top of page

How to help your clients - part 1

The dream of every freelance translator is to work with #directclients (companies, start-ups or individuals). Better rates, more flexible deadlines, recommendations on social networks, but especially word of mouth recommendations, working with direct clients can be very beneficial to your monthly income if you do a good job... and more!

This “more” is a little help, paid or unpaid, depending on the situation, the client and the project, but also on your willingness to get more involved in the project or if you limit yourself to translating the documents you receive.

Concretely, what does this help mean for me as a #translator?

The simplest way is to take today's case: an American IT company that wants to open a branch in France, and therefore needs to translate #technical and #marketing documents from English into French (my two main specialities. I already received two documents to be translated last month, but I realized that we need more than just a translation, we need a glossary/dictionary of technical terms first. And you, as a translator, can help your client create one. That's a big advantage.

Even though a lot of IT terms have entered the French language, France wants to be French and therefore wants to have its own technical terms. The creation of a glossary/dictionary enables close collaboration between the translator and the company's technical team and contributes first and foremost to the uniform use of terms in documents. In addition, having a glossary allows the translator to understand what an IT engineer wants to express. A small example, the word "scalability" in English, in French we tend to translate it as "scalabilité", or not. In this case, it is necessary to understand the context.

According to "The creation of a glossary helps to strengthen the internal network, which is also good for SEO. Words that correspond to elements of your glossary are automatically linked to a dedicated page. The glossary allows you to create links between the pages of your site in a relevant way". (reference in French)

The second aid, which is a little more on the marketing side of the translation project, is the creation of the Tone of Voice document. Many clients don't think about creating this document, especially if at first they think about translating into only one target language. One could say that a Tone of Voice document is used mostly in #localization projects into several languages, but in my opinion, it can help the translator to better translate and localize the content.

Is it necessary to use a more formal or colloquial language? Can we afford a little humour? Active or passive? All these questions of style will have a very important impact on the perception of a brand through its language. It is therefore essential to define your own brand style, to remain consistent over time or between several translators. Adopting a true communication style is essential: if companies communicate, it is to be noticed, to be remembered. Brands want to be unique and not be confused with their competitors. They want to create emotion, so that the consumer has a certain reaction when they think of them.

Here are some examples of how to write this type of document that will be a plus for your article, and I am sure your help will be very much appreciated:


When writing/translating for X, our voice is always:

● Honest: Trust is our #1 value

● Clear: Our writing is concise and easy to understand.

● Inspiring: We help users to use the app and consult our website



● Be concise.

● Use as few words as possible. Avoid unnecessary and redundant information.

● Focus on the user's goals; make sure you create content for a real use case.

● Avoid large blocks of text. Avoid long and complex sentences. Be conversational.

● Use natural, conversational language in a friendly, optimistic tone.

● Contractions are correct.

● Write from the user's point of view to help them accomplish their tasks.

● Avoid developer-oriented terminology unless you are writing for a developer. Be direct.

● Use simple English/French, Spanish ... Avoid buzzwords, jargon, and words you wouldn't say in person.

● Use the active voice and avoid complex verbal structures.

● You can view user interface elements by their literal names, not by variations of them (for example, "click Submit" or "then save"). Be positive.

● Wherever possible, express sentences in a positive, not a negative way.

● When describing feature enhancements, emphasize the new benefits to users, rather than the design problems they encountered. Example: We've made significant enhancements to the side panel that increase the productivity of your users. Be smart. But don't try to be too funny.

● Have fun - it's part of our brand! But use humour wisely, and know your limits. (Not everyone is a natural comedian).

● Focus on clear and concise content rather than clever language. Make sure the content is understandable, regardless of mind.

● If you use jokes, make sure they are "family-friendly" and inclusive. (For example, don't make jokes about dads unless you also make jokes about moms). Provide "just in time" information.

● Be careful with cultural references.


I think we can add other examples of help, but, as you can see, helping the client can be beneficial, especially without going to extremes. In fact, I think it concerns each translator individually - how they want to help, whether they want to give their time to help, or whether they think it will be beneficial for them and save them time during the translation process, and as in my case, I find that it allows me to learn even more. It's how to take a course (less theory and more practice) in tech or marketing, but in relief mode, with collaboration with the technical or marketing team.

Finally, I think that every client can help us, and if you have the chance to collaborate with nice clients, your help will be multiplied.

Now, tell me everything: what kind of help have you given to your clients? Looking forward to reading your answers in comments.

Take care & till soon...

If you have any questions, write to me at:

5 vues0 commentaire

Posts récents

Voir tout
bottom of page