One of the most important lessons I have learnt in my experience as a translator, both in-house and freelance, is that communication really is the key when it comes to dealing with clients. (On a side note, that expression always seems so negative, don’t you think? I much prefer interacting with clients!)
One of the most vital steps in the translation process (aren’t they all?) is to check that the client is happy with the quality of your work, and of course your customer service! In my experience, your client may often have queries about terminology choices or wish to tweak the style of their message, but will not express this once they deem the job to be ‘finished’.
The truth is of course, that, being the consumately professional translator that you are, you are not happy until the client is happy. This means checking in with them a little while after each project is returned (and they have confirmed receipt of course) to ask if they have any comments or questions about the translation/transcreation/editing project. If they do, this is your chance to either explain your choices, or discuss alternatives. If they don’t however, it is a perfect time to ask for a testimonial for your website or other marketing materials – after all, they are very happy with your work, why not give them the opportunity to let the world know? 🙂
In more general terms, keeping in touch with clients you haven’t worked with in a while is always a good idea for two reasons:
1) You are showing them that they are valued clients, that you enjoy working with them and that you appreciate the personal relationship that you have built with them (“how are the wedding plans coming along?”, “how was your holiday in xyz?)”
2)You may gently nudge them into getting underway with a project that had been on the back burner. After all, we all have to make a living, don’t we? 😉