When Fiverr dropped my translation gig from the search engine, they asked me to review my methods of service. Support even kindly gave me some pointers on how I could improve my standing on the platform. However, I don’t think they had any idea about my actual service, how I conduct it, or its quality. In this post, I will share how I manage my Fiverr journey, and services, with all of you!
Before the Order
First things first, I do my damnest to answer the initial inquiries as soon as I can. I’ll usually greet the client, and then ask for more details on the upcoming project. This includes getting the materials, as well as some pre-knowledge about the task or any needs they might have. If I can’t get back to them immediately, I let them know I’ll return to them as soon as possible. When feasible, I will also let them know when they might expect me.
I will always ask for the material since I price my work based on word count. And also because I want to know what I’m getting into. Preferably before I sell my soul to the proverbial devil of broken language and terrible chaos.
After they provide the materials, I go through them. I check the word count and look for things that might affect the delivery time or pricing. Some things that can lead to increased delivery times are complex/jargonic language, and excessive formatting (fonts, images, tables, etc.). If at this point I find anything unclear or need more specifications I’ll ask the client to clarify before I make my offer. One example of such a thing is the localization of names and places.
If everything is clear and I know enough about the project I am supposed to take on, I will send my offer. For smaller, quick translations I may opt to send the custom offer straight away after the initial contacts – this makes the transaction smoother for both me and the client.
If, however, the project is considerably larger (it would take me about a week to complete) I prefer to send the client a message. In it, I detail my pricing, re-capping the task in all its glory, and setting the delivery date. The client then has a chance to discuss their concerns and when everything is clear, I send them the offer. Usually, my offers also include the customary free review.
I make it a priority to make sure we are on the same page by asking about the particulars. I do it because of the misunderstandings related to the work I do on occasion. The fact is that creative writing mixed with plain translation services will cost you more than just a pure translation. Some people have also misinterpreted proofreading as re-writing. The two are, of course, their own tasks. Not to even mention the blatant scams.
During the Order
As the offer goes through I begin my task as soon as I can, churning out the raw translation. Then I let it rest for a while before doing my editing/proofreading. I usually do two rounds to make sure I’m delivering the best possible quality. Remember to have breaks while you work, otherwise, the insanity of letters might set in!
Recently, I started keeping my clients updated about the different phases I am currently in. I tell them when I finish the translation, and move on to proofing. Here, I also let them know the estimated time when they can expect to be receiving their delivery.
During the process, I keep track of anything I see that might be helpful. These include issues with the Source Material, oddities, and things that are otherwise unclear. Afterward, it’s the perfect time to contact the client with any questions I may have regarding the contents. This then leads me to fix/include the unclear parts during one of the proofing rounds.
If, for whatever reason, I am not able to meet my deadline, I’ll let the client know ahead of time. This way we can perhaps come to an agreement about continuation. We discuss adding some days to the deadline or closing the contract to minimize wasted time for both.
Needless to say, be on time with your deliveries. This is not school anymore, where the teacher gives you a scolding and lets you off the hook. This is a matter of money, and when money speaks, everything else is usually very quiet.
As I deliver my work, I will include certain premeditated things in the cover note. I’ll let the client know that they are always welcome back for questions or feedback related to my service. I also ask them to go through the translation with care. Once I’ve included that, it both covers me and betters my service, in case something is wrong with the product.
After the ‘mandatory’ clauses, I often ad in some of the information I have been collecting during the process. This includes a few pointers about the Source, such as typos, sentence structures, and inconsistencies in content. I tend to give a few examples with my notes, to emphasize the areas I found problematic. Never give all the answers though! Not only would this go beyond what you are paid for, but it might prevent you from getting another job in the future.
Showcase your expertise, without giving it away for peanuts. I do, however, give a recommendation on the actions I would take based on my findings. Usually, this means I’ll encourage the client to get the material to be proofread.
The last lines on my cover upon delivery states my gratitude for being chosen for the task. I wish the client well in one form or another, and end my service by requesting a rating. When asking for ratings, I don’t go for only positive ones, as I feel this would be rather insincere. And I would rather know about the problems with my service than keep going deeper into oblivion.
After the Order
If the Buyer leaves a rating, you must make one too (what kind of a Buyer they were). Only after doing that you are able to see and publish the rating they gave you. It can be a bit nerve-wracking, as there is no way of seeing what they’ve said before doing your part. Fortunately, most of my clients have been amazingly generous with their reviews. Some stragglers, however, have probably used the questionable ‘Private Review’ system to put my ‘internal’ rankings down on occasion. While I prefer full-frontal honesty, no matter how brutal, there is not much I can do about this matter.
Sometimes the clients have more questions, snippets that were left out of the material, etc. that they bring up later. I don’t mind helping out a client outside of the contract. However, this type of extra service should always have boundaries, and it should be used with care. Don’t sell yourself short by giving into every whim and ‘forgetfulness’ of the client, it’ll hurt you in the end. For my regulars, I tend to be more lenient and flexible. And for the newcomers, I give less room to wiggle until they have proven to be good partners in business.
Try to deal with your clients, no matter how difficult they may seem, with the same polite, professional tone. Respond to them as soon as possible and be sure to ask for the details of the project at hand. Let them also know when they might expect you to return to them. Get clear on the expectations they have before making your offer. This way you can avoid bigger conflicts later on if the client comes to you with problems.
Do your job with professional care, and keep your client updated on your progress. Keep track of the things that you find problematic, and ask the client to clarify the areas you struggle with.
When delivering, remind your client that they are always welcome to raise questions and give feedback. Provide a few examples of things you’ve noted during your process, giving them insight they may not have otherwise gotten. Don’t give out all the information on how to fix the problems though. This can hinder your chances to get more work in the future. Encourage the client to give you a review, whatever it may be, and thank them for their time and consideration.
These are my general guidelines for how I provide my services as a freelancer. By following them, I am confident that my Fiverr shadow ban will be lifted… Whenever the corporate machine decides it is time to return me to society.
Last Updated: 30/05/2023