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Off topic: Trade secrets of the \"establishment\"?
Thread poster: Wolfgang BRECH

Wolfgang BRECH  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
German to English
+ ...
Jan 24, 2003

Hello, everyone:

I have searched for an answer to my question high and low...and if I’ve missed it in one of the many forums on this site, please point it out to me.



As every newcomer to any business knows (be it translations or opening up a corner store), starting out is a very hard and an uphill struggle! However, if one has done his/her homework, one has a fairly good idea what is around the corner. In this and other forums valuable and well-meaning advice is given by our experienced colleagues, which we newcomers appreciatively \"gobble\" up. The majority relates to contacting agencies...lots of them! That, we all know, is purely a numbers game. The return: two, maybe three percent?

Neither one of us was born with all that knowledge, and we had to learn from others. As the German saying goes: \"Noch kein Meister ist vom Himmel gefallen\".

What I’ve failed to see so far, is sound advice on how to find and approach potential LOCAL corporate clients.



Here are my thoughts:

Start an advertising campaign: maybe an introductory letter plus a brochure – not a resume, because you what to present yourself as a company, not an individual looking for a job. Then, after four to five days, make a \"warm call\", ask if they have received the letter and if so, ask for a 15 – 20 min. appointment. If they don’t remember receiving anything, ask if you can send a new one. Then, make another call. Now they may remember you?

One should have a well designed business card that sends a message who you (sorry, who your company) is. We all know about first impression...

Advertise in the local Yellow Pages.

Join associations in your own field of specialisation and the Board of Trade. Of course you should also join the local language association. But here you will find competition

Become a member of the Chamber of Commerce, etc. etc.

Am I way off line here, am I going too far?



But back to the potential local clients: Is anyone out there who can or is willing to share his/her \"trade secret\" with the rest of us \"greenhorns\"?

This is the one obstacle I’m running into, how do I determine who needs my (oops, my company’s) services???



Anyway, I have given away some of my \"trade secrets\". My question to our respected \"old-timers\": Remember way back when... Who was your guiding light, and who was willing to bestow his/her knowledge upon you? Someone might say: \"Find yourself a mentor\". Well...



I, and surely a few others, would appreciate some feed back on this issue.



Thank you everyone, and have a wonderful weekend.



Wolfgang











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Mirjam Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:58
French to German
+ ...
This is exactly my problem as well Jan 24, 2003

Sorry Wolfgang if this is not the reply you\'re waiting for.

I just wanted to give you some support for your question and say thanks for asking it.



I\'m a \"newcomer\" as well and so far I only had translations by being at the right spot at the right time - which means that I luckily work for a quite big company that uses my (sorry - my companies services) from time to time. The one other big customer I have - well, it was pure luck that a friend of mine introduced me...



I have some ideas of how to approach potential new clients - I would do it the other way round - call first, get the name of the responsible person and send then a little brochure and not - just as you pointed out - a resume, wait a while and then check if they have well received it and so on.



The only REALLY BIG problem is just as you said - how to determine whom to contact??? I mean, I could spend months just checking the businesses where I live, but what would be the result?

And even if I have an idea - I translate for a swiss magazine that is written in French and then published in German and French, I really have now idea how to find out if there are any other magazines that do it the same way - and I have searched days on the internet. Where could I for example get such an information????





Mirjam


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RWSTranslation
Germany
Local time: 13:58
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Antwort ? Jan 24, 2003

Hallo,



es ist schon zu spät und mein Englisch ist zu schlecht für eine fundierte Antwort. Daher heute in Deutsch (wer mag, darfs gerne übersetzen)



Als Newcomer (doch noch was in Englisch) gibt es 2 Probleme. Zum einen benötigt man Aufträge um zu überleben. Zum anderen jedoch muss man i.d.R. erst noch das Handwerk wirklich lernen. Neben den reinen Fähigkeiten einen Text irgendwie in eine andere Sprache zu übertragen, gehört heutzutage noch eine ganze Menge mehr zum \"Handwerk\".



