Having your own business means you are your own boss, but you still have got plenty of people to keep satisfied, most importantly, your clients. While probably there are many ways to achieve that, you can try to start with these 6 principles listed below.
1. Be honest about your skills
No one person is an expert in everything. Some translators are used to translating highly technical documents packed with specific terminology, but feel overwhelmed when having to face literary or poetic texts. Your clients want to make sure you are able to deliver the task, so always be honest about the things you can and can’t do. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’- it shows you’re a trustworthy and reliable partner.
2. Provide high quality translation
This one is self-explanatory. You won’t be able to keep your clients satisfied if you provide sloppy work. Proof-reading and editing may be time-consuming and tedious but you can never afford to skip it. A good practice is to have another pair of eyes to read your work before you hand it in, if possible.
3. Keep to your deadlines!
Being able to deliver the project on time will assure your clients that you are reliable. That’s why, before accepting every offer you should carefully consider how much time it will take you to deliver, whether or not you are able to accept express translations, etc. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the delivery time or ask for a deadline extension (only not on the last moment!), though.
4. Never hesitate to ask questions
Whenever you have any doubts or queries about the terminology or subject matter, it’s always better to ask instead of delivering low-quality work. Most clients will be happy to answer your questions, especially if you ask them ahead of time (and not just 5 minutes before the deadline). It shows you are well-organized and take your job seriously.
5. Pay attention to details
Usually there’s more to translation than just putting words and meaning into another language. It often happens you have to take other factors into account, such as the layout of a document, website, etc. the spacing, the fonts used. Take time to prepare your document before getting down to work, think about how the text will expand when translated to another language and how it will affect the layout. It will not only save you time, but also make you come across as a professional, whose work is of the highest standard.
6. Know your value
Don’t be afraid to be unapologetic about your rates. Make sure you are assertive in your contact with the clients and don’t accept offers that are below what you’re comfortable with. And yes, it may mean that sometimes you may lose a gig and would be forced to turn some projects down, but such strategy will pay off in the long run, as underpricing affects the perceived value of your services. And if you keep accepting low-paying offers, you’ll end up being forced to take on more than you can handle to keep yourself in the business, be able to pay the bills, etc. At some point, the quality of the services provided is bound to suffer.
The same principle applies not only to rates, but also working hours and accessibility. Don’t let your clients believe you’re the guy who would never say no to anything.