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How to deal with a potential client you know in your personal life? (Husband's friend)
Iniziatore argomento: Evelyne_T

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spagna
Local time: 01:42
Membro
Da Inglese a Francese
Business is business Jun 14

To add to the opinions already given:
Evelyne_T wrote:
...I will have to edit his translation though, since there are a lot of word-for-word translations.

I think that he persuaded he can do without me, in a way...

1. It's like driving a race car on a track or roping down a cliff. You think it's dead easy until you try.
Why didn't he finish it? Too time-consuming? Too difficult to get something that reads well? You bet!

2. Also something to ask yourself: why does he need the translation ?
If your offer is deemed too expensive, it may be because the translation doesn't generate enough added value in his business: you can't pay 2,000 euros to have a manual translated for a customer who placed an order of 5,000 euros with you. But thanks to online machine translators, a lot of people think you can have a full manual translated for 50 euros.
If you expect to sell 10,000 of the correlated product at a retail price of 2,000 euros (example), then it could make sense to invest in translation.
So: it's not that your prices are expensive, it's the investment that's not worth it.

3.It's easily to imagine backfiring when too soft about the acquaintance thing:

Since you vaguely know each other, he lets himself ask you to do it quickly, without rereading, because, you know, he'll reread the lot, so no need to be picky or thorough, don't worry, I'll handle the cosmetic side, blah blah... And since you vaguely know each other, you cave in and offer him an additional discount.
Then he gets nasty comments from readers (typos, bad layout, unnatural flow...). He replies: "but I paid a packet to hire a pro!". And tells around that after all, it's not such a good idea to hire somebody you vaguely know for business.


The only difference with acquaintances is that if it turns sour, it can smear quickly onto your private life.

Philippe


 

Evelyne_T  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 01:42
Membro (2016)
Da Inglese a Francese
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
About the amateur translator side Jun 14

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

This is not only for your benefit but also for his. For example, tell him that when it is about editing the stuff he already did, you cannot do this by other standards than for other people, and he will have to accept your changes without taking it personally. All for the sake of a perfect output, which is for his own good. It will not do any harm to him if he needs to learn a little respect for you and your professional attitude.


Thank you for your input Kay-Victor.
Well, I never really thought that he could be bother by changes I would made based on his translation. That means a serious conversation, and therefore a meeting, is required.

[Edited at 2018-06-14 11:16 GMT]


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
Stati Uniti
Local time: 19:42
Membro (2005)
Da Inglese a Cinese
+ ...
Why would your price quote expire? Jun 14

Evelyne_T wrote:

In the mean time, my price quote expires on the 1st of July and I have no answer about the funding of the translation.


A price quote can be accepted or rejected but I have never thought it would expire

[Edited at 2018-06-14 11:17 GMT]


 

Evelyne_T  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 01:42
Membro (2016)
Da Inglese a Francese
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
No pressure from husband Jun 14

Andrzej Mierzejewski wrote:

"I suspects he will ask me to lower my price, and I don't want to."
You do not need to accept his wish and nobody can force you, even your husband - as simple as that.



Thank you for your opinion Andrzej. Fortunately, my husband put no pressure at all on me about this job opportunity.


 

Evelyne_T  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 01:42
Membro (2016)
Da Inglese a Francese
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
The value of an accurate translation Jun 14

Philippe Etienne wrote:

To add to the opinions already given:
Evelyne_T wrote:
...I will have to edit his translation though, since there are a lot of word-for-word translations.

I think that he persuaded he can do without me, in a way...

1. It's like driving a race car on a track or roping down a cliff. You think it's dead easy until you try.
Why didn't he finish it? Too time-consuming? Too difficult to get something that reads well? You bet!



Thank you for your input Philippe. You raise there serious issues.
It was apparently too time-consuming for him so he only completed 1/3 of the first version of the user manual. I'll have to translate another version of the manual but the segments he completed are similar in both manuals. He completed the rest of the translation with a machine translation. He seems happy with his job even if it's a literal translation. And he's sure about the lexical terms he used.


Philippe Etienne wrote:

2. Also something to ask yourself: why does he need the translation ?
If your offer is deemed too expensive, it may be because the translation doesn't generate enough added value in his business: you can't pay 2,000 euros to have a manual translated for a customer who placed an order of 5,000 euros with you. But thanks to online machine translators, a lot of people think you can have a full manual translated for 50 euros.
If you expect to sell 10,000 of the correlated product at a retail price of 2,000 euros (example), then it could make sense to invest in translation.
So: it's not that your prices are expensive, it's the investment that's not worth it.


It's a very good question and I didn't think to ask him about that! I'm not sure if I'm suppose to ask him if his business is healthy or not. I guess it's on his part to decide if it worth paying a translator for that.

