How to be a good client (1)

I’m currently translating a speech for a government speech-writer who’s a delight to work with. Here’s why.

First, he gave us advance warning (of about 10 days) that he’d be working on a speech to be delivered in mid-April. He asked if we could be on stand-by over the Easter period to translate it. So we were able to plan ahead – no last-minute urgency over the holiday weekend.

On Wednesday 31 March he sent us part 1 of the text, letting us know when parts 2 and 3 would be ready and ending his message with “thank you, as always”.

On Friday he sent us a revised draft (all changes and additions duly marked), with an apology for any inconvenience caused by the re-write. We delivered the translation on Friday evening. Today (Monday 5 April) a message arrived thanking us for “the excellent job” we’d done and saying that he’ll be doing some re-writing of the original and will get back to us tomorrow with probably the final version.

Three words sum up what makes this client such a delight to work with: courtesy, communication, and consideration. In return, he gets our full cooperation and the knowledge that we’re on his side – we want our work to reflect well on him and on his minister, so we’re happy to put in that extra effort. It’s worth it, for the added job satisfaction.

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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