Three Types of Customers
Since I decided to focus on translation of documents (instead of books which I have tried and the pay didnt seem to hit my account fast enough) seven years ago, below is a summary of my customers.
This type of customers purchases my service for themselves. Most found my details from search engines such as searching Australia visa or visa documents translation and most jobs are visa documents. Customers include women who live in Thailand and are getting married to Australian men, Australians who registered their marriage in Thailand (Thalang District, Phuket seems to be a popular place) (after which the marriage certificate and marriage registration documents must be translated by a NAATI-accredited translator (www.naati.com.au) for submission to the state registrar for record update), and Australian customers living in Australia who are preparing visa applications for girlfriends or wives (how nice!).
Advantages Individual customers pay in advance. Translation of visa documents is a way to make quick income as various government forms are provided on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (www.mfa.go.th). Simply insert customers details, registrars details and other relevant details in the forms, sign and seal, translation is then ready to go. For example, translation of a marriage certificate takes only five minutes and the fee is Baht 600 (my rate) (or AUD30, general rate charged by NAATI-accredited translators in Australia). Translation of visa documents is preferred by most NAATI-accredited translators because word count is irrelevant as all certificates incur one flat rate of fee.
If customers want other types of documents to be translated, payment will be due upon delivery of translation (no credit term). For customers who purchase my service for large number of pages, 50% deposit is required. When I have completed half of assignments, I will email the portion to customers and they will transfer the balance to me so I complete the rest. Two years go, a Thai customer living in Korea hired me to do a summary of four chapters. The fee was rather high so I asked her to transfer a fee for each chapter and I would deliver one by one. (We are now friends.)
Disadvantages Value of work hired by individual customers is low. Translation of visa documents mostly generates fee of approx Bah 3,000 per assignment. Some customers do not trust translators. It is because they believe that translation companies (in Thailand most are shop house offices) provides better quality. This is not true. Translation shops hire freelance translators, many of which have no certification, accreditation and cannot certify anything.
My first corporate customer is my employer, the law firm I used to work for. Then the lawyers resigned to join other companies hire me for translation service (we worked together before so they know if and how well I can do translation). Other corporate companies come from my business network or are those I worked with on some projects in the past, for example, on security system project (which landed me translation of freight security requirement of TAPA, the European security standard).
I got one more corporate customer around June this year. They knew me through a lawyer in Australia. Court documents had been translated by a NAATI-accredited translator in Australia, however, my customer, the Thai lawyers read and found that the translation was not usable as none made sense. They contacted me for the job. As mentioned before, there are only 3-4 NAATI-accredited translators in Thailand and I am the only one who specialise in translation of legal documents. I got lucky. That set of documents took me three days to finish and the value was close to Baht 100k.
Advantages If customers are registered companies in Thailand, they will pay definitely. Majority of my customers treat me well, rarely negotiate but I do give 10% discount for lovely customers. For big projects, I give special rate also. I think my customers are nice to me because they know that I am qualified, have relevant qualifications and guaranteed by reference (my lawyer colleague from the previous company) that I do my job well, am punctual and never miss deadline.
Disadvantages Most assignments received from corporate customers are urgent. Legal documents are always urgent. For example, 30 pages of document need to be translated within the next day (fine with me) because lawyers have time limit to appeal. They also have to review translation before sending to their clients for approval. When I was in Japan in March this year, a corporate customer sent me 133 pages of court documents to be completed in three days. I had to hold the trip and did the job for extra pocket money.
These are translation agents who advertise their service on websites. When a customer hires a translation agent for translation, the translation agent will then hire a freelancer in their database. Majority of my customers who are translation agents normally email me to check my availability and my per-word rate for each project (per-word rate appears on their database). Fortunately, many customers often ask me first (before other translators), perhaps because I give free add-on service, for example, they missed half a page of document and instead of counting words to calculate a fee, I did this extra portion for free. Another point is that when there are questions regarding my translation, I explain based on academic principles (learnt at Chulalongkorn University, www.chula.ac.th) whereas many translators who have not had a proper degree in translation will give a brief reply that this is how we use Thai language. (too easy!), well, it is written so in this website. (you should have checked who wrote that website), this ministry uses this term. (this job relates to this ministry, why would you adhere to the terms used by other ministry?).
