Transparency in Translation: Do it right and it will not cost you precious time

January 19, 2015
Transparency in Translation: Do it right and it will not cost you precious time

If you’ve been working as a freelance translator for a while now, then hopefully you’ve come to understand why maintaining transparency with your clients is vitally important to your business’s success.

However, if the concept of transparency is still opaque to you, then this post will hopefully explain why transparency is so important for freelancers to come to terms with.

Why is transparency important for your clients?

When you’re working with clients (and especially if they’re new ones) you’ll find that they greatly appreciate being kept ‘in-the-loop’ about new developments pertaining to their translation.

Moreover, presenting a sense of openness with your clients about their work will indicate to them that you’re doing a good job and are taking every possible action to make their translation the best it can be.

At Tomedes, we always ensure that clients are treated in a transparent manner, and many of our clients cite our openness with them as one of the key reasons why they return to work with us, highlighting its importance.  

We’ve found that transparency is especially important to clients when dealing with confidential documents, and taking simple actions like signing a non-disclosure agreement goes a long way to securing a client’s trust and future custom. 

If you were a client, what would you like to be informed or reassured about during the translation process? This is a good indicator as to what you should actively try to address when perusing transparency with your clients.

Why is transparency important for you?

By being open with your clients from the outset, you set the precedent for how you’d like to be treated: being transparent up front implies that transparency is an important value to you, and that you expect to be treated with the same courtesy too.  

Actively perusing transparency also reflects your high level of personal integrity, which not only looks good to clients but also gives you the satisfaction that you’re performing your work in principled manner.

Further, taking care of your clients by acting in a transparent manner will result in them having to ask fewer questions during the translation process (allowing you to get on with the work undisturbed), and also secure some good feedback that you can use when selling yourself to prospective clients.

How to implement transparency into your communications

Now that you’re aware of some of the benefits of transparency, let’s discuss some practical ways to be transparent when conversing with clients.

First, be sure to inform your clients of all relevant developments with their translation. The key word here is ‘relevant’, as clients won’t want to be pestered with hourly updates on their translation! By getting to know your client you can learn to strike a balance between keeping them updated and clogging up their inbox!

Second, try to be honest with your clients when difficulties arise. If you’re able to inform your client of the problem, then they can work with you to find a solution. Burying your head in the sand and carrying on regardless won’t do yourself any favors!

Third, state your intentions and expectations about a working relationship upfront. A good way to do this is to ask your client to agree to your terms and conditions, which you can set out in a short document and include details stating what your completed translation will include, your availability and how soon you expect to be paid after sending an invoice.

Finally, you can ask a client for feedback on your transparency when the translation is complete. This is beneficial because it shows you’re open to listening to your client to make working with them again in the future even easier, and it will also help identify potential areas where your transparency can be improved with other clients.

Final thoughts

Having read this post, we hope you agree that transparency is important to implement in your translation business! Do you take any special measures to ensure that you’re being transparent with your clients? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to share them with us in the comments below!

In fact, our friends over at have also posted an article outlining the importance of transparency for freelancers. That article addresses some different topics than the ones mentioned in this post, (including tips on making promises and constructing FAQs) so be sure to check that article out too for even more valuable advise related to transparency!

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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