Sunday, October 16, 2011

Client experience and translation follow-up

 A translation project does not limit itself to an input text and an output translation. Even if the translation freelance offers on the web are only fighting over the price of the translated word, a real client experience needs to go further and to follow the project after its delivery.

In translation as in any other field, a satisfied client will think about us when new needs arise, or when one of their contacts ask for a good translator. Beyond that mere marketing point of view, a client is not a revenue source but a partner with whom we do business in an interdependent relationship. If they need us, we need them even more, as they can find other contractors a click away.

Following-up a translation job means above all to listen to the client's needs even after the translation has been delivered. That listening cannot remain passive, as a client even slightly unsatisfied will not lose their time to explain why once they have paid. You need to make them talk to express their point of view, and you need to listen to their needs once again. Beyond the mere delivery time, the most quantifiable factor of the equation, were they satisfied of our performance? Did the style of our translation meet their need? Do they have any remark about our services that coul help us make them better?

For one client, I rewrote a part of a course translation from English to French after it went out in the classroom: if the style was meeting the requirements of the course on paper, it was too heavy when said aloud in front of the students. After some back and forth, we found the perfect balance between the two requisites, and the following translations really benefited from that knowledge.

As on-line translators, with all the communication issues due to the distance, the unsaid and the unperceived in the client relationship, active listening has to be part of our priorities to constantly make our services better.

Expérience client et suivi de traduction (in French)
A experiência cliente e o seguimento da tradução (in Portuguese)
La experiencia cliente y el seguimiento de la traducción (in Spanish)

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