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Poll: The secret of my success in finding translation work is:
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:30
SITE STAFF
Jan 10, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "The secret of my success in finding translation work is:".

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:30
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
a combination Jan 10, 2008

I am good at building a site and marketing a site and getting a site listed. That plays a huge role.
I am good at implementing targeted marketing for my services. That is key.
I always endeavour to provide clients with the best service I can, which keeps them coming back. Very important.
I treat other professional that work with me (other providers) with the same respect I desire. Having a good rep with freelancers helps.
Keeping rates reasonable helps, too, but I refuse to drop them in to the basement just to undercut the competition.
(My services are valuable!)
Proz has definitely been a very key element in my success. I have a complete profile and update it frequently.
I use other tools at proz, too, that have contributed, and continue to contribute, to my success.
Proz rocks!
There are other factors that also contribute.

I would say the key factors in my success are (not necessarily in any specific order / all are essential):
linguistic abilities
tech abilities
marketing abilities
customer service

[Edited at 2008-01-10 14:23]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
Personal contacts/Proz.com participation Jan 10, 2008

My success in finding work is based on personal contacts. In Spain (and other Latin societies) many opportunities are based on the extended family and extended personal contacts. The clients I’ve had for years all came to me through someone I knew or someone who knew someone I know.

My success in keeping clients is another story. Even the best personal relationships can sour if someone feels that aren’t getting the service they expect. Words like reliability, promptness and the like aren’t just slogans; they’re an integral part of a work ethic.

As for finding work through proz.com, I’ve “discovered” the secret of participation. For example, I haven’t got that many Kudoz points, but I’ve noticed that after answering a few questions I tend to get job offers (the personal kind addressed to me, not just those group offers). I think anyone who answers Kudoz, Quick Polls or participates in Forums is getting public exposure and inviting outsourcers to take a look at their profile. It’s a “secret” worth delving into.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:30
English to German
+ ...
Neat poll! Jan 10, 2008

Honestly, I couldn't decide between "KudoZ" and "Participation". I clicked on "Kudoz", but not because of the number of points: Through KudoZ I met colleagues, who recommended me to outsourcers, who in return are trying to kill me with work, so I recommend other colleagues who I met through KudoZ, so they get in contact with even more outsourcers and we try to kill each other with more work, and I love it.

Incredible.

Nice.


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Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 06:30
Italian to Danish
+ ...
An option was missing... Jan 10, 2008

It was not possible to click on THE one factor that is "the secret of my success"... in fact, it is not a kind of secret, it is just hard work and TIME. I actually missed the option "the quality of my work".
You start by contacting outsourcers, a lot of outsourcers, and eventually some of them will get back to you to have some work done. If you do that work well, they will get back to you.
This goes for each and every outsourcer that you work with. OK, some of them might need you only in this specific moment regardless of your rate being way over what they want to pay. If they need the job done and cannot find anybody else cheaper they will pay what you ask them to pay - but they might not come back if they have other and cheaper options in the future, regardless of your quality.
But "success" is IMHO working with a bunch of good outsourcers that pay the right rate and on time and keep coming back to you because you do a good job.
It DOES take some time to get there, but if you do a good job, there is NO doubt whatsoever that you will get there eventually.


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Bill Greendyk  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:30
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Specialization Jan 10, 2008

While I certainly am very thankful that my Proz.com profile has brought me some of my first and best clients, I think one of the keys to success as a translator was not included here as an option, namely, specialization!

I've narrowed down my fields of work to two: religious literature or children's literature, and since doing so, I've gone from having to market my services to now turning away clients. Just yesterday I finished a 158,000-word religious document, and I'm just finalizing a contract for a 330,000-word three-volume religious commentary. Sure, these are long-term projects that effectively make me unavailable to take on many other jobs, but in both the abovementioned jobs, the clients have given me enough flexibility time-wise so that I can still take on work from some regular clients.

Thus, for me, the key to success has been a 'niche market', and I should add that this specialization technique, if you will, has allowed me to maintain my rates without having to budge a cent, since there aren't hordes of specialized religious translators out there. (I take great contentment in responding as such to offers of USD 0.05 word for large jobs; in my field, there's no need to give any discount just because there are more words and more pages!!)


