Translators: How to Respond When a Potential Client Contacts You - Part 1
What’s the next step for a translator when, out of the blue, you receive a request for a translation quotation?
What’s the next step for a translator when, out of the blue, you receive a request for a translation quotation? Should you email the client, call them, send them your rate sheet, ask for more information, or a combination of any of these?
Well, the great advantage you have is that this potential client has contacted you, which means that you as the translator have the power position. You don’t need to try and sell this potential client on the value of your services because this client has come directly to you. Your job now is to convert this inquiry into a new customer, so let’s look at some potential courses of action.
However, before you do anything, carefully read the potential clients email and note the information that they have provided, and the information they have omitted. This information alone will offer clues as to the client’s level of seriousness, including their knowledge of what translation actually involves. Next, Google the client, or take a look and their website to get an idea of their business. Now you need to decide how to respond to this potential client.
Here are some ideas for you to consider –
Call the client, or leave a message and ask them to call you back.
Many people today dislike speaking on the phone, but the fact is that phone calls do make a good impression. You’ll be able to discuss the project; what, if any, translations they’ve had completed in the past, and what their intentions are regarding this translation. You’ll also get an idea of the client’s personality, and of course, from their perspective, they would probably appreciate the opportunity to speak with you.
If there are any drawbacks with phoning a potential client it’s simply that you don’t have anything in writing, and nor does the client. So, once you’ve resolved all the important project details during your conversation, such as turnaround time, rate, and any other terms of service, you need to follow this up with an email. You simply need to say something along the lines of ‘It was a pleasure speaking with you this morning. This email is to confirm that I’ll be translating your document at a rate of X cents per source word, with the completed translation being delivered to you by 4 PM on Monday. Please note that full payment for completion of this translation is due within 30 days of the date on which I deliver the translation. I accept payment by wire transfer or check’. Ask your client to email you in response, confirming that they accept these conditions.
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International Translation Day is held in celebration of the feast of St Jerome, the Bible translator widely considered the patron saint of translators. The International Federation of Translators is the promoter of International Translation Day, and has been since it was first held in 1953.
The translation industry is a relatively small one but it’s also a highly competitive one. Basically, do your research on a translation agency prior to making initial contact and it will certainly pay off; perhaps not immediately because there may not be any work available at the time, so just be patient. Your application must stand out above the rest, and by following these simple steps you should have no problem whatsoever in achieving your translation goals.