For once, this article concerns both translators and clients - would you like to know if you are part of the elite, of those clients who are so nice that we are ready to work on weekends or to lower our prices, just to please them? Let us see…
1) The perfect client is precise: this client does not only specify the language combination, but also the number of words, the deadline and the rate. Wow! This is different from the clients who contact you to know if “you are available for a translation job” and to whom you have to ask a lot of questions to obtain all the necessary information.
2) The perfect client is polite and easy going: perfect clients greet and thank the translator in return when they receive their translations. One would think that it is obvious, unfortunately it is not always the case. Yet, would you see someone at the bakery say “I want bread”, pay and leave without saying Good morning or Thank you? No? Well, it’s the same for us.
3) The perfect client honors their commitments: when they say “I’ will send you the file on Monday morning” they send it on Monday morning. Not Monday at 6pm. Not Wednesday morning. And that is good because when one is expecting a file and refuses another project, but finally receives the file after 2 days, the person is not very happy.
4) The perfect clients pay on time: you do not have to remind them. There is nothing more annoying than a client who pays you 90 days after the translation job – to me this is already more than a reasonable deadline - and whom you have to remind because two weeks after the deadline, they still have not paid.
5) The perfect client trusts you: they ask for your CV, it is normal. They request that you take a small test, alright! They ask for your references, this is too much to ask! My other clients have other things to do than sending e-mail recommendations to my new clients for confirmation, I work well.
Again, do you imagine yourself getting into a bakery, you ask to taste the bread, see the list of clients, then ask if you can call three clients to ask their opinion on the quality of service?
6) Bonus: the name of the perfect client is Alain: My favorite client (I won’t mention his surname for confidentiality reasons). He regularly sends translation projects, he pays every Friday - needless to wait till two months, needless to remind him, he is always punctual like a clockmaker. He reacts promptly, he is always polite, and more to that, he is kind. He always says “Thank you”. Even though he is far from being my client who pays the best, he is one of my favorite clients.
In conclusion: I have some perfect clients. They are not those who pay the most or who offer the most interesting translation projects. But for them, I’m willing to translate a contract (even if I really do not like legal translation), I am willing to work on weekends if they really need a helping hand, I’m ready to reduce my price if necessary. This is just because they are kind, and grateful for the work delivered, they pay on time Again because they do not expect more from me than what they are willing to offer. If they ask for an urgent translation, they are willing to pay promptly. If they ask me to respond quickly, they are also reactive. In a short, they consider me as a service provider who deserves respect, and not be treated as a slave.