Translators, whether they are part of a translation agency staff or they work by themselves, need to stick to basic but nonetheless essential etiquette rules in order to ensure for themselves an image of responsible and efficient language professionals as well as a constant flow of clients (and money, of course).
Translators are continuously dealing with current and potential clients and, therefore, they are well aware of the fact that politeness, punctuality and delivering accurate and timely translations is the basic kit that they should be offering. Clients are expecting their translated documents whether they are emails, manuals, books or just IME reports, and so it is important that the language professional is apt to the job.
However, there are many other etiquette rules implied in being a translator. Let’s look into them so that we can all become better and more efficient language professionals:
Keep Track of Incoming E-Mails
It is really easy to miss important or attractive translation jobs only because you don’t check your e-mails regularly. Emails are by far the most common means clients will use to communicate with you so make sure you reply to their requests or quotes quickly. If you reply to them in a prompt and efficient manner it is more likely that you’ll be on the top of their good translators’ list.
If you’ve got clients abroad, it can also be valuable for them to provide them with your WhatsApp or Skype account so that they can reach you any time.
Follow Instructions Correctly
It is of utmost important that you follow the project manager’s or client’s instructions so that the translated document looks exactly as they want it. Needless to say, if instructions aren’t clear you should always come to them for clarification.
Sticking to deadlines shows how professional and respectful you are. It is a signal of your awareness of how important those documents are for your client and your respect for his needs.
However, translators are humans and they can have a big unexpected problem that keeps them from delivering their translation on a timely fashion. In such occasion, they should contact the client or PM as soon as possible and inform them of the situation so that they can make their call or any other arrangement they feel necessary.
Proofread Before Delivering
Proofreading the document before delivering it to the client is one of the most important etiquette rules that translators should follow. As they check the translated document they should be on the look for spelling or grammar mistakes, typos and inaccurate translated words or phrases. The translation should sound natural and accurately reflect the message intended in the original text.
Manage Your Projects Correctly
Translators and other language professionals should avoid accepting a project only to turn it down a few hours or days later. Doing so just leaves a very bad image to the clients and they might never contact you again. In case you need to turn a project down, inform your client as soon as possible so that he can ask another translator to do the job.
We’ve discussed some of the essential etiquette rules that translators should follow. What’s your say? Is there anything else a translator should take into account in order to be absolutely professional?