Ich selbst bin Projektleiter (nicht Übersetzer sondern Informatiker) in einem Übersetzungsbüro, dass sich vorwiegend mit der Überstzung technischer Gebrauchstexte beschäftigt. Daher werden die folgenden Punkte sich natürlich vorwiegend auf diesen Bereich beziehen. In anderen Bereichen kann es natürlich auch etwas anders zugehen.



Als Übersetzungsdienstleister stehen wir zwischen den Anforderungen unserer Kunden (in diesem Fall den Endabnehmern) und den Möglichkeiten der Übersetzer (den Produzenten.



Unsere Kunden fordern von uns meistens:

- Inhaltlich und sprachlich korrekte Übersetzungen, wobei in unserem Fall die stilistische Qualität eine nicht ganz so grosse Rolle spielt.

- Angebote mit verbindlichen Festpreisen

- Die Übernahme avon Daten aus den unterschiedlichsten Datenquellen (DTP- Programme, Textverarbeitungen, Datenbanken, ....)

- Die Lieferung der Übersetzungen in der Art, daß keine weiteren Aufwendungen beim Endabnehmer für Kontrolle, typografische Nachbearbeitung, ... anfallen.

- Die absolute Einhaltung von vereinbarten Terminen

- Niedrigste Kosten

- Konsistenz in Terminologie und Stil

- Einsatz adäquater Fachterminologie



Auf der anderen Seite stehen die Übersetzer mit Ihren menschlich natürlich beschränkten Möglichkeiten. Niemand kann alles.



Unser Job ist es daher den Ausgleich zwischen den sich teilweise widersprechenden Anforderungen usnerer Kunden und den Möglichkeiten der Übersetzer zu schaffen.



Einige Beispiele:

Wir verfügen über eine umfangreiche Hard- und Softwareausstattung (sicherlich derzeit weit mehr als 200.00 EUR).

Wir haben Spezialisten, die die unterschiedlichsten Daten in eine für Übersetzer leicht zu verarbeitende Form umsetzen (und natürlich nachher wieder zurücksetzen)

Wir haben Kontakt zu so vielen Übersetzern, daß wir entsprechend der inhaltlichen Anforderungen einen Übersetzer einsetzen können, der die gestellte Aufgabe auch mit angemessenem Aufwand bewältigen kann.

Wir führen für unsere Auftraggeber die notwendigen und gewünschten Qualitätssicherungen durch.

Wir treten in der Öffentlichkeit so auf, dass es den Endkunden möglich ist uns zu finden und betreiben natürlich auch entsprechende Aquise.



Wir schulen Übersetzer um ihre Fähigkeiten zu erweitern.

Wir entwicklen und verfeinern die Arbeitsweisen (Vorgaben) um trotz grossen Kostendrucks noch eine vertretbare Qualität zu ermöglichen und dem Übersetzer ein angemessenes Auskommen zu sichern (dieses weniger aus Großherzigkeit, sondern um die Übersetzer als Lieferanten zu halten).

Wir bezahlen unsere Lieferanten unabhängig vom Zalungseingang der Endkundenrechnung.



Als Newcomer wird man sicherlich nicht die gesamte aufgezählte Palette an Anforderungen der Endkunden erfüllen können (und wollen).

