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Dear all, I would like to ask for your advice/opinion/suggestions on the following situation:

A colleague of yours asks you to replace her/him on an interpreting assignment with a private client. She/he explicitly requests to work on her/his behalf and respect the "underlying rules" of fair competition by avoiding any communication with the client or providing your contact details/business card.

Once the conference is finished, the client is very satisfied with your performance and asks you to provide your contact details/business card for future collaboration.

What would you do?

How would you kindly refuse explaining the situation without offending the client?

Personally, I believe in the importance of being honest and professional when replacing a colleague, especially because of the interpreting opportunity she/he is giving you. However, someone could argue that the credit you receive and the consequent request from the client to collaborate in the future, is based on your expertise and ability, regardless of how you got the assignment.

Thank you for sharing your opinions.

Please feel free to reply either in English, French, Spanish or Italian.

asked 29 May '13, 12:23

Federica's gravatar image


edited 30 May '13, 07:14

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Reopening this question as it is not really a duplicate of Both questions relate to ethics and how to respond to business inquiries when you're only the interpreter and not the consultant interpreter. In this question however, the inquiry comes from the event organiser himself. In question 1346, the inquiry comes from a participant in the meeting. Not quite the same thing

(30 May '13, 04:59) Vincent Buck

I too consider that an elegant way of proceeding would be to tell the client that you do not have a card; but that your name is so and so. Instead, ask the client for his card and tell him that you will give it to the consultant-interpreter, as s/he is his contact point; but that next time he may ask for your services.

You should also mention it to the consultant-interpreter and it is really up to him or her, next time, to decide whether to respect the client’s wish (which I would do, personally, if at all possible) or to tell the client that s/he will recruit someone else who is just as good/closer/more specialized.

My experience is that the EU itself does not accept personal requests from inspectors who ask for a specific interpreter or team to be sent to a mission. SCIC argues that it complicates recruitment; that it prefers to share the work among various interpreters; that free-lances or staff are equally competent, etc… I would add that consultant-interpreters invest a lot of work, time and resources in gaining and retaining clients, and that they tend to recruit preferably loyal colleagues who are aware of this ;-)

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answered 04 Jun '13, 11:42

Danielle's gravatar image


...a polite way out could be " I'm so awfully sorry but I haven't got any on me... anyway, by far the best solution would be for you to get in touch with the colleague who recruited me, who as you know is so and so ... and by all means let him know that you were pleased with my work here today" :-) the answers to this previous question my also prove useful

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answered 29 May '13, 19:05

msr's gravatar image


edited 29 May '13, 19:05

+1 I agree with msr and would proceed as if the inquiry had come from a participant (see question 1346)

(30 May '13, 04:46) Delete ♦

Thank you all! I read the previous question and it seemed relevant to what I asked. In any case, I would be happy to hear from other colleagues' opinions. Thank you.

(30 May '13, 10:55) Federica
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question asked: 29 May '13, 12:23

question was seen: 8,504 times

last updated: 04 Jun '13, 11:42

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