Thread poster: Saša Horvat Šimonka
I have been working as a translator for about six years now and I must admit I haven't been very systematic concerning getting new clients. I have a few end-clients and work with many agencies but to be honest my end-clients came to me as a result of pure luck
I know how to get work from agencies but I am not sure on how to approach end-clients like companies and individuals. What is your strategy? Should you even reveal your "secret strategies" to me?
| Honesty is the best policy || Oct 18, 2011 |
For me, be honest to your first contact clients and they will stick to your services.
| Market yourself || Oct 18, 2011 |
As far as I am concerned, I have built a website, and registered in various local directories and yell.com (UK).
Local directories are often free. Being a member of various organisations or institutes can help: Institute of lInguists (they have an online directory), Chamber of Commerce, etc.)
You can also research the local businesses which could be interested in your services and contact them.
| Sell your specialisation(s) || Oct 18, 2011 |
Now that you have a few years experience behind you, you know the sort of work you can do and that you like doing. You are no doubt familiar with the work of a few companies or organisations that focus on the sector of interest. Contact potential end-clients in that business sector directly. They may be local or national.
| | Sheila Wilson
Local time: 06:56
| Depends a little on specialisations || Oct 18, 2011 |
A translation agency is a translation agency. Whatever your language pair, whatever your areas of specialisation, the approach is pretty much the same. I don't think the same approach applies to all end clients.
A restaurateur is very approachable - you eat in a restaurant in France, you mention how much non-French speaking diners would appreciate a well-translated menu, how much extra trade they'd do. They agree, you tell them you're a pro and they ask you to do it. Then you mention your rates and well, it was a nice idea, maybe next tourist season, anyway, their niece did a bit of English at school, so... thanks but no thanks.
A scientific specialist wouldn't normally have access to potential clients in the same way, nor would translators in many other areas. So, I think the approach has to vary a little. There are two things, though, that I see in common:
1. It needs to be a thoroughly professional business to business contact. You are providing a B2B service, not looking for a job. You need to market your services and give them every way of contacting you:- a nice business card and maybe a paper brochure/portfolio/CV if you see them in person, followed by an email so they have both a paper and electronic record of your contact details. Don't expect an instant bite but leave them to think for a few days (not long enough to forget you) before contacting them again.
2. Everyone who is responsible for ordering translations in their professional life also has a personal life. Whether they work in the areas of medicine, law, science, engineering,... they all have families, friends and hobbies. "Luck" is the way a lot of end-clients come to knock on a translator's door. You can increase your luck by making your job known to everyone, without boring the pants off them, of course! Your hairdresser, dentist, child's friend's parent, tennis club caretaker,... may have no need for a translator - but they may know someone who does.
Personally, I don't go actively looking for end-clients, as I only translate part-time, but I've had clients who have sold me windows, been taught English by me, have known someone who was a client, have been hobby modellers like my husband, etc. Don't knock Lady Luck - give her a helping hand!
| || || |
When I was first starting out, I would peruse the huge Frankfurt (Germany) Sunday paper every week and make a list of all the companies that were looking to hire for a position and in which their ad stated that English was required. Regardless of whether the position was for an accountant, a secretary, a lawyer, etc. Then I would send a letter to each of them basically saying, but with much nicer phrasing: "I don't want your job but please keep my name on file should the need for professional English translation ever arise."
People would actually respond and/or hold onto my info! The longest wait between sending a letter and first hearing back from a company was 11 months. And while all that was about 13 years ago, I still have two clients to this day that I initially approached that way all those years ago!
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