advantage. More about it later.

8. Doing the translation is just half the job. Collecting the money is equally important. I will come to this later.

How am I qualified talking about these things and more? I practised them myself from 1975 onwards. At present I am a very successful translator in Chennai, India. No false modesty shall hold me from saying this.

Dondu N.Raghavan


AWR said...

Excellent advice, my friend.

Werner Patels

dondu(#4800161) said...

Thanks Werner Patels. My second instalment is on the way.