Both a freelancer and a company. How do you market yourself?
Thread poster: Ieva Englund

Ieva Englund
Local time: 20:59
Swedish to Latvian
+ ...
Apr 14, 2008


I find it difficult to market myself as a freelancer and to represent a company as well. It would probably be best to concentrate on developing the business only, but this freelancing is fun too. Some clients want exclusively "a freelancer".

Once you respond a as company you might not get a project because of the higher prices. Coming as a freelancer you might get "disqualified" because of the capacity once the client is ready to buy a project with several languages.

I see that there are many of you running your own companies. Do you freelance as well? Do you offer different prices to different clients from differnt countries? Would be interesting to hear your experience.


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Local time: 15:59
Hire yourself Apr 14, 2008

I'm a freelancer who has never tried to run an agency, but here's an idea. Focus on marketing your business, and then if the business receives work in your language pairs that you are qualified to do, you could do the project yourself. I kind of assume that's what a lot of translators in your position do. Maybe you'll get some more replies from other individuals in dual roles...

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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:59
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
These are different market segments Apr 15, 2008

Hi Ieva,

The problems you face have to do with the fact that companies and freelancers target different segments of the translation market.

A company would provide translations to MLV's and large-soze direct clients. As a company, you will be doing TEP (translation/editing/proofreading) at least and sometimes DTP, and your counterpart will expect you to deliver the final version of the file. All of it is reflected in the rate.

A freelancer would usually work for translation agencies or direct clients with assignments that can be done single-handed. In this arrangement, the freelancer is basically assigned the translation part of the job (sometimes proofreading as well). As translation is only a part of the job, the rate will be lower than for TEP+DTP.

As you see from the above, these are basically different types of oursourcers - those who look for freelances (needing only translation, or having a budget which doesn't allow to subcontract a company) and those who need the full range of services provided by a translation agency.

So indeed mixing the two types of activities is tough. You are right in saying that the best way is to focus on a specific type. Which one to shoose is up to you. In my view, pure freelancing is more fun while a translation agency would have high potential of earnings (and risks, too!)

Personally, I'm in the situation which is quite similar to yours, being both a freelancer and a small agency. What I did was telling my clients that I am also an agency now and thus can handle large-size jobs. There has been an increase in the inflow of jobs (just recently, we've done three projects ranging between 300 and 800 pages, all with 7-10 days' deadlines), managemet was getting more and more complicated, so I hired a PM because combining the management and translation is impossible. This scheme helps me to balance between the two roles - a freelance translator which I still am, and an agency in which I'm the owner, lead transaltor and junior/assistant PM

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Local time: 20:59
French to Dutch
+ ...
It depends Apr 16, 2008

- To prospects (companies other than translation agencies): as an agency which translates only in one language, but which can control the whole translation process from the beginning till the end (project coordination + translation + DTP if necessary + quality control + check of lay-out), and which is able to handle big projects if necessary.

I know that this is the contrary of what companies are often asking for: translation in five languages, but this is fine, I don't have the knowledge (and the cash flow!) for subcontracting in other languages.

- To translation agencies: as a freelancer who, by the way, has a company structure.

[btw.: I never subcontract translations coming from agencies; this is their responsibility. ]

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