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xxxDCampbell  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:30
Spanish to English
Need marketing help Jan 10, 2008

I think I have a solid professional background, though I am relatively new to translating. I am pursuing the NYU certificate.

I have completed my profile, submitted apps through the Blueboard, participated in Kudoz, sent mailings to a number of potential clients. I have also involved myself in translations organizations.

I have not had much luck at all in obtaining paying jobs.

Any ideas?


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Susan Hammons  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:30
Dutch to English
+ ...
keeping clients is easier than finding new ones at the moment Jan 10, 2008

For me, making the move to full-time independence, I'm still working on how to find enough of the clients I want. I do however have a number of people I've worked with for a while and I'm proud of the fact that they stay with me. What I'm finding just now is that if I dare to approach someone I am often surprised by the results. Perhaps it has to do with confidence and being willing to blow my own horn. I know I do good work; I just need to let others know as well.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:30
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
somehow it finds me Jan 11, 2008

I only spent the first two months of my freelance career actively searching for work. Since then (autumn 2005) it has just seemed to come to me. I did send out a couple of hundred CVs, however. If I was to start searching again it would be for better clients, as opposed to more clients.

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smiles  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 11:30
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Keeping client Jan 11, 2008

I am still on the way of searching. However, I soon realize that a good relationship with clients should be my key investment. It is not easy since it takes most of my effort.
Hope to hear more from you on this interesting discussion.


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christine munin  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:30
German to French
+ ...
I agree Jan 11, 2008

Dinny wrote:

It was not possible to click on THE one factor that is "the secret of my success"... in fact, it is not a kind of secret, it is just hard work and TIME. I actually missed the option "the quality of my work".
You start by contacting outsourcers, a lot of outsourcers, and eventually some of them will get back to you to have some work done. If you do that work well, they will get back to you.
This goes for each and every outsourcer that you work with. OK, some of them might need you only in this specific moment regardless of your rate being way over what they want to pay. If they need the job done and cannot find anybody else cheaper they will pay what you ask them to pay - but they might not come back if they have other and cheaper options in the future, regardless of your quality.
But "success" is IMHO working with a bunch of good outsourcers that pay the right rate and on time and keep coming back to you because you do a good job.
It DOES take some time to get there, but if you do a good job, there is NO doubt whatsoever that you will get there eventually.


I absolutely agree with Dinny, I am sure do that delivering a quality work makes clients come back, not always immediately, but ....


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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:30
Member (2003)
German to English
Doing quality work Jan 11, 2008

The rest of it takes care of itself

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:30
Flemish to English
+ ...
Other sources. Jan 11, 2008

Use other means of marketing than just the websites for translators. In them good ol" days, I had to market my services too and did that by cold calling using a system of an acquaintance to get a foot in the door, visits to translation agencies and using other on-line sources of work, which I prefer to keep to myself.

[Edited at 2008-01-11 08:09]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:30
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Reliability Jan 11, 2008

Many factors are involved in success in any field, but I believe my own success as a translator is due to my complete reliability (as well as the quality of my work - I trust!). I don't think I've ever missed a deadline. To me, that is what taking a professional attitude means.
I suppose the "birth order factor" comes into taking such an attitude - I'm a typical "elder child" ! Sounds a bit dreary, but I have reason to believe that actually I'm not all that dreary ...
Demonstrate to your clients that you can always be relied upon and they'll return to you over and over again.
Best wishes,
Jenny.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:30
Italian to English
+ ...
Combination Jan 11, 2008

of both the options offered and other factors, as also mentioned by others.

I'd say my success is based on:

Specialisations
Reliability (hugely important, as Jenny says)
Accuracy/Quality
Solid profile and Kudoz points on Proz.com


To a lesser extent, personal contacts play a part, but a large part of my business still comes from one of the first clients I ever worked with, and another large share comes from a client which contacted me through my Proz profile.

I also wonder if another, more intangible factor is at play: is it possible that potential clients who contact me can tell that I don't actually need their business (e.g. through my refusal to drop my rates, accept translations not in my field, etc.) and so conclude that I must be good at what I do?


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