We all know that business is about relationships: between producers and consumers, between owners and workers, between office co-workers, departments, delivery guys and cafeteria staff. But the translation industry relies on a specific type of relationship since translation itself is as much art as it is a science. It deals intimately with words and thus touches the very basic human need for communication. Those handling these words should be especially nurtured, empathized with and appreciated, as they are your most precious asset whose work you are offering to your customers. So it is important to know how to keep them doing what they do the best for you. Here are seven ways to nurture the relationships with your vendors that will keep the best in your portfolio and attract new, valuable ones:
1. Always choose the right person for the job
We all have our preference in dispatching work to the most trustworthy and reliable suppliers. But that can often backfire, as constantly assigning to a narrow pool of vendors, restricts the chance to discover the skills of new ones and thus overload the trusted ones. Also, restricting your choices leads to less than optimal specialization allocation, not taking fully into consideration your vendors’ availability and workload.
2. Give your vendors the right tools to work with
To expect the best results from a chosen vendor, you have to empower them with the best tools for writing and communication. Using a Vendor Portal will give your vendors an easy way to retrieve their personal tasks, submit their work and communicate with you. It will also help avoid sending duplicate job requests.
3. Communicate clearly about the project deadlines and follow them through
Start by negotiating the deadlines and rates with your vendors. Take into consideration your respective vendors’ calendars. Define clear milestones and criteria that have to be met by the specified due date. Publish those milestones to all parties involved. Having a central point where all calendars and commitments are kept is a must.
4. Avoid the translator-proofreader blame game
It’s easy to end in up a vicious cycle of corrections and rejections. It ’s your duty as a project manager to keep the dialogue as professional as possible. Show support and appreciation to all parties, This can be achieved through professional and objective clarity in communication. Keep in mind the main goal – a satisfied and returning customer is of paramount importance.
5. Give prompt and relevant feedback
Vendors take pride in their work. Giving them promptly and relevant feedback shows them that you care about the results of their work. Both negative and positive opinions are valuable, as long as they are relevant and provided as soon as you get project feedback. This will keep your vendors motivated and the quality of their work at a high level.
6. Add a personal touch when communicating with your vendor
Even when using technology to distribute automatically job requests, you should make a habit of personalizing your communication instead of going for the easier route of using pre‑prepared canned responses. Treat this as a long-term investment in reliable communication and help ensure top performance.
7. Pay on time
Last but not least, vendors make a living from their work. Keeping track of all due payments for their work will help you maintain a good relationship with your translator, build trust and a solid foundation for future cooperation.