In der Konsequenz ist es daher erforderlich, dass man noch viel lernen muss. In diesem Zusammenhang steht auch die immer wieder vorgetragene Empfehlung sich am Anfang auch um Kontakte zu Übersetzungsagenturen zu bemühen, da hier eine Vielzahl der vom Endkunden gestellten Forderungen bereits für den Übersetzer aufbereitet werden. (Natürlich gibt es auch bei den Übersetzungsagenturen solche und solche, aber dies sollten wir jetzt mal aussen vor lassen.) Ich empfehle hier sogar sich solche Übersetzungagenturen zu suchen, die es dem Newcomer ermöglichen zusammen mit anderen Übersetzern zu arbeiten, da hier aus unserer Erfahrung der Lernfortschritt am grössten ist. Es heisst so schön: Aus Fehlern lernt man. Dies stimmt aber nur, wenn man die Fehler auch bemerkt, bzw. wenn mann darauf hingewiesen wird. Als Beispiel: Ich habe mir selbst das Gitarrespielen beigebracht. Dabei habe ich jedoch eine sehr ungünstige Handhaltung geübt und es war mir auch nach mehrjährigem Unterricht nicht mehr möglich diese wirklich zu korrigieren.



Trotzdem besteht natürlich immer die Option sich auch \"eigene\" Endkunden zu suchen. Dies ist natürlich finanziell attraktiver, da ja der \"Zwischenhändler\" ausgeschaltet wird. Es bedeutet jedoch auch, dass man zusätzliche Aufwendungen beteiben muss:

- angemessende Hard- und Softwareausstattung

- angemessenes Auftreten in der Öffentlichkeit (Website, Werbung, Visitenkarten, Rechtsform des Unternehmens, ....)

- zusätzlicher Verwaltungsaufwand (Angebote erstellen, Kundenkontakt pflegen, Rechnungen schreiben, ....)

- die eigene Qualifikation verbessern (ncht nur als Übersetzer, sondern auch als Systembetreuer, Kummerkastentante, ...)



Wenn man das alles beherrscht und umsetzt, wird sich auch der Erfolg einstellen. Natürlich kann das ein bischen dauern und da stellt sich dann die Frage, auf welchem Weg man sein Ziel am schnellsten erreicht. Die Antwort auf diese Frage kann sich nur jeder selbst geben, denn sie hängt sowohl von den eigenen Fähigkeiten, dem verfügbaren Kapital, der Einsatzbereitschaft, der Persönlichkeit und auch etwas mit dem notwendigen Quentchen Glück zusammen.



Zum Schluss noch ein kleines \"Erfolgsgeheimnis\":



Erfolgreich ist derjenige, der sich gut in die Anforderungen und Wünsche seiner Auftraggeber hineinversetzen kann und diese erfüllen kann und dieses voher auch noch glaubhaft zusichern kann.



Einen schönen Abend un ein ruhiges Wochenende



Hans


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Sandra Bonilla
Local time: 13:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another brick in the wall Jan 24, 2003

Wolfgang, unfortunately I can only add my voice to Miriam\'s: we are all on the same boat.And I guess we are Hundreds, Thousands ... Maybe the \"veterans\" fear their business will be damaged with new concurrence??? Hope not! This would be very sad.

The only piede of advice I can give you is \"keep your eyes open\" and \"don\'t loose faith\". Sooner or later, you (WE) will get it!



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Claudia Esteve  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Patience and very hard work... Jan 24, 2003

Hi,

I\'ve only been doing this job for five years and can\'t complain. Here\'s what happened: The way I began getting jobs was through friends. Before studying translation I got a degree in economics, and some of my friends had good jobs in research and banking. However, there were no translators who also had experience in economics who could understand their jargon and that\'s where I came in. A caveat, however, my first job implied translating close to 100 pages in a single weekend. To date, I don\'t know what made me accept it. The level of payment was subject to someone else\'s evaluation of the job\'s quality (I really put myself on the line!). It turned out fine and I had some customers referred to me by these people. That\'s how it started.

What comes afterwards is a matter of trust, quality and iron-deadlines (I have never sent a job on the delivery date, always before). When I\'m at social gatherings I always make sure I find a way to tell everyone what I do for a living and when work is slow, I translate for free (within certain limits, of course). The people for whom I\'ve done jobs for free are always the most grateful and have sent me new customers. Also, don\'t underestimate the power of working for an agency, they don\'t pay as much as we\'d want, but if you\'re starting, what you need is a good and long CV.

