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Posted on2 March 2017

Translation Agency Tips: #45: How can I trust my client/agency?

Atlas Translations, St Albans, Trustworthy Translation, Agency, Clare Suttie

It’s not always easy to choose which clients you want to work for, and it can be difficult to tell if they’re genuine and trustworthy translation agencies. Now almost everything is done through emails and it always seems like a scam is just around the corner!

Translators are often worried about spending time and working hard for clients that are very difficult to deal with and to trust, especially after they’ve delivered a translation and sent out their invoice. In some scenarios the client may not even exist.

It is therefore crucial to do some homework and find out as much as you can about your clients before you start working for them.

Trustworthy Translation Agencies

When you start working for an agency there are a few things that you can do to make sure they’re the right client for you, such as:

  • A quick Google search of the company name should bring up some information. If UK based, check for any details on the Companies House website.
  • Visit the company website (if there is one) to find out whether the company actually exists. If there is no website, it’s not a great sign. If there is, make sure that contact details on the site are present, and that these match what you already have. Ideally there will be a landline telephone number and a postal address.
  • Browse their website further to find out as much as possible about them. What do they do? How they do it? And who are the people? If they claim to be a member of a relevant association, such as the ITI (The Institute of Translation & Interpreting), check the ITI website to make sure this is the case.
  • Find out what other translators know about them and what relationship they have with their translators. If there’s something to worry about you’ll quickly find out by asking on forums or translators communities. There are several sites dedicated to keeping lists of dubious translation agencies and clients.
  • Ask the enquiring person how they got your contact details.
  • Make sure that prices are agreed upfront and confirmed in writing or via a Purchase Order before you start any work.

Still not sure?

It may take you some time to do all your checks beforehand, but it is worth the diligence.

If you’ve checked all of the above points but still have doubts, pick up the phone. Less trustworthy translation agencies and clients will be more reluctant to speak with you over the phone. That’s not to say they won’t do it, but by speaking with someone over the phone you will hopefully be able to tell whether this is someone you want to work with.

Most importantly, trust your instincts. If you don’t have good feeling about a project don’t be afraid to walk away. The hassle and time you’ll have to spend chasing payments with bad clients isn’t worth your time. Far better to spend your time working for a client you know you can trust.

ATC – Full membership of the ATC (Association of Translation Companies).

CIEP – Corporate membership of the CIEP (Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading) since 1993.

Corporate membership of the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) since 1994. Corporate Member of the Year 2021.

ISO 17100 – ISO 17100:2017 for Translation Services (since this standard began, in 2008, externally audited annually).

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