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In a piece of software, what would I call a person you have a relationship for only business in real life. He/she is not your friend and you are not working in same place.

For instance, you are freelancer, and someone wants you hire. So what would I call that person?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Client or business associate might do the job.

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Client is ok. But I think Business Associate is the same with Colleague, isn't it? So my question is about a person you're not working with in the same place. He shouldn't be your colleague. Am i right? – dino Oct 23 '11 at 23:47
I'm not sure, Looking up Colleague in OS X's built in dictionary brings up "a person with whom one works, esp. in a profession or business." with no mention of the setting of the 2 individuals. – AMomchilov Oct 24 '11 at 0:28
I think colleague implies that you work for the same employer more strongly than business associate. Although without the word business, I think associate on its own implies even more strongly that you work for the same organisation and perform similar roles within it - possibly working together at least some of the time. – FumbleFingers Oct 24 '11 at 2:58

In the particular case you cite, they are my customer. If I am a salesman, a plumber, a consultant, or a member of many other professions, they are also called my customer. If the roles are reversed, they might be called my contractor.

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sometimes my brain just stops working. I think because of my project. yes, it's my customer :)) Thank you – dino Oct 23 '11 at 19:54
When I sell my services to someone, aren't these people my 'clients' and not 'customers'? – Irene Oct 23 '11 at 19:55
@Irene I personally hear 'customer' used much more in the software industry, but 'client' would be ok too. Searching on Programmer.SE there are 1,338 results for 'customer' and 2,102 results for 'client', which is fairly close (but lacking context to be definitive). – Hugo Oct 23 '11 at 20:12
A client is someone you have a working relationship with, so go with client. – Jeremy Oct 23 '11 at 20:15

Colleague is a good alternative, if you do not want to specify the exact nature of the working relationship...in fact, there may not be one at all, just a shared profession or area of expertise/interest.

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I was going to suggest this, but it neither suggests working at different places or hiring freelancers. – Hugo Oct 23 '11 at 20:09

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