Thanks to the 100 language professionals from around the world (full house!) who attended Speaking of Translation's free webinar on August 31, which Judy was delighted to present. The topic was "Choosing your clients wisely: the benefits of being selective," and we received a number of good questions at the end of the session. Unfortunately, Judy wasn't able to answer them all, but here are two more questions and two more answers for your reading pleasure.
Question: Do you recommend that translators track the inquiries that they get and see, over time, how many projects they accept and how many they decline?
Answer: Absolutely! Yes, do track that if you can. We think tracking data is a powerful thing, but it does take a little bit of time. Dagy's boyfriend wrote a nifty little program for us that tracks the number of inquiries and how many projects one actually gets. It doesn't allow you to create a break-down between projects you decline and projects you simply don't get for other reasons, but it's a great, free, web-based application. Check out Inquiry Wizard here. Alternatively, a simple Excel spreadsheet or even a handwritten log would do it.
Question: Is it useful to mention the possibility of late fees in your terms of service, and then to put late fees into practice in the case of non-payment?
Answer: Sure. The more information you can put in either your price quote or your terms of service, the better. We think it's important to be transparent about as much as you can so there are no surprises down the road. Now, enforcing payment of late fees is usually a fruitless endeavor (can you tell one of us is married to an attorney?), but they do the trick as an effective deterrent and let your customers know that you mean business.
To listen to a free recording of Judy's webinar, visit the Speaking of Translation website. Judy also has an upcoming webinar on October 17 through eCPD webinars. It's not free, but quite affordable at £20 (approximately $32 at today's exchange rate), and it's a hot topic: Pricing Strategies for Translators.