Clients and Translators: Expectations vs. Results

It is quite common for a client to have an idea of the final outcome in mind when requesting a translation project. When the material is simple in content and format, complications are generally few. But what happens when the translation project in question is larger in scope?

Most translators and project managers (PMs) know their craft inside and out. They understand how different factors impact the result of a project, both positively and negatively. Factors such as the format of the material, deadlines, or last-minute changes can throw projects off course.

As more information and communication flows between the two parties, the project will run smoother and the finished product will be of a better quality. Clients should provide as much information as possible when making their request; if the information provided is not enough, then the translator or PM should try to guide the client in order to receive the missing information and thus satisfy the client’s needs and expectations.

Also, the translator or the PM should explain to the client, depending on the circumstances, what the possible results and possible risks are. They can suggest different options and one of them, certainly, will be adequate for their purposes.

The ideal situation would be fluid communication among all parties participating in the work process (clients, PMs, translators, etc.) at the moment when the request is made and not once work has already begun, because this could cause bumps in the road, and it is best for everyone that this not happen.

The more information is shared by the parties, the better the results and fewer the frustrations.

Here is a brief summary:

Priorities: quality, time or money?

Format of the material: electronic or hard copy?

Deadlines: normal or more urgent?

Language pairs: simple or complicated? is there a significant time difference between the client and the PM or translator?

Possible risks: problems with consistency or quality? Difficulties in delivering on the requested deadline?

Reference material: can the client provide some sort of reference framework: web sites, manuals, images, etc.?

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