Mobile menu

What makes a client or an agency pick you generally? Is there an ideal translator?
Thread poster: Dan Marasescu

Dan Marasescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 15:02
Member (2003)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Jun 24, 2003

Hi,

I'm trying to figure out what are the most important characteristics for a translator. Apart from quality and low prices I mean. What makes a client or an agency pick you generally? Is there an ideal translator?

Thanks


Direct link Reply with quote
 

sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 15:02
German to English
And not to forget always, I mean always, delivering on time Jun 25, 2003

Even before deadline. The earlier you are, the better impression you make giving you a better chance for getting repeat work.

Also delivering typo-free copy (delete those double spaces).


Direct link Reply with quote
 

sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
English to French
Some thoughts.... Jun 25, 2003

Dan Marasescu wrote:

Hi,

I'm trying to figure out what are the most important characteristics for a translator. Apart from quality and low prices I mean. What makes a client or an agency pick you generally? Is there an ideal translator?

Thanks


Low prices is NOT part of that list. Prices which are too cheap rightfully disqualify you from being a pro. (A pro lives from translations. If he is good enough to be in business, he will charge rates in alignment with the rest of the industry, or more. The only reason -asside volunteer work- why a translator would charge "bottom of the barrel" prices is because he doesn't have enough job yet, which mean that he is either new, or probably not that good.)

A fair price will get you more good customers then a low price. Anytime.

Now, since you mentionned "beside of quality", the actual answer is that a freelance translator is not "just a translator". It's a translation provider.

Agencies will choose you at first because you market well. Period. After a while, they will appreciate your respect for deadlines (or lack of it), your commitment to the quality standards they request, your attitude, your responsiveness, your command of your tools, all the stuff that YOU expect when you go buy something.

If agencies like working with you, you will get jobs, and there will come a bright day when you can choose the jobs you want to do because you are on everybody's top wanted list.

But at first, it starts with promotion and marketing. If nobody hears about you, you could be 2000% perfect and have no work.

Sorry if I contradict a few of my colleages, but the difference between being choosen by a new customer or not is called "MARKETING", whether direct or word-of-mouth. (Assuming that you match the requirements)

Thinking about it, how would they KNOW if you are the one before working with you? They can't, so at the beginning, it's promotion alone. Volumes of it.

When you get a job, do your best, get it on time, all polished up, make the client wonder how he could have worked before without you. But that's when you have a job. Before, promote!

Cheers,
Sylvain
www.your-translations.com


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:02
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Reply promptly, remain professional, be complete Jun 25, 2003

Apply quickly to show you really are full-time free-lance, not just an after-hours translator. Be clear about your rates and don't hide them or make the client ask for them. Be professional but honest. Pay attention to the lay-out of your email or résumé. Adapt your introduction to suit the job. Use accents where necessary. Remain polite and friendly. Always quote references. In case of queries, back up your explanation with reference material.
Have your own website. Join associations of translators. Obtain accreditations. Don't accept jobs you cannot complete. Mention as much information as possible on your invoice. Customers probably still need the address of your bank, even with an IBAN number.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Dan Marasescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 15:02
Member (2003)
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all! Jun 26, 2003

I'll try to follow your good advice. I expected some of the answers, but the confirmation is always valuable.
Does everyone agree that KudoZ are very helpful?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anna F.  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:02
English to Italian
+ ...
suggestions then, please:-) Jun 30, 2003

Dan Marasescu wrote:

Agencies will choose you at first because you market well. Period. After a while, they will appreciate your respect for deadlines (or lack of it), your commitment to the

Hi Dan,
Sorry I cut most of your post!
Well, I read it attentively, then, I decided to ask!
I'm looking for my first job as translator.
I've been sending CVs around for the last 3 or 4 months now. still, nothing.
Only empty promises if you prefer to.
So..can you please explain to me what you mean by "marketing" (I mean practical explanations, examples)?
I think it would be VERY useful for me and all those who are trying to get into translation because they are really determined to do it and give their best to it. Unfortunately, as you were mentioning, one can be a great translator but if he doesn't know how to do marketing..his abilities are nothing for customers. Still, only few times in life one can have teachings about how to market himself/herself...

Thank you!!
A.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:02
French to English
Word of mouth, specialisation Jul 1, 2003

Getting established is tough in any business, but if you stick to taking on work you can handle (technically and in terms of time limits) price will become secondary as long as you are not ridiculously cheap or expensive.

Communication. Professional approach at all times.

Take yourself seriously - there's a strong chance your client will too.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxx xxx
Local time: 16:02
Do not stop trying, if you really want it! Jul 2, 2003

ancharmed wrote:

I think it would be VERY useful for me and all those who are trying to get into translation because they are really determined to do it and give their best to it. Unfortunately, as you were mentioning, one can be a great translator but if he doesn't know how to do marketing..his abilities are nothing for customers. Still, only few times in life one can have teachings about how to market himself/herself...

Thank you!!
A.


Hi,

I had a quick look on your profile and this is what came to my mind:

I think the most important thing is to make a professional impression even if you do not have a lot of experience yet. Always bear in mind that your (potential) clients do not have much time to read through your presentation in search for the information they need. So give your information in as short and as concise a form as possible (tables). Put the most important things first, having in mind what your clients might consider most important.

Do not send CVs if you have not been asked for them (at least if you are applying by e-mail, because it takes valuable time to download the larger text). Only write a short letter of introduction asking whether the people might be interested in having more information.

