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Getting frustrated: how to get more experience and more work?
Thread poster: Anna Lautzenheiser

Anna Lautzenheiser  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:04
Member (2011)
French to English
Apr 18, 2012

I have been a Proz.com member since September. I have managed to get one job. The experience was very positive and the client was happy with my work. I was greatly encouraged. That was several months ago....
Seriously. How does one get established? Or more accurately, how does one with little experience get a foot in the door in order to get more experience and prove their abilities?
I would appreciate ANY suggestions!!
Thank you!!

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2012-04-18 14:35 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:04
Member (2008)
Italian to English
10 cents Apr 18, 2012

ahlautz wrote:

I have been a Proz.com member since September. I have managed to get one job. The experience was very positive and the client was happy with my work. I was greatly encouraged. That was several months ago....
Seriously. How does one get established? Or more accurately, how does one with little experience get a foot in the door in order to get more experience and prove their abilities?
I would appreciate ANY suggestions!!
Thank you!!


Work on your profile - make it 100% complete. And change that little tagline "Finding the right words" into something more meaningful. That tagline is one of the things Google looks for when your (potential) clients are looking for a translator.

That's my 10 cents anyway.


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Anna Lautzenheiser  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:04
Member (2011)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Tom!! Apr 18, 2012

Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your suggestion. I will definitely work on my profile.

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Patricia Fierro, M. Sc.  Identity Verified
Ecuador
Local time: 16:04
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A very useful article Apr 18, 2012

Hello,

I think that this is a very useful article for translators who are getting established in this business:

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/447/1/Seven-easy-(and-free)-ways-to-boost-your-profile-traffic

Good luck!
Patricia


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Carolyn Yohn  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:04
French to English
+ ...
Volunteer, if possible Apr 18, 2012

- If you are trying to build your portfolio, maybe look into working for pro bono clients. There are many of these opportunities available. These clients also provide great references.

- Build a website. I didn't see if you have a professional site of your own. If you already do, add it to your ProZ profile! Be sure to use all your keywords, so your site comes up in searches.

- Answer more questions in the forums and KudoZ.

- Branch outside of ProZ! Have you tried direct marketing to potential clients in your specialization? Persistence is key.

Good luck to you!


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Cassius Duwin  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 05:04
Malay to English
+ ...
Just sharing. Apr 18, 2012

Hi ahlautz,

Agree with Tom. You have to complete your profile and make them more "attractive". Complete all the essential items such as the field of expertize etc. Don't forget to upload your complete and informative resume too.

In order to get some information and learn some useful tips on how to maximize your profile try to attend this free webinars --> "Meeting Clients at Proz". The latest one will be on the April 19 --> http://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/6436-meeting_clients_at_prozcom. It's totally free so grab the opportunity and register.

You can attend other free courses too. They organize the webinar from time to time, so check out the schedule. --> http://www.proz.com/translator-training/format/free-webinars. And of course there are paid courses too.

To be honest with you, I'm facing the same situation when I join Proz as a paying member back on August 2012. I almost gave up too. But, after improving my profile and improving my kudoz points, the job started to come in and things going well after that.

Though I might be from a different market segment, I hope this sharing will benefit you in some other ways.

All the best to you.


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Anna Lautzenheiser  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:04
Member (2011)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Just sharing Apr 18, 2012

Thank you Cassius!!
I can honestly say that the support from other members on this site is really encouraging and immensely appreciated!!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:04
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My 2 cents Apr 18, 2012

Training, training, training... and certification.

This is a very competitive market and in order to succeed you definitely need to invest some money. Look for universities or training centres offering translation-related training in your area and plan your training for the months ahead. Reflect the new training in your profile and CV just to prove that you are serious about the profession.

(If you already have translation-related training, higher education in translation, and/or certifications in translation, please ignore the above.)


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Maja Źróbecka, MITI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:04
English to Polish
+ ...
Don't get discouraged Apr 18, 2012

And don't expect that just from being a ProZ member you will receive plenty of jobs. I really liked a few sentences I read in "How to succeed as a freelance translator" by Corinne McKay:

"Many beginning freelancers make a few critical but avoidable mistakes: they don’t have a plan for how to support themselves, they don’t define their service offerings and what
types of clients they’re looking for,
---------they expect too much return from too little marketing effort-------
and thus they burn out before their business even has a chance to succeed. By creating a detailed plan of what you’ll be doing during this “make or break” first year, you will give yourself the greatest possible chance of succeeding."

You have to be really active to attract new clients, and really looking for clients is a full-time job, so I suggest you plan your aims step by step. Start with a simple "I would like to get 2 jobs this month" and market yourself to attain this goal.

You mention that you do not have much experience, but maybe you have some in-depth knowledge of a specific area? This can be your unique selling pont so use it to your advantage.

There are many jobs out there! You just need to find them

Good luck!
Maja


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Jorim De Clercq  Identity Verified
Ecuador
Local time: 16:04
Member (2012)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
rates Apr 18, 2012

Lower your rates. I've just started my career as a translator and the clients I have had until now have chosen me because I had lower rates than the competition. When you have found some clients, you can raise your rates.

[Edited at 2012-04-18 15:06 GMT]


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Mailand  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:04
Italian to German
+ ...
Go out .... Apr 18, 2012

... sounds like an invitation to party, but I was thinking about meeting people for business purposes .... Do you live close to fair grounds? If there are trade-fairs covering your area of expertise, get business cards printed, maybe a little leaflet to hand out.
Visit fairs or other business related meetings and talk to people - you´ll benefit at least twice: you learn more about your area of expertise and can contact people. Ask who is going to visit fairs abroad - they´ll need translations for sure.
Btw: I´ve been a member since 2009 and so far got two jobs through proz ... but one of them turned into a regular.

[Edited at 2012-04-18 15:20 GMT]


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Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:04
English to German
Business plan Apr 18, 2012

At first, you should make your individual business plan. How to do that, you can find here in the Education Section or Forum posts or in the (Wiki) Article knowledge base. Don't set your goals too high, let your business grow step by step following this plan.

Then, as already mentioned here, register for (often free) webinars related to getting established. One can learn a lot by them.

Complete and polish your profile here, contribute to this site, become more visible.

And: be patient - it takes time.

Good luck to you!

Annett


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:04
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Get a WWA Apr 18, 2012

ahlautz wrote:

The experience was very positive and the client was happy with my work.


You should also start asking satisfied clients for "willlingness to work again" references. Not all clients are happy to do this but it's worth a try.

Just click on "request entries" (in "owner" view).

I see you've already been working on your profile - well done !


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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:04
Member (2009)
French to English
Go Wolfpack! Apr 18, 2012

First, I understand your frustration. The early bootstrapping phase of a translation career can be very difficult. However, I see from your CV that you are still working on your French degree and I think that many potential clients may wonder if you are ready to embark on your career. As your samples suggest you have more life experience than the average undergrad, I would actually remove the reference to the Bachelor's degree until you have earned it.

Second, as you are in North Carolina, come on out and meet some of your fellow translators at the upcoming CATI conference: http://www.catiweb.org/conference2012.htm . I will be there, so come say Hi! Even though translation is a fairly solitary profession, it is still useful to meet in person.


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Oleg Karnaushenko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 23:04
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Be active Apr 18, 2012

I would not recommend lowering your rates. It will not benefit you and it will harm entire industry. Some discounts in particular cases, of course, are acceptable.
Try to contact prospective clients directly, sending them your CV and offering your services. Don't expect every sent mail or every 10 mails to be replied, but you'll definitely get some new contacts.
And bear in mind that it usually takes about a year for establishing some client base.


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