32(2) - 2020

« L’alpha et l’oméga » : la place des clients dans l’activité professionnelle des traducteurs indépendants à Genève

Aurélien Riondel


“The alpha and the omega”: the roles of clients in the professional routine of Geneva-based freelance translators

Freelance translators are nowadays an essential part of translation in the world. However, their activity remains largely unknown due to the limited amount of empirical work available. Similarly, the role of clients has hardly been studied. This paper discusses the relationships that freelance translators have with their clients. It is based on qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted with French-speaking translators working in Geneva. It shows that translators have different profiles and collaborate with different types of clients, including internal translation services. Furthermore, translators adopt a set of strategies to build up client loyalty, for example, through their availability and visits to clients. Trust between business partners is both necessary and often present, and questions play an important role in this respect. Finally, the feedback that translators receive is generally positive, though scarce.

Sociology of translation, freelance translators, clients, trust, feedback

DOI 10.17462/para.2020.02.03

October 18, 2020
  32(2) - 2020