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Getting established: agency mailing lists
Thread poster: Laura Robertson

Laura Robertson  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:29
Member (2005)
French to English
Jun 1, 2004

Hi,
I'm in the process of setting myself up as an "almost" full-time freelance translator and, as is the case for many of the people who have already posted forums about getting established, I am wondering about the best way to go about it all.
I have been looking at a number of web sites which sell translation agency mailing lists and would be interested to know if any other translators have found this service worthwhile.
On both of the sites that I've looked at, there is a fairly hard-sell, which is always inclined to have the opposite effect on me from what is intended.
I'd really appreciate some advice about the merits of this type of investment before splashing out, or any other advice for that matter...


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 11:29
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I've never used a mailing list... Jun 1, 2004

I have to say that I've never used a mailing list, or even considered one. There are plenty of other (in my opinion) more effective means of marketing yourself.

Way back at the VERY start of my translation career I did use the good old Yellow Pages and called a few of the big agencies to ask if they were looking for translators. I only sent them my CV if the phone call was positive. Saying that, the big agencies' rates are often on the low side.

I think that one of the best ways of marketing yourself is networking - both in a translation environment and beyond. Join a translators' association, but also join other associations in your specialist area. And don't forget the fun side too - I found the Hash House Harriers running club to be a great source of contacts. It'll get you out into the fresh air once a week - as long as you don't mind a few cold beers afterwards Check out: http://www.gthhh.com/.

Saying that, of course just joining the associations isn't enough - you need to get out there and meet the people. Go to events and seminars and find out about the people you could be working for and with. Proz Powwows are also great for meeting other translators. It all pays off in the end.

The main problem with this approach is that it does take quite some time to become established, but I think it is well worth it in the end. It certainly helps to know your customers personally.

HTH

Alison


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Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:29
French to English
+ ...
Mailing list Jun 1, 2004

Before I went freelance, I compiled my own mailing list by searching the Yellow Pages and Google. If the agency website had an online recruitment form, I filled it in. I sent a CV and cover e-mail to all the others (individually - not one mass bulk e-mail). It's brought me a lot of work.

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Laura Robertson  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:29
Member (2005)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the input Jun 2, 2004

I think I've understood that my money could be better spent elsewhere... either, of course, with platinum membership, or plenty of stamps to send out my C.V. to as many local agencies as possible.
I have been completing on-line forms for translation agencies, but I haven't had a single reply (even from the agencies that promise to send a reply), which is more than a little disheartening.
If I understand correctly, it may be more useful to get myself known locally, rather than aim at more further-flung agencies. My only concern is that I am based in a fairly remote part of France and that face-to-face networking isn't quite so easy as it might be if I were based in or near a large city.
I shall try and follow your valuable advice... wish me luck!
Many thanks.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:29
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Make your own, or be careful Jun 2, 2004

Laura Robertson wrote:
I have been looking at a number of web sites which sell translation agency mailing lists and would be interested to know if any other translators have found this service worthwhile.


This issue has been discussed in the forums before. I'll repeat my advice: Make your own list. Go visit http://dmoz.org and go to the category Business/Business_Services/Communications/Translation. Visit some sites and make up your own list.

The advantage of a ready-made list is that you don't have to do research yourself. One disadvantage is that the agencies on that list probably receive lots of submissions from people like yourself, many of whom are clueless when it comes to e-mail etiquette and generaly professional behaviour.

In the previous threads on this topic some people actually mentioned their first-hand experiences and it was generally promising. Spam usually works well, unfortunately.


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Olav Rixen
Canada
Local time: 03:29
English to German
+ ...
Could be useful Jun 2, 2004

First off, all the suggestions made in this thread are good ones and very helpful.

Having said that, I bought a list of about 1800 agency e-mail addresses about two years ago. I spent about 80 bucks and sent my cover letter to hundreds of agencies. So far the response wasn't overwhelming. I got a few jobs from a few agencies, which more than made up for the initial investment. However, my very best agency was on that list, too, and these guys have given me regular jobs running into thousands of dollars. So even if you don't find an agency like that, chances are you will get enough jobs to make up for your investment. In my case, anyways, it was well worth it.


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 11:29
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I live out in the sticks too.... Jun 2, 2004

Laura Robertson wrote:

If I understand correctly, it may be more useful to get myself known locally, rather than aim at more further-flung agencies. My only concern is that I am based in a fairly remote part of France and that face-to-face networking isn't quite so easy as it might be if I were based in or near a large city.


Hi Laura!

Glad to hear that you found the advice useful!

I also live "out in the boonies", but sometimes I have to bite the bullet and take the hour to drive into Frankfurt to go to events. And I'd travel miles to get to a powwow!

From checking out your profile I see that you are based in a wonderfully beautiful part of France - and not TOO far from Avignon, Grenoble, Aix-en-Provence, or even Monaco (yes I know that's not really France;-)). Perhaps you could find something there.

Best,

Alison


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Rosa Diez Tagarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:29
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't forget about payment practices! Jun 2, 2004

Whether you buy a list or you use any other resources available and free (sites such as the one mentioned by Samuel or translator directories), please bear in mind that they should not be used without checking payment practices lists and sections (the Blue Board, pp_list and so on).

It would be a waste of time to send an e-mail + CV to an agency that is notorious for not paying their translators, wouldn't it? And I can tell you they are included in those lists that you can buy or use for free.

Best of luck!

Rosa


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Laura Robertson  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:29
Member (2005)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Very interesting Jun 3, 2004

Plenty of good ideas there to get me going. I think before I start waving my cheque book about I'll spend a little more time with the Yellow Pages (thanks Jeremy) and the free lists on the Internet (thanks Samuuel).
Of course, your advice about payment practices is invaluable (thanks Rosa)and, after all, the services provided by ProZ are more than useful, so, indeed, why not upgrade to Platinum membership and benefit from the Blue Board postings (thanks Tayfun).
Yes, I promise that I will abandon my beautiful landscapes for a few days and head for the big cities (thanks Alison) and see what networking I can do. Of course, if all else fails, well I can reconsider the mailing lists and maybe give them a go... it seems to have worked for some (thanks Olav).

Plenty of food for thought.


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