How to get jobs?
Thread poster: Anastassiya Stepanov

Anastassiya Stepanov  Identity Verified
United States
English to Russian
+ ...
Dec 13, 2011

Hello, I am fairly new to this online type of translations and I have been given quotes and haven't receive any response. Is there a specific way for contacting customers or give quotes? Colleagues, please answer really need your help.

[Edited at 2011-12-13 01:57 GMT]


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:27
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Focus on your best skills Dec 13, 2011

Make sure you only apply for jobs that are in your field of expertise, and you are translating into your native language (or a language where you have native-level skills and work with a native editor).
You may want to think about specializing; listing a wide range of unrelated fields as your expert areas can be off-putting for some clients - a bit more focus may help.
Make sure your profile page, including your resume and your portfolio of sample translations reflects the image of a professional translator.

These are just a few things to start, feel free to browse the forums, this topic had been discussed in various forms many times.
Katalin

[Módosítva: 2011-12-13 02:37 GMT]


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Rebelo Júnior  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:27
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Check the webinars Dec 13, 2011

You should consider participating in the free seminars offered by Proz. They really make a difference, optimizing your use of the site and increasing your chance of getting jobs via Proz. (I speak from experience).

Good luck!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Too cheap? Dec 13, 2011

Your rates seem to be very low for the American market. You place yourself in the cheap section of the board, which can be negative for your marketing. I would either increase the rates in the Proz.com profile or delete them altogether so that you have a chance to discuss this with potential customers.

Also, never rely on Proz.com alone for jobs, or you will probably starve to death.

Improve your specialisation and your training of CAT tools and try to become certified by an organisation that is recognised in the trade, like the ATA or the Chartered Institute of Linguists (www.iol.org.uk).


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:27
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
As others have said Dec 13, 2011

Hello Anastassiya,

Welcome to ProZ.com and the world of freelance translating.

I see that you have worked as an in-house translator for end clients in the past and I imagine that is where your rather eclectic experience comes from. When you are in that situation, you translate all that needs to be translated, between all the languages you know.

However, when clients call on the services of a freelance translator, they have an enormous choice and so are inevitably going to pick the translator who is the most qualified for the text in hand. So, for a science translation they'll go to a science specialist - and they won't want to use that same translator for a poem, because they won't expect one translator to specialise in both areas. Also, for the same reason, we tend to only translate into languages where we have extremely good, natural writing ability. That level only normally comes from many formative years of really living the language, rarely from education.

So, I would just agree with the comments you have already received: offer only your best services, in your best language pairs, in your best fields of expertise. In return for your best, expect your clients to pay the best rates. And as Tomás says, don't rely on the jobs posted on ProZ.com as they are often posted as a last resort. A much larger percentage of jobs are awarded to those who have a high profile on the site, so find out (through the forum threads, the free webinars, etc) how to get them to come to you.

As for your question about specific contacts, you can also choose outsourcers from the directory, based on their own areas of specialisations, and send them your CV. Whether you do that or quote for a job, the most important advice is to be as brief as possible, only giving them the "need to know" facts as they have no time to read your life history.

Good luck!

Sheila


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The Misha
Local time: 21:27
Russian to English
+ ...
Please also keep it in mind Dec 13, 2011

that you could do yourself a great disservice by sloppy writing alone. It doesn't matter whether you are putting together a quote or make a seemingly inconsequential comment on a translator portal. People do judge you, even if unconsciously, by anything you post in a public forum. You made three mistakes in the two odd lines of your original post, and your entire wording screams non-native. In my book, that alone would disqualify you from any further consideration.

Good luck to you.


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Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 04:27
Member (2010)
Greek to English
Starting out Dec 13, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Also, never rely on Proz.com alone for jobs, or you will probably starve to death.


I'm sure that's good advice in general. However, my own experience is very different: if I were to use 'starve' and 'Proz' in the same sentence, I'd probably be saying "I've got so much work through Proz that I barely have time to eat, and I could starve to death".

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Improve your specialisation and your training of CAT tools and try to become certified by an organisation that is recognised in the trade, like the ATA or the Chartered Institute of Linguists (www.iol.org.uk).


