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How to get the first jobs...
Thread poster: Luis José Quirindongo

Luis José Quirindongo  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 17:29
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 22, 2002

I\'m new at translation (at least I\'ve never WORKED as a translator) and I need some tips on how to get started. So I want to ask some of the veterans in this site: how do I get the first translator jobs?

Should I advertise first?

Submit resumés until I land one?

Should I go in-house or is there a good freelancer market?

Do I need to build a reputation first? If so, how would I go about that?



And, if it\'s not too personal:

How did you get your first job?



Any other relevant tips would also be appreciated.


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Olav Rixen
Canada
Local time: 13:29
English to German
+ ...
Use the phone and the Internet Dec 22, 2002

Quote:


On , wrote: I\'ve been translating for a little more than a year, so I\'m fairly new at this business, too. I got my first small job phoning all the translation agencies listed in the yellow pages. I spoke to the office manager (personal contact is always good) and sent her my resume, saying that I\'d be willing to do test translations. They sent me some (easy) stuff, and I was accepted. Be ready for the real world, though. It pays to have lots and lots of really good dictionaries. After the first couple of small jobs they sent me stuff I couldn\'t handle, because I didn\'t have the dictionaries yet and didn\'t feel confident enough. So I declined. In the end, it\'s the professional thing to do, and I think they\'ll respect you for it, instead of giving them a crappy translation.

Later on, I found a good number of agencies on the Internet, one of which gave me a fair bit of work. Again, I had phoned them up first and followed up with an application letter and resume. Still later, I bought a list of translation agencies through the Internet. It\'s called \"Tranmail\", and through it I found an agency which by now gives me regular work. The small investment has paid for itself many times over. You can find it at

http://www.translatortips.com/

You may have to send out hundreds of applications before you get a couple of agencies willing to give you a chance.



I hope this helps a bit.



Olav Rixen





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Luis José Quirindongo  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 17:29
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Dec 22, 2002

Thanks to all of you for the tips. I\'ll look in the ProZ features you mentioned.



Oh, BTW, one more question:

Any suggestions on affordable (but good) translation software?


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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:29
English to Swedish
+ ...
My way Dec 22, 2002

My way may not be the best way, but it works.



- Answer KudoZ questions! Work yourself up to at least a third position in at least one language pair!



- Jazz up your ProZ page! Cut out the deadwood! Emphasize your subject area(s) of specialization! Illustrate it!



- Charge high fees! “He is expensive, so he must be good!”



- Deliver quality work! Use a proofreader whenever needed!



- Become a Platinum Member of ProZ.



- No, I don’t send out my resume, unless asked to.



- No, I don’t advertise.



- No, I have never worked in-house.



My first translation job: A coincidence, I was the only one available who could translate Afrikaans – Swedish (During my 12 years as a freelance translator I have had a grand total of two jobs in that language combination!).



I wish you success!



Sven.











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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:29
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Spread the word Dec 23, 2002

I got my first job through the friend of a friend of a friend. That person was looking for someone to do a translation, and heard that his friend had a friend (my friend) who was teaching English courses at the university, and knew someone (me) who could do a translation into English.



Whenever you meet someone and chat about what you do, it is natural to introduce into the conversation the fact that you translate, and that you are available for translation. Your potential contacts might include your doctor, your dentist, plumber, electrician, local shopkeeper, neighbours, etc.; if you have children, their teachers, coaches, and parents of your children\'s friends and classmates. If you\'re involved in a sport or other group activity, your fellow players or enthusiasts, etc. In plane, train or long-distance bus travel, seatmates often strike up a conversation. The possibilities are as limitless as the number of your acquaintances. Any one of them might be looking for a translation, or know someone who is. This is not the same as being pushy, and always trying to market yourself at social occasions. It is just a matter of exchanging information. If someone in your chain of contacts is looking for a translation, you may be able to do them a favour.



Get business cards made up and always carry some with you. Make sure that all your relatives (including in-laws, if you have a partner) have your card. This worked for me; one of my clients learned about me through casually meeting my brother-in-law at a conference; my brother-in-law gave him my card.

[ This Message was edited by:on2002-12-24 04:35]


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Luis José Quirindongo  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 17:29
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
One more question... Dec 24, 2002

Is previous experience a major requirement for most customers who want freelancers, or is it just the icing on the cake?

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xxxmmachado
English to Portuguese
Follow all previous advices and... don't give up Dec 24, 2002

Hello,



It is quite difficult to start and be a translator clients can trust. Follow all advices given to you in this thread and in all others and don\'t give up even if you think you are not going to make it. Pay attention to all comments from proofreaders and colleagues and do always your best. Never think you know it all. There is always someone you can show you are wrong. Be patient.



If you are able to do this, I am sure you will get work and be trusted.



All the best

Mónica Machado


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Laura Vinti  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:29
German to Italian
+ ...
One question re Translatortips Jan 15, 2003

Hi Olav,



You mention a list of agencies you bought from translatortips.com. Was the list part of the e-book they sell online?

I am in the process of expanding my translating activity while still keeping my part-time job, and was wondering how useful the e-book could really be in helping someone expanding their business.



Thanks!

Laura


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:29
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
More about TranslatorTips Jan 15, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-01-15 17:17, Laura V wrote:

Hi Olav,



You mention a list of agencies you bought from translatortips.com. Was the list part of the e-book they sell online?

I am in the process of expanding my translating activity while still keeping my part-time job, and was wondering how useful the e-book could really be in helping someone expanding their business.



Thanks!

Laura





Although I\'m not Olav, I would be pleased to give you my answer to your question. The tranmail list is not part of the book offer, but rather is sold separately. The website describes the different products (book, list, etc.) which they sell.



I bought the book, and it was an excellent investment. I recommend it highly. The advice in the book gave me the knowledge I needed for knowing how to market myself. Thanks to that advice, I have built up a sufficient portfolio of clients through personal and telephone contacts, that I have never had time (or need) to mount an e-mail marketing campaign. In addition, the tranfree newsletter archives are well worth reading.

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