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¿How to get more clients?
Thread poster: Guillermo de la Puerta

Guillermo de la Puerta  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:41
German to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 26, 2005

Hello everybody,
this is a question that at a certain moment every independent translator has to handle, but so far I hadn't feel the need. It seems an easy question but it isn´t in fact.
Lately I am going through one of those bad periods when I don`t get new clients and the old ones not always request my services.

They say, the most important key to widen your clients number is your web page. Well, I have one but I just don´t know how to boost it or get it visible in the main searchers. I know obviously that is easy to overcome the problem by paying a large sume of money to a search engine in the web, but... do you have other suggestions?

Sending hundreds of CV is not helping me so far. Until now I hadn`t been in this situation but I think everyone has been in this situation, am I right?

I would need some advice on how to deal this. I am surrounded by people that have dealt with the problem ealier, is that right?

I appreciate any help

Kind Regards willdlp




[Edited at 2005-04-26 14:20]

[Edited at 2005-04-26 14:24]


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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 07:41
Italian to English
+ ...
It's who you know Apr 26, 2005

The man is asking how to land new customers.

I think a website today is akin to having a telephone say forty years ago and a fax say fifteen years ago: almost everyone has one, so it is nothing special and I don't think it is an effective tool for winning new customers in itself (though, again, still necessary to do business).

In my experience, the foremost effective tool for gaining new customers is whom you know, the right people in the right places at the right times.

What is second and third best and so on is debatable.

In my view, the second best tool is your experience (better than academic credentials, but these are certainly very important). So you need to make people who count aware of your experience. Try to identify such people in organisations that may need your services and make them aware of your skills and experience, perhaps by writing old-fashioned letters followed up by old-fashioned phone calls: any email today risks being taken for junk.
Another way of making contact with such people is to join an appropriate association, say a local chamber of commerce (or the Spain-Germany Chamber of Commerce in your case) become a member, publish an entry in its directory, and attend its functions.

Perhaps others will suggest alternative useful strategies.

Good luck,

bale002


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
everybody experiences such moments Apr 26, 2005

Hi Willdlp

A year ago I went an entire month without work, I got awfully worried, then I got a huge job that kept me going Feb to July...since then I have frequently had 10-14 days work ahead of me.

I think a 'slump' occurs becuase it just happens that none of your regulars need work at a particular time, a pure coincidence.

Having a website and posting CVs etc is all very well, but it's a bit hit and miss. As an example, I posted an ad in a university at least 5 years ago...and guess what, I got the ONLY reply recently!

I have 1) fairly regular clients who pay OK (I have been working with them for years), 2) sporadic clients who pay well, and 3) a few agencies with whom I have a good working relationship.

1) they usually give me generous deadlines
2) they give my income a boost now and agin
3) they keep me ticking over

Maybe you could contact translation mates and let them know you are a bit underworked ... or target a few agencies...?


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:41
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Applications more special Apr 26, 2005

willdlp wrote:
Sending hundreds of CV is not helping me so far.


[Edited at 2005-04-26 14:20]

[Edited at 2005-04-26 14:24]

Send less, but more special.
Lately I have received a standard application (although I do not outsource).
The applicant seemed to be qualified, but there was no single word about WHY she has chosen me.

If I contact a translation agency (I call it proposal for collaboration) I tell them why I want work with them.
Use the Blueboard. Enthousiastic colleagues are a good reason.
If I find something interesting on their website(e.g. about quality management) I tell them.

Tell them about your latest projects.

Think about reasons why an agency receiving 50 applications should go for you.

!Adelante!

Excuse my poor English.
Mucha suerte!
Steffi


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:41
German to English
+ ...
Suggestions Apr 26, 2005

willdlp, we've certainly all been in that situation. Here are my specific suggestions/impressions:

** Improve profile page:
You've spent some time on your profile page, although it may be a bit on the long side. When I read it though, it's completely unclear to me in what fields you specialize. Perhaps you could limit your fields of specialization to 2-3? Also, how do I get in touch with you? I think it's important to present a professional business image, including at least a tel. number (or better a link to your website with more extensive information). Also, without your real name there, it's hard to find out more about you on the internet, look you up in a telephone directory, gauge whether you are a reliable partner, etc.

** Create/develop website:
If you have a web page, why isn't it listed on your profile page? I don't think paying money for search engines is going to help. Is your website optimized for keyword searches? Have you read up on good site design?

** Diversify client base:
It's also probably a good time to diversify your clients. Are you focusing too much on agencies? Are you pursuing any direct clients? I've had excellent results when I actively pursue lucrative direct clients, i.e. I write to them and sell myself, explaining why they need *me* to translate their websites/brochures/etc. Are there EU databases or similar where you could find companies trading with or wanting to expand into the Spanish market?

