One of the most common issues that I have discovered in 10 years of professional translation is how the translator sees the job. Since in "freelancing" the money does not appear until the job ends, the payment is often uncertain so no one can deny that it is an act of pure confidence.
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To some extent this happens because many translators lack the most basic defenses when sending a quote or accepting a project or job. It is very important to note that we are a company and must act responsibly because this has related benefits. Therefore, the phases for making a good and acceptable quote have several factors: the experience we have, the support of our previous customers, the presentation of our website, profile (which show data, how reliable we are, location, honesty and examples of our work) and the time it will take to finish the project, which must be supported by reality. We must never accept a project if it is really adverse to our wishes to make money. For some customers, the translation process is totally unknown. If they will accept the decision of the translator to carry out the project next issue should be money.
However, we have many tools and when we offer several “extras” customer decisions will be affected by other factors - we will take care of proof-reading, editing, memory creation, publication, proposals to keep his memory in the cloud for future reference, creating a data base memory, etc. This entire “package” will be more striking to any customer.
There is also the communication channel between client and translator is an important issue so we should offer a "rolling delivery" for large projects and stay in touch using Skype or other similar tools for the duration of the project. All this will give the client more confidence. The presentation requires minimal effort and makes the client feel that they are buying more with less, thus increasing the chances your proposal will be accepted.
Ok, we are taking care of all our customer’s needs, fine. Let’s go over the most important issue: Payment. To reach an agreement on the price and any other point concerning the payment and the payment method we must be very clear from the beginning. It is at this point that many translators experience frustration when payments take 30 to 45 days or sometimes longer, payment methods are not available in their country or they cannot be handled properly. Worse still, no payment at all. There are ways to ensure that you are going to be paid and to facilitate this and avoid unpleasant situations there are several tools available.
The first and most common is to ask for a Purchase Order, this important instrument includes customer details which, if they are genuine and legal, they will not hesitate for a second to send. The data to be included in a PO is varied and each translator can choose what your best option is, however there is also mandatory data: customer or company name, address and phone number, VAT, IRS or Tax number, website and something that is very important is the Payment Method or gateway that must be verified. This basic information will make it easier to "discover" if the customer or the company is a scam or not.
If still in doubt, it is very easy to resort to blogs, to Proz database, Café Translation, TranslationDirectory, DoNanza, Freelance, Peopleperhour, Guru or several freelancing sites that may have a history, an active client or an agency are always part of translation topics (most of the time). Linkedin, Twitter and even Facebook are sites that may help corroborate that the client or company is legitimate.
Finally, when there are customers who lack these references we have to be direct once the project is ours. We must request data for the payment directly and then verify it. To do this there are some very simple methods, the most common is directly to the source - a bank, a virtual account or card. We must enlist all the payment methods available to increase our range of options, customers will thank you for it.
To be continued…