How to deal with demanding clients as a freelance translator?

Whether you’re a deal freelancer or an employee, you’ll need to communicate with your clients to determine their work scope and expectations. Then, it would help if you bargained with them to ensure that both your needs are satisfied.

Usually, these discussions go pretty smoothly, but there may be occasions when your client or even the individuals you deal with are not that nice or pleasant to work with. So, what is the best method to handle the scenario to avoid aggravating the situation and spiraling into an unsalvageable position?


Here are some points to aid you in coping with people who are tough to deal with.


Anyone who has dealt with a disgruntled customer understands how unpleasant it can be. Most people dislike interpersonal conflict; nonetheless, every self-employed translator’s honesty or skill will be called into question by a customer at some point in their career. When you operate a business, you’ve invested a lot of time, effort, thought, and money into it, and you’re putting your reputation on the line with every translation project you finish. Unfortunately, these circumstances arise because we are all human, and we have different expectations.


What’s the Best Way to Handle Your Unhappy Client’s First Contact?


In this case, we’ll suppose that your client’s complaint has some substance. We’ll also presume that you believe the problem isn’t as terrible as the client claims; yet, you acknowledge that an issue must be addressed. We’ll look into spurious client complaints in another piece, but for this one, let’s assume your translation customer has legitimate grounds for complaint.



The following are the three basic steps to resolving legitimate disputes:



●    Admitting that you made a mistake, apologizing for the error, and doing whatever it takes to correct the situation.


After receiving your complaint via phone or email, the first step is to admit to yourself and your client that their dissatisfaction is justified. It’s worth noting that it’s not only your reputation that’s on the line here; it’s also the reputation of the entire translation industry.


We’re people, after all, and we make mistakes now and then. So the first step is to admit your fault; the second step is to apologize for any trouble this mistake may have created with your client, and the third step is to take whatever measures are essential to fix the issue.


In our opinion, clients are harmed, not by the faults people make in business, but by how the firm handles complaints. All that is humanly possible is to acknowledge, apologize, and then correct a mistake; therefore, when this is done in good faith and with sincerity, the client can only admire the businesses and individuals’ professionalism and honesty.


●    Compensation is being offered.


If you’ve made a valid translation error, it’s usually a good idea to compensate the person. The amount you offer may be determined by the degree of mistake. If the error is substantial, you may submit to complete the translation at no expense to the client; if the error is minor and has minimal impact on the customer, you may cut your costs as a gesture of good faith. You might even offer to perform the client’s following translation for a lower charge or even for free.


Any of these actions show the client that you care about their happiness and appreciate their business. However, it’s also crucial for translators to remember that freelancing can be a one-hit-wonder, so being willing to go the additional mile when it comes to customer care is critical to the success of your freelance translation business.



Next, try to comprehend things from their point of view when speaking with a tough person. Then, make a sincere effort to understand why they are responding in this manner. Of course, some people are challenging just because they want to be difficult, but there is a reason most of the time.


Ask questions that aren’t too pushy; instead, ask questions that will prevent them from responding aggressively and bring them to a more friendly response that only contains relevant data.


●    Furthermore, when you try to communicate with them, stick to facts rather than expressing your thoughts or beliefs.

It will be impossible for them to refute whatever you say if they have the facts laid out in front of them. It will also assist in keeping your composure and avoiding making them feel attacked. It also means you won’t have to think about how to word your queries during the conversation.


Finally, sticking to the facts allows you to have a faster, more structured conversation that will be tough to derail without making the other person appear difficult on purpose.



For instance, if there is a dispute regarding a particular translation and the reviewer claims that your translation is incorrect even though the client has a style guide that specifies how a specific phrase should be translated, be careful to highlight that when speaking with them.



You can do several other things to ensure that you can appropriately interact with a complex individual and diffuse the situation. Still, one of the most crucial is to remain calm and stick to the facts. It is the most straightforward strategy for dealing with challenging individuals, and it’s an excellent place to start. Remember that you have no force over how others behave, but you have power over how you act.


Last but not least,


How to deal with problematic clients as a freelance translation should be answered by the above. Here are a few more considerations:



After you’ve rectified the issue, you should consider whether you want to deal with this client again. Clients can be unreasonable in their complaints about the quality of your work, but they can also be correct in their criticisms of your formatting and style. So, based on your experience with a particular client, you can decide whether or not you wish to deal with them again.



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