So, in a few words: always tell everyone what you\'re doing. Always (and this is a big always)stick by your deadlines. Trust yourself, if you\'re good, customers will keep appearing and network by offering to help colleagues (it\'s a bit dangerous, but if you have nothing better at least it will serve as practice).

Good luck and don\'t lose faith.

Claudia


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 14:58
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Agree with Tayfun Jan 24, 2003

Question is asked in English.

I can not fully understand German.

Each question and answer is not only to asker like Kudoz question but to all of us

[/quote]



Besides, Tayfun, you lost a little not reading it, there is a lot of blah blah, but no special recipes are given in the German text. Just you have to know what client wants, deliver it and like. It\'s hard to disagree in any point, but it also gives you little help, you could expect more from such an impressive monography.

No offense to Hans, though, just, as it were mentioned, not all of us are fluent in German and this indeed is English forum.



Uldis
[addsig]


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Myron Netchypor  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 14:58
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
:) Jan 25, 2003

Somebody want to see my comments in Russian, So let\'s better keep to English. Agree with Tayfun

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Wolfgang BRECH  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
in English: Jan 25, 2003

basicaly what DSC (agency) is saying: if you\'re trying to cut out the middle man...you\'re on your own!

Well ;0


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 14:58
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Re: Wolfgang Brech Jan 25, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-01-25 14:54, wpb049 wrote:

basicaly what DSC (agency) is saying: if you\'re trying to cut out the middle man...you\'re on your own!





Yesss, it\'s just that, and, if you get the impression, we, middleman, do nothing, it means just one thing- we do our job perfectly. As anyone trying on his own soon enough discovers...
[addsig]

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Kay Fisher
German to English
+ ...
As another new starter Jan 25, 2003

There is a thread (which I started) under \"Techniques\" which may offer you a few hints.



Here\'s my own approach (open to comment).



I\'m coming into translation via engineering. I didn\'t do translation at college, though I have spent the last year preparing for the IoL\'d Dipl Trans with City University (distance course). So much to my background, here\'s what I have to say.



1) Who do you want to target? Is there a particular subject area or geographical area that you want to concentrate on?



2) Who do you know in that business or, who do you know who knows someone else in that business and who can put you in touch? In my case I have two big targets - local business for general texts and nationally and internationally for technical texts. (I\'m concerned only with direct customers here - my third target group is agencies).



3) If you\'re starting out with no contact points/names then find out through your chamber of commerce, the phone book, the internet or some other method which companies are in the target group you wish to week (e.g. in my case those concerned with materials science and related areas first and mechanical engineering second). Now, get on the net and start looking for contact names!!



4) send out personalised info. That means by all means a general brochure but also a personal covering letter addressing that person\'s or company\'s situation.



5) Follow up - personally or by phone



6) Network like mad - I have my friends carry my business cards and I carry theirs. We recomend each other to our customer / friends / aunties...



So, thats a few ideas, and the way I am starting to do things (not that I\'ve told you all my secrets...)



Kay


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
German to English
+ ...
Secrets? Jan 27, 2003

Networking, like others have mentioned above, is a very good tool.



PS None of you have exposed any \"secrets\" - these are all tips you would find in a basic book about self-employment (another good source of information).


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Kay Fisher
German to English
+ ...
no, no secrets Jan 28, 2003

Ho, none of us have revealed any secrets. Sometimes it\'s just good to see what activities some others are up to.



I for one am grateful for those who share their methods here. Secret or not



Quote:


On 2003-01-27 20:45, Daina wrote:

Networking, like others have mentioned above, is a very good tool.



PS None of you have exposed any \"secrets\" - these are all tips you would find in a basic book about self-employment (another good source of information).



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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
German to English
+ ...
Yes Jan 29, 2003

and your suggestions are good ones, Kay!

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