how to get direct clients?
Thread poster: cendrine marrouat
cendrine marrouat
English to French
+ ...
Jun 16, 2004

Hello all!
I think the subject was already tackled a few months ago or
so. But I'd like to talk about it again.
I've been translating on a professional basis from English
to French for more than a year and a half. Yet, business is slow. I get a maximum of 2 demands for translation a month from irregular companies. I only have one direct client, but he just asks me once every 3 or 4 months or so. I have my own website, that i created entirely, it is published and has been so for a long time now. I have kept on updating and referencing it in different places (Google, Altavista, directories, and so on.). OK, well that's not the point here!
I was wondering if someone knew how to get direct clients?
How did you guys manage to have regular clients contacting
you?
I usually apply through different websites. Yet, nothing has been
positive so far.
Can you please help me? I am fed up having to discuss my
rates with companies...
Thanks a lot.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:33
Flemish to English
+ ...
Market-niche Jun 16, 2004

Sometimes websites like proz, acquarius and the like result in a job. However, there are other ways such as yellow pages, phoning the companies/experts in your market-niche and offering them your services and so on.
The "and so on" you will have to find out yourself. After all, one can not reveal all the paths which might eventually lead to direct customers.


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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:33
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Try networking and advertising Jun 16, 2004

1. Join a Translator’s Association (in your case, CTIC)
2. Join your local Chamber of Industry and Commerce
3. Advertise in the local Yellow Pages
4. Advertise in professional /trade journals (depends on your specialization: legal services directory, health care provider directory, IT…)
Bonne chance!
johanna


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 04:33
Local advertising Jun 16, 2004

How about the usual ways, like advertising in your local phone book or newspaper? Even though translation is ideally suited for e-commerce, there are many technophobes who would prefer to hire someone from their local paper/phone book than somebody off the internet.

What areas do you specialise in? have you contacted local companies involved in these areas directly, I'm sure you have probably tried that before, but perhaps now is the time to step it up and really zone in, for example follow up your e-mail with a phone call and while you have that person on the phone, ask them (nicely) about other companies/people that they know who may require translation services.

It will be a few weeks before the fruits of your labours pay off, but they will. At least you are already an established translator with a demonstrable track record, so it makes selling your services easier.

Bonne chance!

Orla


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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:33
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
indexing Jun 16, 2004

Johanna Timm, PhD wrote:

1. Join a Translator’s Association (in your case, CTIC)
2. Join your local Chamber of Industry and Commerce
3. Advertise in the local Yellow Pages
4. Advertise in professional /trade journals (depends on your specialization: legal services directory, health care provider directory, IT…)
Bonne chance!
johanna


Adding to Johanna's sound advice, what's important is to have your Web site properly indexed in all the major search engines. If you have the resources, have it done professionally by a reputable company. Of course, this means that you have to place crucial keywords in your site that can easily be targeted when Joe Shmoe types "French translation" or whatever in google or somewhere else.

Bonne chance,
Marcus


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LuciaC
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:33
English to Italian
+ ...
It might not help in your case Jun 16, 2004

but I get most of my work from direct clients and they are
- the company I worked with for two years as a beginner (many years ago)
- a couple of companies and institutions with language services that are now directed by former class mates at the Ecole de Traduction (Geneva).

Getting in-house jobs is more and more difficult nowadays but it is a great way to gain experience and the first direct client.

I also try to go to conferences at least once a year and do some networking. One good way of meeting people is going to technical conferences (not about translation but about one of the subjects you specialize in) where you might meet potential clients.

Good luck
Lucia


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Ivan Eikås Skjøstad  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 05:33
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Website Jun 16, 2004

I have taken a look at your website. I would suggest that you look at the site from the angle of your target customer (end user).

Does the site present any problems that you could help to solve? Does the site present your services in a way that end customers may contact you straight away to get a (free) quote?

What about specialisation? An important "How to" on Proz indicated that choosing very few specialisation areas was the clever thing to do.

I hope this helps. Good luck.


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cendrine marrouat
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting remarks Jun 17, 2004

Ivan Eikås Skjøstad wrote:

I have taken a look at your website. I would suggest that you look at the site from the angle of your target customer (end user).

Does the site present any problems that you could help to solve? Does the site present your services in a way that end customers may contact you straight away to get a (free) quote?

What about specialisation? An important "How to" on Proz indicated that choosing very few specialisation areas was the clever thing to do.

I hope this helps. Good luck.



I read your remarks carefully. Yet, can you be more specific?
If you're talking about rates, they are included, if you're talking about contact information, that's fine, I have it.
Would you suggest that I don't add my resume but that I should do something else?
which problems are you talking about?
Thank you for being more specific, because any feedback from a professional translator is welcome.
As far as keywords are concerned, which ones would you suggest?

thanks a lot!


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cendrine marrouat
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
about translators' associations Jun 17, 2004

I also wanted to talk about translators' associations.
Most of them require at least three years of experience as a professional translator. It's not my case. So I cannot apply.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:03
English to Tamil
+ ...
Keep your ears and eyes open Jun 17, 2004

I am reminded of my early days. I always keep ready a few visiting cards. My ears prick up whenever a new person is introduced to me. I always ask him about his job, if he says he is employed or about his line of work, if he says he is a businessman. In the latter case I ask him whether he is into exports or imports and if so the countries involved. If he deals with German/French speaking countries, I give him my visiting card giving him a short description of my translation activities. If on the other hand his employer is an exporter, I get his name so that I can write to him later.

In the newspapers I always go through the job advertisements. In the write-up about the firm, if any German/French collaboration is mentioned, I write to the chief executive of the firm offering my translation services, without any reference to the job advertisement. Believe me, I have landed a lot of clients in that manner.

It is said that a good cobbler will always look at the feet of the passer-by to detect potential clients. We have to be as vigilant as a cobbler. The other day in the economics column of our local newspaper I read that a company has entered into technical collaboration with a German firm and on the same day the CEO of that company was sent a letter wherein I congratulated him on his landing the collaboration and offered him my services. I was called for a discussion and was given an assignment.

So, my advice is clear. Keep your ears and eyes open.

Regards,
N.Raghavan

[Edited at 2004-06-17 11:07]


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Be on your toes Jun 17, 2004

I always have my business cards with me to give to someone I meet, and who expresses interest in my services. I also reply to poor English, i.e. in a catalog, menu, whatever. Sometimes it works - mostly nothing happens, but when I do get a new client, it pays off.

Good luck.
Linda


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