Newly established in France
Thread poster: xxxdholmes
xxxdholmes
France
Local time: 17:00
French to English
Oct 10, 2003

Hello, I recently set up as a freelance translator in Lyon, France (French to English, business & legal)and I'm finding it very difficult to convince potential customers to change their habits and work with me. I've been translating various documents throughout my professional life (I reached the grand age of 50 this week !), but always in companies. Who else is in France? Does ProZ bring you work, how do you operate with this site,which I beleive to be interesting. Has Platinum membership made a difference ?
thanks for your replies and encouragement, I need it !
Cheers
Dianne


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:00
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Hang in there! Oct 10, 2003

Dear Dianne,

Hang in there. Getting a good-sized client base does not happen overnight. It took me three years to get my client number to the point that I had some work every day and then it increased slowly to the point now that I have steady work and have to say 'no' to jobs. I even have two of my clients who have been with me since the beginning.

Before striking out on my own I also first worked full-time as the in-house translator for two companies. I think that your field of expertise and lang. combinations are good ones. Keep trying and keep delivering the best work possible. Happy clients keep returning.

I have found some jobs through ProZ but not a great many. I cover Spanish-English and Dutch-English and when I bid for a job many other pros bid as well. But ProZ is great for networking and mutual support. The KudoZ system is the best.

While you are not too busy hone your skills, attend as many professional workshops and other business-related events to network as you possibly can. Market youself and have a business card ready to pass out.

I also registered with as many agencies as possible. Some did not contact me again but others did and quite a number of them are my regular clients now.

I hope that this helped a bit. Hang in there and good luck!

Lucinda


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alx  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:00
English to French
+ ...
Welcome, happy birthday and good luck! Oct 10, 2003

Hello,

I have been working as a freelance for 2 years now in France and I must admit it is harsh to make a proper living out of it. My proz contratcs must represent less than 10% of my business. Try the local tourism officeS (in the whole region), all administrations like la mairie, la chambre du commerce et de l'industrie, l'aéroport etc. I happen to get some offers for your pair sometimes so I will not hesitate to transfer them onto you.


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Jirina Nevosadova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 17:00
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
Happy Birthday! Oct 11, 2003

Dianne Holmes Brown wrote:

Hello, I recently set up as a freelance translator in Lyon, France (French to English, business & legal)and I'm finding it very difficult to convince potential customers to change their habits and work with me. I've been translating various documents throughout my professional life (I reached the grand age of 50 this week !), but always in companies. Who else is in France? Does ProZ bring you work, how do you operate with this site,which I beleive to be interesting. Has Platinum membership made a difference ?
thanks for your replies and encouragement, I need it !
Cheers
Dianne


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Jirina Nevosadova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 17:00
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
Happy birthday! Oct 11, 2003

I can understand you although I am not from France. My situation was the same as yours, it took some time to get enough work. (Do not think that you started too late - I will be 50 next birthday). Do your best, your satisfied customers will recommend you to their friends. Advertising is very expensive, but it helps, too. Although internet is not as wide spread in my country as it is in yours, I find it the best way of getting new customers.
I must say that ProZ helps me a lot, although it does not mean that it brings much work. I have had smaller jobs from there, but it was nothing to provide for a family. But there are more important things. Translating is often solitary work, but you can still share your professional problems with people in the same situation. KudoZ system is great! There is always somebody to help you! Another very important thing is, that you can check your prices. One very important advice: do not offer VERY low prices! I used to make this mistake. Cheer up and keep trying.
Best regards, Jiøina


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 08:00
English to French
+ ...
Timing is everything! Oct 11, 2003

Hi Dianne!
Unfortunately you moved to France during the worst year ever for both translation and interpretation. Even colleagues who have been working in France for years and have a good client base are having a hard time making ends meet. My advice: try to find work in other countries, and get in touch with your local SFT chapter, go to a couple meetings maybe, they'll give you useful advice. Good luck!
Dianne Holmes Brown wrote:

Hello, I recently set up as a freelance translator in Lyon, France (French to English, business & legal)and I'm finding it very difficult to convince potential customers to change their habits and work with me. I've been translating various documents throughout my professional life (I reached the grand age of 50 this week !), but always in companies. Who else is in France? Does ProZ bring you work, how do you operate with this site,which I beleive to be interesting. Has Platinum membership made a difference ?
thanks for your replies and encouragement, I need it !
Cheers
Dianne


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David Sirett
Local time: 17:00
French to English
+ ...
Worst year ever? Oct 17, 2003

[quote]sarahl wrote:
Unfortunately you moved to France during the worst year ever for both translation and interpretation.[quote]

Do you have anything other than anecdotal evidence for this? I haven't noticed a particular downturn this year (French>English).

Regards
David


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xxxdholmes
France
Local time: 17:00
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
encouragement ........ quand tu nous tiens..... Oct 18, 2003

I've no evidence either, but then I wouldn't really know as I'm only starting out as free lance. Whatever, it is true that the French economy is not at its best, but I'd rather be optimistic, than dive back into an employee situation. At least I'm free to eat pasta every night if I want !
Cheers

dianne


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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:00
German to English
+ ...
On Platinum Membership Oct 21, 2003

I noticed an increase in work on "going platinum". However, I also answered a lot of KudoZ questions and got my credentials confirmed at around the same time; so I don't know what did it.

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:00
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Try find out where potential customers search Oct 23, 2003

It took me three years to notice, that Proz.com even exists. Probably most direct customers do not use proz at all. If you knew, where these clients go and look for translators that's where your contact information should be. If you have little work print out a hundred leaflets and drop them at mailboxes of potential clients. I once got a good job after taping my ad into the lift of a technology park. But patience is what you need most.

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HRiley  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Was in a similar situation 6 months ago... Oct 23, 2003

... and now I have more work than I can handle!

I fully agree with all the advice given above: contact as many agencies as possible, perhaps even sending letters rather than emails. I drafted a presentation leaflet and accompanied it with a letter and CV, all printed (at home) in colour. This didn't cost much given that it paid for itself with the first job I got.

My game plan for the first couple of months was not so much translating as marketing, checking web sites, online directories, and working very hard to make sure that the work I did get was perfect as I could make it.

Networking is definitely the most fruitful way of finding work, and I would second the advice to join the SFT. Since I joined a few months ago I've had several offers of work, some from direct clients, all well paid.

I also try and make sure that I am in my "office" (the spare room!!) from 9 till 6 every day, always try to reply to requests for quotes within the hour (or 2 hours max), even if I can't take on the work. I've not had any work through ProZ but then I've been so busy lately I've not had time to bid.

Another thing that worked in my favour was being available over the summer; I got a lot of work from agencies whose regular translators were on holiday.

The basic advice, I guess, is that you *will* build up a good client base, but not overnight. Don't undersell yourself, and take heart in the fact that most people giving you advice on this board were in the same situation as you, once upon a time!

[Edited at 2003-10-23 07:55]


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xxxdholmes
France
Local time: 17:00
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks ! Oct 23, 2003

Since i mailed my topic things have started moving, the agencies although it means working under full rates, brings work in. its encouraging and also financially OK if you work fast.

thanks for the time you took.

Cheers
Dianne


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xxxdholmes
France
Local time: 17:00
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks ! Oct 23, 2003

thanks for the time you took to encourage me !
ProZ com is good for around the world contacts.

cheers
Dianne


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xxxdholmes
France
Local time: 17:00
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks ! Oct 23, 2003

Thanks for the time you took out to encourage me,
things have actually picked up since I sent my "topic"

Cheers to Finland

Dianne


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