I have one translation agents customer who always call for a bid for each job, such as, translation of a birth certificate, 300 words, maximum fee is USD30. Upon notification of a job post, translations will bid. I like to put my bid USD5 below the max fee and I got a PO for many jobs. There was job which was translation of legal documents that I put in my bid and I did not hear from the customer. I thought someone was assigned for the job already. Later at night, I got an email from the customer asking if I would still be available for this job and they increased the fee for the job. Eh, I supposed the job was beyond the translators competency and that was why the customer had to hire me, a specialist in legal document translation. I recall writing in a remark area for a bid that translation fee for legal documents should be higher than general text (because we have to exercise more caution), and I supposed that was why the fee for this job was increased. Thats OK. I never turn down any assignment no matter how urgent (if I am not on a plane). Customers can always rely on me.
Advantages If translation agents are registered in Australia and United Kingdom, they will pay. I am not sure about companies listed in other countries. I get assignments regularly, not from one single company but one from this company this week, two from other companies next week. This generates regular income (although may not be enough in some months but it is enough for me to survive).
Disadvantages Many companies put in place a quality assurance policy which I agree. They send translation to checkers/editors who edit translation which is then submitted to end-users or send back to translators for review. A problem is if there are a lot of comments, I need to charge for a review at hourly rate. As far as I know, hourly rate in Australia is AUD50 per hour. Review checkers/editors comments and amendment generally takes 2-3 hours which may affect translation agents budget if they have not taken this into account when quoting to end-users.
I worked on a medical document a few times where my work was back-translated. The back translation showed discrepancy and I had to explain in each round (with anger) that in this context, it should be this term, this sentence should be rephrased like this to conform with the norm of usage of Thai language. Final stage was to have the translation checked with a doctor which was very good because I am not a doctor. My client explained that the end-user (a company) requested for it as punishment under the law was severe (misrepresentation, I suppose).
The latest job (October 2012) that I received was translation of an airport project document. When I learned that my customer (a translation agent) was sending my translation to a checker/editor, I was thinking Oh, I will see heaps of red track changes.. In the past, my translation of legal documents always came back with plenty of mark-up, however, the lawyer still confirmed that my work was very good because the meaning (which is the most important in legal field) is preserved and only minor grammatical errors needed correction. For this airport project, the editor rarely edited my work. Out of 10 pages, there were only four words to be amended three of which were numbers (typo) and one of which was where I omitted the word kingdom (of Thailand). I was surprised. Perhaps the checker is not a lawyer and checked the English translation against the Thai source text only. I remember telling a translation agent that a checker/editor should be the one who works in particular profession, for example, engineering documents should be edited by an engineer, a soil resource research paper should be edited by a soil scientist.
For information regarding translation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or tel +66898863300. Free consultation.
ผู้ติดตามบล็อก : 292 คน [?]
Sawaddee ka. My name is Nat. I am a certified translator. I have been in the translation industry since 2004.
I graduated a master degree in English-Thai translation from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
I have the following accreditation:
- NAATI Accreditation for EN < > TH translation (Australia)
- Court Expert Registration for EN < > TH translation (Thailand)
- Member (MCIL), Chartered Institute of Linguists (U.K.)
See details about my services here http://www.nctranslation.net
For a quick quote, email your document to email@example.com.
รับแปลเอกสารวีซ่าออสเตรเลียพร้อมประทับตรา NAATI ปรึกษาฟรีที่ firstname.lastname@example.org หรือ Line: Natchaon.NAATI
See below my locations:
- Melbourne: Now - 22 Dec 2017
(Last update: 03 Jul 2017)
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