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Written by Traduality

Traduality helps organizations protect and get closer to its customers, employees, and partners in their native language.

September 23, 2020

Is it true that the client is always right?


Professional translators chase perfection. Since they start their professional training, most of them will consult with a more experienced translator to make sure that their work is as close as possible to perfection.

Even when the market is filled with very tight deadlines, professionals try to do their best during the translation process to guarantee a job well done. Good translators try to create databases, guides, glossaries, and other resources to get information; also, they may ask questions to more experienced translators.

But despite all that, translators are always exposed to criticism from their peers and customers, for example, when choosing one option instead of another for a word in the translation.

Can you discuss the issue with a customer?

Let’s be honest, sometimes we are annoyed by having to make corrections that we believe are “unnecessary”, for example, in the translation we use a contraction “I’m”, but the client gets back to you so you change it for “I am”.

The real question here is, should we argue with the client about it? Some people will tell you that the client is always right, and we have to do what they asks without a question. In cases like these it might be best to accept and make the corrections so that you can deliver the document as your client wants it.

However, when we are given a glossary with terms that may not be the best for this given context or subject and could possibly decrease the quality of the translation, It might be advisable to send your suggestions to the client and tell them the reasons why they should use what you propose instead of the terms they want.

After that, we must be prepared to receive one of two types of reply: a positive one, when the customer accepts your suggestions, or a negative one, when the client does not accept your suggestions and you can’t change their mind.

No matter how much we disagree with the client, it is important to remember that when we as customers pay for a services, we want it to be, the way we want it to be, and in the same way that we demand perfection, our customers want the same thing.

This is why we say, “the customer is always right”. It’s not because they’re right all the time, but because they are paying for a service and it has to meet their expectations. We would made a mistake if we use what we think was right, when the customer already asked us to do their way.


The moment when the client’s corrections become a problem.

Usually, clients will send you a glossary and the translation rules along with your translation assignment. Our job is to carefully read every document so that we can be sure that we’re following the rules the customer gives us.

The problem arises when we are send a document to translate it, and we get the glossary afterwards. We have already started the translation and when we open the glossary, we notice that we’ve used terms that aren’t in the document. For example, in the document we’ve use the word “vacation” throughout the text and the client thinks that “holiday” is the best fit.

The most viable solution to this problem is to replace one term with another. In Microsoft Word we can use the Find and Replace button, to easily replace one word for another.

However, I must tell that there is no easy solution to change complete in order to match the number and person; So you’ll have to reread the text, find the mistakes and use the spell checker, to finish the document and deliver it just as the client wants it.


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