Translators are professionals who mainly deal with clients on a recurrent or referral basis. One thing you need to do as someone who has to always depend on their clients to get more work or get more clients on a referral basis is to uphold a very close and respectful relationship with your current client. You must know the constant need to always be polite, punctual and deliver accurate and timely translations to your clients. You are in no position to deliver shabbily done work that is not accurate or going past deadlines without delivering. This is one of the quickest ways for you to be referred to as that translator who is constantly rude to clients or doesn’t deliver good translated works or one that doesn’t meet targets and deadlines.
As much as we have service providers who are in charge of client projects, it is important to know that translators work by themselves most of the time. There are several etiquette rules that they have to stick with as individuals in order for their work to run smoothly. Have you ever wondered why service providers who have employees are really strict on what kinds of people they hire? It is because of this specific reason, if you get someone with a lack of certain etiquette working for you, you will always end up not delivering or being late on deadlines.
With that said, there are specific sets of etiquette rules that translators must-have. These rules would make them a good sort after translator and make their translating career smooth and with no downfalls. As a translator, always strive to keep your brand as clean as possible and the only way to ensure this, is to ensure that you uphold an image that speaks responsibility and professionalism and this will always translate to more clients which means more money for you and your organization.
There are very many etiquette rules for translators but in this article, we will look at some of the most important that all translators must have.
Keep Track Of Emails
The translation industry is a fast-paced industry and one that needs individuals who are constantly keeping track of their emails or else they would miss out on great translation job opportunities. It is extremely easy to miss out on opportunities if you are a person who doesn’t even know when they last logged into their email accounts. Clients always love communicating through emails because it is easier and also gives a sense of professionalism and they can still track their conversations with potential translators. The mere fact that translation works are always on schedule, clients would prefer to work with the first translator who responds to their emails instead of waiting for the one who will respond to emails after 5 days. You need to be on the lookout always in order to respond to client’s emails promptly. This etiquette will have clients always looking for you every time they need a translator because they know they can rely on you and you are hungry for work so you will deliver to the best of your ability.
If you work with clients who are abroad, it is important to provide them with your WhatsApp and Skype or IMO accounts so that they can reach you easily. If you don’t want to miss out on opportunities because you don’t check your emails, you can set alarms that will remind you to check your emails every other hour. This will definitely help to keep you on your toes with your email tracking.
Follow Instructions As Given
You can be a great translator, one whose language comprehension is topnotch (in both the source and target languages), one whose writing skills are impeccable, or one who understands the rules and guidelines of punctuation and so on and so forth. All these are not important if you are not an individual who follows the instructions given to you by your clients. It is very important to have these skills intact as a translator but it is most important to have all these skills and still be able to follow instructions as given.
If the client or your project manager comes to you and relays what they want and how they want the translations of a specific project to be done, you must be able to deliver exactly that. You shouldn’t be a know it all translator who works by their own rules and guidelines. This is another thing that will have clients sideline you without even thinking twice.
Clients and project managers are very smart people and they can pick out translators who don’t follow rules really easily. The sole reason clients have strict instructions on how they want their works to be done is because they already know what they want and how they want their translations to come out. So be sure to be a translator who takes this into consideration and follows it through.
As I mentioned before, the translation industry is one that is quick-paced. You will get clients who have projects that need a 24-hour turnaround time or even less. If you take on the project, you must be able to deliver and still make sure not to compromise on the quality.
Picture a scenario where a client wants you to work on a project that needs to be aired in 24hrs time. What this means is that they want you to deliver on a perfectly done translation in less than 24 hours. You must go through the project, pinpoint its genre, research if you have to, translate it and also proofread it. All this is supposed to be done before the 24 hours lapse. If you are not in a position to deliver, it is best to just let that project go instead of inconveniencing your client.
I can tell you for sure that there are translators who can deliver 100% well on such a project and not see a big deal with it and that’s what clients look for. If you take on any project, you should be able to deliver on the deadlines and also make sure that the translations are accurate and perfectly done.
Clients don’t want to waste their time and resources working with translators who don’t have the self-disciple to deliver on an agreement. If you are not able to deliver, it is advisable to communicate with your client and let them know of this. This doesn’t mean communicate with them one hour before the deadline, it means you should also be realistic and considerate with the timings.
Proofread Before Delivering
There is nothing as annoying for a client, as paying for work that had not been done well. There are levels to what it means by work being done well and vice versa. In translation, before translators deliver on work done, they always proofread their translated works before they send it to their clients.
This is usually done to ensure that there are no spelling and grammatical errors, to also ensure that the translated version still holds the same context as the original version of what is being translated and many other things. As a translator, always proofread your work before sending it to the client.
If you send in work that has a lot of grammatical and spelling errors to your client, chances are the client will never give you any other project to work on or they may even go as far as withholding your payment. This is something you want to avoid.
Always deliver work that has been proofread, to your clients.
Manage Projects Correctly
Just like in any other profession where one can work as a freelancer, translation is one of those professions where work gets really overwhelming if you don’t plan and manage the projects you are taking on and working on well. Being a freelancer means you can work with as many clients as you want at a time.
A mistake that most freelance translators make is to think that they can overstretch themselves and work on big projects and still deliver perfectly done translations to their clients. That is when reality hits them and they end up dropping certain projects because the entire work becomes really overwhelming.
You should learn how to plan and manage your projects well at all times. Nothing brings such an unpleasant taste to the mouth like when a translator who takes on a project and promises to deliver then turns back and drops it after 3 days because they really can’t deliver.
Clients always note this and what it tells them is that you are not a reliable translator and so they end up never trusting you with any project ever again.
These are but some etiquette rules that will have your translating career growing in an amazing and steady manner if gained and followed well.