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Thread poster: Fan Gao

Fan Gao
Local time: 17:13
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Apr 3, 2006

Hello guys!

We are a two men team and decide to work together as freelance trnaslators (Chinese to English and English to Chinese). We just built our website We kept it simple because we believe that people in modern world are very busy and they want all information at a glance.

We will appriciate very much if anyone could give us advice on our website.

[Edited at 2006-04-09 03:34]

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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:13
Dutch to English
+ ...
Be patient! Apr 3, 2006

It takes anything from 4 months to 5 years to build up a good customer base. Your website is spot on!

I would up my rates but I do not know what the Chinese market is like. I would not necessarily search for customers through Proz. Make yourself known to official bodies such as your local Chamber of Commerce. Go to local museums and offer to translate a short piece for free. Search the web for companies who are proactive in China and send them some information about yourselves. In other words, make yourself indispensable.

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Trevor Butcher
Local time: 08:13
Wot, yesterday! Apr 3, 2006

Yes, I agree with Marijke, you have to be patient.

Look at it from the customers point of view: you have no apparent track record, no one personal to recommend you, and tomorrow you may be gone.

I would be careful at rejecting jobs that pay too little - because at the moment it sounds like you have overheads (website etc) and no cash coming in at all. Even a trickle of money will help go towards paying those overheads, as well as going a little way to building some kind of reputation.

Yes, when you have built up some client base and have some regular work, then you can start picking and choosing. Doing cheap work is not going to 'taint' you, you might just have to start really cheap, be slightly less cheap in the near future and so on.

My preferences (and they are only my own, feel free to laugh at them) for your website is to dump the slightly hippy mug shots and try to rephrase some of those sentences so that they are less tortuous, such as:

"If you require a project to be translated in an area not listed above, please contact us with details of your requirements and we will advise further." - - - maybe more like "We are also open to other projects and have access to a skills resource that covers most subjects. Please contact us so that we can advise you further." (yeah, OK, it needs a bit of work

Anyway, good luck and I really hope that it works for you.

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Katrin Hollberg  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:13
Japanese to German
+ ...
Agree (You need patience and good communication skills) Apr 3, 2006

Yes, same opinion.

It takes a while in order to establish. Patience (maybe accompanied by the the corresponding financial background) is a very important factor in this business, I guess.

I got my first job before I actually started my "official job start" as a freelancer thanks to good old friends/university contacts. They knew somebody who knew somebody who needed...;-)) and suddenly I was "in this business" and learned quickly about typical/common rates in specific branches and how I could improve my personal business image to others job by job...this all takes a while...Even now I regard myself as being still in my establishing phase. (Maybe I am the slow type of freelance translating person who knows?)

Personalized homepage:

Yes it is really nice to have your own web profile you can also use as your virtual business card as well, a platform where you can make your potential customers curious to contact you and draw their attention to your specific business. However, what is more important for your start-up
phase: personal contacts, personal contacts. Always keep in mind, that there a so many other competitors with their own web presence out there...why should somebody of all things click to your homepage without knowing that there is yours...(advertisement, the next big can you draw other's attention especially to your homepage?)

I have to admit, it took a while before I even created my first homepage and shame on me I definitely would like to rework it in order to present it in a bi-/tri-lingual mode (Just working on it offline). However, even this lack in personal presentation manner did not keep clients away from me. - So first of all talk to many people as possible telling them what you are doing. If you have special interests have a look who is responsible in that area and might promote you or who is doing the same and can give you hints. After a while you will find out what your specific field knowledge is or what you prefer the most (e.g. automotive, PC games or general instruction manuals...).

I talked to very different translators long time before I jumped into that business just to find out how to tackle the whole thing without having good knowledge. At that time I was still employed and worked "on the other side" of our business. This helps me even today because I have a profound understanding of how business is like in a huge company.

I like your way of presenting yourselves as a team. It is the same with me...I have a lot of Japanese partners and friends in Japan I can rely on, too...I guess it is even mandatory if you want to survive. Especially in translating business you need a good supporting network around you.

So just some thoughts to your teamwork...Good luck)

[Edited at 2006-04-03 10:05]

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Fan Gao
Local time: 17:13
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Thanks for your response! Apr 4, 2006

This is Mark, the British half of Chinese Concept.

Thank you very much for all of your replies, advice and suggestions. It is very much appreciated.

We are taking things step by step and concentrating on building a good client base and networking with others in the business.

It does take time and hard work and obviously things don't happen overnight but things are starting to fall into place now and we are working on a large project with a few others in the pipeline too.

Our website is a bit of a nightmare at the moment (offline with errors!) but we're in the process of getting that perfected. Thanks to all who suggested modifications and improvements.

I wanted to ask if anyone here with a website uses Google Adsense to advertise? We are thinking about it but at the same time wondering if it will look too tacky having Google ads on site.

Thanks again,

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