Again, sound advice. However, again, my experience has been different:

My specialization has come about through what my clients have wanted.
I don't use CAT.
I'm not a member of any organizations.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:27
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Some more advice... Dec 13, 2011

You have definitely been given good advice here.

My own 2 cents:
1. Reconsider your combinations - in your place, I would focus on your out-of-English combinations. I notice you don't list English>Kazakh. Is there a particular reason for that? It seems like that would not be much of a leap from English>Russian for you, and, as a smaller niche than English>Russian, it might be easier to distinguish yourself in it.
2. Perfect your profile. It is difficult, probably impossible, to eke out out living by bidding for the types of jobs generally posted here, but eventually you will receive a few direct inquiries via your profile. You might consider a little narrative about yourself. A Russian living North Dakota - now that's interesting! How did you come to be there? Can you tie that in with your background and the skills you bring to your translation work? Obviously you should not include extraneous personal details or irrelevant hobbies and the like, but I think presenting a complete picture beyond just proz profile number 1234x does help.
3. Consider taking the English>Russian ATA exam when an opportunity arises (practice tests are available from ATA to help you discern your preparedness to take the test)
4. Initiate contact! Try to send your resume to, say, 5 different agencies a day who work in your combinations and/or specialties. In most cases you'll get a response saying "Thanks, we'll keep you on file", and they usually mean it, so don't take it as a rejection. Eventually in some of those agencies a job will come up where there regular person is busy or on vacation, etc., and you'll get an e-mail. Building up to a full-time volume will probably take a couple of years, so don't despair and keep at it.
oh - and
5. Double your current rates (at least).

Good luck!


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Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 04:27
Member (2010)
Greek to English
Be the best Dec 13, 2011

Sheila Wilson wrote:

... offer only your best services, in your best language pairs, in your best fields of expertise. In return for your best, expect your clients to pay the best rates. And as Tomás says, don't rely on the jobs posted on ProZ.com as they are often posted as a last resort. A much larger percentage of jobs are awarded to those who have a high profile on the site


I totally agree with Sheila, that you should offer your best. That, with very few exceptions, means translating into the language you know best: your 'native language'. You'll not only be more accurate and idiomatic when translating into your 1st language, but you'll also work faster (= earn more per hour).

As for Proz... Tomás just said that you shouldn't rely on Proz. Sheila has taken this as "don't rely on the jobs posted on Proz". That's a different matter! She is quite right: only a small proportion of my work has come through jobs posted on Proz. Most of my clients haven't found me because they've posted a job publicly; they've searched the directory for my language pair and looked at my CV, or my Kudoz points, or my photo (I'm serious: one client, wanting a translation about football, said "You look like a football fan"!).

[Edited at 2011-12-13 19:11 GMT]


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Lucia Leszinsky
SITE STAFF
"Meeting clients at ProZ.com" webinars Dec 13, 2011

Hello Anastassiya,

As Rebelo suggest, perhaps you may want to consider attending one of the free webinars on "Meeting clients at ProZ.com" offered on a weekly basis by site staff and site guides:

http://www.proz.com/guidance-center/additional-resources/#webinars

These webinars, which also include a workshop where participants can receive personalized feedback and help, outline the "ProZ.com winning strategies" for meeting clients through the site (including profile completion) and show how to apply them to get more out of the ProZ.com experience.

Hope to see you there and help you to get the most out of ProZ.com!

Kind regards,

Lucia


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Anastassiya Stepanov  Identity Verified
United States
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your advices. I definitely tried to improve. Dec 19, 2011

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

Make sure you only apply for jobs that are in your field of expertise, and you are translating into your native language (or a language where you have native-level skills and work with a native editor).
You may want to think about specializing; listing a wide range of unrelated fields as your expert areas can be off-putting for some clients - a bit more focus may help.
Make sure your profile page, including your resume and your portfolio of sample translations reflects the image of a professional translator.

These are just a few things to start, feel free to browse the forums, this topic had been discussed in various forms many times.
Katalin

[Módosítva: 2011-12-13 02:37 GMT]


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