Philippe Etienne wrote:

3.It's easily to imagine backfiring when too soft about the acquaintance thing:

Since you vaguely know each other, he lets himself ask you to do it quickly, without rereading, because, you know, he'll reread the lot, so no need to be picky or thorough, don't worry, I'll handle the cosmetic side, blah blah... And since you vaguely know each other, you cave in and offer him an additional discount.
Then he gets nasty comments from readers (typos, bad layout, unnatural flow...). He replies: "but I paid a packet to hire a pro!". And tells around that after all, it's not such a good idea to hire somebody you vaguely know for business.

Philippe


That's exactly what I'm afraid of. He may be persuaded that I can do a good enough translation for half the price but then, when the criticisms and bad feedback of his clients appear, I will be solely responsible. I don't want to end up in that situation and have my professional reputation damaged. But that will be my job to explain this to him.


 

Evelyne_T  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 01:42
Membro (2016)
Da Inglese a Francese
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Formality of quote price Jun 14

jyuan_us wrote:

Evelyne_T wrote:

In the mean time, my price quote expires on the 1st of July and I have no answer about the funding of the translation.


A price quote can be accepted or rejected but I have never thought it would expire

[Edited at 2018-06-14 11:17 GMT]


I didn't explain myself well. My rate won't change after that date. It's just the formality of the price quote document I made. In france, the idea is if a client need your service, he replies within the month to accept and sign the document you sent him. By doing so, he agrees to the general conditions. But this deadline is not the major issue for me here, of course.

Just that, I don't want to have to deal with that for months and months. That's why there's' a deadline.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:42
Da Francese a Inglese
Business and personal acquaintances Jun 14

Your instinct is right; follow it. From your point of view, as well as that of this potential client, this is a business relationship. The fact that you (vaguely) know each other is a plus or a minus, but not something that should affect the fact that you should (both) be thinking "professional" here. If he is a businessman, he will not need detailed explanations of cost. He knows that the "charges sociales" and other costs will eat up half of what you invoice him. What he might not appreciate is how long translation takes. You and most of us here already know that revising the part he has translated may even take longer than if you were to translate that part of the text ab initio.

Remain polite and professional. Invoice your normal rate, round down rather than up if you feel like it. However, in my experience, if you value what you do, lowering your rate will neither lower your client's expectations of quality nor your wish to do a good job. He should pay for that. He will understand, although you may need to remind him of that fact.

Finally, the bottom line is that you need to know whether he is going to go ahead. Ask him by mail and not just a couple of days before the end of the month. Ask him now. You are already investing time in meetings and so on. Ask him politely to put his money where his mouth is. When I produce a quote, if the job is fairly substantial and it is the first time I am working for them, if I think the person may back out, if I think I may have problems with payment (about the amount, taking too long to pay, etc.), and almost always when I know the person outside of a business context (as in your case), then I ask for 30% upfront and the balance to be paid either upon receipt or within 30 days (max, max, max), of receiving the job.

That way, you will discover whether the person is intending to go ahead and also have some €€€ on your account for the time you have already spent. Most of all, it is a professional approach and will politely show you mean business. Take your work seriously from start to finish; others will too. It might also mean that you discover he is not serious about it, in which case, you will be able to make an informed choice about how much time to continue spending on this, perhaps even decide to drop it altogether. You are having doubts. You can get them sorted out.

[Edited at 2018-06-14 12:17 GMT]


 

Axelle H.  Identity Verified
Membro (2017)
Da Inglese a Francese
+ ...
To be honest .... Jun 14

I will wait for him to come back to me. If he is coming back (and if ..), I won't be sure to be available for this job as I do not have news from him.
Like another customer.
Il semblerait qu'il essaye de profiter de la situation perso non ?


 

Tom in London
Regno Unito
Local time: 00:42
Membro (2008)
Da Italiano a Inglese
Be careful Jun 14

Evelyne_T wrote:

.... now he asks me to attend a meeting to discuss how I'm going to work on this text....



Maybe he wants something else. Be careful!


 

Evelyne_T  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 01:42
Membro (2016)
Da Inglese a Francese
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Now I'm scared ! Jun 14

The last 2 posts imply that he may want to take advantage of me.
OMG, now you want to scare the hell out of me !icon_biggrin.gif

I'm joking.

I don't think he has those kind of bad intentions... It's more that he doesn't take my job very seriously and would manipulate me to lower my price if he could.

I'm sometimes overly pessimistic, that's why I opened this thread this morning to get outside perspectives.


