Way back in 2015, I asked my blog readers whether the purchase order I’d produced was merely a pipe dream or a document I could actually use with my clients. The general consensus was that my overly long PO would prove daunting for direct clients and unnecessary for agencies. After tweaking it a bit based on the many suggestions I received, I instead came up with a purchase order checklist. The idea was to fill it in ourselves using the information we gleaned in negotiations with clients and for it to be a handy reminder of what questions we should be asking.
May 2020 update: The purchase order has been updated. Please see this post for the new versions.
Towards the end of September I blogged about my ideal purchase order and asked readers for your opinion. I was worried that the form might ask clients to fill in too much information. And most of your comments reinforced that view. You agreed that many would baulk at the idea of providing so many details, even though doing so could save a lot of hassle and misunderstandings later on.
Busy direct clients with little understanding of the translation process are probably better served with a phone call or a few back-and-forth emails to make sure everything is clear. This type of exchange also helps to build a relationship that could lead to future projects. Agency clients, on the other hand, although they are more used to filling in forms, might not know the answers to all the questions and feel reluctant about bothering their end client with them. They also have their own processes in place and wouldn’t appreciate pandering to one of their service providers.
For a while now I’ve been working on the type of purchase order I’d like to give to both my agency and direct clients (especially new ones) so that we all know where we stand and are clear about the price and what it does and does not include. Today I’ve been inspired by reading Two to Tango: Tips for Project Managers from a Freelance Translator (parts 1 and 2) by Igor Vesler on Lingua Greca’s blog to finally finish my first draft. I’m posting it here so I can get your feedback and comments, because I’m a little concerned that it might be overly long and put some clients off.