How to deal with difficult clients as a freelance translator

How to deal with difficult clients as a freelance translator
how to deal with difficult clients

If you are a freelance professional translator you sure had to do with all kinds of clients, from easy clients to difficult ones. Here are some tips to help you out on how to deal with difficult clients.

How to deal with difficult clients

Freelance translators are familiar with the fact that it is pretty awful to deal with an unsatisfied or difficult client. Regardless of how careful you are, there is a good chance that you would keep running into resentful clients from time to time.

your reputation

Your reputation is at stake

Sustaining a good reputation is very important in order to be successful as a freelance translator. While it seems to be a highly frustrating and irritating experience, there is nothing you could do about it since the customer is always right. So the best approach when you are accused of doing something wrong or unprofessional is to:

  • Admit your mistakes
  • Make an apology
  • Resolve the issues

Keep in mind that arguing and letting go of a client is very easy but you get to lose a lot this way. On the other hand, sustaining your clientele can prove to be very good for the growth of your business. Therefore the best course of action is to do whatever it takes to make things right with your clients no matter how badly they treat you.

How to deal with difficult clients

  • Upon receiving an angry response from your client, never respond immediately. Take some time to cool off and let go of any anger before getting back to the client.
  • When replying to an angry email, be precise, concise and to the point. Avoid any detailed explanations.
  • Never take it personally since you are running a business and it’s all just a part of your work life. It is pretty obvious that developing this kind of tolerance level is very hard but you have to do it in order to succeed by developing a sustainable clientele. You need to stay polite and calm and you have to take a look at things from the client’s point of view.
  • Do your best to fix whatever issues have been raised by the client. No matter how difficult it can be, it must be done and you have to work on it until the client is happy with the outcome.
unhappy clients

What to do or how to deal with difficult clients before taking the job and during the time you work on it

If you already know the client is a difficult one, take measures right from the beginning, before starting to work on the project. here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Ask any detail you find important about the project. Questions like where the translation is needed, what is the intended market, etc, might give you an idea if the client needs a rigid translation or an adaptation or localization to a specific market.
  • Asking the client about a sample of the kind of work they are interested in is a good call since you can never know what they truly want unless you get an example of the work they are looking to get done. They may have needed translation services in the past and may have got used to the style of the previous translator.
  • Never complaint about the length or complexity of the work once you have agreed on the terms of your client. It is important to be absolutely clear on the requirements of the client when you are looking to get the job. Once you have signed up for it, you have lost your right to make any complaints.
  • Keep the client updated on the status of the project. if it is a long document it may be a good idea to send the client partial work in order for his to check on your style and suggest changes. Yes, it could be annoying, but doing to could shave a lot of extra work if you present the translation after it has been fully done.

Some final thoughts

The above should answer the question, how to deal with difficult clients as a freelance translator. Here are some more points to consider:

  • After you have resolved the complaint, it is maybe the time for you to figure out if you want to keep working with this client or not. Sometimes the clients are way over the line in complaining about the quality of your work, while sometimes they are actually right about your formatting and style of work. So upon the basis of your experience with a certain client, you can decide if you want to work with the client in the future or not.
  • Universal Translation Services has never refused a client no matter how difficult. Business is business and should be treated as such. Even though the client is a picky one, it is still a client that brings you money on the table.

The above is our own opinion and should be treated as such. If you were wondering how to deal with difficult clients, this article may help you out, but it is actually up to you how to handle it in a way that the client is happy with the output.

If we can help you with any questions, please feel free to contact us
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