Do not write the same letter to every agency but adapt your writing to the agencies specialties.

Focus on one or two specialist subjects (for the beginning) and try to show off your expertise in these fields by answering KudoZ-questions (although I still doubt clients have a look at your KudoZ-score, but it also makes you more confident in your own ability to cope with translation problems).

Use all of your free time to improve your marketing and translation skills.

Do not tell people what you are not good at, tell them what are your strengths.

Upload your portrait to your profile.

Hobbies are irrelevant for your profile (if you want it to be a part of your marketing campaign) but maybe you could transform them into an area of expertise (p.e. IT ?).

Give your real name so that people can see you are earnest about your attempt to make yourself known as a professional.

Have a look at other Pro's Profiles to see what information they give.

Buy Alex Eames "How to Earn $80,000+ per Year as a Freelance Translator" (internet download: htt.://www.translatortips.com/amazing.html), it gives you an idea what clients expect from you.

Do not despair if it takes ages and hundreds or even thousands of applications till you get into business, we all are or have been in the same mess Alex Eames writes you should expect the initial phase to take up to a year.

I hope those "do"s and "don't"s will help you and perhaps other collegues can add some more

Regards

Diane


Direct link Reply with quote
 

JuliaR
English to Spanish
+ ...
doubt Jul 2, 2003

Hi!
My name is Julia and after reading what Diane Keller says about Alex Eames' book I've found some hope not to stop trying to be a translator. I've followed the "translatortips" link and I have read all the information about the book...even the price. My doubt is the following: Is it worth for a jobless beginer translator to spend some 42€ in a book like that?
I mean, I just want someone who has read it to give me his/her opinion and make sure it is not just marketing.

thanks a lot,
Julia


Direct link Reply with quote
 

two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 11:02
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Network! Jul 3, 2003

Use ProZ.
Get in touch with colleagues in your pairs.
Answer and grade KudoZ.
Participate in fora.
Assist to a powwow....
Do some or all, but network with others!

If you do so, and you manage to convince some colleagues that you are a pro, then sooner or later they will share jobs with you. Most of us get overloaded every now and then, and we have a network of trusted pros to help us cope.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxx xxx
Local time: 16:02
Whether you want to spend 42 € depends on your personal situation. Jul 3, 2003

JuliaR wrote:

Hi!
My name is Julia and after reading what Diane Keller says about Alex Eames' book I've found some hope not to stop trying to be a translator. I've followed the "translatortips" link and I have read all the information about the book...even the price. My doubt is the following: Is it worth for a jobless beginer translator to spend some 42€ in a book like that?
I mean, I just want someone who has read it to give me his/her opinion and make sure it is not just marketing.

thanks a lot,
Julia


Dear Julia,

I did read the book and it helped me not to despair and not to give up too early. It also helps me to keep in mind that anything I do concerning translation agencies or clients has to be mindful of their needs in the first place.

What Alex Eames tells you mostly is common sense ( if you know how to use it) but it gives you the translation agency's viewpoint and it is easier and quicker to be told what they want than to figure it out yourself. (e.g. do not send faxes during the night, even if it is cheaper for you, because the fax machine might disturb them, being located in a study in a private home; do not send applications which arrive on monday mornings or friday afternoons because agencies often are overcrowded with work at those times).

When purchasing the book you also get a part of Alex Eams mailing list TRANMAIL which in its entire copy lists hundreds (thousands?) of translation agencies around the world so that one could send out applications to all of them in only one step. The problem is that the entire list has to be buyed as well.

The part which is included in the book's price is only the first agencies in the list and if everybody uses those, I think those agencies will be the least to be happy to get thousands of applications every month

I also think, you have to choose carefully which addresses make sense for you because it certainly would not be very useful for me (doing only translations from French and Spanish into German) to send an application to a Chinese agency. As I indicated in my above answer, I chose to pick the agencies I wanted to contact individually in the Internet, so I could have an idea what languages and areas they are active in and what quality and price standards they profess.

No use applying if the agency charges its customers prices I myself want to charge the agency !

As for the book's price (I really hope I get all those "'s"es right, whith all those translators around who get angry at every grammar mistake ) I was happy to have the book and know where to start. In the beginning, if you want to do it right, you might have so many expenses for hard- and software and dictionnaries that, of course, it takes some time till you actually can live from what you earn, but the sooner the better and IMO that book may speed you up. (At least I did not wait a full 4 month's time for my first job).

Of course, if you are not as desperate as "ancharmed" seems to be and maybe you have already figured things out, had the first jobs and got positive reactions from your customers, the book maybe would not be worth its price for you.

By the way: I won't be able to earn 80.000$ a year either but I expect to earn a decent living and earn more per hour than my children's babysitter

Good luck!

Diane





[Edited at 2003-07-03 08:46]

[Edited at 2003-07-03 08:48]

[Edited at 2003-07-03 08:48]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

haha
China
Local time: 22:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
i'd like to get the book May 21, 2004

How to Earn $80,000+ Per Year as a Freelance Translator is a good book for a freelancer translator, yet it is so difficult for me to get it.
i live in China, without visa card.
how unfortunate i am.
but i am lucky to find this forum. and i am glad that i can share information and experience with you in the future.
i will come here as long as i am online.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

What makes a client or an agency pick you generally? Is there an ideal translator?

Advanced search


Translation news





PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs