When a Client Claims Without Reason

Nobody is perfect and I would be stupid pretending that I am the first one. However, I am sure about something, I do my best on my work and I am open to client suggestions.

But, sometimes problems just happen. Time ago I was hired to do an English to Spanish translation. The client wanted a text friendly for reader and not a direct translation. I agree with this vision because the goal of a translation is to engage the speakers of the target language, instead of keeping the most deep nuances of the text. Of course if someone asks me to keep the nuances above the engaging characteristic I will do so. But, this wasn’t the case.

When I sent my work to the client he told me that he found some mistakes. I apologized and asked him to point out such mistakes. I was surprised because it was a big project and I proofreaded the text more than one time, but of course, it would be possible that I have missed something.

When I get the “mistakes” he had marked things like:

I have translated Localization by Localización and he told that I should write Dónde estamos.

Well, I can’t say that Donde estamos is wrong, but it is much more informal than Localización. The truth is you can use both, but when you are giving your business data I thought it was better to be little more formal. I told that to the client and showed him several Spanish pages that have used Localización. For example, this one from University of Madrid or this one related with animal industry.

At least this “mistake” is understandable because though it is not a mistake, he could think that I wasn’t adapting my speech to his business needs. I still think that for business data, it is better to be little more formal, but life is done by different tastes.

The other big mistake was that I wrote “perfecto estado” instead of “estado perfecto”. This time I can’t accept that it is a mistake. When you are talking about products that arrive in a good shape, you need to write perfecto estado,  this is obvious for every native Spanish speaker. But, sadly my client wasn’t a native speaker.

I showed him that if you enter in Google, “estado perfecto” (with quotation marks”) you will get results about philosophy talking about how a State should be to be perfect. On the other hand, if you enter “perfecto estado” you got results about products in good shape. Not saying that my option had like 20 million of results and him less than 1 million.

But he wasn’t happy so we decide to end the contract. If he doesn’t trust in me, it wouldn’t make any sense to continue and we both agree with that.

How to manage this?

What I did was, return his money. Show him that all the mistakes weren’t real mistakes and finish the contract.

It is doubtful wether I should return the money, but as we were starting  the amount was small. This is a good reason to always do a little milestone before talking a big project when you get hired by a new client. If the first milestone doesn’t work as it should, you can finish the relationship and any of you lose much time and money.


I think the situation wasn’t fair with me. I am sure that if I were proofreaded by a native speaker, no matter from which country, I wouldn’t have any problems, but the point here is that I was proofreaded by a non native speaker, so everything that doesn’t sound as he would write it, was a mistake for him.

Now, I beg to be proofreaded by a native Spanish speaker. First because they suggestions are good and improve the text, second because they usually understand that a different way to say thins can be a correct way too. Spanish is very rich, and you can say things in a lot of ways.

Have you ever experienced a similar situation?

*I do not translate from Spanish to English, because as I am sure you have noticed my English is not perfect. I only do English to Spanish translations because in Spanish I can deliver high quality texts. Whe I have to do Spanish to English translations I always hire someone to proofread it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.