1. Pay us a rate that is commensurate with our education and experience. Many translators have advanced degrees and oodles of experience in a variety of different fields. We should be paid accordingly.
2. Don’t ask us to cut our rates. We have a mortgage, rent, phone bills and electric bills to pay. Asking us to cut our rates by up to 25% is the surest way to lose us quick. Educate your client on the value of translation instead.
3. Don’t bother to ask for a volume discount. Words are not widgets. In translation more volume means more work – not less. Most people in the business world get paid time and a half for overtime. If your “volume” means we have to work longer than usual (such as 12-hour days to meet an insane deadline) an offer of one cent (or more) a word more would really be appreciated.
4. Don’t even bother to ask us to translate 10,000+ words a day. It’s simply not possible – nor is it healthy in the long run.
5. Pay us on time in accordance with the standard payment terms of 30 or 45 days. 60 days is unacceptable.
6. Don’t wait for your client to pay you before you pay us. Our contract was with you – not with your client. Get a short-term loan if you have to. My parents did it numerous times for their contractors when I was growing up and their client (the state) was late paying the bills. That said, if money is tight let us know and maybe we can work something out, but don’t just ignore us or tell us the check is in the mail when it isn’t.
7. Be appreciative and give us feedback. Most of us deliver our translations into a void. We assume no news is good news, but clients who thank us for our “outstanding work” and forward client feedback really stand out. I know I for one appreciate hearing feedback – both good and bad – because it makes me a better translator in the long run.
8. Allow the vendor-client relationship to grow with the economy. If the price of eggs, electricity and gas is going up, try to explain to your clients that the price of translation is also affected by inflation. Prices have been stagnant for too long.
9. Don’t pigeonhole us. Don’t just offer us mini-jobs or proofreading jobs all the time. Ask us to translate a text now and then and have the other translator proofread our work. Most translators earn more when they translate. We would appreciate a nice juicy translation every once in a while.
10. Be friendly and communicative. Don’t demand things and assume we are available to accept your job. If you are a favorite client and even if I am busy, I will usually bend over backwards to make time for you if at all possible. A simple hello and thank you is all it takes. It is the simplest way to gain our loyalty.