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About references requested by agencies
Thread poster: Donatella Semproni

MK2010  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:30
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
I don't like giving out references... Oct 8, 2017

...but I keep a few recommendation letters on file for potential new clients who require them. I think it's only natural for people to want to make sure the person they're hiring is up to the task--think of a doctor's office, where diplomas and articles are plastered on the wall, and where photo albums with before/after pics are laid out in the waiting room if it's someone specializing in fields like dermatology or reconstructive surgery. Lord knows, there are a lot of translators out there pass... See more
...but I keep a few recommendation letters on file for potential new clients who require them. I think it's only natural for people to want to make sure the person they're hiring is up to the task--think of a doctor's office, where diplomas and articles are plastered on the wall, and where photo albums with before/after pics are laid out in the waiting room if it's someone specializing in fields like dermatology or reconstructive surgery. Lord knows, there are a lot of translators out there passing themselves off as much better linguists then they actually are. But I don't like for my references to be bothered by phone calls, so I go the route of recommendation letters. This way, it's all out in the open. And so far, no regular client of mine has ever had a problem with me asking them for a recommendation letter.


[Edited at 2017-10-08 04:13 GMT]
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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:30
Member (2018)
French to English
portfolio Oct 9, 2017

I have a portfolio of recommendations and e-mails in which my clients have praised my work, and I sometimes show this along with my sample translations.

Naming direct clients can be dangerous as agencies can then poach them from you.


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No references, no exceptions. Oct 9, 2017

WWAs will do the job just fine. No need to disturb your existing customers.

 

Gloria Teixeira
Brazil
Local time: 18:30
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ethics Oct 9, 2017

Valuing the privacy of my clients is paramount, so we have to show our ethics so that the client knows and can trust who he's working with.

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:30
French to English
Stock references Oct 9, 2017

I have a couple of recent reference letters to hand. They have been asked for on occasion. Direct clients come through word of mouth anyway, so in effect, the reference is already in the bag.

 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:30
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
WWA Oct 9, 2017

I fill out the forms by inserting a link to my WWA page. However, I have no idea whether this has cost me potential work or not.

[Edited at 2017-10-09 21:36 GMT]


 

Lydie Parisot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:30
French to English
+ ...
no references Oct 11, 2017

I don't give out references for another reason besides confidentiality. Some agencies use those references, not to validate your professionalism, but to prospect and offer their services to your clients.
Lydie


 

Seula Yun  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 05:30
Member (2017)
English to Korean
+ ...
I have been asked to send the references as well Nov 14, 2017

I am a beginner translator and I have been asked to send the references yesterday. I was wondering whether I should send one or not. Thanks for sharing the opinions. Super helpful!

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:30
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Client poaching Nov 14, 2017

I direct such requests to my public pledge of non-disclosure - http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/non-disclosure.html . Sometimes I add to my message suggesting they consider what would be their reaction, if every day they received a couple of queries on each translator that has ever worked for them.

Years ago, one prospective agency got obstreperous about having contact details fo
... See more
I direct such requests to my public pledge of non-disclosure - http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/non-disclosure.html . Sometimes I add to my message suggesting they consider what would be their reaction, if every day they received a couple of queries on each translator that has ever worked for them.

Years ago, one prospective agency got obstreperous about having contact details for three recent references of mine. They said they'd lose their ISO credential if they hired me without having these checked. (Baloney!) So I got in cahoots with three loyal clients of mine, and did it.

Less than half an hour later, all three called/e-mailed me saying that they had received from that agency:
a) a 12-page questionnaire on me; and
b) a message to the effect that "Whatever this jerk Jose does for you, we can do it much better, faster, and cheaper!"

Though all three clients volunteered their praise on me and my work on those questionnaires (they sent me copies), this prospect never contacted me again. Bottom line is that they were jobless, desperately trying to snatch clients from unwary translators!

For the record, I NEVER got any job from any prospect who demanded professional references. As demonstrated above, they usually need them for other purposes.
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