Using Clients’ Names as a Reference

March 16th, 2016

As a translator, am I allowed to use my client’s name on my resume and on my website?

Using Clients’ Names as a Reference | One Hour Translation

This question has come up quite a few times in the past, so we’ll run through it again in this post.

The question is: As a translator, am I allowed to use my client’s name on my resume and on my website? And secondly, is it important if I worked for them through an agency, or worked for them directly?

The answer to this question is: You should never use your client’s name without their written permission. In your own mind you might be absolutely positive that your client wouldn’t have any problems with this at all, so, just to make sure why not take two minutes of your time and either make a quick phone call or send an email? You may be surprised at their response! That client that you’re so sure of may actually have their own reasons for not wanting their name used, and you certainly don’t want to risk your business relationship over this.

Of course, if you have a big-name client it would be a huge feather in your cap if you could use their name in your marketing campaign; but if you go ahead and use their name without receiving written permission to do so, not only will you be creating a bad situation for them, you’ll also be creating a very awkward situation for yourself.

Here are our suggestions for using your client’s name in your marketing material. You could use your client’s name if –

  • You worked for them as an employee – not as a freelance translator;
  • You’ve received your client’s permission in writing;
  • Your name appears in the credits of a published translation for that specific client;
  • Your client wrote a LinkedIn recommendation (or similar) or a public testimonial, and included their name on it.

Never use an end client’s name that you worked for through an agency because they’re not your client – they’re the agency’s client. We’ll assume that it was the agency who discovered, landed and retains this client, and that there’s no direct relationship between you and the end client. Of course this works both ways, because an agency should never use non-payment by the client as a reason for not paying you, but we’ll handle this in another post.

Of course these are only our suggestions and we realize that they’re fairly restrictive; however, they should help avoid any misunderstandings. You must respect the fact that, even though you may have a good relationship with a client, they have the right to say whether they do or do not wish to be named publicly as one of your clients.

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