 

DZiW
Ucraina
Da Inglese a Russo
+ ...
make it straight Jun 14

Evelyne, if there was so much fuzziness, why didn't you start with 'No!', I wonder?

I mean why didn't you make everything clear right from the very beginning, so your prospect could recollect his thoughts, demonstrate the specific need, and substantiate the proposal? It's exactly about his half-cooked business intentions, if any.

Of course, your client may be not aware of translation business peculiarities and he may feel awkward to deal with his friend's wife, but it seems you and your sleeping partner have already appointed your husband as a mediator. Did you ask one or the other what they thought about it?

Without concrete conditions even a tacit agreement is considered but a joke.


 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
Stati Uniti
Local time: 19:42
Membro (2003)
Da Giapponese a Inglese
+ ...
Potential client Jun 15

About expiration of quotes: After I have provided a quote to a prospective client I make clear that I cannot keep the space open forever. If after several days I have not heard from him/her, I contact the client again and ask about his/her intentions. Many "clients" just want a quote and never contact you again. A great deal of dithering seems to be involved in this prospective transaction. After a while, one gets to know who is serious and who is just wasting your time. Some clients seem unable to make up their minds. I would handle the personal aspect of this transaction by using a Japanese ploy: "kyori o oku"-be polite but businesslike and put some distance between you and them. I think expecting a personal visit in this case is an imposition. Were this a law firm with a huge document review project, I would willingly meet with them. I have a hunch that this project is not going to result in very much money.

 

Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spagna
Local time: 01:42
Membro (2005)
Da Italiano a Inglese
+ ...
Working with friends Jun 15

My best friend here in Spain is also my accountant and we both do work for each other and pay our rates for our time without asking for a discount, which imo would be insulting, like I don't think my friend's time is valuable or worth what exactly......or I want him to have less money for his family/future, you get the idea. We might do small freebies or favours for each other sometimes, but they're always offered never asked for and we keep business and friendship pretty much separate.
Sounds like this potential client is just taking advantage of the fact you're his friend's wife to try and get the job done cheap....er. Imho this is not a friendly or respectful way to behave towards his friend's wife and if I were you and you do decide to do the job I would completely set aside any friendly feelings as he is not being exactly friendly and deal with it as you would any other job. I'd charge my hourly rate for the meeting unless it took me like five mins.
Respect


 

Evelyne_T  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 01:42
Membro (2016)
Da Inglese a Francese
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Fuzziness on both part? Jun 17

DZiW wrote:

Evelyne, if there was so much fuzziness, why didn't you start with 'No!', I wonder?

I mean why didn't you make everything clear right from the very beginning, so your prospect could recollect his thoughts, demonstrate the specific need, and substantiate the proposal? It's exactly about his half-cooked business intentions, if any.

Of course, your client may be not aware of translation business peculiarities and he may feel awkward to deal with his friend's wife, but it seems you and your sleeping partner have already appointed your husband as a mediator. Did you ask one or the other what they thought about it?

Without concrete conditions even a tacit agreement is considered but a joke.


Well, for sure I would have say "no" sooner if it wasn't a friend of my husband. I must say that I'm not acting like I usually would with this particular potential client. And I'm not saying that, in a way, I'm not at fault. In life, I just try to learn from my mistake and I obvisously failed here, in my first approach.
But a visit is planned at this "client" office and I will see then, bearing in mind that I won't reduce my fees and he'll have no choice but to accept changes on the part he translated before, what will happen.

[Edited at 2018-06-17 11:02 GMT]


 

Evelyne_T  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 01:42
Membro (2016)
Da Inglese a Francese
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Business is business for sure Jun 17

Jo Macdonald wrote:


My best friend here in Spain is also my accountant and we both do work for each other and pay our rates for our time without asking for a discount, which imo would be insulting, like I don't think my friend's time is valuable or worth what exactly......or I want him to have less money for his family/future, you get the idea. We might do small freebies or favours for each other sometimes, but they're always offered never asked for and we keep business and friendship pretty much separate.
Sounds like this potential client is just taking advantage of the fact you're his friend's wife to try and get the job done cheap....er. Imho this is not a friendly or respectful way to behave towards his friend's wife and if I were you and you do decide to do the job I would completely set aside any friendly feelings as he is not being exactly friendly and deal with it as you would any other job. I'd charge my hourly rate for the meeting unless it took me like five mins.
Respect



I so agree with your take on this Jo and yet, I felt pressure, in this particular evironment, to provide advantage to someone just because he's a friend of my husband and he almost aked for it in an implied manner.

Anyway, I won't agree on any other discount or advantage. I will visit him in a few days and if he seems always as reluctant and can't secure a full payment for this job, with the help of his business partner or not, I will tell him that I have actual real business to deal with.


 
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