Jost Zetzsche Tool Kit

Monday, September 04, 2006

My 2 cents about dealing with the clients - 6

Never give unnecessary details. What are they? As usual, I will proceed from my own example.

You are holding full-time employment in some organisation. You want to take up translöation jobs in your free time. Now, translation is a part-time job. While contacting your clients for your translation activities, you should never reveal to them, where you work. Believe me, once they know you are employed full-time elsewhere, they will do their utmost to find out where you work. Well, it is an information of no concern to them. That's all. I will relate here some of the encounters I had in this connection.

Surely you would have heard about the ISO 9001. One of its salient points deals with information management. When a job is assigned to a person or to a group, it is necessary to give them all the information essential for executing their job. How about other inforation. They are never to be divulged. If you are wondering about my point, just be patient. I will fit this doctrine to my case.

What information are at your disposal?

You are an engineer. How many years' experience? What are the languages being handled by you and how much experience do you have in each language? How fast can you translate. What can be your deadline for a given job?

Is it necessary to give all these information to the client? Yes, of course. And they must be genuine information.

Now abou the information that are not to be divulged. As I mentione above, you hold a full-time job. The client will be curious to know as to where you work. What good can come out of that knowledge? Nothing, is the only obvious answer.

But there are many answers to the question, "What bad can come out of that? The first answer will be, the information given out by you is no longer under your control. It will actually turn into a Damocles sword hanging over your head. You are unnecessarily handing over a blackmailing lever to the client. It may happen that your full-time employer gets to know about your part-time activity and he may decide to send you home. An internal auditor in my organisation lost his job in this manner.

There was this Delhi client. Even he didn't ask me about my full-time employment but his subordinate officer pestered me for this detail. I politely and firmy refused. He protested that he was my friend and surely I would not deny a friend his wish. I told him drily that he was not a friend and just an acquaintance. Once I took voluntary retirement to take up full-time translation, I told him where I worked. I was shocked when he told me that his wife's brother was the accountant in my organization. I knew him well, a trouble maker. Had he known at the crucial time, I would have been out of the organisation in no time. It was really a great escape.

Once I quit the full-time job, the fact of my working in the concerned organisation became a detail to be supplied. In that organisation I worked as Electrical Engineer as well as French translator for 12 years. And this combination is of vital interest to a potential client.

I will tell more in the next instalment.

Dondu N.Raghavan

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