** Develop marketing materials
As a service provider, I would tend to send out a marketing brochure instead of a CV. You could use this down time to design a nice brochure or flyer, which you could include in your sales pitch to promising potential clients. You might look into vistaprint.com or a local print shop.

Best of luck!
Michele


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Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Looking for direct Clientes Apr 26, 2005

I agree in that point with the previous comments?

Have you evert tried working with other translators as a team?


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Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
thanks for your valuable advice Apr 26, 2005

Tuliparola wrote:

[Send less, but more special.
Lately I have received a standard application (although I do not outsource).
The applicant seemed to be qualified, but there was no single word about WHY she has chosen me.

If I contact a translation agency (I call it proposal for collaboration) I tell them why I want work with them.
Use the Blueboard. Enthousiastic colleagues are a good reason.


this is wonderful information, as it gives us the idea of what agencies think. Now you will believe I'm a thickie, but I had not thought of including why I chose some particular agency in my cover letter.

I would also like to say that, although I'm not a full-time freelancer, I also experience periods of time in which there is no work at all and other periods when all the agencies just think of me! I agree that one of the most important things is having good contacts, as well as experience, which will help you do your job well, and such contacts will know it and spread the word!


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 08:41
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
one method... Apr 26, 2005

...is to identify good customers. Look at places like the Proz.com Blueboard, the zahlungspraxis mailing list at Yahoo and others. There you'll find outsourcers with good and bad reputations.
Go to the websites of the good one's and fill in their online form or other means of contacting them. Some will send you their forms on request.
Do not send emails to outsourcers that have no use for your language combination.
Regards
Heinrich


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Guillermo de la Puerta  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:41
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
good suggestions Apr 26, 2005

Hello,
thanks to everyone for your useful advices.
I really think that besides personal contacts, after sending CVs it is useful to make a phone call to let the firm know you are there.

To try direct clients that's a good idea.

And yes, I need some extra work to reshape my profile.

As for my web page I have one but I don`t like the one I have. I am thinking about designing another one which sounds and looks more commercial. My name Guillermo de la Puerta doesn't sound really commercial to me:-)) So I would like to advertise myself in a different way, not just saying this is Guillermo de la Puerta's page. ¿Which would be a good commercial way?
I mean the tipical pitch phrase to offer your services as independent translator.

Of course It would be easier to register my own company which os something I cannot afford right now.


Brochures and marketing materials are a good idea too.

No I have never tried to work with a team. And I don't know how this works

Thanks everybody

willdlp

[Edited at 2005-04-26 20:44]


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 07:41
English to French
+ ...
translators' teams Apr 27, 2005

Alicia Casal wrote:

Have you evert tried working with other translators as a team?


And how do you get in a team ? I thought you were asked ?


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xxxinkamaria  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:41
English to German
+ ...
how to get more clients Apr 27, 2005

lien wrote:

Alicia Casal wrote:

Have you evert tried working with other translators as a team?


And how do you get in a team ? I thought you were asked ?



start networking (sign up for various jobs_for_translators_lists)- that might help, be part of the community (blog and/or check out other translator bloggers), advertise your service in your neighbourhood, among friends and colleagues, contact companies (end clients) for which you wd like to work... in short: get going! what goes around, comes around, or so they say... ;o) best of luck!


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Deschant
Local time: 06:41
Blogs? Apr 27, 2005

inkamaria wrote:
be part of the community (blog and/or check out other translator bloggers)


Hi inkamaria,

How can a translator use a blog to promote himself? I've read blogs for professional purposes (journalists' blogs, for example), but I can't figure out how could it work for a translator.


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xxxinkamaria  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:41
English to German
+ ...
translators' blogs Apr 27, 2005

Eva Moreda wrote:
how can a translator use a blog to promote himself? I've read blogs for professional purposes (journalists' blogs, for example), but I can't figure out how could it work for a translator.


well, there are some really interesting translators' blogs around, check out www.nakedtranslations.com or www.margaret-marks.com to get an idea (they both link to various other translators' blogs as well). not only do these blogs offer some inside information about the industry itself, they also attract potential clients or even better potential teammates. as to clients, of course, you need to keep your blog alive & kicking (so to speak) and promote it a little bit... but if a blog has a good average traffic, i promise, it is not only going to be seen by colleagues but by clients as well (at least that is what happened to me, and what i have heard from other colleagues as well)... hope this helps ;o)


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Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 09:41
English to Russian
Knock about while you have time Apr 28, 2005

When I have a gap between jobs I use it to read forums that I missed while translating, add a couple of features to my freeware tagging tool and generally enjoy it.
Suprisingly, the most friendly and best-paying customers found me through all these sorts of forum chatrooms, I sometimes do not even remember which. My self-promotion efforts, including bidding on Proz, have been far less effective.
When I take part in the forums, I *never* do it for the sake of self-promotion, although I'm glad I've managed to deceive so many folks into respecting me.

My 2 copecks

ÐÅÐ
Alex


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