In this chapter, we take a look at clients – without them, we translators can’t work or survive. Although from the perspective of the translator and translating in general, the end user is always the most important factor, you still have to be able to cooperate with those who actually pay for the job. In addition to providing expert language services, you must be able to handle customer service with different types of clients.

The clients who utilize the services of an interpreter or a translator can be divided into direct clients, or the end users of the provided services, and agency clients, i.e. other language service providers. The latter market your services to their direct clients and provide you with commissions.

The main difference between direct and agency clients is that direct end clients may not have experience with buying translation or interpreting services. Thus, the translator may have to explain the process much more thoroughly than with an agency client, with whom the process is probably carefully outlined or standardized and therefore more streamlined. When working with a direct or an inexperienced client, the translator’s role as an expert who steers the translation process is highlighted.

The client expects professional service that is delivered under clear terms. The terms must be agreed upon before either party commits to the commission. The client must also have the right to buy the quality they want: for example, a quick raw translation or a translation without a native speaker’s language revision. In these cases, the price must be adjusted according to the quality the client requests. Then again, the quality must be adjusted to the price the client is paying for. Whatever the case, it’s important to tell the client what the price includes and what it doesn’t.


Contents of Chapter 6: