Deliver top service, and build sustainable professional relationships
Of course that goes for all of us, not just for translators or language professionals. Though there are times when I wonder if everyone realises that.
If you buy a tangible product, you
– expect it to work;
– to meet the description and the purpose for which you bought it;
– to be given some guarantee as to durability;
– you expect a minimum of courtesy from the person who sells it to you.
So, if you are providing a service, why should that be any different?
It shouldn’t. The old adage Customer is King goes a long way in building sustainable business relationships. Not that you should compromise your principles or accept unwarranted criticism, but, within all reasonableness you should strive to serve the needs of the customer.
When I hear of translators or professional writers who find it difficult to take instruction from their (new) client, or argue with them, yet complain when the client contests the invoice or doesn’t come back a second time, my conclusion is that they just don’t get the significance of:
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ALWAYS COUNT
If your selling point is helping the client to make the perfect first impression, then it is just important that your own first impression is perfect. And that doesn’t stop with a flashy website or polished leaflet or some blurb or other on Facebook or linked in. That first impression also means the first project you deliver and how it is received. It also means how you treat the client, whether your show respect for the client’s wishes, listen to his wants and needs and do your best to meet those needs.
I am dealing with a situation right now, where I, as a translator have been given a PDF (a scanned document) of The Annual Financial Statements and Board Reports of a conglomerate. To produce the end product that I and the customer will be satisfied with the following extra steps have to be taken:
– Naturally, all the numbers have to be changed as NL uses points to separate thousands where we use commas.
– None of the tables converted properly from PDF to word, so I have had to set up all the tables again.
– And the headers and footers change from section to section, as some of the texts were originally on company paper and others on the Auditor’s paper.
These and other issues have to be taken into consideration. The translated document, regardless of the format in which it was supplied, must mirror the original as closely as possible. It takes more time, is certainly more complicated and demanding. But being up front about it, communicating that to the client, including it in the quote, will prevent misunderstandings later on.
My next project is a magazine. The texts to be translated were delivered in word, which was a huge relief. This facilitates the translation no end.
In this case the real work begins when I receive the InDesign template of the Dutch magazine. It is my job to produce the English version. This entails:
– ensuring the style of the text matches the magazine
– trimming the texts to the right size
– hyphenation of words
All these issues have been discussed with the client in advance, and are included in the quote. This is a client I have worked for previously, and who has come back for more. The first time I produced a magazine for this client, I did not take the extra design work fully into consideration in the quote. Well, that’s not the client’s fault. So, I bore the consequences of my mis-quote on that first occasion. Now I know better.
The same goes for flyers, web content, excel sheets, power points and any other programme used for producing and processing content.
In all cases, as far as I am concerned, the customer expects a ready-to-go document.
You have been paid for your services, so provide them.
To deliver a document that doesn’t look as good as it should, or is not translated with consistency and taking into consideration of the wishes of the client, is just not done.
Check out The Write Away Portfolio for an idea of what Write Away, text and design can do for you.
Are you considering having some of your professional content translated? Mail me.
At your service.