Although translation and interpreting is typically a “best effort” type of work where quality is hard to measure, it is extremely important that certain measures be taken to ensure that the work provided actually reflects the best effort possible under the circumstances. This requires a number of simple principles to ensure that customers receive the highest value possible.
Be on time
Obvious as it may sound, it should not be the interpreter who determines when the meeting is to start. In order to ensure this, I always aim to get to the appointment at least half an hour early for new customers, and at least fifteen minutes early for established clients and locations. This leaves room for delays that unavoidably happen from time to time, such as getting held up in a traffic jam or at a reception. As a result, I am happy to say that I have never been late for an appointment during the past 20 years.
Meet the deadline
One of the most important considerations when selecting a translator is to make sure that the project gets done on time. I am well aware of this, and therefore always make sure that the assignment gets done on time by setting aside a certain amount of time for contingencies (power shortages, crashes, anything personal) when committing to a project. I will rather refuse work than let it pile up on me, causing an inexcusable delay. As a result, I have never missed a single deadline during the past 20 years.
Showing up at an event as an interpreter in not enough. It is vital to be prepared and study the documentation provided beforehand. I will always show up early enough so that we can agree on the terminology to be used.
Adapt to the required terminology
Many translators are too comfortable to notice that different customers have different needs. Just because a certain wording is used at one client does not mean that the same terminology applies at another. In order to make sure that the translation will reflect your expected choice of words as closely as possible, I always create a glossary when translating large projects, and will submit it to you for approval. Of course, this is not compulsory, but it will go a long way to making sure that you get the choice of words that you, as a customer, require.
Plan for any event
I perform regular backups during translation. When a translation is completed and submitted, I always create a final backup and upload it to my personal secure cloud, so that if anything happens to the files submitted, I will be there to help you out, wherever I am.
Clarify the requirements
It is only to be expected that you should get exactly what you want. If anything is unclear about the scope of the project or the work required, I will rather ask questions before starting work than deliver something that does not reflect your requirements.
Go the extra mile
Spellchecking is not enough. When a project is complete, I always do a comprehensive self-review before delivery and run an Xbench check (or other check depending on the CAT tool) to make sure that the effort is really the best that I can provide.