Targeting Translation Buyers... Who? How?
Thread poster: Carl Robinson

Carl Robinson
French to English
Dec 21, 2009

Hi all,

I've been increasing the number of direct client approaches recently, in an attempt to reduce my reliance on agencies. One problem I'm having is getting in touch with the decision maker / translation buyer in the company. The larger the company, the more difficult it is, as switchboard / other staff generally don't know.

I'd be really interested in hearing you views on the best way to reach the people responsible for purchasing / ordering / managing translations. Job titles and departments would be especially helpful!

Is translation even the main focus of their role, or is it generally an additional responsibility given to people? I.e. will I be distracting them from more important tasks? What level are these people usually at?

I found what looks to be a great piece of market research by the Common Sense Advisory guys, called "Targeting Translation Buyers", which describes in detail the profiles of typical buyers of translation. However, a subscription of $6500 is required to purchase it! A little out of my league, for the time being at least.. If anyone's read this, please get in touch.

If we can build up a comprehensive list here, it should give me (and everyone in the same position as me) a big headstart when making the calls!

Thanks in advance


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:40
Member (2008)
French to English
Good market information on translation buyers - but priced out of reach Mar 20, 2015

I'm reviving this old post because it's of general interest and as the OP says, Common Sense Advisory prices their research out of reach of freelancers. If anyone can shed some information about this report it would be appreciated.

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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:40
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
The Top 100 Language Services Mar 21, 2015


That is the most I can get out of it for free.

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:40
Chinese to English
No rule Mar 21, 2015

Unfortunately, my sense is that for the vast majority of companies, there is no one person who is the translation buyer.
Among my direct clients, my contacts include:
Communications/PR teams
Project teams
Dedicated translation staff
Editors (at publishers)

I don't think I've ever successfully approached a direct client, and haven't tried it for a long time. Half the time, it's not just that you can't get through to the buyer, it's that the company has not recognised its own need for translation yet. You kinda have to wait for them to go through the process, reach out for that first project, and build a relationship from there.

But perhaps others have had more success in this area..?

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