Freelance Translator’s Client Reference List: Why and How and When
This post was originally published on Gabriela Kouahla’s LinkedIn timeline. It is reposted with permission.
The client reference list of a freelance translator is very important when it comes to potential clients (direct/companies) or job application for a new translation agency. It allows you to provide (another) proof of your experience and also to ensure a potential client or company/agency of the quality of your work. Everyone loves good feedback!
It is a BONUS that you might consider including in your application. Remember, everyone loves a good bonus.
If a client says he/she is satisfied with your work, take the opportunity to ask for a recommendation. Do it quickly after the work is completed and the client has expressed satisfaction. If you wait too long, for example, months or years later, a client may not remember you and your work performance.
Thank you for your good feedback on my translation. I am at your entire disposal for any further translation requests.
Following our collaboration, I would like to include you in my reference list as someone who has a good knowledge of my skills and abilities in translation (Add language pair).
If you agree to be one of my references, I will include your name, title and contact information on my reference list and keep you informed of potential employer contacts.
Please let me know if you are comfortable with this request and if there is any information I can provide related to it.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
If your client’s response is positive, HOW do you create the reference list and WHEN do you send it?
How to create your own client reference list? Personally, I opt for a simple document, letter style, that you can create with Word and then save it in PDF format. What does it include?… my contact details, the contact details of each client and above all the language pair(s).
Knowing that sometimes a translator has several niches I advise you to create several reference lists. A client who is considering your services as a marketing translator is not really interested in your experience as a legal translator.
At this point, respecting the time of a potential client or project manager is essential. He/She will clearly understand how you can help them as a translator. So, the goal is to have references from different clients of your niche(s).
Sometimes, translation agencies ask you for a reference list when you send your application, therefore, you can send it at that moment.
As far as direct clients are concerned, the best time is from the first contact, via email, if you know the email address of your potential client.
Example: “Please find attached my resume that provides information about my experience and training. I also included a reference list of my former/actual clients……”
If you have made contact via social networks, and the client asks you for more information, you can answer him/her: “I would be happy to send you my resume and a reference list of my former/actual clients…..”
Finally, in my opinion, it takes time to build a solid reference list of your clients. Happy clients can help you create this list, but the most important thing to remember is that you must have a reference list of former/actual clients “shaped” for future target clients.
What about you? Do you have a client reference list? When do you use/send it?
About the author
Gabriela Kouahla has 3 superpowers: certified translation, localization and scientific proofreading. She has been a certified bilingual translator (English to French<>Romanian) since 2010. Gabriela is registered with URSSAF France as a Translator-Entrepreneur and is a member of the French Society of Translators.
Founder of the 1st Localization Agency based in Algeria, Gabriela is the only French-Romanian translator covering North Africa. Committed to localization, she has been chosen as a localization influencer by Nimdzi. Gabriela is also a LocLunch™ ambassador for Algeria.
In addition, she is part of the LabSTIC (Informatics) research lab team as a proofreader and linguistic consultant, and in 2019, she became a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Informatics and Applied Mathematics.
Last but not least, Gabriela is a mother of trilingual children, a member of a multicultural family and an activist for a world where every culture, language, and word counts.