How to Approach Financial Expectations with Your New Language Service Clients

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Linguists, Language Professionals

Financial expectations are a key part of your career grow and make the basis for the relationship between you and your clients. Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges that language service providers face is being unable to close leads.

Consider these fact-based statistics: Freelancers make up 38% of all workforces globally while self-employed consultants (small business owners) account for 26%. Companies prefer hiring these two categories of service providers because they help them to complete their projects faster, reduce costs, and possess unique skill sets.

Unfortunately, oftentimes many language service providers (translators, interpreters, localizers, content writers, etc.) get contacted by new clients but the person reaching out to them never comes back. Usually, things rise and fall on the quote you provide them with.

Why is there a big gap between closed and unclosed leads in the language industry? I have explored some of the biggest reasons behind this high percentage of wasted leads across linguistic careers and put together the following tips in a Q & A style.

My overall tip is to approach the client with an open mind. But before discussing financial questions with your clients or answering money-related questions, consider the following tips.

Have you wondered why your new (potential) client might be asking you money-related questions?

Tip: Reading your client’s mind (or putting yourself in their position) will help you to nail the interview questions. Apply your discretion and put the client first, not their money.

Have you put yourself in their shoes and wondered how much you would pay a professional such as yourself?

Tip: Knowing your worth is crucial and your salary expectation
should be based on just that. Do not settle for too little but go slow
and negotiate wisely.

Have you done your homework as to whether they could afford your proposed payment?

Tip: If their remuneration history does not align with your expectations, that is a red flag.

Have you decided whether your requested salary matches your professional experience?

Tip: There should be congruence between your expertise and salary. If you are a senior executive, you should not be paid an entry-level salary except in special circumstances or unless further arrangements have been made between you and your employer.

Have you done some research about how much similar organizations pay other professionals?

Tip: Doing your homework is the most crucial part of your onboarding journey.

Have you weighed the salary you have in mind through the lens of your goals and values?

Tip: Since your ultimate goal is career fulfillment, you should be happy about your pay too.

Are you focusing on long-term relationships, or just immediate business?

Tip: Determining the nature of your envisioned relationship with the client will help you to choose the right approach in your negotiation process.


These tips were extracted from my book, “Essentials of Career Management for Language Professionals”. If you are looking for more tips on how to grow your language service business, check it out here.

Do you have any other tip that has worked for you in the past when it comes to reaching new clients? Drop it in the comments below!

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Sim Ngezahayo

1 thought on “How to Approach Financial Expectations with Your New Language Service Clients”

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