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Websites and business cards
Thread poster: picko924
picko924
Local time: 16:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 21, 2005

Dear All,

I am a translator/interpreter starting out. I have completed a few freelance projects and after having met other more experienced translators and interpreters, I am under the impression that many have business cards and even websites advertising their services. Is this standard practice ? Does it really improve your chances of getting work ? And finally, how do I go about setting this up for myself ? I am living and working in the greater London area, if anyone has any advice and/or recommmendations on 'putting yourself out there', please let me know.

[Edited at 2005-08-21 17:22]


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 08:42
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It worked for me... Aug 21, 2005

Maria D'Silva wrote:

Does it really improve your chances of getting work? And finally, how do I go about setting this up for myself?.


Dear Maria:

I'm yet to make some business cards, but I can honestly tell you that having a professional website (not an html page that has to be scrolled down forever...) really attracts many clients.

The reason I don't have business cards yet is that most of my clients are either in other states within the US or abroad. So, most of them contact me online and my agencies website ends up being a business card.

In case you like the way http://rml-languages.com look and feel like you need some help, send me a private message and I can recommend some things to you.

Good luck!


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picko924
Local time: 16:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Aug 21, 2005

Your website looks great but I don't think mine would be on nearly the same scale as I am not advertising a business, just my own translation services.

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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 08:42
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
You'd be advertising yourself! :o) Aug 22, 2005

I understand that your objective is advertising your professional services, but it doesn't mean that you can't have a professional website that attracts business your way after clients feel comfortable looking at your "online self". It does help if you have a business name — which is an easy process that can be made through the county you live in for under $20 —, which also helps you play safe if you deal with a high volume of jobs and a large amount of payments.

But, still, your website must be well-structured in order to advertise YOU and a reliable product. First impressions are a big thing in this business and I can tell you that because I've been working on both sides of the field. I mean, I've been recruiting some translators and proofreaders and I can tell you that if a translator's first contact with a client is a letter with misspellings or a website that is just a long page with blinkies and bad fonts, that may be bad publicity and can overshadow what you really do best, which is translating.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that even if I didn't have a business name I would still have got a professional website that would allow me to advertise my porfolio online and provide any other relevant information to my potential clients, so that they can understand that their business is going to be in good hands. And, if your business is going to be online-based, an attractive website is the best business card a freelance translator could ever wish for)

I hope it helps!

Good luck!


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HRiley  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
business cards... Aug 22, 2005

Hi,

It doesn't hurt to have a few business cards in your bag or wallet so you can pass on your details to any potential clients you might meet (you never know when that will be - on a plane, at a family or friends party, etc.). It looks much more professional than scribbling your name and email on a torn off scrap of paper or old receipt.

If you have a half decent (colour) printer or a friend who's willing to let you use theirs, you can make your own business cards for very little money. That's what I did when I started out as a freelancer (I've since moved back to a salaried translation job, but that's another story!).

You can purchase packs containing sheets of blank business cards from stationery shops. These are specially designed for home (ink-jet type) printers, and you either punch out or peel the cards off a special backing sheet once printed. You can print them out in batches of ten or so, saving you the outlay of getting 100s of cards printed up at a printshop.

As for whether you need a website, I think the jury is still out on that one. Lots of highly successful translators don't have one, while other translators find that their websites generate a lot of business.

I had enough IT knowledge to design and set up my own, so the cost was very low (just hosting and domain name registration). It was a good way of occupying myself at the start, when I didn't have much work coming in. The website didn't bring in that much work in itself, but I did get a lot of hits by including the URL in my email signature.

I certainly wouldn't advise spending vast sums of money on a site - but if you or a friend is IT-savvy and willing to spend a little time creating a basic site listing your services and contact details, you're unlikely to regret it in the long-run. You can also develop your profile page and webpage here - there are plenty of tips and tutorials available on the site.

A basic, simply designed site showcasing your skills is all you need. Include contact details, services and relevant experience, and have a link enabling your clients to download your CV. On my website, I preferred not to include my rates so that I could adapt them according to the job and client (difficulty, urgency, agency/direct client, etc.).

I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it though. It's certainly not true that business cards or websites are indispensable, even in today's technology-oriented world (few of my freelance translator friends have their own sites - they're too busy working!!).

Hope that helps a bit


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Alan Campbell  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:42
Russian to English
+ ...
Web sites and business cards... Aug 23, 2005

One of the first things I did when I turned freelance was hire a web designer to do me a site to serve as a brochure. It cost me £400 for the design and a year's hosting.

I also used the home-printing method for business cards that HRiley mentioned. I bought a pack of BASF A4 sheets with 10 cards to a page; it came with a CD ROM containing the software required to design the cards and it was straight-forward.

As to whether the site or cards have brought in any business, I really couldn't say. It makes me feel good to have cards and a well-designed site to serve as a brochure as it makes me feel more professional.

The other upside to having your own domain name is that you have a professional-looking email address that will never change and can be accessed from anywhere. I would tend to be turned off a little by translators with Hotmail and Yahoo accounts and I have heard others say the same thing.

Since having my site set up, I've learned how to do it myself but haven't felt the need to update my translation site, even though it doesn't validate and is not standards compliant.

Of course, all this may be null and void if you take that in-house manager position!


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Orestes Robledo  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Business cards yes, Web site no! Aug 23, 2005

At least here in Toronto, Canada, you can get 500 professional business cards made at any printshop for just about (US) $50.00.

Wherever you go, carry 5 to 10 with you and give them away to every friend and new acquaintance. Attach one to your resume for every prospective client's rolodex.

I have never had a Web site, but business cards and hard work have let me build an extensive clientele in only five years, and have led me to the permanent full-time translator position at a bank that I have now.

By the way, my e-mail address is just my name + @yahoo.ca and that has not stopped me from getting lots of work. It is the quality of your service that will build you a reputation.

[Edited at 2005-08-23 21:53]


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Josephine79
Local time: 17:42
French to English
"Free" business cards Aug 31, 2005

Dear Maria,
not sure if I'm allowed to mention the name here, but there is an internet company who will print you "250 free business cards" (google the words in inverted comas and you'll find them). Of course "free" is relative as you have to pay the postage, but they have a different site for each country so the postage is only five or six dollars. So you could see whether business cards were a good idea for you without a big outlay.
Good luck,
Jo


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