Personal & Professional Wisdom

Best Practices for Maintaining a Good Client-Vendor Relationship

The client-vendor relationship is a mutually beneficial one. Or at least if they’re well nurtured they should be.

Outsourcing work is pretty common in the language industry, helping companies to save substantial capital and training time, without the need to  manage specialized personnel. However, in many cases, what is designed to relieve the client can often turn out to be a bigger burden than they initially anticipated.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the client-vendor relationship from both sides; exploring some tips and tricks you can implement to generate maximum value from your everyday collaborations. 

Keep Lines of Communication Open

When things go well we’re more than happy to share them with our friends and colleagues. However, when we hit a wall (or in this case a translation conundrum) so many professionals are unwilling to reach out and ask for help. 

Although it may seem a little embarrassing at first, especially if you’ve just set up a new collaboration, it’s best to inform your client of any issues that arise from the outset. They can often provide useful advice and help you save time when it comes to researching.

That said, you shouldn’t bombard your client with emails day after day. Try grouping your queries together into a single email or even requesting a quick call to clear up all your questions at once. 

A Little Interest Goes a Long Way

Sometimes working for big translation agencies can make you feel a little undervalued. You receive automated emails asking about your availability and are put in touch with a different project manager almost every week.

It’s often these somewhat cold communication techniques that destroy young translators’ eagerness and excitement for the translation profession. Of course, there are two sides to every story. With global content volumes increasing year after year, life can be pretty stressful for the project managers employed by these language powerhouses.

However, a few small adjustments can make a real difference to a vendor’s experience collaborating with you. For starters, assigning project managers to specific vendors can help the individuals to build up a rapport. This means vendors will be more likely to ask for help when issues arise and prevent issues further down the line.

Then, there’s the issue of the automated emails. Even if your company doesn’t quite have the capacity to type out a personalized email to each and every vendor, invest a little time in making those templates a little more engaging. This can go a long way toward making your vendors feel appreciated.

Clarity is Key

Lack of clearly defined expectations can cause big problems in the translation sector. And yet, assumption of understanding is still all too common in client-vendor relationships. 

These days, an email asking a professional to translate a text is not enough. They need style guides, advice from the end-client, and maybe even a glossary.

Of course, both parties need to take responsibility for ensuring understanding and creating the desired outcome. After all, projects with clear definitions and expectations are more likely to be completed at a higher standard and require minimal editing.

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