This is one of those topics that’s a veritable minefield, because the very nature of the topic runs the risk of offending and alienating folks.
Typical response: Don’t like my attitude, then shove it!
Still, in sharing a few of my experiences over many years delivering professional English Japanese translation, I’d like to show how your attitude factors into translation pricing. Naturally, there’s no intent to offend anyone -- Simply sticking with the theme of this guide offering practical tips on how you can get quality & cost effective translations :)
Let’s jump right in with a few real world examples.
- Angry client
Client demands “Give me my quote right now!”
Close your eyes for a moment, and imagine a client storming into your office, throwing the documents you requested - without which an accurate translation quote could not be generated - on your desk demanding an immediate quote (true story!).
Ok, you can open your eyes now. Question: Even if you were to oblige this client with a quote, would you share secrets of the trade to reduce service costs, or pull out those rumored discounts reserved for special customers (which, by the way, all companies have)? No, of course not!
- High maintenance client
Translation companies can spot a high maintenance client a mile away. Not surprisingly, there are a few universal telltale signs:
- Don’t read information provided, preferring instead endless “just one more question” emails.
- Request a translation quote; however, refuse to provide necessary materials to base the quote on.
- Constantly revising project instructions & materials.
- Provide a draft copy (work-in-progress) to “kick-off the translation process.”
Translation companies are more than happy to work with clients, especially with first time consumers of translation who can use a few pointers. And, they do.
Having said that, here’s a simple illustration of the economics of a translation project. Two clients, a regular client and a high maintenance client order translation services. The regular client concludes the agreement in 3 emails (request quote, accept quote, confirms order) for a total of 60 minutes (admin cost $50). On the other hand, it takes 12 emails - mostly unnecessary - to conclude an agreement with the latter for a total of about 3 hours (admin cost $150). Obviously, I’m sure you can understand this additional (admin) cost is going to be worked into the Japanese translation price & rates.
Now to the flip side of that coin. Ever been in a situation where you wanted to help someone, even though there was no possible benefit to oneself? If you’re like most people, you almost certainly reflected on why you decided to offer a helping hand, so you’ll probably know what I’m talking about.
Our Japan Tokyo based Japanese Translation Services recently fielded a request for English Japanese translation for a drama script out of London. The potential client responded thanking the translation team for the free translation quote (many folks erroneously believe they’re entitled to a free quote); however, our quote was beyond the project budget. Ultimately, attempts to negotiate a win-win deal didn’t bear fruit because the project budget was so incredibly low, we would’ve taken a loss accepting the project given our focus on producing quality translations.
However, when the client asked where the project could possibly be translated on their limited budget, I didn’t hesitate providing advice. Here’s the reason why; This client showed appreciation and understanding, was courteous knowing the value of a simple thank you, and, above all, was professional.
Factor attitude into translation pricing; You benefit at the wallet!
About the Author
Ivan Vandermerwe is the CEO of SAECULII YK, the owner of Translation Services Japanese English Visit SAECULII for the latest professional case studies, articles and news on Japanese Translation Services
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