How to be a VIC (I): Be a Good Communicator

This is the first of a series of posts on how to be a VIC (very important client) to your translator(s). There is no shortage of tips out there on how to be the best at what you do. But how about enabling others to give you their best? If you want the best translators to work for you, you should try to be their best client too.

One obvious rule is respect, and this shows most in the way you communicate.

When requesting an urgent quote, you’ll be grateful that the translator replies within 30 minutes rather than 3 hours later. In return, don’t let them wait 3 days for a reply, or worse still, wait for them to chase you up to tell them that your project has been delayed, postponed or cancelled. If you’re busy, so are they, and they need to know what’s coming to manage their availability for other clients. Whether you’re interested in their quote or not, it is only considerate to let them know what happens next. No one likes to be stood up.

Coming up with excuses for your late response doesn’t help either. The fact that your passport was stolen last week (which is not the translator’s problem anyway) is no reason for not replying to a 3-week old email. A simple apology is all that’s needed. Better still, drop a line of acknowledgement when you first receive the email. It doesn’t take a minute to type “Thanks. I’m busy right now but I’ll get back to you by the end of the week”, and it will avoid a chase-up call at an inconvenient moment later.

Finally, do let your translator know when you received the translation(s). We don’t like chasing any more than you like being chased. However, we like to make sure that our work did not get held up in web-limbo or inadvertently end up in your spam folder. A quick “thanks” will always be appreciated.

Poor communication is frustrating and off-putting. Letting others know is basic courtesy and your consideration for people’s time will encourage them to repeat their efforts for you whenever you might need their help again. So keep in touch!

Photo: PNC/Brand X/Corbis

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