6 golden rules of client etiquette – Part II

After listing the top three polite attitudes I admire in translation clients, here’s the list of behaviors I dislike–and I believe a bunch of colleagues will agree with me.

~ DON’TS ~

1.    Don’t ask for discounts

A nice video produced by Scofield Editorial went viral some time ago. Although it doesn’t tackle translation, it certainly fits like a glove. Check it out:

Inspired in the video and in real life, I’ve adapted part of the dialogue to reproduce some of the stuff most translators deal with on a regular basis:

“We didn’t budget for $100. I’ve only got $60 set aside for this translation. Maybe I can get $65… Can you do $65? This is an opportunity! Collaborating with Company XYZ will give you lots of visibility. And we’ll be sending you tons of texts in the future if you drop your price. Come on, the total volume of work you’ll be getting from us will certainly make up for the lower rates.”

Really?! So you basically want us to work MORE and earn LESS… Think twice next time you’re considering bargaining with your language professional.

2.    Don’t ask for free work

Now here’s an adaptation of another part of the same video:

“I need translation for both dubbing and subtitling, but right now I can only pay for subtitling. So, I need you to just go ahead and throw dubbing in. Let’s think of it as a test. That way, I can see if my boss likes it. You can roll the costs over until the next time I need your services, if it happens.”

I could go on and on about why translators shouldn’t work for free, but I recently ran across this blog post that says most of what I have in mind: 7 Reasons Why I Can’t Do “Free,” by Sharon Hayes.

Of course, there are cases in which volunteer translators are needed, such as for non-profit organizations like Translators without Borders. However, there is a limit, since we all have bills to pay. If translation is our only source of income, we can’t make ends meet if we do volunteer work for our clients, friends, family, neighbors…

3.    Don’t delay payments

It goes without saying that a translator should be paid as previously agreed upon (preferably as stipulated in a customized agreement). Nevertheless, on the off chance that you can’t honor the payment within the time frame, the least you can do is contact the professional, be honest about it, apologize, and discuss new arrangements. Please, don’t just disappear or, even worse, don’t “play dead”!

Well, there’s so much to mention about expected and undesirable behaviors that I’ll need new posts to discuss some points in more depth. You can look for these here in the near future.

Once again, I’d like to invite my colleagues to use the comment section and let us know what you think. What other types of behavior you’d rather not see in the translation industry? I really look forward to reading your input.