How do I deal with initial inquiries from potential clients? When new companies come to Oregon or otherwise come to my attention, I always follow the same principles:
- I send a return email. If it bounces, that is a red flag.
- I check the street address on Google Maps. Occasionally, the addresses have led to rather unusual places.
- I check them out on the Proz Blue Board and the Payment Practices pages. In some cases, this may not apply. The links to Proz and Payment Practices, along with links to compensation surveys and links to codes of ethics, are on this page.
- I have a conversation with the potential client on the phone. If that is not possible, we interact by email. We cover the following issues:
- We discuss the role of translators and interpreters by sending them a link to this document. It’s important to hire the right person!
- I have a conversation about the expectations of my work with the client on the phone, using the GT Interpreting Specs or the GT Translation Process, whichever may apply, as my guide. I email the client the link to these documents, of course, so the client can be informed of my background. I verify how the document will be reviewed, because this is essential to a quality translation.
After all this, I fill out the client’s online forms if applicable. I don’t go to the online application unless we have had a conversation.
My experience indicates that clients appreciate knowing who they are dealing with, and that being a good fit is just as important to them as it is to me. We are interviewing each other. I need to know if I am offering the kind of service they need, and if they work in a way that I understand and am comfortable with.
In one case, a Project Manager told me she was a bit frustrated with my questions and told the company owner. The owner told her, “If she is asking questions, that is a good sign! It means she is a professional! Keep talking to her, and work with her.”