Translator’s Dream Client
Afterthoughts on a Facebook discussion
Depending on the target audience and current business plans, every freelancer has a unique picture of ‘the dream client’.
This post on translator’s dream clients was originally published in Russian following a discussion, which took place in a Facebook group.
Actually, it was an attempt to make a list of features and options a freelancing translator would be happy to see in current and potential customers.
Take it or leave it, if you like. Adapt and use to your best interest.
As differentiated as preferences can be, every freelancer is able to name at least some valuable attributes of potential clients. Ideally, this first stage should be followed by figuring out a more considered approach. But even many seasoned translators do not know what they are searching for. In fact, they would be glad to take any project if proposed.
You may say ‘the dream client’ concept sounds somewhat vague and artificial. But your own checklist can be really helpful in avoiding problem clients who turn out to be not cash but problem generators wasting your time and energy.
Unlike office-bound workers, the freelancer is able to choose people for potential cooperation (to a greater or lesser extent.) A pool of good—and great—clients is a key to enjoying your everyday tasks, continuous professional development and mental health.
I divided into several categories all features and criteria of ‘the dream client’ mentioned during the discussion. It’s up to you to decide, which of them is of the utmost importance and which will be the last to consider.
- Good rates. No numbers here as a hot discussion considering ‘reasonable’ and ‘trash’ rates is not our topic.
- Special rates for rush jobs / overnight work / weekend projects, etc.
- Regular and accurate payments. Mega bonus: you do not need to calculate and double check your output and invoices.
- Flexible payment variants. At least several additional options added to a standard bank transfer.
- Bank expenses covered by the client.
- Most projects cover one specialization area.
- Originals ready for translation. ‘No’ to poorly scanned PDFs.
- Convenient software for handling translations; no strange planning / management systems.
- Official procedures reduced to a minimum: extra paperwork takes time, and time is money.
- High quality glossaries if any offered.
- Proper feedback based on the translation provided.
COMMUNICATIONS AND PR
- The client has formulated reachable goals; translation priorities and tasks are articulated clearly.
- Competent contact persons. (Nearly) the same team of project managers.
- Proper support during the translation process: sample translations if any, clear instructions, reference materials, etc.
- Emails as a default communication method. Phones are for emergency situations only.
- Quick replies. Meaningful answers to your questions.
- You name added to the published translation.
- Regular predictable projects leaving you enough time for other clients.
- Reasonable rates for most projects.
- Possibility to discuss terms of your agreement.
- Possibility to put off delivery date in some cases.
- Possibility to reject a job from time to time.
- Possibility to regulate your workload (often / less often; large / small projects)
Basically, these are the fundamentals to consider. Feel free to apply your own priorities and accents, add or leave out some points taking into account your preferences and goals. And off we go in search of our ‘dream translation client’.
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If you need more points and ideas to draw your Red Carpet Client, try a great presentation of Marta Stelmaszak (Traduemprende translation conference in Madrid). ‘The Ideal Customer Avatar’ section starts from 56:00.