Last week, as I was writing the recipe for a well-crafted job offer for a potential client, I realized this rule doesn’t apply only to “mere mortals”. Yes, we’ve all cringed as we got a message from a client, saying just “Please translate the attached document”. “Into which language?” “And when do you need it?”, we cry in despair facing the poor innocent message. But this can be even more frustrating when these incomplete messages come from professionals in the translation industry. Let anyone who has never sent a “Can you translate this?” message to a colleague (or a supplier, if we’re talking about translation companies) throw the first stone. The urgency and the informality may “justify” the short message but after three or four back and forth messages about the same subject, we realize this hasn’t been the wisest method.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t leave loose ends?
As casual as your relationship may be, it’s important to keep it professional and answer all possible questions in the first message. We all know how busy our day can get and one of the advantages of working as a freelancer is that you don’t always have to spend all your working hours at home or at the office. We’re always checking our e-mail on our smartphones, but even if there are documents attached, you can’t always actually open them. So, besides the information that I listed in my last post, don’t forget to always mention:
- The number of words;
- The CAT tool to be used;
- Delivery date and TIME (by morning, lunch time or by the end of the day are too vague and can cause you problems, if misunderstood. Oh! And don’t forget about time zones!
- The budget (unless you have previously set rates, always state the rate per word or total budget and payment date).
This may seem like a lot of details and unnecessary information but it will eventually translate into huge time savings. And time is money, after all.