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How do we find direct clients?
Thread poster: Evi Prokopi
Evi Prokopi  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:58
English to Greek
+ ...
Oct 28, 2008

Hi all! I've been wondering how can I approach direct clients. All these years, I've been working with translation agencies, and I thought I should give a try to find some direct clients. But, really, how?

Ok, let's say I'm interested in working with XXX brand, because I like their products/services and I believe I can provide a translation of high quality. Whom should I contact? The mother company or the Greek branch (I translate into Greek). And to whom should I talk to? The sales department or something similar?

I guess this must be similar to the way translation offices find direct clients, but I never worked in a translation agency. Maybe someone who worked/works as a PM can give me some hints? Or freelances who have made it themselves?

I think many translators wonder the same, but I didn't find any similar topic, so any tip is more than welcome. (The http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/117221-how_can_i_get_clients.html didn't really answer my questions)

Cheers,

Evi

[Edited at 2008-10-28 23:27]


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:58
French to Spanish
+ ...
Knock, knock! Oct 28, 2008

-Who is it?
-A translator.

-What do you want?
-Hum... work... translate, for you.

-I see... dunno.
-Thanks, do you know who knows?

-Maybe.
-Thanks...

-Well?
-Well what?

-Do you know you knows if I can work with, or for you?
-Well, yes.

-Thanks.
-You're welcome.

-Humm...
-Now, what?

-Could you please be soooo kind to give me his/her name and phone/e-mail?
-Sure... it's XXX, and XXX.

-Well, thanks a lot.
-You're welcome.

And so on... it works maybe one out of ten.
I've done it that way.
Lot of work and phone calls and meetings and "I'm the best, try me!"
But it's worth.
I have only direct clients.
Best on Earth.
Henry Hinds won't let me lie.

Good luck.


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Evi Prokopi  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:58
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hola Juan! Oct 28, 2008

Hi, and thanks for your nice reply!

But do you actually contact the French or the Spanish company (if you want to translate something into Spanish from a French company)?


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:58
English to French
+ ...
Juan resumes it pretty well Oct 29, 2008

Thanks for the refreshing, no nonsense post, Juan!

Besides cold calling, you could also try advertizing in industry-specific publications, websites, etc. Not specific to translation, but to your top two specializations. But investigate the publications carefully - make sure the money is well invested and that you will get the visibility you target. Advertizing is the most costly method, so you need to make safe bets.

There are also tradeshows. However, be careful. People who have booths or who visit trade shows don't go there to be solicited, so go easy on them.

To finish, it is always good to be visible in your community. Participate in that community garage sale even if you don't have much to sell. Go to town hall meetings. Take part in your neighbourhood blood drive. Make sure you always have your business cards and your elevator speech handy. If people meet you in person in a context that doesn't have anything to do with translation and end up liking you, they will remember who to call when their brother-in-law, who is sales manager in a big company, needs a translation sorted out. The nice thing about this is that you are being introduced by an insider. Being visible in your community is also fun, so your time isn't wasted either way.

All the best!


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Evi Prokopi  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:58
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Viktoria Oct 29, 2008

Hi Viktoria, and thanks for your tips.

Maybe I should give a more sound example, because these tips are of course very helpful, but not really reply my question.

In my spare time, I'm a juggler, and I'm interested in translating related matter. For example, when there is a pack of juggling balls, I'd like to translate what's written on this pack. Should I contact the American producer company or the importer in Greece?

Thanx so much to everyone for your help!


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:58
English to French
+ ...
Head office Oct 29, 2008

Evi Prokopi wrote:

Should I contact the American producer company or the importer in Greece?


If the company you want to work with has a national or regional head office, then that's who you need to call. The importer most likely isn't the right person to contact, unless they also take care of the marketing, which usually isn't the case, especially with big brands.

Perhaps you could use Juan's method to ask the question. Maybe it is best to ask the importer or the local office who is taking care of marketing. Usually, the marketing people are the ones you want to get to. If you do technical translation, that's a different story and it becomes more complicated.


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:58
French to Spanish
+ ...
In my case. Re-knock! Oct 29, 2008

-Who is it?
-A translator.

-What do you want?
-Translate, I'm a motion picture translator, and subtitler.

-I see... how many languages do you translate from?
-All of them, into Spanish and French.

-All of them? You're kiding me!
-Not at all, Sir.

-How's that?
-As a motion picture distributor/producer, you should know ALL dialogue lists are in English. A film in Mandarin -for example- MUST be translated into English, at least, in order to be sell abroad. Isn'it?

-Hum, well... yes... I knewed that, sometime ago... So, your software translates from ALL languages into French and Spanish!!!
-No, Sir, not my software. Translators who I work with, yes. And I repeat, from English. And if so, me, my person, from French into Spanish, those are my "native" languages.

-"Native!" What d'you know?! So, you're "from there?"
-I'm telling you.

-You don't say?!
-I say, I'm telling you.

-Gee, swell!
-Isn'it?

-So, Sir?
-So, what?

And so on...

Evi, this is my personal case.
Of course, I'll try to contact my 2 "native" languages companies.
First, in my country.
Afterwards, maybe, abroad.

Luck.

(Please excuse my very unformal responses, but all absolutly true).


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Evi Prokopi  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:58
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
:) Oct 29, 2008

Thanks! I'm not interested in technical stuff, at least at the moment. I'm interested in things I know very well.

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Pradeep Mahapatra
India
Local time: 08:28
English to Oriya
+ ...
Try This Oct 29, 2008

Hi Evi!

I am a freelancer in Oriya Language. I have worked for translation agencies & have some direct clients. I have published my Ad. in free Ad. posting sites, search for the companies by using google, and gone through magazines to collect address and websites. I have created my cover letter and a CV, & mailed to address (by Email & post), I have collected. After some months, the clients contacted me by Email & phone for my services. You can also try this for your language. Hope this will work. But, it will take some time.

Good Luck.

Pradeep

[Edited at 2008-10-29 05:17]


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sailingshoes
Local time: 04:58
Spanish to English
don't undervalue agencies, though Oct 29, 2008

Remember that in theory, and with good agencies in practice, we're a paying a percentage of our potential income for a worthwhile service. With my agencies:

- I have a steady stream of work.
- When I can't take a job I can say no without too many problems.
- I get paid on time.
- I work with the same few people and get along very well with them.
- They usually provide me with work in my areas of specialisation.

Some of my experiences with direct clients have been very good, some not so great. But you also need to take into account that if things don't go well with a local client, you may be seeing them around a lot!


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Evi Prokopi  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:58
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanx Oct 29, 2008

Thanks Pradeep Chandra Mahapatra!

@sailingshoes of course I wouldn't trade my relationship with some translation agencies, they are really nice. I'm just interested in some brands and I'd really like to translate for them. Thanks!


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