Advice on changing career focus
Thread poster: Susana Galilea

Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:04
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 14, 2003

Hello all,

Having just relocated to a new city, I am focusing on re-entering the freelance market after a long stint working primarily as an in-house translator. In the past I have been fortunate enough to land most of my assignments by word of mouth (no, I am not complainingicon_biggrin.gif), but at this stage in my career I feel the need to be more selective and market my services to the kind of projects I consider myself best suited for, i.e. marketing and advertising materials.

I am very familiar with the process of approaching translation agencies, but I am seeking advice about approaching potential end customers. I must admit self-promotion has never quite come natural to me, so any good tips on how to identify and approach direct clients will be much appreciated.

Also, if anyone reading this lives in Chicago and would like to meet for coffee sometime...icon_smile.gif

Cheers and a happy summer to all,

Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator, EUTI

[Edited at 2003-10-31 22:06]


Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:04
French to Spanish
+ ...
Tocar puertas, no hay de otra. Jul 15, 2003

Tienes localizado el tipo de material que te interesa, bien. Toma el directorio telefónico, o uno más especializado de empresas, marcas con rojo los potenciales clientes, llamas por teléfono, haces una cita, te presentas con el responsable -eso sí, bien arregladita, con tu bonito C.V. bajo el brazo- ¡y ya está! De cada 10 citas, quizá una te dé algún resultado. Esa es mi experiencia, y funciona... con tiempo, claro.



CMJ_Trans (X)
Local time: 03:04
French to English
+ ...
Sell yourself to publishers and agencies.... Jul 15, 2003

There are loads of ad or communications agencies on the market. In Europe at least (and there's no reason why you should only work in the US, is there?) there are heaps of agencies that produce multilingual magazines for companies (staff and clients). I work on a couple of such magazines, each in 5 languages, for example. I also cooperate on a 6-language website (supplying the texts of news items, etc.). So I would look for agencies that produce company material. You often find that not only do they produce the magazines but they also handle the advertising and marketing campaigns for their clients, develop their websites, etc. Most big multinationals prefer to outsource all that sort of thing.
Hope this little helps


IanW (X)
Local time: 03:04
German to English
+ ...
Website Jul 15, 2003

Hi Susana,

When I turned freelance after working in-house about a year ago, the first thing I did was to develop a website (I did the texts and paid for someone else to do the web design - I can pass on details if you like).

The advantage of this is that you can send a very short mail introducing yourself and include a link for further information. If you were to write a two-page letter, no-one would read it.

Hope this helps



Nina Snoj
Member (2004)
Spanish to Slovenian
+ ...
Be creative.. Jul 15, 2003

I dont know if what I am about to say is very creative but it worked for me. I send out 10-20 mails everyday, addressed to companies of all types that have recently published a webpage. After introducing myself I go on telling them how important is global market and how many business oportunities may be lost due to the language barrier. Then I offer to translate their webpage and give discounts if they choose translation in two languages. Of course, not all companies bother to answer which is why it is very important to mail the offer to the right person (not just info@... but "the public relations" and similar).Webpages are basicaly marketing, advertising text and sometimes product/service description, so you might find that a useful resource at finding new companies. If they like your job, they will call you again or spread the word.


IanW (X)
Local time: 03:04
German to English
+ ...
Good point by NinaSnoj Jul 15, 2003

Yes, NinaSnoj just mentioned a very important point - try not to send mailings to the "info@..." address, but go onto the website and target the important people, whose e-mail addresses are usually listed. You'll often find that one satified customer within a company often leads to five or six.

All the best



Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:04
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
when in a new town Jul 16, 2003

It's best to find some group of entrepreneurs in a specifig area (marketing and advertising, in your case) (or if you are a specialist in marketing of a smaller subgroup like IT for instance, find a group IT-marketing people). The local chamber of commerce might help.

Most cities have some sort of informal meetings of entrepreneurs - make sure you take a big load of business cards and just hand them out to everybody, saying you're new in town, asking them questions about what they do with their translation work today etc...(explain how you can help). Since it's unlikely there are many translators at these meetings, you're bound to get some direct clients...


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