Business Translation Services – 6 Questions to Ask Your Client

Last updated Jan 22, 2024
By Lucy Williams

Gwen’s recent article about 11 quick questions to get the right business translation services gave some great tips for customers looking for a translation. So, as a translator, what questions should you be asking your client before you take that job?There’s more to quoting for business translation services than just price. Ask these questions to make sure your quotation hits the mark.

1.When do you need the translation? Is it urgent?

As translators, we have to juggle different projects and different deadlines. Find out what your client’s deadline is. Most professional translators apply surcharges for turnaround in less than 24 hours. Your client may be interested in a quick turnaround. But, they need to know how much it will cost and when you can deliver to make the decision.

2.What are you going to use the text for?

At first glance, the text might seem straightforward. But different texts can be used in different ways. Find out from the client where they will use this text. Why is this important? Because, the way the text is used can change the way you deal with it. For example, does the client want to publish the text? If the answer is yes, then you can provide business translation services that include professional proofreading. If the text is for internal use, the client might not need proofreading. Find out what your client needs so you can give them a quotation that suits those needs and build trust.

3.What do you want to achieve with this text?

Many businesses are expanding into global markets and find they need business translation services. But some of this material will need transcreation rather than translation. Still not sure of the difference? Read Gwen’s article What is transcreation for an overview. It depends what the customer wants. You might need to quote for translation or think more about transcreation. If the customer needs transcreation, your quote will be priced differently. You’ll need different information to create that quotation. More information about creating a transcreator brief and 23 questions to help you write a good one.

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4.Is the text repetitive?

Why should you ask about repetition? Most professionals use translation software to make them more productive on repetitive texts. They can then pass this time-saving on to the client through a discount. It means the translator provides the customer with a competitive quotation. The customer gets good service. And the translator builds trust and hopefully gets repeat business. It’s not just about the text in hand. Find out if the text is one of a series. This can shape how you work with the customer. It also makes good business planning sense to be aware of whether there might be other similar texts in the future. This information will help you provide a better quote.

5.How much do you want to spend?

It can be difficult for customers to know how much translation costs. Especially if they don’t buy business translation services often. Sometimes it’s helpful to discuss how much the client can budget for the translation. Once it’s clear both provider and customer are on the same page, the quote can be adjusted to cover what the client needs.

6.In what format do you need the text?

It might seem obvious. But, check the format the customer wants for the final translation. If the source text is a PDF, for example, that would be more work for translator than a Word file. Check out the Translator survival guide to profitable PDF pricing. Even if the customer gives you a PDF, they may have the original in an editable format, like Word. If they can provide you with the text in an editable format, the reduced translation time can help you make your quote more competitive.

What questions do you ask before taking on a new project or client? We’d love to hear your comments!

Written by Lucy Williams

Lucy Williams is a subtitler and a Spanish-English translator for fashion, tourism and luxury goods/services. She holds the CIOL Diploma in Translation and is a native English copywriter specialising in SEO-optimised long-form content. Connect with Lucy on LinkedIn.

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