decisionA few weeks ago, a client had an interesting proposition for me. He has lots of contacts in an area that particularly interests me (economic and social development in Europe), and he asked whether I’d be willing to pay him an introduction fee if he put me in touch with organisations needing English to French translations.
I had actually gone through a similar process not so long ago. I get a lot of requests for translations in other language pairs and other specialisations, and after I put various clients in touch with other translators, I started wondering whether I should try and benefit from creating earning opportunities for others. I talked to a few freelancers, and particularly a friend who works in finance, an industry where this kind of practice is commonplace and where it is not unheard of for someone to ask for 25% of the sum to be invoiced as a finder’s fee.
After thinking about it carefully, I concluded that I could either act as a hub for people needing translators, and ask trusted colleagues for financial compensation in exchange for solid contacts, or I could use free, personal recommendations to create goodwill and build a solid network, which might benefit me at some point by enhancing my reputation and my visibility amongst colleagues.
I was far more comfortable with the latter option, and so that’s the path I chose to follow. I explained all this to my client, adding that I completely understood if he wanted to use a different tack and strike a deal with another translator for his future projects. As freelancers, we do need to explore all possible revenue streams, particularly at a time when squeezed budgets mean that translation is no longer a priority for a lot of companies.
Monopoly photo by Mark Strozier