The Importance of Better Client Communication in Translation Business
Translation is the type of work that requires patience and coordination with others who have a deep sense of the culture that corresponds with a source or target language. One of the best ways to ensure that a customer gets the best possible translation is for the translator to communicate with the customer to resolve areas that need clarification.

Why Customer Collaboration Helps

Teaming up with the customer helps get the job done in a way that brings customer satisfaction. Instead of thinking of dealing directly with the customer as an extra hassle, think of it as an opportunity to build a stronger relationship. Communication will help clarify any issues that might cause concern, such as when a word in one language has no equivalent in the other language. Sometimes words have multiple meanings in each language, which can create confusion.

One of the main topics with your customer should be to find out how the translation is going to be used. Will it be read or heard? The context of how certain words are used is also important to clarify. Some customers are looking for meticulous translations while others may just want to convey the general meaning of a message. Make it clear that in order to deliver the best possible translation it will require feedback from the customer.

Maintain a Professional Presentation

To mitigate the chances of a customer’s disagreement with certain portions of your translated work, it’s best to maintain a professional and courteous demeanor and adopt a pragmatic approach. You must not overreact and be careful how you react to ideas that in your professional opinion will not work. It’s better to remain calm and friendly while explaining your translation options.

In some cases, you may have to deal with a client who is unfamiliar with the subtle nuances of translation. It’s easier to handle a difficult relationship by asking questions rather than creating friction with drastically different opinions. If neither you nor the client can agree on the proper word choice, ask a specialist. One way that a translator can become more valuable to customers is to develop relationships with appropriate specialists who have a deep familiarity with the culture and language. By having an expert to turn to, you can help the customer relax.

Suggest Translations

Clients may not know all the cultural influences on a language, such as gender-coded terms or words with diverse definitions. When there are multiple word options that match the context, give the client a list with explanations of the differences and ask what they think is the best option. It’s also helpful to know whether the translations need to be as formal as possible or if you can use colloquial language.

If they rely on your judgment make sure you are confident about your translation. Whenever you have doubt, it’s best to consult with someone who knows both the culture and the language. The last thing you want is to risk your credibility by gambling on a word choice when you are unsure. Language has many layers such as how certain phrases are accepted in a casual context but not in a professional context. You don’t want to accidentally include phrases that are offensive in the target language, even if they aren’t considered offensive in the source language.

Proofread Your Writing

Part of your job is to establish credibility as an accurate translator when it comes to grammar, spelling and context. That means you need to proofread your work to make sure that it’s error-free. If clients or others notice errors, they may quickly move on to someone else who takes the extra few minutes to ensure the text is ready for professional use.

Translation involves working under pressure, so be aware of deadlines and accuracy. When translators skip proofreading in order to meet a deadline, it can lead to disappointing results that require revision. It’s better to plan for deadlines but if you cannot meet them, ask for an extension so that you have sufficient time to proofread the document.

Even the best translators are known to create rough drafts full of mistakes. Typos and other errors are common when done quickly without proofreading. Every translator should take proofreading seriously as the final step toward satisfying the customer. It’s better if proofreading is the final step than when revision is needed for obvious errors.


Discussing a translation project with a customer is very helpful on multiple levels at getting the work done accurately and efficiently. The best way to satisfy a customer is to give them exactly what they want. Sometimes you have to ask to find out the exact type of emphasis they want. The more time you spend with your customer, the better chance you have to build a long-term professional relationship.